Playgrounds remain closed but parks are open in the City of Vernon. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Okanagan mayor ready for recovery, cautious of second COVID-19 wave

Letter to B.C. government outlines city’s activities and eagerness to return to normal

Dear Premier Horgan, Minister Dix, Dr. Henry:

Thank you.

Thank you for the clear, thoughtful leadership guiding British Columbia through the COVID-19 pandemic. The course set by your government, Minister Dix and Dr. Henry has contained the spread of the virus, reduced the confirmed cases, prevented chaos in our health care system and, most fortunately, reduced the loss of life.

The City of Vernon opened our Emergency Operations Centre on March 13, and has been operating at Level 2 since. Our EOC has guided implementation of Provincial Orders and direction from Dr. Henry, Minister Dix and the Solicitor General. Our City has managed to remain open for business to support our residents and businesses as we maneuver through the staggering impacts of COVID-19. We assertively practice social distancing to best protect clients and staff, our buildings are well signed, have handwashing stations at public entrances, service markers are placed at two metre intervals, we installed a temporary traffic signal at City Hall to assist with client wait times, and we limit our operations staff to one person per vehicle. Our parks, public washrooms, public handwashing stations all remain open. We have created an Ambassador team of staff, using otherwise laid off recreation staff, who circulate in our parks on weekends to monitor and politely encourage social distancing and gatherings limited to family and household members. Our Ambassadors monitor tennis courts, basketball courts, the skateboard park, our beaches and picnic areas. Our commitment is to a safe, healthy recreation experience within the guidelines set by Dr. Henry.

We have worked with and sincerely appreciate the support of BC Housing to provide additional, safe shelter and food for those who are homeless.

Our City is ready to support a gradual and managed return to a more normal social and business environment. I concur with your comment last week that the return will not be a, “flick of a switch,” and appreciate your government’s, “methodical approach,” in order to avoid the second wave that Dr. Henry references and is widely recognized by the scientific community.

As Minister Fleming noted, we have the strategic advantage of rebuilding our services based on, “experience,” learned from New Zealand and other successful approaches.

Like many, our Council and business community are anxious to enter the recovery phase, e.g., expanding the types of businesses that can open successfully, allowing personal services under strict directions and opening adjacent (pseudo-municipal) provincial parks to day use only. We look forward to the direction of your government, as laid out in a business and social recovery plan which we understand you will release later this week.

I concur with Minister Dix and Dr. Henry. We do not want to see a significant second wave of COVID-19 and lose all the gains that we have made collectively.

I appreciate your commitment to a process premised on striking confidence in consumers and workers as we move into business and economic recovery, together.

Sincerely,

Victor I. Cumming

Mayor, City of Vernon

READ MORE: Be prepared: City of Vernon

READ MORE: COVID-19: Coldstream municipal office looks to reopen


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusLettersMunicipal GovernmentProvincial Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

City hall refurbishment comes in nearly $500,000 over budget

Revelstoke City Council voted unanimously to move forward despite the increased cost

Williamson Lake to open June 1

The park will be open for day use as well as camping

New task force to look at closing roads to vehicles in downtown Revelstoke

Councillor Cody Younker moved to have the Economic Recovery Task Force do stakeholder engagement

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Similkameen winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Shuswap man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Salmon Arm resident apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read