Wednesday , 3 March 2021

Bonnyville council restricts use of outdoor rec spaces, soccer fields, ball diamonds

Bonnyville residents will be restricted from using soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and other outdoor recreation spaces until at least the end of May.

Town council wanted to discourage gatherings of 15 or more at these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and felt this decision that followed in line with the orders from the chief medical officer.

“The big one was the gathering of 15 more people and you must maintain the two-metre distance,” said mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.

“Council basically passed the motion to close those. However, there were a few that thought maybe it might be taking things too far because, say for example, from my perspective, you’re allowed to have 80 people in a store to do grocery shopping and you have three people in the dog park.

“And they’re maintaining the distance, wearing the masks, what’s the harm with the exercise? If there’s more than 10 people or more than 15 – how do you police it? So that was a concern.”

This restriction would include the nearly-completed dog park near the Pro Rodeo Grounds.

Director of Emergency Management Jay Melvin said this is the best way to follow public health orders.

“Unfortunately, those decisions are hard to make when you start shutting down those fields and with the springtime coming. But right now for the best interest of the public, it is the best way to ensure that we’re following the advice of the chief medical officer’s orders for social services and gatherings,” said Melvin at a press conference on Wednesday.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.