Metro Vancouver keeping most of its regional parks open amid COVID-19 pandemic

Metro Vancouver is hoping to keep almost all of its regional parks open in the face of the COVID-19.

The regional government said Wednesday it was closing Brae Island Regional Park in the Township of Langley, but otherwise was making "every effort" to keep the rest of them open.

"To be clear, Metro Vancouver wants to keep its regional parks open," said Jerry Dobrovolny, Metro Vancouver's chief administrative officer.

"We know how much people value these green spaces, and we want them to remain a part of our daily health routines. However, if the situation changes, if the park rangers report that people are flouting the directions of the health officers, we will have no choice but to shut down our parks."

Metro Vancouver operates 22 regional parks, including Pacific Spirit and Boundary Bay, along with a number of park reserves, wetlands, greenways and the Burns Bog.

Ben Nelms/CBC

The regional government for the approximately 2.5 million people living between Lions Bay and the Township of Langley is also in charge of water, wastewater and sewage services for the majority of municipalities, but there have been no changes to operations so far as a result of COVID-19. 

"Metro Vancouver stands firm in its commitment to maintain its core services," said Dobrovolny on Wednesday. 

Most municipalities in B.C. have closed their playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities in recent days in response to the outbreak and reports of people not following orders around social distancing. Among popular hiking areas in southwest B.C. already closed off are the Stawamus Chief in Squamish and the Quarry Rock and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver District.

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