City of Kimberley outlines COVID-19 re-opening plan
By Nowell Berg
On June 8, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councillors Kyle Dalum, Kent Goodwin, Nigel Kitto, Jason McBain, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. The meeting took place online and included senior city managers.
Fire Chief Outlines City COVID-19 Plan
Kimberley Fire Chief Rick Prasad presented an overview of the city’s COVID-19 Plan.
Prasad and city staff have been working three months on the plan for how the city, its staff and facilities will interact with the public as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
“We have a good consolidated plan,” said Chief Prasad. The plan will apply to all city-owned facilities. The single biggest challenge to implement the plan is a significant change in how the city interacts with the public.
In developing the plan, Prasad said, “Every piece of the operation has to looked at through the lens of the COVID issue that means right down to ‘what do you do with a pen after a customer uses it.’” Prasad mentioned that council chambers will be limited to 15 people at future meetings. Only 28 people will be allowed in City Hall at any one time.
Responding to a question from Coun. Goodwin about the need to update the plan as the provincial government makes changes to its COVID-19 protocols, Prasad stated, “Some of the things we’ve implemented will stay. My gut feel is that we will probably isolate the public from the rest of City Hall, maybe in-perpetuity. It becomes a security issue down the road.”
Use of Civic Centre Sidelined by COVID -19
Manager, Parks and Facilities, Brett Clark recommended that council “not approve” the request based on the city’s COVID-19 Plan.
Coun. McBain commented about the city providing “some type of covered shelter over by Rotary” Park. Clark responded, “If they did use something like that they would have to ensure they are properly social distanced and follow all COVID-19 recommendations.”
Coun. Kitto raised the issue of “childcare opportunities over the summer as everybody gets back to work.” He pointed out that city day camps would not be operating this year and anything the city could do to help out parents would be “good.”
Coun. Oakley agreed; “It would sure be nice to work with these folks as some parents will be scrambling.” He suggested the Manager of Community Development “should get involved with this one.”
Council rejected the school’s request to use the Civic Centre, however, it instructed staff to work with Columbia Outdoor Schools in the hope of securing an alternative city facility for their proposed summer outdoor camps.
Mayor McCormick was been part of the Kimberley-Cranbrook Task Force working on plans for energizing the regional economy as people and businesses emerge from the pandemic slumber.
McCormick reported the Taskforce urges everyone to respect provincial government COVID-19 protocols while re-opening unfolds, but stressed the need to “shop local.”
Local businesses, whether food service or retail, will be “stressed” with the distancing requirements that reduce the in-store traffic to 50% of what it was pre-pandemic. Their business models were not built for 50% capacity and residents need to help out the best way they can.
“The call to everyone to shop locally is an important one,” said McCormick.
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly starting at 7 p.m.
The next scheduled council meeting: June 22 – online.