Town forced to close skatepark due to lack of physical distancing

Seen here at the official ground breaking of the skatepark are (from left): Bill Gurney, New Line Skateparks; Warden Owen McCarron, Municipality of the County of Antigonish; Andrew Beckett, StFX Vice-President of Finance and Administration and Head of Student Services; Mayor Laurie Boucher, Town of Antigonish; and Jason Mason, Antigonish Skatepark Association.

ANTIGONISH: The mayor of the Town of Antigonish says despite the warmer weather, people are still required to follow the social distancing requirements issued by the province, even outside – which lead to the closure of the town’s newest amenity.

“It was a last resort decision, I’d have to say,” Laurie Boucher said. “I can honestly say; staff went out of their way to make sure that it worked at the skate park.”

She said staff took the lead with this and the process started with a media campaign while restrictions kept the park closed. This relayed information of the rules implemented by the province, and then they noticed select individuals not adhering to the social distancing requirements, the town put more money into signage to make people well aware.

“Our by-law officers and the RCMP made regular visits there, so we did everything possible,” Boucher said. “So after the long weekend, after not only councillors and staff noticing it was overcrowded, we’ve had public complaints to both the town and county saying it just wasn’t acceptable.”

After dropping by there a couple of times herself, she said it was just too overcrowded, and fully supported the decision in closing it for the time being.

“We’ve worked so hard the last eight weeks to make sure our hospital wasn’t stressed with extra cases of COVID-19,” Boucher said. “So we can’t just give up now.”

She added they’re hoping staff will have a plan and people will be skateboarding, scooting and biking there again as soon as possible.