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Okanagan municipalities close facilities to slow spread of coronavirus

Click to play video: 'Penticton, B.C., mayor on city closing facilities to slow spread of coronavirus' Penticton, B.C., mayor on city closing facilities to slow spread of coronavirus
John Vassilaki spoke to Global News about the City of Penticton’s decision to close nearly all of its facilities to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. – Mar 17, 2020

Municipalities across the Okanagan are making decisions about which civic facilities will stay open, and which will temporarily close, to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. municipalities closing community centres and other civic facilities

Below we have compiled a list of some Okanagan communities:

Kelowna

All city facilities remain open, as of Monday afternoon. The City of Kelowna says it will only close civic facilities if ordered to do so by health officials.

“If people feel uncomfortable at these facilities, they have the choice to stay away,” said an email from city spokesperson Tom Wilson.

However, on Tuesday, the city said it was closing 10 facilities.

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The affected facilities are:

  • Parkinson Recreation Centre
  • Kelowna Community Theatre
  • Black Box Theatre
  • Rutland Arena
  • Memorial Arena
  • Rutland Activity Centre
  • Parkinson Activity Centre
  • Okanagan Mission Activity Centre
  • Kinsmen Fieldhouse Hall
  • Mission Media Centre

For more on that, click here.

West Kelowna

Several facilities in West Kelowna are closed to the public.

The affected facilities are:

  • City hall
  • Jim Lind Arena
  • Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre
  • Lakeview Heights Community Centre
  • Royal LePage Place
  • Multi-Sport Centre (Dome)
  • Washrooms in City Parks
  • Webber Road Community Centre
  • Westbank Lions Community Centre
  • Westbank Museum and Visitor Centre
  • Westbank Library Branch (as per Okanagan Regional Library)
  • Westside Seniors Centre
  • Westside Youth Centre

More information can be found here.

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Notably, the city said that city hall currently remains open, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but that the public is encouraged to conduct business over the phone, via email or online as much as possible.

“Thank you to everyone for remaining dedicated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for your own health and safety and the care of one another,” mayor Gord Milsom said in a press release.

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“We are closing almost all of our facilities as of tonight in respect of health authority recommendations of social distancing of six feet and limiting gathering sizes. We also encourage everyone to practice social distancing, measured preparations and limited gathering sizes.”

Westbank First Nation

The Westbank First Nation has closed the following facilities, offices and public spaces to all visitors until further notice.

  • WFN Government/Lindley Building;
  • Community Services Office;
  • Youth Centre;
  • Elders Hall;
  • Russell Building;
  • Westbank Child Development Centre;
  • Early Years Centre;
  • Sənsisyustən House of Learning;
  • WFN Gymnasium;
  • Sncəwips Heritage Museum
  • Sports fields, playgrounds, skatepark, and pavillion

“All measures are being taken to protect the health and well-being of our Members, staff and community,” said WFN Chief Christopher Derickson.

“We are encouraging our Members to do their part to look after for each other. It is important that in this time of unprecedented need, we continue to look out for each other and continue to look after our elderly and those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.”

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Summerland

Starting Thursday, March 19, the District of Summerland will be closing its municipal hall and works and utilities office until further notice.

“District of Summerland staff will still be available by telephone or email to serve the public and continue business during regular hours,” said chief administrative officer Anthony Haddad.

“Any essential services that may require a meeting with staff will done by appointment only; the community should contact the relevant department to make an appointment.”

Also, the following facilities have been closed as well:

• Fire hall
• Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre
• Summerland Arena
• Water and waste water plants
• Work and utilities office
• Municipal hall
• Centre Stage Theatre
• Arts and Cultural Centre
• Museum

District parks and trails currently remain open to the public.

Penticton

Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, the following facilities will be temporarily closed until at least April 6.

  • Penticton Community Centre
  • Cleland Theatre
  • McLaren Arena
  • Library and Museum
  • Penticton Trade and Convention Centre
  • South Okanagan Events Centre
  • Memorial Arena

“This decision follows warnings from the provincial government to avoid mass gatherings of 50 people or more”, city manager Donny van Dyk said in a news release on Tuesday.

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“We have reviewed the advice provided by senior governments concerning mass gatherings and have determined that the volume of traffic entering our facilities, combined with the difficulty of practicing the safe social distancing once inside, has created a situation whereby it’s in our community’s best interest to close these facilities until April 6.”

Public reception areas at city hall and the Yards Building will stay open, but residents are urged to conduct business with staff by phone.

The City of Penticton is also cancelling the regular council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, and several committee meetings and public engagement events.

More information can be found here.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pandemic: What’s cancelled, what’s postponed in B.C.

Vernon

On Tuesday, the City of Vernon said it was closing its recreation facilities until further notice.

The affected facilities are:

  • Vernon Recreation Centre
  • Vernon Aquatic Centre
  • Dogwood Gym
  • Creekside Conference Centre (Auditorium)
  • Halina 50+ Activity Centre
  • Priest Valley Arena
  • Priest Valley Gym
  • Vernon Boxing Club
  • Kal Tire Place
  • Kal Tire Place North
  • Lakers Clubhouse

However, the city said that while recreation facilities are closing temporarily, the city is still open and ready to serve its residents, businesses and stakeholders.

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For more on the closures, click here.

Coldstream

The District of Coldstream says it will be closing its municipal offices starting Wednesday.

“This necessary action is being taken to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the district said in a press release.

Osoyoos

The following Town of Osyoos facilities are temporarily closed to the public:

  • Sonora Community Centre
  • Sun Bowl Arena
  • Desert Park
  • Fire Hall
  • Tennis Courts
  • Osoyoos Regional Library

Facilities that remain open include the outdoor pickleball courts, the dog park, parks and trails, and the West Bench complex.

More information can be found here.

Oliver

All Town of Oliver offices will be closed to the public, effective Wednesday.

The town said, however, that staff will be available by telephone or email to serve the public.

It also said a targeted re-opening date of April 6 has been set, but that it is subject to change.

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The town also said that it is focused on ensuring that essential services are provided, including fire, water, sewer plus garbage and recycling collection.

Earlier, the town postponed upcoming open houses and the Spirit of Oliver event.

Postponed open houses

  • Transit future action plan, April 3 at the Medicis
  • Gallagher Lake Siphon Repair schedule, April 21 at the Oliver Community Hall

Spirit of Oliver, postponed events

  • Reception, April 15 at Frank Venables Theatre
  • Award breakfast, April 24 at the Oliver Community Hall

This list will be updated as more communities release updates.

Kootenay Boundary Regional District

Facilities that have been closed to the public:

  • The Grand Forks and District Aquatic Centre and Arena,
  • The Beaver Valley Arena
  • The Greater Trail Community Centre
  • Regional district fire stations
  • Regional district offces in Trail and Grand Forks

 

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