COVID-19: NCC opens Ottawa’s parkways for active use as City plans park restrictions – Ottawa

The National Capital Commission is opening its parkways in Ottawa to pedestrians and cyclists for the second consecutive weekend under Ontario’s stay-at-home order as the city clarifies details of new COVID- 19 to come in municipal parks.

The Crown corporation responsible for federal amenities in the nation’s capital reintroduced its pilot program last weekend to close sections of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkways to motorized vehicles.

The NCC has announced that the program will continue through the coming weekend.

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The decision to open more public outdoor spaces for recreation comes as the City of Ottawa considers new restrictions on so-called “problem parks.”

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City staff first announced Wednesday morning that councilors will be able to shorten hours at some parks that have hosted large gatherings in recent days. Parks deemed problematic, of which staff said they had a dozen or fewer in mind, would close at 9 p.m. under the new rules rather than the traditional 11 p.m. from this weekend.

The new rule would only apply to parks under city jurisdiction, but Ottawa Emergency Services Chief Executive Officer Anthony Di Monte said the NCC plans to “adjust its position” to align with the city’s position on the parks.

The NCC said in a statement to Global News that it would not reduce hours at its sites, but would increase enforcement, sometimes relying on the RCMP to ensure park patrons comply with provincial ordinances.

“While the NCC does not have the legal ability to impose a curfew on its property, NCC Conservation Officers, with RCMP support as needed, will continue to monitor and ensure compliance with provincial health orders and NCC regulations, particularly in areas identified as trouble spots,” Valérie Dufour, senior director of strategic communications, said in an email Thursday.

In the meantime, Ottawa Public Health plans to issue a class order under Section 22 that would regulate the use of certain park amenities 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 Medical Officer Dr Brent Moloughney said on Wednesday it was likely to resemble a version seen in winter, which made masks mandatory and imposed restrictions. capacity limits to some exteriors. sites.

NCC parkway closing times:

  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Fifth Avenue to Somerset Street on the west side of the Rideau Canal: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, westbound Booth Street to Carling Avenue: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier Promenade, Aviation Parkway and Saint-Joseph Boulevard: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The NCC asks all users to stay home if they feel sick, to maintain a physical distance of two meters at all times and to wear a face mask when necessary or when it is not possible to keep the distances.

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