Friday, August 7, 2020

COVID-19 case count increases continue, with 53 cases recorded in BC today


Heading into another British Columbia summer weekend, the province's top health officials are continuing to stress the need to reaffirm our commitment towards bending the COVID curve back downwards.

That after another day of case reports on the upswing, as has been the case for much of the last few weeks.

In the Friday COVID statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix relayed the latest details for British Columbians to take into the weekend. 

“Today, we are announcing 53 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 3,934 cases in British Columbia. 

There are 386 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 3,353 people who tested positive have recovered. 

There are 11 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation." 

For the Province wide review for Friday, the Health Authority regions of BC reported in as follows:

1,167 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 2,069 in the Fraser Health region, 147 in the Island Health region, 389 in the Interior Health region, 93 in the Northern Health region, which remains stable and at the same amount as that of Wednesday.  

There are also 69 cases of people with COVID who reside outside of Canada. 

There was some positive news on the day, with the advisory that have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, which means the total of deaths in British Columbia remains at 195. 

As for the path ahead and the need to be cautious to bring down the ever increasing case totals both officials offered up the following themes.

“As we see new COVID-19 hot spots emerge and the new cases creep up in every health authority, we have to keep our firewall strong. Like a wildfire, COVID-19 has the potential to rapidly burn out of control and we need to put out these flare-ups. 

Today, more than 1,500 people throughout our province are self-isolating, unable to leave their home unless it is to get medical care, because they have COVID-19 or have had a high-risk exposure to the virus. This is a concern and something we can change. 

We can make a difference and we know what we need to do, because we have done so already. We are calling on everyone to make COVID-19 safety our way of life – this weekend and every weekend. 

In step with our increased interactions comes the need to ensure we are taking the steps to protect ourselves and those around us. We have adapted our activities, put layers of protection in place and safely restarted our province. 

Now is not the time to relax and let down our guard. Let’s keep our bubbles small, use our layers of protection and give people the space to stay safe."

You can review the full Information statement from the Friday review here.

The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.


You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints


Heads Up on Wal Mart's Canada wide in store 'Mask's On' policy set to take effect next Friday

The Prince Rupert WalMart as well as the one in Terrace will
have a Mask On policy for customers and staff
in place as of next Friday


Shopping and working at some retail stores in the Northwest is about to change, that after Wal Mart one of Canada's largest retailers yesterday announced plans for a nation wide Masks On policy at its stores from Coast to Coast.

The move is the latest Health and Safety initiative put in place by the international company, following on a number of other expansive measures from earlier this spring.

As of August 12th all customers and staff are being asked to wear a mask, or other type of  face covering when shopping in their stores, with Wal Mart noting how Health Canada guidance advises that wearing one can reduce the spread of infectious respiratory droplets.

WalMart has put the measure in place regardless of the local guidance on wearing masks that may be in place in the host community for their stores.

The Canadian move follows a similar measure put in place in the United States stores last month, across Canada Walmart operates over 400 stores, including the Prince Rupert location in Rupert Square and the larger store in Terrace.

With Wal Mart now taking the Masks On message to customers and staff, retail observers will be watching to see if other Canadian retailers follow their lead.

For more notes on the Commercial sector in the Northwest see our archive page here.

Further background on the provincial response to COVID-19 can be reviewed here.



City of Prince Rupert seeks public comment/feedback on PRPA plans for temporary use of land on Park Avenue

Prince Rupert City Council is seeking comment from those
who may be affected by  temporary use request from the
Prince Rupert Port Authority for land along Park Avenue


Members of Prince Rupert City Council will be looking to the public to provide some feedback on a request from the Prince Rupert Port Authority to make temporary use of some land along Park Avenue. 

With the application seeking use of the land for a period of up to two years now under consideration.

The topic was introduced to City Council as a late addition to their July 20th City Council session and did not generate much in the way of discussion from the city councillors on the night.

At that session, the city's corporate administrator Rosa Miller outlined that the port would be using the land as an area of preparation of lands and subsequent operation of an off dock container facility.

The land in question is part of the large parcel of property that had once been identified as a potential residential area, though those plans of a few years ago never gained much momentum and now appear to have been abandoned as the developer of the time departed, the property one which was recently put up for sale.

As we outlined on July 23rd, the Prince Rupert Port Authority is currently investigating the lease and potential purchase of the vacant property on the western end of Park Avenue, providing a glimpse of a concept for a buffer zone between port related activity in the Fairview area and the residential areas adjacent, as well as to enable for complementary light industrial use. 

That potential proposal however is a bit far off into the future, for the more immediate period of time, the two year temporary use proposal is up for review by Council and they will weigh their decision on the feedback received.

Towards that the city has called for all persons who believe the interests of their property are affected by the temporary use permit to provide for comments to be read aloud and considered at the August 24th Council session.

With the City's planning office currently vacant and no Planning Director on staff, Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller appears to be the person to talk to related to the proposed land use topic.

Any written submissions must be received by her office no later than noon on August 24th, you can forward your submission to the City of Prince Rupert at City Hall, 424 3rd Avenue West, Prince Rupert V8J 1L7 or electronically to rosamaria.miller@princerupert.ca

Those wishing to review more information on the PRPA application for temporary use of the land can contact Ms. Miller at 250-627-0934 for more details on how they can inspect the documentation.

The call out for public comment isn't exactly a loud one, so far the only notice of the opportunity to provide feedback has come from the back pages of the weekly newspaper, where only the really devoted readers of the local publication may have stumbled across it.

For whatever reason, these types of civic advisories never seem to be added to the city's growing list of information streams; whether they be the official city website or the social media pages for the City of Prince Rupert or that of the Mayor.

The lack of a larger call of notification and for active community engagement is something which  perhaps may impact on the amount of comment that the Council members receive on such issues, and perhaps should be a theme for discussion for city councillors to take up at their only public meeting of the month on August 24th.

For more notes related to past City Council discussion themes see our archive page here.

Province of British Columbia looks to honour outstanding British Columbians with Good Citizenship Award

The British Columbia Government has put out the call for nominations to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the well being of the communities that they live in.

Last year eighteen British Columbians were awarded the Medal of Good Citizenship, saluted for the wide range of community involvement and dedication to their fellow residents. 

In the Northwest Dr. Peter Newbery of New Hazelton made the 2019 honours list, a celebration of his many contributions to life in the community.

The full list of past recipients can be reviewed here.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice shared word of the nomination process on Thursday, providing some thoughts on the program through her Social media stream.

The nomination process is in motion on a year round basis, with no time limit or deadline in place other than to fit into the parameters of the year to year honours.

The announcement of those selected for the award is usually made in the fall or early winter.

To learn more about the nomination process and submit someone you believe is deserving of the honours see this background piece from the province.

For more items of interest on the work of North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice at the Legislature see our archive page here.




Nisga'a Highway set for makeover

Highway work is on the horizon for the Nass Valley starting next week

The road into the Nass Valley will be getting some new pavement next week as the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure begins work on two segments of Highway 113.

Up for some new pavement along the Nisga'a highway is a thirteen kilometre stretch between Wesach Creek Bridge and Big Cedar Bridge, while the second segment will see sixteen kilometres of highway paved from the Lava Lake Information Kiosk to the Nass Triangle.

The near five million dollar project will also see some first time paving taking place on Hubert Street in Gingolx, that work in partnership with the Gingolx Village government.

The paving work has been contracted to Peters Brothers Construction Limited, Once the project begins, drivers can expect minor delays and, at times, single lane, alternating traffic. 

In these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the province is making note of the protocols and policies in place towards the project. With the contract following the requirements of the provincial health officer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include physical distancing and other protocols to ensure worker and public safety. 

You can learn more about the Nass highway work here.

For more notes related to Highway 16 corridor infrastructure see our archive page here.

Prince Rupert's Official Community Plan consultation goes online through Rupert Talks platform

More surveys, an online town hall and an opportunity for
one on one  appointments with the Mayor mark
the next phase of the city's consultation
on the Official Community Plan

(Screenshot above from PR 2030 Vision presentation)


The next step forward for the City of Prince Rupert's update on the Official Community Plan will be moving to an online program with Mayor Lee Brain taking the lead in sharing the details, providing the blue print for the path ahead through a newsletter to the community on Thursday.

As part of his correspondence to the community posted to the City website, social media feed and to the Mayor's Facebook page yesterday, Mr. Brain introduced the road ahead and reviewed some of the findings of the OCP survey of earlier this year. 

That was a public engagement which saw 125 surveys completed, from those notes the city has determined that there is strong support for the 2030 Vision as outlined last December by the mayor at the Lester Centre. 

The responses to the different elements in the Vision 2030 strategy show very strong support for each element, including Active Recreation Planning, downtown revitalization, indigenous inclusion, and arts/culture and open space frameworks, among other areas. In fact, there was very little disagreement with any aspect in the 2030 vision. 

The results of the survey also indicate that residents strongly value the diverse and inclusive nature of the Prince Rupert community, and highly value its environmental qualities. Respondents want the City to improve its physical infrastructure, revitalize the City Core, have more waterfront access, and see a need for encouraging a variety of housing types. 

In addition to the policy areas addressed by Vision 2030, the new OCP is proposed to address a number of other policy areas, including: 

1) Sewer, water and road infrastructure 

2) Climate change/greenhouse gas emissions 

3) Food systems/food security 

4) Social and cultural services

It is towards those four areas that the next survey period will focus; with residents asked to contribute either online or through mailed surveys which are being distributed households across the city.

To participate the online versions of the surveys are available through the Rupert Talks program

The deadline for completion of the surveys is September 11th

The city is also planning for an online town hall to provide for further discussion on the four elements and seek further input from the community.

The city is putting forward a bit of an incentive towards filling the surveys out by offering the chance to be entered in a draw for ten fifty dollar gift cards for randomly selected participants who submit the completed questionnaires.

When it comes to the chance for engagement on the Official Community Plan work, the city is directing residents to provide comment on the proposed land use planning for the city, towards that they are encouraging residents to use this online element and click on the "Places" tab to leave comments on the interactive map provided. 

The City also notes that other sources of information on the OCP will include informational videos on the city website and on Channel 10, as well as the existing Official Community Plan, the Redesign 2030 Vision and other inputs that have been considered during the renewal of our OCP. 

The members of City Council apparently have not it seems found a work around over COVID restrictions when it comes to the prospect any kind of public gathering to go over the city's planning for its OCP overhaul and seemingly won't have much to do with the next consultation period with the public in the weeks and months to come.  

Instead, rather than the public gatherings we may be familiar with from days past, the Mayor and Rob Buchan, the consultant planner that the city has hired on to oversee its OCP work, will be hosting short by appointment meetings those with an interest in the topic. 

The work on the Official Community Plan is moving ahead in the same period of time that the city is going without the services of a City Planner and planning staff in place at City Hall, in June City Manager Robert Long announced that he would be "re-substituting" as he put for the now retired planner Zeno Krekic.

So far the Mayor and City Council have not indicated if they have any replacement plans for the now vacant planning office.

You can sign up for one of Mayor's personal  discussion sessions by contacting Executive Assistant, Brianne Bunko at brianne.bunko@princerupert.ca to set up an appointment.

In June some of the City Council members spoke to the concern of not allowing COVID to become a block for Community Engagement, at that meeting Mayor Brain observed on how he viewed the path ahead.

"Part of the OCP process will be and I believe in the summer time we'll probably hear when the public engagement piece is going to come, but the community is going to have an ability to come together in a very meaningful way, it's not just going to be a survey, it's going to be coming together really discussing these topics, lots of advertising, making sure everybody has the ability to have their voice heard, so that there's no stone unturned. 

Because, we're going to be updating pretty much every single bylaw this town has through that process, to really bring us up to the 21st century and make sure that the trajectory over the next ten years is really going where people want it to go, not just from a planning  process but from what the community desires to see" -- Mayor Lee Brain on the city's OCP planning process in June


The only public City council session of the month comes up on August 24th, a date when we may get some kind of idea as to how the six elected City Council members may view the approach that has been announced and whether it fits their vision of how the community engagement process should move forward. 

It will also offer up an opportunity for them, if inclined,  to provide some kind of an indication as to what role, if any, that they plan to have in the consultation process.

Some of our past notes on the theme of the OCP review can be explored below:

2020

June 10 -- City's Official Community Plan review to put focus towards online engagement

June 8 -- Council to hear update on Official Community Plan process tonight

February 4 -- City of Prince Rupert seeks comment on Official Community Plan Renewal initiative

January 14 -- Vision Steward Council to put Prince Rupert 2030 Vision plans in motion

2019

December 13 -- Collaboration the focus for Prince Rupert 2030 Announcements, setting the template for the future as program of civic renewal moves forward

The Mayor's newsletter and background elements can be accessed through the city's website here.

Further background on the city's plans for the future can be found through our Redesign Rupert/Sustainable City archive

For more notes related to City Council Discussion topics see our archive page here.



 





 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday COVID report notes of 47 new cases in BC, 2 of them listed in Northern Health Region



 

In their Thursday update, Doctor Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reported on 47 new cases of COVID 19, including one epi-linked case, today making for a total of 3,881 cases in British Columbia

Of the count for today, they also noted that there are currently 371 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 3,315 people who tested positive have recovered. 

11 individuals have  been hospitalized with COVID-19, five of whom are in intensive care. 

The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. 

For the breakdown by Health Authority they noted that 1,143 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 2,045 in the Fraser Health region, 146 in the Island Health region, 385 in the Interior Health region, 93 in the Northern Health region an increase of two from Wednesday's listings. 

69 cases of people who reside outside of Canada also have the coronavirus. 

Today's release of information also outlined that there area no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 195 deaths in British Columbia.

With each day providing for a continuations of the ongoing increase of case reports, both public officials looked to how residents of the province have handled the COVID situation in the past and how that can guide us towards the future. 

 “British Columbians have shown that they know the precautions to take to keep themselves, their children and families safe. 

When faced with setbacks, we regroup, come together, learn and adapt our approach. We keep moving forward with the full resources and support of public health teams throughout this province. 

When new cases emerge, no matter where they may be, public health teams immediately mobilize to identify the source of transmission, notify contacts and contain the spread. 

It can be tempting to shut our doors and turn our backs on each other, but rather this is the time to show kindness and compassion, to be there for each other during these challenging days. 

If someone you know is self-isolating or from a community where there are a number of cases, this is the time to offer support and help them get the services and care they may need.

Let’s continue to play safe and stay safe this summer, supporting each other with compassion and understanding. As we look to the fall, let’s use the fortitude and resilience that everyone in B.C. has shown to continue to move forward safely.”


For the full statement from Thursday see the report here.   



The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.

You can learn more about the outbreak from both the Province and the Federal government from the links below:

Federal Government site

British Columbia Government site

The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.

More from  Northern Health can be reviewed here 

You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.

Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.

For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee

Ottawa Observations

Victoria Viewpoints