SUNDRE — Playgrounds and the local skate park, which had been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, reopened on Monday morning.
“We have ordered the signs that will allow the town to open the skate park and the playgrounds,” said Linda Nelson, chief administrative officer, during council’s Monday, May 25 teleconference meeting, adding they were hoped to be ready by Friday, May 29.
“This is a requirement of the province prior to municipalities being able to open these facilities,” Nelson told council.
“The signs are meant to provide information on the province’s recommendations and also guidelines for the public to follow if they want to use the facilities.”
Staff also continues to monitor the COVID situation daily, she said.
“We are beginning preparations for the reopening of the town office,” she said, adding administration was in the process of obtaining quotes for protective barriers.
“We have also ordered masks and gloves, (but) we have not received those yet,” she added.
“Once we can be reasonably sure that we are not exposing our staff and the public to risk of COVID, we will then look at reopening.”
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Furthermore, efforts are underway to install protective measures in council chambers, and quotes to carry out that work will be forthcoming, she said.
Coun. Todd Dalke sought clarification as to whether the signage for playgrounds was mandatory.
“I don’t recall reading or seeing in other communities where they’ve had to have provincial signs made. Is that a newer request, or a requirement that’s come out in order to open a public area?”
The councillor also wondered whether that would extend to include installing signs for all public spaces such as trails and pathways.
“The signs that we’re creating are the guidelines from the province,” replied Nelson, adding they outline health and safety guidelines such as physical distancing, washing hands and not touching one’s face.
“They’re recommending that these signs are posted to enable us to open these outdoor spaces,” she said, adding the municipality had not received any information that there would be similar requirements regarding trails or paths.
“Is it a requirement or recommendation to have signs before reopening?” asked Dalke.
“As far as I know, it’s a recommendation, and it’s a guideline just like businesses have to have,” said Nelson.
Mayor Terry Leslie said playgrounds had been officially closed and that signs were needed to reopen them. But since trails and paths were never closed to begin with, did not anticipate needing signs in that instance.
Coun. Cheri Funke asked how the funding is being budgeted.
“We don’t have a budget for that yet,” said Nelson.
“But obviously if it’s an over expenditure, it will have to come forward to council for approval, which is why we are seeking quotes at this time,” she said.
The mayor sought to ensure that COVID-related expenses are being tracked, which Nelson confirmed.
Coun. Charlene Preston inquired if the signage will include messaging along the lines of “use at your own risk.”
While administration had initially intended to do that, Nelson said that was not recommended and that only the health safety guidelines should be posted.