Thu. May 26th, 2022

The National Capital Commission is opening its park roads in Ottawa to pedestrians and cyclists for the second weekend in a row during Ontario’s home booking, as the city hammers the details of new COVID-19 restrictions coming to municipal parks.

The Crown Company in charge of federal facilities in the country’s capital reintroduced its pilot program last weekend to close parts of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and the Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier parks to motor vehicles.

NCC announced that the program would continue this coming weekend.

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The transition to opening more public outdoor areas for recreation comes when the city of Ottawa clarifies new restrictions for so-called “problem parks.”

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City staff announced early Wednesday morning that councilors will be able to shorten opening hours in some parks that have hosted large gatherings in recent days. Parks that were considered problematic, of which staff said they had a dozen or fewer in mind, would close at 6 p.m. 21 according to the new rules instead of the traditional at. 23 starting this weekend.

The new rule would only apply to parks under the city’s area, but Ottawa’s general manager for emergency services Anthony Di Monte said the NCC plans to “adjust their posture” to align with the city’s attitude toward parks.

NCC said in a statement to Global News that it will not cut back on hours on its sites, but will increase enforcement and at times lean on the RCMP to ensure park patrons comply with the province’s orders.

“Although NCC does not have the legal capacity to enforce a curfew on its property, NCC’s conservation officers, with the support of the RCMP, will continue to monitor and ensure compliance with provincial health orders and NCC rules, especially in areas identified as problem areas,” Valérie said. Dufour, senior manager of strategic communications, in an email Thursday.

Ottawa Public Health, meanwhile, plans to issue a Class 22 order regulating the use of some park facilities such as basketball courts and play structures.

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Details of the order are expected to be released before the weekend, but Deputy Health Officer Dr. Brent Moloughney said on Wednesday that it would likely look like a version seen in the winter, making masks mandatory and placing capacity limits on certain outdoor sites.

Hours for NCC parkway closures:

  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway, from Fifth Avenue to Somerset Street on the west side of the Rideau Canal: 9 to 17
  • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, westbound, from Booth Street to Carling Avenue: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, from Aviation Parkway and St.Joseph Boulevard: 8.00-16.00

NCC asks all users to stay home if they feel ill, maintain a two-meter physical distance at all times, and wear a face mask when required or when it is not possible to keep distances.

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