The Goose Spit stairs and other rec sites were closed to the public in March. Photo, CVRD

Comox Valley bylaw officers to keep eye on distancing practices at hot spots

They will be patrolling regional parks, trails to educate and response to any complaints

Regional bylaw officers are using education rather than enforcement to make sure people maintain their distance at local parks and trails.

Comox Valley local governments are supporting the BC Ministry of Health efforts to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by assisting with public education on physical distancing.

Local bylaw officers are actively patrolling local parks and trails and may be completing spot checks at community hot spots in the evenings and weekends to provide education to residents and respond to complaints over violations to provincial orders in effect.

In advance of the Easter long weekend, the Province announced it has closed all provincial parks and will extend a ban on all camping in provincial parks until May 31. Campgrounds and day facilities had been closed as of March 24.

RELATED STORY: B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

In the region, bylaw officers do not have the power to ticket or detain people based on public health orders, as any enforcement is a conduced by the Province, though they will report any mass gatherings larger than 50 people to the Ministry of Health for follow-up.

With the long weekend coming up, we want people to know that it’s essential for everyone to follow the guidance of the provincial health officer. Bylaw officers throughout the region are reminding residents and businesses to respect physical distancing and all public health orders in place, for our own health and safety,” Comox Valley Regional District board chair and EOC spokesperson Jesse Ketler said in a news release. “I also want to remind our residents that we’re all responsible for protecting front line workers, whether that’s our health care workers, essential staff, and our local government employees who are interacting with the public. We are seeing the results of our efforts on Vancouver Island and in the rest of the province, but we need to keep going to protect our communities. Hold off on mountain biking in Cumberland and visiting our many other popular local destinations. Don’t travel to our other Comox Valley communities, unless it’s an essential trip. By staying home, we are saving lives.”

RELATED STORY: Additional Comox Valley outdoor facilities and amenities now closed

While residents are strongly encouraged to practise physical distancing of at least two metres, this is not at present an enforceable order. Residents are urged to take up this behaviour on their own and educate others about its importance. Anyone aware of gatherings of over 50 people, who has concerns with businesses operating contrary to the provincial orders or has general social distancing concerns should contact their local government bylaw office or Island Health at publichealth@viha.ca.

Local Government Contact Information

CVRD: bylawenforcement@comoxvalleyrd.ca | 250-334-6000 | www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/bylaw

City of Courtenay: bylaw@courtenay.ca |250-334-4441 (after-hours emergency 250-334-2947)|www.courtenay.ca/bylaw

Town of Comox: 250-339-2202 (Easter weekend, call 250-890-1223) | www.comox.ca/contact

Village of Cumberland: 250-336-2291 | www.cumberland.ca

Residents are encouraged to please follow the CVRD social media channels @comoxvalleyrd on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting the CVRD website www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/covid19 to remain up to date on accurate information. All Comox Valley local governments are centralizing regional COVID-19 information through these channels.

The Emergency Operations Centre is standing by to support the lead agencies, Ministry of Health and Island Health, if requested at the federal and provincial level. The Emergency Operations team with representatives from the DND/19-Wing Comox, K’ómoks First Nation, CVRD, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, Fire Chiefs Association, and many other external agencies and organizations are working together to collaborate on response measures and best practices for the region. For more information please visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/covid19



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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