The head office of the Cowichan Valley Regional District at 175 Ingram St. reinstated limited front counter service as of June 1 for transit passes, dog licences, courier deliveries and document drop-off.
All other business, including public inquiries, development applications, site visits and inspections, will continue to be delivered electronically via phone, email or video conference.
The move is part of a service restoration plan the CVRD has developed that will see the gradual reopening of the district’s facilities in stages during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Each CVRD program and service that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been evaluated on criteria, including workforce and workplace requirements, risk to vulnerable populations, ability to adhere to health protocols, financial impact, and more.
Also included in stage one of the plan is the reopening of playgrounds, dog parks, bike parks, skate parks and most washrooms in CVRD parks and trails for public use.
This will be done in a coordinated process with other local and senior levels of government, and decisions will be guided by information and advice from health authorities, WorkSafeBC, and other stakeholder groups, such as the BC Recreation & Parks Association, Lifesaving Society of BC, and provincial and national sport governing bodies.
Sport courts, including tennis, pickleball and volleyball, will be open for limited numbers of users, with signage in place to denote maximum participant numbers and other use requirements.
Outdoor recreation programming and field bookings will be reinstated where physical distancing can be maintained.
“After many weeks of curtailment, we are very happy to be on a path to fully restoring many of our services, and reopening a number of facilities for public use,” said Aaron Stone, chairman of the CVRD.
“As we have throughout this pandemic, we ask residents to be patient as we do this is in a safe and coordinated manner over the coming weeks. We also ask that residents consider conducting their business with the CVRD electronically if at all possible, and only visit our offices and facilities if absolutely necessary.”
The Municipality of North Cowichan, which has already reopened its dog parks, sports courts and fields, and tennis/pickleball courts, has also announced it will gradually re-open its playgrounds, public washrooms, seasonal portables, and skate parks, in collaboration with other local governments.
“To ensure our parks can be used and enjoyed safely after opening, we will be implementing a Park Ambassador pilot program later this month,” said a press release from North Cowichan.
“This new program, staffed by our recreation employees, will have ambassadors visible at North Cowichan’s busiest parks, beaches and municipally sanctioned trails. Park ambassadors will engage with members of the public to make them aware of physical distancing requirements and other recommended measures for safe use of our well-loved parks, beaches, and trails.”