UPDATED: City Decides To Completely Fence-Off Black Oak Park
Black Oak Heritage Park will now be completely fenced off, but city officials say it won't be for much longer.
Residents lobbied at the Cherry Blossom Dr. entrance to the park early Sunday morning after learning it may be closed. What some protesters didn't realize — even though they've been using the network of trails for years — is the park had already been shuttered back in December of 2015.
Parks and Recreation's Jan Wilson says the park was closed after work on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge blocked much of the emergency access to the site. Wilson also points to conservation concerns that needed to be addressed.
"It's designated as an area of natural significance by the province, there are species at risk at this park," says Wilson. "I appreciate and love the fact that people like to use that park and we want to get back open and available to the public as soon as we can."
Wilson says signage will now be clearly posted, and access points previously used will be sealed off, "effective immediately."
"Not all access points had been closed off during that official closure," she says. "What we recently discovered, is there have been bridges and destruction of habitat."
Once the nature preserve has been restored to an acceptable state and the park's main entrance reopens on Broadway Blvd. the public will be welcomed back, she added.
"We're going to temporarily close off the other access-point so we can do that work properly, and we'll expect the whole park to reopen in early 2018," says Wilson.
She encourages residents to use nearby Ojibway Park and Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, while the closest dog parks would be Optimist Park and Remington Park.
— with files from AM800's Teresinha Medeiros.