As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic local governments are closing all recreation facilities in the region.
“Our board and staff recognize that these exceptional times require exceptional measures to reduce to the exposure and transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” said Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “We ask residents to follow the advice of our prime minister and stay home as much as possible, and stay tuned for updates from our public health agencies on this rapidly evolving situation.”
In North Cowichan, this includes all programs at the Fuller Lake Arena, Cowichan Aquatic Centre, Cowichan, Kerry Park, Shawnigan Lake, Saltair, and Cowichan Lake Community Centres, as well as the Honeymoon Bay and Youbou Community Halls, Mesachie Lake Hall and all washroom facilities in CVRD parks.
Licensed childcare centres at Elsie Miles School in Shawnigan Lake, and at the Saltair Community Centre, will also close effective Wednesday, March 18.
Canada Post offices at the Honeymoon Bay Community Hall and Mesachie Lake Hall will remain open until further notice.
The closures also apply to Frank Jameson Community Centre, Aggie Hall and Forrest Field in Ladysmith.
The City of Duncan has also closed City Hall and public works buildings, as well as City Square, public parks and sports fields but vows to maintain essential services like garbage collection and fire protection among others.
Mayor Michelle Staples apologized for the inconvenience.
“We recognize the challenges facing our residents and business owners,” she said. “If we take preventative measures now, we can reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on our community members, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”
North Cowichan mayor Al Siebring said the local governments are working together and with their provincial partners to “coordinate a unified response”.
He expects the closures to be indefinite.
“We will continue to update the public as often as possible, and let residents know when we will be reopening these facilities,” Siebring said. “For those with current membership and/or programs, no cancellation fees will be levied and we will extend current memberships to ensure a minimal disruption to members.”
Local governments are urging members of the public with questions to continue social distancing and to interact with their respective town and city halls remotely if at all possible.