Conservation Halton implementing reservation system for public parks
Conservation Halton has implemented a new reservation system to allow guests to safely enjoy the spaces that have been reopened.
As of last week, Conservation Halton reopened five of their seven parks—Crawford Lake, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Kelso Summit.
However, guests are still not permitted to just show up, rather, they must reserve a timeslot. The weekend of May 22 to 24 was the first visitors were permitted to return to the parks--there were 6,500 reservations and more than 17,000 visitors.
Additionally, the reservation system could help prevent mass gatherings, such as the one that took place at Trinity Bellwoods Park this past weekend.
Aashish Oberoi, a Toronto resident who lives minutes from Trinity Bellwoods, believes a reservation system is a necessity as we reach the warmer months of the pandemic.
“Toronto is a fantastic city but one hundred years of ignoring the need for green space is coming back to bite us,” Oberoi said in a news release. “If I want to find some peace and quiet in nature, my only choices are going to the ravines in Etobicoke or leaving the city entirely. I’m doing the latter more and more. I am beyond impressed with how Conservation Halton has handled this. I was hoping someone would implement a reservation system.”
Further, now that Conservation Halton has had a week to observe patterns of use among their parks, they intend to use this information to refine their reservation system to better serve the community.
These changes will include adjusting reservation times and offering exclusive reservation spaces for members, seniors and healthcare workers.
“We have talked about a reservation system for years. When we closed the parks, due to COVID-19, it didn’t suddenly become convenient, but it was suddenly necessary for us to manage our parks in a more efficient and sustainable way,” Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer for Conservation Halton, said in the same release.
“Thanks to the dedication and innovation of our team, we now have one of the most data-rich, user-friendly systems for multi-park, day-use reservation in Ontario, and we are quite proud of that. This system uses an integrated software platform, license plate scanners, touchless payment and automatic gates to provide access to nature for our community, without compromising on physical distancing," he continued.
Moreover, Conservation Halton is considering continuing to use the reservation system post-pandemic as a way to enhance visitors' experiences as well as mitigate their impact on the parks.
Cover photo courtesy of Conservation Halton’s Instagram
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