In this edition of My Nanaimo This Week, we provide you with an update on how the City continues to respond to COVID-19. Learn about the Park Ambassador program, how you can apply for a building permit online, the upgrades at Maffeo Sutton Park and be inspired by Parks, Recreation & Culture to stay active while practicing physical distancing.
Coping with COVID-19
The City continues to support messaging from BC's Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix, reminding residents to stay home when sick and maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet apart, when outside. A common question from the community is what the City is doing to enforce physical distancing. As COVID-19 is a health matter overseen by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC, the City takes its direction from those authorities. The Province of BC's Compliance and Enforcement Guidance about Public Health Orders with respect to Physical Distancing document states that “there are no public health Orders addressed to the general public requiring them to maintain physical distancing outside their own homes, with the exception of inside food premises. The public has been provided with strong recommendations and guidance in this regard.”
What this also means, from a compliance and enforcement standpoint is:
- Provincial Health Officers will be monitoring all food premises, including restaurants, mobile food vendors, and grocery stores as well as personal service establishments and pools.
- Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officers will oversee and report infractions associated with community facilities such as community halls, museums, places of worship, tourist enterprises, recreational facilities and private property.
- The guidelines to support compliance with provincial health officer’s orders clarify that bylaw enforcement officers do not have the ability to detain an individual as a result of a contravention or suspected contravention of a public health order, or issue a fine or penalty.
- Any enforcement will be at the direction of the PHO (Public Health Officer) or local medical health officer.
Another popular question the City receives is whether it is okay for people to go outside. The Provincial Health Officer is encouraging British Columbians to spend time outside where possible, as long as you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19, you maintain the recommended physical distance, avoid touching your face and wash your hands before and after you go out. To reinforce this message, the Park Ambassador program has been launched in some of Nanaimo's busiest parks. These ambassadors, wearing bright yellow vests, are there to remind park users about keeping an appropriate physical distance, disinfecting high touch points, tidying the parks and reporting issues.
Nanaimo RCMP continues to operate 24/7 with a focus on community safety. They would like to remind residents to help reduce crime by taking precautions such as always locking vehicles and storing any valuables out of site. They do have an online crime reporting tool which allows residents to report minor crimes, including damage to property or theft under $5,000, directly to officers if need be.
Find more information about the City's response on the COVID-19 information page.
Doors may be closed, but the City is definitely open for business! City services and operations continue to run, with the exception of Parks, Recreation and Culture programming, drop-in sports, playgrounds and sport courts which remain closed at this time.
Although the City has been implementing new ways of doing business online for years, the building permit application process has been fast-forwarded. Now the approval process is using DocuSign so a residential or commercial building permit of any type can be done remotely.
Check out our Online Services page or give us a call:
- General Inquiries - 250-754-4251
- Parks, Recreation and Culture - 250-756-5200
- Public Works - 250-758-5222
Spring Cleaning and Recycling Responsibly
While many people are spring cleaning, drop-off options are limited for recycling and reusable goods donation. To reduce risk to residents and staff, many recycling depots are open with reduced hours, and donation drop-off centres remain closed. Please make a plan to responsibly manage your spring cleaning waste, considering options like holding off from non-essential trips to the landfill, and storing donations and recyclables until drop-off facilities resume regular operations. Visit the City’s Garbage/Recycling page for the latest information and FAQs on garbage and recycling. Find the recycling depot nearest you using the What Goes Where tool on the Nanaimo Recycles app available for free download from the App Store and Google Play as well on the Garbage and Recycling Calendar page.
Participate in a Virtual Water to Earth Month 2020
Water to Earth month celebrates World Water Day (March 22) and Earth Day (April 22) with a series of events and activities now coming to you virtually from Team Watersmart! Join in the 4th annual Water to Earth Month events with a virtual activity passport. Complete the activities and be entered to win some cool prize packs.
Taking Advantage of Closures
While pool closures normally take place in August and September, staff worked quickly to re-schedule maintenance when COVID-19 closures were put in place. Yearly tasks such as painting, rust removal, scrubbing, tile repair, washing, inventory and disinfecting are being completed at both Beban Park Pool and the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. This year a new service was performed at Beban Park Pool. A process called GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar), was conducted to investigate under the Beban Park Pool. Seven test holes were drilled in the tank and reports showed the tank is intact and no voids were discovered.
Parks is working hard to maintain trails and up-keep popular outdoor spaces. The trails at Beban's Participaction Park and the west side of Buttertubs Marsh Park have recently been resurfaced.
Maffeo Sutton Park is seeing its busiest construction year since the Spirit Square Project completed in 2008. Work on the Rotary Garden installation, Protection Island Marine Cable upgrade and Phase 1 of the Maffeo Sutton Inclusive Playground are under way. In the same area as existing playground, the space will see improvements to safety surfacing and overall comfort. Art work from a local First Nation Artist Noel Brown will be integrated, adding imaginative play for children while depicting the cultural importance of the area. The City has been fortunate enough to work closely with key partners on this project including the Nanaimo Child Development Centre and the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.
Stay Fit and Engage with Parks, Recreation & Culture
The City's recreation coordinators are staying active and connected by inspiring residents daily with #isolationrecreation ideas. Follow along with their fun campaigns through the @nanaimoparksandrec Instagram feed as well as on the Isolation Recreation web page. Programs include wellness bingo, #isolationrecreation ideas, a scavenger hunt and a #harbourcityphotochallenge. Check it out to discover some fun ways to stay active while practicing physical distancing or isolation at home.
This week’s Council and Committee Meetings
Visit the Meetings, Documents and Videos page on the City website to view upcoming meetings, agendas and past meeting videos or visit the Council Meeting Summaries page to read a recap of decisions made in previous meetings.
Here's a recap of City news from April 15 to 22: