District of West Vancouver declares a State of Local Emergency
Update: Friday, March 27
On March 26, the province of British Columbia issued an order that individual States of Local Emergency declared by municipalities including West Vancouver (but excluding the City of Vancouver) be set aside. The order is in effect for the duration of the Provincial State of Emergency, and any extensions. The order identified a number of steps for municipalities to take across the province, with the intent of providing a consistent approach to the Provincial State of Emergency.
West Vancouver had already begun work on a number of these measures, including, but not limited to, updating business continuity plans, and planning for the continued delivery of essential services such as first responders, drinking water and waste management.
The order also suspends any municipal bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day, in order to allow for the continued supply of goods, food and other supplies to communities.
Effective immediately, the District of West Vancouver has declared a State of Local Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Declaring a State of Local Emergency provides the District with additional emergency powers to enforce the Order of the Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry). This provides the District with broad powers and will allow the District to, among other things, enforce closures and cancel business licences for businesses that are not following the direction of the Provincial Health Officer.
“These are unprecedented and challenging times, and these powers give us the ability to further protect our residents and businesses,” says Mayor Mary-Ann Booth. “We have a great community, and I can see that many of us are doing their part by staying home and practising social distancing, and abiding by the directives of the Provincial Health Officer. Some are not. We are doing what we can, and we need these powers to ensure everyone practises social responsibility, even if we need to compel them.”
The Emergency Program Act provides that municipalities have the power to declare a State of Local Emergency where the District determines that an emergency exists in its community, and provides the powers to act and implement procedures that the District considers necessary to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of an emergency.
On March 13, the District announced the closure of the Seniors’ Activity Centre. On March 15, all community centres and cultural facilities were closed to the public. Municipal Hall has reduced its public walk-in hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Staff continue to be available by phone and email during regular business hours. Response times will be longer than usual. Residents are asked to use online services wherever possible.
For more information, please visit westvancouver.ca/covid.