In alignment with Phase 1 of Ontario's Framework for Re-opening the Province and the May 14 and May 19 provincial announcements permitting the opening of some outdoor recreational amenities, the City of Kitchener has already reopened some amenities and will work to reopen its golf courses, skateparks, BMX trail, tennis, volleyball and pickleball courts, over the next two weeks.
“We know that residents are anxious to be able to use these community amenities again and we appreciate their patience as City staff move as quickly as possible, after receiving direction from the provincial government, to reopen them quickly and safely,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
While some City amenities can be reopened right away, in some specific cases, it may take several days or weeks to reopen following provincial announcements. Staffing levels at the City have been reduced dramatically temporarily as a cost-saving measure, and staff have been redeployed in many cases to support critical services. For some outdoor amenities, such as golf courses and tennis courts, seasonal maintenance is required before opening. In addition, the City is putting in place additional safety measures and procedures for the protection of staff and the public prior to opening the facilities.
When using outdoor recreation facilities, members of the public are asked to:
• Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres or six feet, except for members of the same household
• Not gather in groups of more than five
• Wear non-medical masks where possible
• Practice good cough etiquette
• Wash and/or sanitize their hands often
At this time, all playgrounds, park washrooms, outdoor gym equipment, splashpads, and pools remain closed in accordance with the extension of Provincial Orders until May 29.
The following outdoor recreation spaces are open, effective immediately:
Basketball courts are available for use immediately, staff will be updating signage this week. Physical distancing remains in effect. Please use basketball facilities for an individual activity or with others from the same household.
Leash-free dog parks located at Kiwanis Park, McLennan Park, George Lippert Park, and The Aud have been reopened for public use.
Provincial orders are now lifted on outdoor furniture. Residents can once again use picnic tables, benches or shelters, in parks or recreational areas provided that users maintain a physical distance of at least two metres. Outdoor furniture is not sanitized and we remind residents to wash or sanitize their hands thoroughly after use.
The emergency orders are now lifted for sports fields, such as baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Under normal circumstances, these spaces are typically reserved for teams who have booked the spaces, however, with group sports paused for physical distancing, the City of Kitchener will waive booking requirements for 50 of these spaces, opening them up for free public use. A full list of fields free for use is available on our website. We ask that members of the public keep off closed fields as we continue to undertake maintenance to ensure they are ready for use when we are able to reopen.
The City has announced the following timelines in re-opening the following facilities:
City staff began removing fencing and signage yesterday, ensuring that all skateparks will open by the end of this week. Skatepark equipment is not sanitized and we remind users to wash and clean their hands after use.
McLennan Park BMX Trail
The City has deployed staff to prepare for the re-opening of McLennan Park Mountain Trail – the City’s BMX park. The trail requires its typical seasonal maintenance and is expected to reopen over the next two weeks.
Tennis, Pickleball & Volleyball Courts
City staff are working on the necessary seasonal maintenance and set up required to reopen tennis and pickleball courts across the City. To open tennis courts as quickly as possible, the city is prioritizing the various courts and staggering their opening. Signage will be posted to the courts as they re-open for public use. All courts are expected to be reopened within the next two weeks.
With provincial orders lifted on golf courses across Ontario, Kitchener golf is working hard to prepare both Rockway and Doon Valley courses as quickly as possible, ensuring that physical distancing measures and all necessary safety precautions are in place to protect staff and patrons. The following opening dates have been established for the city’s golf courses: Rockway will open Monday, May 25, and will open the tee sheet for bookings this Thursday. Doon Valley will open the 9 hole course on May 29 and the championship 18 hole course will open Wednesday, June 3.
“Staff are closely monitoring for any provincial direction on re-openings and have been doing the needed planning to ensure we can open amenities as quickly as possible following the modification or elimination of emergency orders by the province,” added Vrbanovic. “We are committed to restoring the use of these valued community amenities safely and effectively, but residents need to remember that COVID-19 is still present in our community and their attention to personal health and safety practices will be key during this next stage within our community."