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Roos Island reopening pushed to spring 2024

A popular destination in Kitchener’s Victoria Park will remain off limits for the rest of the year.

The city announced Wednesday that due to ongoing rehabilitation work, Roos Island will stay closed until spring 2024.

At that point, it will have been completely closed to the public for an entire year.

The city fenced off the island in late April as staff worked to relocate people who were living in an encampment there.

The greenspace had been home to dozens of people experiencing homelessness. Most of those have now gone and since then, Roos Island has sat largely unchanged.

The initial plan was to reopen the island in the fall, but according to signage recently installed nearby, that’s now been pushed back.

Partial reopening is set for early spring, while it’s expected to fully reopen later next spring.

The Heritage Bridge, where repairs are planned, is seen fenced off on Nov. 15, 2023. Security is stationed at the other bridge onto Roos Island. (CTV Kitchener)


The city said it’s making repairs to the Heritage Bridge, one of two bridges that provide access to the island.

“If the bridge needs to be fixed then obviously we shouldn’t be using it,” said a resident named Carlina.

Previously, the city told CTV News the bridge was taking more time because it’s in a heritage-designated area.

The city is also upgrading the bandstand and doing landscaping.

However people in the park on Wednesday were confused about the extended closure.

“I think people should be allowed over there,” said Carlina. “If they aren’t doing construction now, which they obviously aren’t, then why can’t we use it?”

Signage details rehabilitation work planned on Roos Island. (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)


Residents were also confused about why the island has been closed for so long.

There’s at least one person currently living on the island, but there’s no indication from the city that’s the reason for the ongoing closure.

Security remains on site to control access at one of the bridges. The Heritage Bridge, where repairs are planned, is fenced off.

“There’s no information,” a park user, named Dan, said. “One sees the one or two remaining tents on the island, but no way of understanding what that’s about. One notices security on the other side of the bridge and one doesn’t know what that’s about, who’s paying for it. So there’s basically just questions and puzzlement about the situation. But knowing that it’s going to be open again next spring, that’s terrific.”

When the island closed back in April, CTV News asked the City of Kitchener about the reasons for the closure.

As of Wednesday, no one has been made available for an interview. Top Stories

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