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North Cowichan Moves to Essential Service Provision Only in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
March 18, 2020
(North Cowichan, BC) – Due to the increasing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Cowichan will be moving to the delivery of essential services only, effective 4:30 pm, March 18, 2020. This means Municipal Hall will remain closed until further notice, and all services non-essential to health and public safety will be unavailable at this time. RCMP, Fire, sewer, water, waste-water treatment, and curbside collection will continue. Members of the public are encouraged to call 250.746.3100, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.northcowichan.ca/COVID19 for more information.
In addition, all regular Council and Committee of the Whole Meetings are cancelled until further notice. Council will only hold emergency meetings electronically for the foreseeable future, and all Council Committees or Advisory Bodies of Council will be suspended indefinitely. Public engagement, including engagement on the future of Municipal Forest Reserve and the Official Community Plan, will be paused for 90 days. Staff and Council will re-evaluate resuming engagement before the end of the 90-day period if it can proceed in a safe, fulsome, and inclusive way.
“As a local government, North Cowichan has a responsibility to the public and staff, to take increasing measures of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” explains Chief Administrative Officer, Ted Swabey. “The unprecedented conditions we are facing, and the subsequent decisions have not been made lightly. Staff are committed to supporting residents through continued provision of essential services and will continually evaluate the situation to determine whether an increased level of service is possible through remote-work and other arrangements as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds,” he concluded.
“We are deeply concerned about the effects the COVID-19 crisis could have, including financial and economic implications,” said Mayor, Al Siebring. “Consequently, we are delaying finalizing our 2020 tax rates until staff are able to bring forward a report analyzing the impacts shutting our doors will have on the operational and capital budgets, so Council can be fully informed, and make the best decision for everyone,” continued Siebring. Given the fluidity of this pandemic, staff will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
North Cowichan urges residents to continue practicing social distancing and to remain at home. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to the virus, please call
1-888-COVID19 or text 1-888-268-4319.
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Al Siebring, Mayor
Municipality of North Cowichan