Mayor's Update: June 11, 2020
Jun 11, 2020
COVID Re-start & Recovery
Although the pandemic is not over, British Columbians are adapting quite well and I am cautiously optimistic that we will continue to slowly recover. The Province released its Re-Start Plan, and the District has also developed a model for the gradual and thoughtful resumption of services.
The most important factor when considering restarting any service is the safety of our residents, businesses and staff. In the past weeks we have re-opened playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities, including Ambleside Par Three Golf Course. Our staff continue to apply the new regulations to our plans to re-open the library, sport fields, and programs that can be delivered safely, including a special Canada Day Celebration. As time goes on, we will continue to re-open more programs and services.
However, even if a service could be re-opened safely, the financial impacts of COVID and the reduced District budget mean that some services will not return this year at all, and many capital projects have been deferred. Our staffing levels have been significantly reduced, and the staff who remain are working full-out to continue delivering essential services. If you notice the parks and boulevards are not as well maintained as in past years, or are wondering where the floral baskets are, those are just some of the services that have been reduced to save costs.
We are very pleased to be moving forward with plans to help residents and businesses adapt to the changing realities of the pandemic. We are working as quickly as possible to offer expanded outdoor seating for restaurants impacted by the new COVID protocols. We are also responding to feedback from residents who are looking for safer spaces for walking and cycling, with a pilot project on Bellevue Avenue. Details of both initiatives will be announced shortly.
Council is back to business using a new video conferencing model. We held our first electronic Council meeting on May 25, at which time we adopted Council’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2021, setting out goals and objectives to be accomplished in the next two years.
We also set the date for the first public hearing since we suspended all public engagement, regarding a proposal for additional stories to accommodate 95 more secured rental units at Park Royal. To learn more about this proposal, read the report to Council, view the presentation, or attend an information session held by the applicant: in person following physical distancing protocols, or the online information meeting that is open now and will remain open until 4 p.m. on Friday, June 12.
Council wants your feedback on this proposal, and as there is some incorrect information circulating in our community, I encourage you to learn about the proposal for yourself. Whether you attend an information meeting or read the report to Council, please learn the details, and visit the project information page.
The Public Hearing will take place on June 23, 2020, at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Hall Council Chamber. Under a new provincial order regarding public hearings, we have developed a system for members of the public to continue to provide feedback in-person, as well as in writing and by telephone during the public hearing. Learn more about how to participate, and sign up in advance to an electronic speakers list on our website: www.westvancouver.ca/publichearings.
Stay healthy everyone!
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth