Like many businesses that have opened or are beginning to re-open in modified ways during the Phase 1 relaunch, adjustments to Parks operational services will continue to accommodate public health orders related COVID-19.
Physical distancing requirements are a major barrier when reporting for work, as well as riding/driving in City vehicles, and this has created major limitations on how many Parks employees can safely do their work. Due to budget constraints, buying or leasing additional fleet is not a realistic option. There is also limited personal protective equipment available for workers that must travel together in one vehicle or work closely.
"The ability to follow all public health orders in a physically-oriented workforce is challenging," says David Ellis, Parks Manager. "Like restaurants and other businesses, we can only run at 50 per cent capacity until public health orders change to accommodate our usual workload."
"Our service levels are reduced by roughly 50 percent, including mowing, trimming, litter picking, shrub maintenance, irrigation and more," he adds.
The following service changes will be in effect for the remainder of the summer:
- Sports fields will be maintained more like a standard park until regular use resumes. This means less mowing and watering, no line painting and no renovation work.
- Decorative fountains in ponds or lakes will not be installed to reduce resources required for maintenance.
- Dryland mowing in parks and green spaces will continue but at a slower rate. The grass will be left longer this year. The grass will be mowed but it won't be as fast as expected.
- Priority will be given to fire guard areas, which means some roadways will have longer grass and be cut later. Dryland mowing may occur into the fall in order to get it completed before winter.
- Irrigated turf will be mowed at a reduced frequency and trimming will not be done with each cut.
- Irrigation will be reduced in an effort to slow grass growth and fertilizer will not be applied. The goal is to keep grass acceptably green but not actively growing.
- Litter cleanup is typically done at the same time as mowing so trash may be more noticeable.
- No tree planting.
- Flowers have been planted because the flower order was placed prior to COVID-19 but maintenance will be minimal.
- Orders for dedication benches will be accepted but installation may not happen until late in the season.
- Garbage collection and graffiti removal will stay the same.
Although Parks has been forced to reduce levels of service, spending has been decreased as well.
"Throughout the spring we have worked hard to make our parks useable and safe and we are committed to continue doing our best to provide the highest level of service possible with the constraints we are facing," says Ellis. "Thank you to everyone who has been understanding of the changes we've had to make during this unusual time."
Parks staff will continue to be rehired as the situation changes and work is being prioritized daily.
311 is still available for parks-related service requests but there may be delays in service response.
For Public Inquiries:
Call 311 | Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.