RDCK indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, including the Castlegar and District Recreation Complex, remain closed while staff study ways to safely reopen during the pandemic. Google Street View

RDCK rec facilities remain closed for now

Regional district working with British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association on guidelines

In light of the provincial government’s announcements last week, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) says it has received numerous inquiries as to when recreation facilities will be open to the public.

“The process is fluid and the RDCK’s top priority is to ensure the safety of our staff and residents while providing opportunities for physical activity and improving our overall well-being,” the local government said in a news release.

It is the RDCK’s responsibility to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19 at its facilities, parks and services by reducing the contact intensity and number of contacts encountered by users. To ensure this is done correctly, the provincial government has reached out to the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association to develop a set of proposed guidelines on how we can operate safely during this pandemic.

The guidelines for re-opening must be approved by the Public Health Office before moving ahead. It is then up to local governments to determine what services to re-activate and when. As per provincial direction to B.C. Recreation and Parks, the RDCK will be concentrating on casual outdoor recreational opportunities first, and outdoor organized play will follow.

“From the beginning of our response to this pandemic, our priority has been to protect public safety,” said Joe Chirico, general manager of community services. “We have been working together with the B.C. Recreation and Parks to ensure a united and organized approach to planning and re-opening our outdoor facilities across the province.”

“Regional district and municipal recreation departments around the province recognize the need and benefit of a collaborative re-opening approach so that the domino effect of COVID-19 closures is not repeated,” said Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of B.C. Recreation and Parks.

“The guideline that we are developing is founded upon the understanding that each local government has its own balance of risk, available resources, capacity, and public demand to weigh in the decision making about their timeline for re-opening facilities and offering services.”

These are the first steps the RDCK is taking to ensure a return to safe recreation opportunities.

The headline on this story in today’s print edition of the Castlegar News may have left the misimpression that RDCK recreation facilities are poised to reopen. That is not the case.

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