Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

Weekend Edmonton park closures deemed ‘generally good’

City councillors are not likely to get a recap on how closing parks over this past weekend went, however, the early word Tuesday from emails to city council indicates there one was notable problem spot.

On Thursday, the city announced it would temporarily close two skate parks and two basketball courts over the weekend because of overcrowding concerns and a lack of social distancing.

In a memo to city councillors, the closure was reported as “generally good, with a few exceptions.”

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The biggest exception was at Castle Downs skate park, where someone pulled down the yellow caution tape, so the area was extensively used.

“Castle Downs skate park saw 25 patrols with 15 warnings for people being in a closed area. Ten of those people were found in the skate park at a time with all of the caution tape taken down,” the memo said. “Peace officers immediately replaced the caution tape.”

Two other locations — McKernan skate park, and the Blue Quill basketball courts — had a bunch of patrols, but no warnings and no tickets.

There was just one warning at the Florence Hallock basketball court for dribbling in a closed area.

There is no word yet from the city if Councillor Bev Esslinger’s prediction had come true, that with the four sites closed, peace officers would be playing “whack-a-mole” at other locations with skateboarders and ballers changing venues in large numbers in an attempt to stay ahead of peace officers.

City council’s Emergency Advisory Committee will meet again on Thursday for its weekly update, where it is anticipated another seven-day period for a State of Local Emergency will be put in place.

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