Many North Cowichan staff members are working at home during the closure of the Municipal Hall on the Trans Canada Highway. (File photo)

North Cowichan works towards resuming services

Municipal staff doing what it can to meet certain requirements

The Municipality of North Cowichan has made a sustained effort to prioritize the health and safety of all staff and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In keeping with the provincial health officer’s recommendations, North Cowichan took decisive action and closed all Municipal facilities to the public on March 18, while focus shifted to provision of essential services only. At this time, staff remains committed to ensuring the RCMP, fire, sewer, water, waste-water treatment and curbside collection services remain uninterrupted.

After closing the Municipal Hall and sending the majority of employees home, select staff continued a work-from-home arrangement while procuring additional personal protective equipment and solidifying safe work plans. These steps were necessary to allow for a slow, cautious and gradual resumption of work, which could occur in alignment with directions and guidelines from Federal and Provincial Governments, along with the provincial health officer. As work resumes, members of the public will see more Municipal staff out in the community doing key work, like maintaining cemeteries and fixing potholes.

“While we work toward being able to provide more services, I want to thank our community for being patient as we navigate this new, uncharted territory,” said Chief Administrative Officer Ted Swabey. “During this time things will be slower, processes will be put in place as we go, but I want to state that we are here to support the community as best we can. I also want to acknowledge that this will not be business as usual, but we are working toward a new sustainable normal that is safe for our staff.”

Not all services can be provided safely at this time, but the public is encouraged to email or call 250-746-3100 to learn how to continue doing business with Municipal Hall during this time.

“I know we can’t operate like we usually do, and some services won’t be feasible right now, but I also know staff are working to do as much as they can as best they can,” noted Mayor Al Siebring. “These are challenging and unprecedented times, we are all adjusting to this new normal, as we continue to work to meet the community’s needs. Service delivery might not look the way it used to, but staff are still be here to support the community.

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