2020 OPA Winter Sward

Talk About Town

One of the many perks of being an OPA member is free access to OPA’s online discussion forum. This platform is a place where you can meet with other members to discuss current parks related trends and issues, learn how other municipalities are dealing with these mutual concerns, and share policies, standards, procedures and signage so that each municipality does not have to waste precious time reinventing the wheel. With over 1,900 parks and industry professionals having access to this forum, there is potential for a LOT of free advice!! This meeting space was a real hot spot during the early months of COVID-19, when everyone was having to think on their feet and adjust as news and situations changed almost daily. A lot of timely and valuable information was shared during those rather crazy months. Following is, as of press time, the top trending discussion item. See if any of the information below helps you as you prepare for this season of winter fun! What are your plans for your outdoor skating rinks this season? If you are planning to open, are you implementing any COVID-19 specific restrictions (i.e. controlled entrance, limiting # of skaters, etc.)? Response #1: We have an outdoor rink maintained by our local Lions Club. Our intent was to run with it again and put up signage asking people to social distance, respect gathering size limitations, stay home if experiencing symptoms etc. We have weekly calls with the rep from the [local] District Health Unit and neighboring municipalities. We hadn’t intended to staff ours but a neighbour is. The [local] HU is going to compile some recommendations for us around this. Perhaps reach out to your health unit. Response #2: We plan on opening outdoor rinks. The [city] met with the Board of Health for the [area] and asked what parameters we need to have in place to open outdoor rinks. It was determined that they will be treated similar to playgrounds or spray

pads. Individuals will have to self social distance. We will not be monitoring on site. We expect reasonable people to make reasonable decisions. Furthermore, we are also looking at other avenues to offer some outdoor recreation this winter. Possibly plowing more of our parks pathways, cleaning of the tennis courts for ball hockey etc., and finding ways to offer up opportunities for winter sporting events. Response #3: The [city] will be running our outdoor rink this year. I have a draft safety plan in place that our health unit will review and provide comment on.

Photo courtesy of DavidWarden, Town of Lincoln. Pictured is the basketball court at Hilary Bald Park - this court is transformed into an outdoor artificial skating pad for the winter.

Similar to others who have commented - we are planning to use augmented signage supporting social distancing and hygiene, clear additional snow, provide additional benches around the perimeter to create additional space for caregivers and spectators. We will have a maximum recommended number of skaters this year. Similar to playgrounds we expect this to be self monitored by users for the most part. We use the HOSE rule (hockey on odd numbered calendar days, skating on even days). We of course have some problems managing this each year, but I anticipate there will be louder and more frequent calls to manage improper use on incorrect days. We


The Green Sward - Winter 2020

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