In response to a lack of physical distancing among skaters, the City of Kamloops has decided to step in and control usage of the skateboard park on McArthur Island, while also shutting down the ring road around the island to vehicular traffic to allow more spacious pedestrian and cycling access.
The announcement came on Thursday afternoon, right before Easter long weekend, the forecast for which is calling for sunshine and warmth.
City of Kamloops CAO David Trawin said the skateboard area has seen “overcrowding.” Some complaints have also popped up online. As a result, construction fencing will be installed to limit the number of people using it at one time and city staff will monitor usage and encourage physical distancing.
“We’ll have a person there to make sure that social distancing occurs and limit the numbers,” Trawin said.
As for the ring road, Trawin said a lot of people are walking around the island. However, with many people on the narrow pathway at one time, walking at different speeds and in different directions, Trawin said physical distancing was challenging.
Sports, meanwhile, are cancelled on McArthur Island and many people are looking to get fresh air and exercise amid a time of isolation at home.
“We decided, ‘Hey, park your car.’ There’s no reason to drive your car all the way down there, anyway,” Trawin said. “Park your car and walk. That way, the whole road is available for walking, other than for city vehicles, emergency vehicles that are needed. Then, people can still enjoy the outdoors and practise social distancing.”
On Wednesday, B.C. announced closure of provincial parks. However, city parks remain open. Trawin said that the city’s goal is to keep park space open, so long as people abide by physical-distancing rules.
Asked about other skateboard parks in town, Trawin said the downtown and Rayleigh facilities have been monitored and have not so far been deemed problematic.
Trawin said the city will also be stepping up monitoring of the Kamloops Bike Ranch in Juniper Ridge.
“We want to keep the facilities open to the public, but we want to make sure social distancing is followed,” Trawin said. “If it isn’t, then we’ll take action.”