City closes parks, playgrounds, play structures

By Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt

To begin, I would like to sincerely thank everyone during this challenging time. I thank you for many different reasons, be it working in the healthcare field, working at a grocery store or pharmacy, transitioning your business online so you can still serve your customers and all those who are just staying at home, managing the best you can through this pandemic. This is something that impacts us all and we all may have very different experiences. It is important that we continue to support each other in our community through this situation. If anyone if having difficulty from a mental health perspective, please remember that it is ok to not be ok. I encourage you to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if you need help or are having trouble coping.

Statement from Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Public Health

Thank you to everyone that is doing the right thing – staying home and keeping your physical distance. We can change the impact that this pandemic has on our city when we all work together.

Last week, the province shared projections of total numbers of cases and deaths in Ontario in different scenarios. It is important to note that the different curves and projections show that the measures we are currently taking (e.g. closures of schools and public spaces and ensuring everyone keeps their distance), do make a difference in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and can prevent deaths. The actions of every individual determine which curve we will experience – and we are aiming for the lowest curve possible. The least number of infections at once will ensure that the healthcare system can continue to handle the demand. We are working with our partners to determine what these provincial projections may mean for our city.

We understand many people may be frustrated with the length of time to receive test results. There is now a new online portal to access COVID-19 test results directly from the provincial laboratory system. This portal was launched on Friday by the Government of Ontario and offers fast and secure access to test results on your computer and mobile device.

Thank you again for your cooperation as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. I am inspired by the supports that so many Ottawans are providing to each other, whether checking in virtually or helping with grocery runs. While we usually want to visit in-person, to share and manage in times of stress, keeping our contacts to household members as much as possible is going to get us through this pandemic.

Please continue to visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for the latest information.

All Parks Closed

As you may have heard, the closure of parks was announced by the City last week and then the Province announced their own closure of parks province-wide. Following this, City employees installed Park Closure signs at parks across the City. Phase 1 of these installations included play structures, fully enclosed off-leash dog parks, playgrounds and gazebos. This work took place between March 28th and April 2nd and saw more than 4000 signs posted at over 800 Parks. At this time, parking lots with gates that were closed for the winter will remain locked.

Staff will begin Phase 2 sign installations this week and will target park entrances via multi-use pathways, parking lot entrances, entrances to complex community parks, artificial turf fields and community gardens.

This signage program is necessary because people are still using the parks. They are still gathering in dog parks, using play equipment and congregating at picnic tables. While I fully understand the impact of these closures and the difficulty in accepting them, it is imperative that we follow the public health directions from both the City and the Province.

Other Closures

Just a reminder that all City facilities remain closed as well, including libraries. Rest assured that all of these facilities will re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca. You can also sign up for our now weekly newsletter to stay informed on all the latest, accurate information regarding COVID-19.