Saanich council voted in favour of an exploratory report looking at options for adding socializing shelters to local parks. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

Saanich is one step closer to possibly seeing outdoor activity shelters in various municipal parks for pandemic-friendly socializing.

During a Sept. 14 meeting, Saanich council voted unanimously for an exploratory report looking at options for adding up to six shelters to local parks so residents can spend time outdoors during adverse weather.

The move came at the recommendation of Coun. Zac de Vries after speaking with several residents.

The goal is to “facilitate healthy socialization and play” for residents’ health and happiness all winter, he said, adding that he’s seen “an explosion” of park use since the COVID-19 pandemic as residents moved their workouts, meetings with friends and picnics outdoors.

During the discussion, Coun. Nathalie Chambers voiced concerns about the potential environmental impacts of the shelters and the possibility that they’d provide a space for drinking in parks. De Vries told Black Press Media that he can understand the concerns about natural areas but feels adding shelters to parks would be a “non-issue” because the areas are already established for park activities.

Mayor Fred Haynes added that the district would “make sure that the shelters are used in an appropriate way” as the goal would be to support “wholesome” use. “We’re not blind to potential downsides,” but the staff report will explore the full scope of the matter, he said.

Haynes also cited strong community support for the potential shelters.

Staff plan to present council with a report with options for moving forward in time for the 2020 rainy season. A report could be presented to council as early as Sept. 28. Residents are urged to submit their thoughts.

Haynes plans to write to local business owners and managers on behalf of council asking that they consider adding shelters to public outdoor spaces to add covered areas for socializing.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusDistrict of Saanichparks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The coroner on scene of a workplace fatality in Oak Bay on Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Dangerous branches delay removal of body in Oak Bay workplace death

Traffic restricted on McNeill Avenue near Byng Road

An artists rendering of the proposed Aragon Properties development in Sooke’s town centre shows a friendly, walkable neighbourhood. (Contributed graphic)
Large housing development eyed for Sooke core

Aragon Properties seeks to build 132 housing units

(Black Press Media file photo)
Be prepared: Know what to do in the event of a Greater Victoria tsunami warning

Localized alert systems can provide potentially life-saving information

The Better Business Bureau is warning people of scammers posing as Amazon customer support. (AP File Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Watch out for Amazon imposters, says scam expert

Better Business Bureau is warning of a rise in Amazon scammers as people online shop more

The Saanich Fire Department is reminding rural Saanich residents to be safe and follow the guidelines when the open-air burning season resumes Oct. 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
Open-air burning season resumes Oct. 16 in rural Saanich

Saanich firefighter talks outdoor burning guidelines, fire safety

Working smoothly together on May 11, 2020, health minister Adrian Dix, B.C. Liberal health critic Norm Letnick, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and sign language interpreter Nigel Howard. (B.C. government video)
COVID-19 co-operation a casualty of B.C.’s pandemic election

NDP’s Horgan weaponizes senior care, B.C. Liberal Wilkinson calls for ‘wartime economy’

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Investigators work at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek. - Image credit: Observer file photo.
Sex workers allegedly called to farm of Okanagan man convicted of assault, RCMP investigating

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

(Black Press Media files)
Early voters more likely to favour NDP, but overall B.C. election is tightening: poll

According to Elections BC, 383,477 people cast a ballot during advanced voting days

(Pixabay)
Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

The team has received close to 600 calls and emails since the investigation started in July

Most Read