The Fernie Skate Park is officially open to the public. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press

Outdoor facilities reopen in the Elk Valley

Select parks, outdoor playgrounds, and public washrooms reopen for public use

The Sparwood Skate Park officially reopened for public use on May 25. Though the facility is publicly accessible, social distancing regulations set out by the provincial health authority, Canada Skateboard, and provincial recreation agencies remain in place.

According to Canada Skateboard, residents are not to use the facility if they are sick, and must always remain an adequate distance apart when riding. Users of the skate park are also to avoid loitering, and are encouraged to stay away from the park when busy. To ensure utmost hygiene, skateboarders must refrain from touching park features when possible, and use hand sanitizer before and after use.

As outlined on the District of Sparwood’s Facebook page, when there are more than 25 people present at the park, riding time will be lowered to half hour sessions. Park ambassadors will be onsite during peak hours, reminding users to follow facility guidelines and ensuring all riders get an opportunity to skate.

“Skateboarders should work together to support and implement these measures to ensure an inclusive and safe environment. Always remember to keep your distance and play safe,” read a public notice disseminated by the District of Sparwood.

As of May 28, the District of Sparwood’s playgrounds are also open for community use. Though the district does not expect children to maintain social distancing while using the playgrounds, users are still reminded to use hand sanitizer when possible, to keep circles small, stay home when sick, and to avoid use when busy.

The public washrooms at the Sparwood Spray Park are also now open to the public, and will be cleaned according to safety guidelines.

As of June 1, the City of Fernie also began reopening outdoor amenities. Once again available for public use are the playgrounds at Rotary Park, Tenth Avenue, and Ridgemont Park, the sani-dump, pickleball courts, tennis courts, frisbee golf, ball diamonds, city trails and parks, the outdoor rink structure, School District 5 fields, and the School District 5 basketball court. The skate park and bike park are also open, however they close daily at 9 p.m. The downtown and Rotary Park washrooms are open from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m., and all pit toilets at parks and trail heads have also reopened.

The City of Fernie reminds residents that distance should still be maintained when possible, and signage followed. Citizens are urged to keep circles small, stay home when sick, refrain from league or organized play, and wash hands regularly. To help encourage social distancing, community ambassadors have also been hired by the City of Fernie to promote the safe use of outdoor facilities.

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