Mayor’s May Long Weekend Update

May 14, 2020

Hello everyone,

The May long weekend is almost here and that means Phase Two of the Province’s COVID-19 response, and the Re-Start Plan, isn’t far behind.

This positive news is very welcome. I’m really proud of the way our community has done its part to slow the spread of the virus. However, even with the resumption of select services just around the corner, now is not the time to relax and undo what we’ve accomplished with the effort and sacrifice of so many.

One of our first priorities is helping our local businesses start up again. The District will be working with them to find creative solutions for the new protocols. Physical distancing requirements will mean fewer customers in stores and restaurants, and that will have a financial impact. Our staff are looking at ways to increase available space for outdoor retail and sales areas, expanding patio spaces, and possibly even “dining in the park”, similar to restaurant service during Harmony Arts.

In addition to the Province’s announcement of the Re-Start Plan, there has been other positive news for our community this past week:

  • It came as a relief to everyone when the Province stepped in so that TransLink didn't need to proceed with planned service reductions, which would have been devastating. Councillor Cameron, my delegate on the Mayors’ Council, and I will continue to lobby for support from senior levels of government for our regional transit system. 
  • The Ambleside Farmers’ Market is back! There’s a new configuration that follows COVID-19 guidelines, and it’s still a wonderful place to visit and shop. It will be open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Ambleside Park.
  • Gleneagles Golf Course is open again, with new protocols. It has been busy with happy golfers since it opened on May 1.
  • Where we can do so safely, we have also begun to re-open some outdoor facilities in our parks. Basketball, tennis and skateboard courts are opening for limited use across the District, and more will open in the coming weeks. Our staff are working closely with other municipalities to ensure consistent guidelines across the region.
  • Council is scheduling meetings and public hearings, an important first step toward resuming District business, including increasing the number and diversity of more affordable housing units in our community.

Council and staff are aware that our community is currently attracting far more visitors than is comfortable. Some parks and waterfront areas are experiencing increased traffic and congestion. Earlier, we closed parking lots at some destination parks in an effort to discourage visitors, but instead of reducing traffic, this shifted it into the surrounding neighbourhoods. This weekend, we will re-open the parking lots at Lighthouse Park, Whytecliff Park and Whyte Lake Park, while keeping the nearby temporary street parking restrictions in place. I’d like to thank our staff who have responded, and work hard every day to keep our community safe, including our park rangers, our bylaw officers, and our police and fire departments.

Until next week, we are still in Phase One. Over the long weekend, please remember to physically distance yourself from anyone who is not a member of your household. If those around you are unable to leave you the space you need to stay safe, create your own space. And, while it is important to get outside and exercise, it is very important not to congregate when you do. 

As Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her message in British Columbia’s Re-Start Plan, “We have united in a singular purpose – to flatten our curve.” And, although we feel hopeful, now is not the time to relax our efforts.

Please stay safe, and take care of yourself and one another.  

Warm regards,

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth

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