New Westminster – New Westminster City Council has approved the implementation of the City’s recovery plan, which will guide the gradual reopening of civic facilities and the restoration of programs and services that were closed or suspended as a result the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reopening of facilities and the restoration of services will be done gradually in alignment with Public Health Orders and in accordance with BC’s Restart Plan, WorkSafeBC, and industry-specific guidelines. The restoration of services will also be dependent on the City’s ability to ensure all appropriate safety protocols are maintained, projected cash flow models, coordination with neighbouring municipalities, and alignment with the principles and values established by New Westminster City Council.
“We know the past few months have been very challenging for everyone and that there is a strong desire to restore services as quickly as possible to where they were before the pandemic. However, we need to proceed thoughtfully and cautiously,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté. “The reopening of facilities and services has been guided by principles that balance the health and safety of the public and our employees; our financial constraints; and the needs of our community, particularly vulnerable populations.”
The recovery plan outlines the facilities and programs that will begin to be restored starting now and in the summer quarter (July – September 2020). Highlights include:
- Opening of the Moody Park Outdoor Pool, starting mid-July, in a modified capacity;
- Launch of outdoor programs and services which include summer day camps, creative art programs, and self-guided activity options this summer;
- Gradual reopening of spray parks in early July with limited hours and monitored access;
- Limited access to computer stations, children’s book room and study carrels on an appointment basis at the Uptown branch of the New Westminster Public Library, starting in August;
- Private bookings at Anvil Centre (less than 50 people) for virtual meetings and events;
- Partial opening of Century House as a cooling centre during extreme heat events.
The restoration of services mentioned above builds on other amenities which have also recently reopened such as tennis courts, lacrosse boxes, skate parks, turf fields, and playgrounds.
“We want to thank the community for their adherence to public health orders throughout the pandemic. We appreciate everyone’s efforts and patience as we work to reopen our facilities and services,” said Chief Administrative Officer, Lisa Spitale. “The safety of the community and staff remains our highest priority. No city facility will be opened without all due diligence being completed, including staff training, installation of physical barriers where appropriate, and other required measures.”
The reopening of additional facilities for in-person services, including community centres, City Hall, public library branches for general access, New Media Gallery, and cultural facilities is anticipated for fall 2020. While physical access may be limited at City facilities, various virtual programming and access is already available with more programs and services to come. Community members are encouraged to check facility websites for more information and updates.
For more details and up-to-date information on the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.newwestcity.ca/covid-19 and follow the City’s social media channels.
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