Council endorses plan to reopen more city facilities
City of Cranbrook council last night (May 25) unanimously supported a city plan to reopen more city-owned facilities.
Outdoor public washrooms and basketball courts are among city outdoor amenities included in the second phase of the city’s restart scheduled to take effect on Friday, May 29.
Reception areas at City Hall, Building and Bylaw Services and Public Works are to open on Monday, June 1.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city facilities have been closed to the public in varying degrees over the past several months. Now, as the infection curve provincially and regionally has flattened, it is important to open up services to the public,” outlined a report to council by chief administrative officer Ron Fraser.
“We have a plan of action in place that seeks to balance opening up services with the health and safety of both the public and staff. Individual departments are preparing internal procedures that aligns with WorkSafeBC requirements. Provisions of physical barriers, social distancing, PPE such as masks and hand sanitizers, signage and ‘traffic control plans’ are some of the aspects of these procedures.
“The city continues to work with the province and BC Recreation and Parks Association to develop safe processes to open playgrounds, skateparks and other outdoor facilities where there is increased concern over social distancing challenges.”
Fielding questions from council, community services director Chris New said the skatepark and BMX park are “quite close” to reopening but playgrounds remain “really sensitive” and likely won’t reopen any time soon.
While supporting the plan, Coun. Wes Graham said he believes the city shouldn’t be the entity making such decisions as to what is and isn’t open.
“The city is not the best facilitator for that; it’s not our wheelhouse,” he said, noting that is Interior Health and the provincial government’s bailiwick.
“We’re operating in a quagmire,” he said.
Trails, tennis courts, pickelball and ball parks were previously opened by the city.
“Later in the year and still to be determined, will be the formal opening of Western Financial Place and other indoor facilities. Kinsmen and Memorial Arenas will not likely be opened until September. It is hoped that Western Financial Place including the aquatic centre will open during the summer. The city library is currently allowing curbside pickup of books and other material. It is unknown at this time when they plan to open to the public,” Fraser reported.
“Free off-street parking and non-collection at parking meters will still be in place until June 30. Transit passes will be sold starting on June 1. It is stressed that this is administration’s best considered plan at this moment in time. Should conditions change, such as an upsurge of COVID infections, or a second wave, then the plans will have to be altered. However, it is hoped that the above plan will bring some sense of normality, although not business as usual, as social distancing requirements will still have to be adhered to.”
Additional details and important health and safety information will be shared publicly through the city website, local media and the city’s social media sites over the next couple of days.
Lead image: A sign on the front door to City Hall. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW photo