Sidney, BC.; The Town of Sidney has begun to transition its COVID-19 response from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to a focused recovery phase. This includes the appointment of a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, which Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith announced during last night’s Council Meeting.
The Task Force will consider and develop programs and actions to support and assist the community during the COVID-19 recovery. Its members consist of representatives from various community organizations that represent a broad spectrum of sectors. They will report to Council through the Town’s Recovery Director and focus on economic and cultural recovery and resiliency, community resiliency, and prepare for the possibility of future COVID-19 waves.
Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith and Councillor Barbara Fallot will serve on the Task Force. The Mayor states, “Having representatives from 7 of our significant community organizations will help ensure we receive important input on the economic, cultural and resident topics to address for recovery and resiliency in our community”.
The Town of Sidney opened the EOC on March 12, 2020 in response to the World Health Organizations’ announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EOC was quickly raised to a level 2 with a full complement of EOC staff and maintained operations until June 15 when a report at a Special Meeting of Council determined the transition to a focused recovery mode. During this time, future recovery was also a focus at the EOC from the outset of the pandemic. This included development of the EOC’s Business Liaison Program, a business survey to assess impact on the local economy, and amendments to the Off-Street Parking and Loading bylaw and Sidewalk Café Regulations and Licensing bylaw to allow businesses to expand their restaurant and retail spaces.
EOC Director and Fire Chief, Brett Mikkelsen states; “The closing of our EOC in no way implies our emergency management response to this event is over. We will continue to monitor developments, and participate in regional and provincial briefings over the coming weeks and months”.
As the Town moves into recovery, and regular services and facilities begin to reopen throughout the region, the temporary shower facility at Iroquois Park that was opened by the EOC in response to a Provincial Public Health request to support the vulnerable unsheltered population will be closed at the end of the month. The EOC reported that between April 2, when the showers first opened and now, on average there were 10 users a day. It was noted, however, that over time, there has been a decrease in the vulnerable unsheltered using the facility.
The Town has opened an on-line survey for residents to complete based on their experiences so far during the COVID-19 pandemic. The public’s answers will help guide efforts as the Town continues to plan recovery from the pandemic. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and will be open until Friday, July 3. It is available online at: