While sports courts in the Regional District of Nanaimo have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are defying the order at Cedar Skate Park, says Tom Osborne, RDN general manager of recreation and parks. (Chris Bush/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Security posted to deal with COVID-19-defying skateboarders near Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo official says barriers in place, but more measures may be needed

Officials have called in extra security to deal with defiant skateboarders at a Nanaimo-area skatepark.

The Regional District of Nanaimo closed all sports courts and playgrounds in its parks indefinitely in late March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. According to Tom Osborne, general manager of recreation and parks, most people are respecting COVID-19 rules and steering clear.

The only exception is the Cedar Skate Park.

“We’ve had to hire security guards on site,” Osborne said. “Barriers have been put in place and even with those measures it continues to be a challenge, so we are looking to what other operators of skateboard parks are doing to discourage use and we’ll be rolling those out in the coming days as we move that forward.”

RELATED: Island Health region sees 92 COVID-19 cases as of April 15

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READ ALSO: RDN launches virtual rec portal during COVID-19 crisis

In an e-mail, Osborne told the News Bulletin this could include the use of sand.

“Other jurisdictions with skate parks have had to place large volumes of sand on skate parks to prevent them from being used,” Osborne said. “At this time a security firm has been retained to help RDN bylaw services monitor the site in addition to barriers being placed at the park. If it has found that the park barriers continue to be compromised and the site used, the placement of sand option may be implemented.”

Tom Armet, RDN manager of building and bylaw services, told the News Bulletin the regional district can’t ticket or penalize anyone who happens to use the skate park during the pandemic, as it doesn’t have the authority.

The B.C. government has clarified bylaw enforcement officer responsibilities in order to provide a consistent approach across the province, Armet said in an e-mail. Officers can only assist with compliance and enforcement of public health orders, as only the provincial health officer or Island Health may direct enforcement, he said.

In electoral areas, RDN bylaw enforcement officers will continue to monitor community facilities and areas closed to the public, remind residents that playgrounds, sports courts and skate parks are closed and remind residents of the critical need to ensure physical distance, said Armet.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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