Playgrounds in Hope are set to re-open this week, after being closed and roped off since late March. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Boat launch, playgrounds, public washrooms set to re-open in Hope

Re-opening of these services part of Phase 2 of ‘restart B.C.’ recovery phase of pandemic

Locals will soon be able to enjoy Kawkawa Lake and playgrounds in the district, as Mayor Peter Robb announced these services will re-open this week.

As the province begins the ‘restart plan’ for B.C., Robb said Phase 2 will begin in the district later this week. This will include the ability for personal service establishments such as barbers, nail salons and massage clinics to open, which have been shut by provincial order since March 21. Restaurants with safe distancing measures are also part of this phase of recovery. It will also include the opening of select provincial parks (see A3 for details).

Within the district, barricades will be removed from the Kawkawa Lake main boat launch, public washrooms will re-open as will playgrounds. Chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky said the reopening of these district services will take place Thursday or Friday of this week.

While people still need to keep physical distancing, and large gatherings are still banned, Robb acknowledged ‘the province and the district cannot perfectly police the behaviour of everyone at all times during this pandemic.’ What they will do at the district level, he said, is to have bylaw and RCMP coordinate and address any issues reported to them. Police are “prepared to issue fines in the case of contravention of provincial health orders,” Fortoloczky added.

As the district moves into the next phase of the pandemic, recovery, they will be putting up signs in parks and public spaces reminding people to keep their distance.

Robb acknowledged people passing through Hope, a big concern for some locals during the height of the pandemic response, will likely increase as restrictions are lifted.

Ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend, B.C. Premier John Horgan urged people to stay close to home. “This is not the time for a road trip to another community for a hike or a holiday,” he said. “Do not travel great distances…This is a key part of our recovery.”

Read more: B.C. prepares to restart more retail, services, offices in May

District hall will also be reopened to the public soon, although Robb encouraged people to do any business they can do online, over the phone or via mail.

“Going to District Hall should be the action of last resort and will be subject to strict health protocols,” he stated. District hall will look a little different when it re-opens to the public, Fortoloczky stated, this includes plexi-glass barriers installed and distancing measures in place.

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