Metro Vancouver has closed Boundary Bay and Deas Island regional parks for the Easter long weekend.
Delta Mayor George Harvie announced the closures during a virtual townhall Thursday morning after sending a request to the regional authority to close the parks on Wednesday. Metro Vancouver later announced the parks would be closed “until further notice.”
Metro Vancouver closed the parking lots at Boundary Bay and Deas Island parks on March 24, also at the mayor’s request, in an effort to limit gatherings and encourage people to practice safe physical distancing.
However, many residents have complained about the number of people parking on local streets and using the parks anyway, particularly in Boundary Bay, causing traffic headaches for locals and raising concerns about park-goers ignoring public health orders about social distancing.
“Looking at 10 days of sunshine and our experience even last year when the public beaches in Vancouver were closed, people were coming to Centennial [Beach] and creating an impossible situation in so far as crowd control,” Harvie said during the virtual townhall.
Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord went on to outline the city’s plan to enforce the closure in Boundary Bay. Starting Friday, April 10, traffic safety personnel will be stationed alongside Delta police officers at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Boundary Bay Road to flag cars and ensure that only residents are entering the Boundary Bay village area.
“Not everyone unfortunately goes to social media and goes to the website, listens to news and radio, and will know that the park is closed. They may travel with their family from some distance to be able to come down to Centennial Beach,” Dubord said during the townhall. “We hope not to see too many people coming in there that will be looking for parking spots or other ways to enter into Centennial [Beach] by going into Boundary Bay.”
City engineering will also be posting signs in the area going all the way out to Highway 17 saying the park is closed and the area is off limits to all but local traffic.
“We’re going to sign it well, we’re going to assign some police officers there with the marked police car and the traffic safety personnel, and in addition we’ll work with [City of Delta]engineering on any other issues that arise,” Dubord said.