Parksville Skateboard Park will re-open this weekend. (PQB News file photo)

COVID-19: Parksville preparing for the new normal

City to open off-leash dog park, skate park this weekend

Latest from the City of Parksville:

When Premier Horgan announced B.C.’s Restart Plan last week, he emphasized, “this is not a return to normal… we’re going to a new normal.”

Since the province introduced the plan, the city has been developing procedures which will move operations to the new normal, including how to gradually reopen city offices to the public while ensuring the safety of staff and residents.

Within Phase 2 of the plan, which eases some restrictions, we plan to open to the public with limited hours beginning the first week in June.

Similar to grocery stores, the city is altering its public areas in city hall and creating new procedures for interacting with the public. These new ways of offering services will provide a safer environment for staff and residents, in line with the requirements and guidelines set by the province, in particular, the requirement to physically distance.

The city’s off-leash dog park at Springwood Park and the skate park in the Parksville Community Park will open for this weekend.

READ MORE: Full COVID-19 coverage here

READ MORE: COVID-19: Popular Nanoose Bay restaurant, performance venue closed permanently

All other city facilities which were closed in mid-March to help limit the spread of COVID-19 will remain closed for now. City staff are expecting guidance from the Ministry of Health, WorkSafeBC and the BC Recreation and Parks Association on the best practices for opening and operating facilities such as playgrounds, the splash park and sports courts.

We do recognize our residents are eager to return to outdoor recreation facilities. We will re-open other city amenities as soon as possible and thank residents for their patience while we figure out the best way to maintain the success we have had in reducing the spread of this virus.

This is a new situation for all of us and we are prepared for considerable change in the coming weeks. Please refer to our website for updates on re-openings and guidelines for the different facilities.

Please stay safe this Victoria Day long weekend. Stay close to home, continue to keep your bubble small by minimizing time in close contact with those outside your household. If gathering with families and friends in small groups, gather outside rather than inside and the fewer people you see the better. To quote Dr. Bonnie Henry, “fewer faces, bigger spaces.” Thank you for doing your part to keep us all safe.

On May 12, the Public Health Officer announced the BC COVID-19 Population Health Survey which has been developed to address the continuing global spread of the virus which will require ongoing public health surveillance and response activities in 2020.

The unintended impacts on the social, physical health, mental wellness and resiliency of communities are not well understood. The BC Centre for Disease Control, a part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, wants to understand the impacts of COVID-19 for all BC residents, and to plan the approach for future public health measures.

The purpose of the voluntary survey is to learn more about B.C. residents’ general knowledge and perceptions of risk around COVID-19, and how the current environment around us may affect our health and wellness and our lives in general. The responses from the survey will be used to inform future plans. Survey participants will have an opportunity to learn about future initiatives they can support.

The survey includes questions to guide public health decision making with regard to testing strategies, management of cases and contacts, measures targeted at the individual and community level, broader policy considerations and equity. Here is link to the survey: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-survey

Public Engagement and Communications Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting physical distancing measures have changed how we connect with our residents. We are adjusting to doing business during the pandemic and exploring how to continue public engagement while being respectful of restrictions now in place.

As we move the business of the city forward and are not able to meet in person or larger groups, we are looking for input from residents to determine if there is an interest in engaging with us on projects.

The link to the survey is provided here and may be accessed from the city’s website and our public engagement platform, Let’s Talk Parksville. The survey will be open until June 7. If you wish to have a paper copy of the survey mailed to you, call 250-248-6144. Please direct questions to communications@parksville.ca.

City Reminders

Until further notice, city council meetings are closed to attendance by the public.

Council continues to meet regularly and meetings are held virtually through Zoom and webcast live and archived from the city’s website. Agendas are posted to the website on Thursday the week before the Monday council meeting.

Residents are welcome to send comments related to items on the agenda to council@parksville.ca. If you wish your comments included in the public record, comments must be received by noon, the day of the council meeting. Please include a full name and address for the comment to be included in the minutes.

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