EDMONTON -- The city of Red Deer will reopen Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play and the Lava Rock at Kin Kanyon on July 9.

“We are excited to welcome citizens to our free outdoor aquatic features, where feasible to do so within the regulations set by Alberta’s Medical Officer of Health,” said Sarah Tittemore, General Manager of Community Services.

There will be enhanced cleaning of public washrooms and increased access to hand sanitization stations at these soon-to-be reopened spray parks.

However, the two spray parks will have no supervision to ensure they do not exceed the 100 people outdoor gathering restriction.

Barb McKee, the Recreation Superintendent for the City of Red Deer, said she understands that this could be a slippery slope.

“We’re aware that we might exceed maximums,” said McKee.

If mass gathering rules are consistently broken, McKee said the city will have to look at closing the amenities again.

“We just really want to be clear that it’s the public’s responsibility.”

While the Blue Grass Sod Farm Central Spray and Play and the Lava Rock at Kin Kanyon will reopen, the outdoor pool and Discovery Canyon will remain closed for the rest of the summer.

Regarding Discovery Canyon remaining closed, McKee said it was not an easy decision to make.

“The decision to keep it closed for the season wasn’t taken lightly,” said McKee.

“We worked closely with Alberta Health to look at the potential for that site to be controlled and managed differently.”

Discovery Canyon can draw thousands of people to the site, and the narrow passage of the lazy river could prove to be a difficult area to ensure physical distancing.

The City of Red Deer, along with Alberta Health Services, came to the conclusion that there needed to be multiple conditions met for Discovery Canyon to reopen.

Those conditions being fencing off areas to control access, additional staff to ensure physical distancing, and limiting access to the lazy river to one person at a time.

In the end, McKee said reopening Discovery Canyon was just not feasible.

“When we put all of those things together, the financial reality of trying to control use on site was going to be significant: over a $100 000.”

For more information regarding the city’s municipal response, as well as opening dates for recreation amenities, visit the city's website