There’s no sign in place, but the Chemainus skateboard park has been temporarily closed during the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Essential services maintained by Municipality, Regional District

Staffing levels constantly under review during the COVID-19 pandemic

Both the Municipality of North Cowichan and Cowichan Valley Regional District are continuing to evaluate service levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Cowichan is taking measured, considerate steps to protect staff and residents and slow the spread of the virus. As of last Wednesday, the Municipality moved to provision of essential services only, and to ensure that RCMP, fire, sewer, water, waste-water treatment and curbside collection continued.

Bylaw enforcement will continue to respond to and investigate bylaw enforcement complaints, prioritized by their risk to public health and safety. Inquiries and complaints may be directed to Bylaw@northcowichan.ca.

North Cowichan is continuing to assess provision of services and the ability to maintain service levels in a way that is safe for staff.

Parks and trails remain open to the public. However, playgrounds and park washroom facilities were closed, effective at 4:30 p.m. Friday. North Cowichan Community Services staff continues to maintain parks at a reduced level, prioritizing matters based on risk to public health and safety.

Inquiries can be directed to CommunityServices@northcowichan.ca.

All North Cowichan skate parks are now closed to the public, including: the South-end park adjacent to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre; Chemainus; and Gerry Hurst Memorial in Crofton.

The importance of protective measures like social distancing are continually being stressed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“These measures are not optional, and I am profoundly moved by the way our community has stepped up through this pandemic,” noted North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring. “I want to remind everyone to be safe and to be kind. We are all in this together. I also want to acknowledge our staff who are working hard and making difficult decisions every day to ensure our community’s needs are met in a way that also keeps staff safe.”

Meanwhile, the Cowichan Valley Regional District has further curtailed its non-essential services.

After completion of a detailed essential service assessment, the CVRD will be focusing on delivery of the following essential services in the coming weeks: fire and first responder response; water and sewer utilities; 911 telecommunications/FireComm; emergency management; solid waste management; communications; recreation centre refrigeration system maintenance and shut-down; facility and asset security; and administrative functions, including IT, finance, human resource management, risk management and governance.

The majority of CVRD staff members are no longer working from their regular workplaces and remain at home. At this time, the CVRD is also maintaining some non-essential services in a limited capacity as follows:

* Development services staff will continue to process existing development applications. This will include conducting site inspections on a case-by-case basis. New development applications are not being accepted at this time, and there will be no in-person meetings with the public. Inquiries may be directed to ds@cvrd.bc.ca

* Building inspection staff will continue to process existing building applications. This will include conducting site and building inspections with only the site supervisor or designate present. There will be no inspection services for occupied buildings. New building permit applications are not being accepted at this time, and there will be no in-person meetings with the public. The CVRD is investigating the option of receiving electronic plans and electronic fee payment. Enquiries may be directed to ian.macdonald@cvrd.bc.ca.

* Bylaw enforcement and animal control staff will continue to respond to and investigate bylaw enforcement and dangerous dog complaints, prioritized on their risk to public health and safety. Inquiries/complaints may be directed to ian.macdonald@cvrd.bc.ca.

* Parks and trails remain open to the public. However, park washroom facilities are closed and the public is encouraged to exercise caution when allowing children to use playground equipment. CVRD parks operations staff will continue to maintain parks, prioritizing matters based on risk to public health and safety. Inquiries may be directed to michael.miller@cvrd.bc.ca

* Recreation facilities and community centres remain closed until further notice. Recreation program and facility rental refunds are being processed. If paid by credit card, refunds will be issued by credit card with all other original payment forms being refunded by cheque.

More information will be released as it becomes available or as service levels are modified.

CoronavirusMunicipal Government

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