In March 2020, the government of British Columbia declared a state of emergency for our province as the Comox Valley, along with other communities in Canada and around the world, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. This video reviews the local government response in the Comox Valley, celebrates our achievements and looks towards the next phase of recovery, which will be dependent on the support of municipal and community partners.

What's Happening Now?

On May 12, the Board adopted a renewal plan that will focus CVRD operations for the remainder of 2020 and into future budget cycles. 

CVRD staff are reviewing all necessary, critical and functional projects slated for the next five years as well as service levels. Recommended actions for the plan will be brought forward to the relevant committees, commissions and partners for review over the summer.

Approved actions will be included in the final document to be reviewed for adoption by the Board at its strategic planning session in September 2020.

For more information about the renewal plan read the press release or refer to the staff report for additional context and supporting materials.

In addition, the CVRD has taken numerous actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are grouped around the CVRD's Core Services, including the Comox Strathcona Waste Management service. 

Core Service: Electoral Area Services

Building Inspections

  • Online building permit application processing.
  • Building inspections conducted with homeowners absent to promote physical distancing.

Bylaw Compliance

  • Bylaw Compliance officers monitoring park users, educating and reminder of physical distancing.

Current Planning

  • Online planning application processing.
  • Advisory planning commission meetings being conducted online.

Parks

  • Deferred use of contractors for parks patrol and maintenance and recalled several USW employees on layoff.
  • Reduction of contractor and staff visits to Hornby and Denman Islands.
  • Some parks and greenways capital projects put on hold.
  • Extra toilet and facilities cleaning at RD parks locations.

Island Service Delivery

  • Recreation and community hall services reduced with new approaches by HIRRA and DIRA to delivering recycling services.

Funding Services

  • Re-evaluation of approved funding, in particular for recreation grants and culture grants, with various non-profits.
Core Service: Emergency Programs

Comox Valley

  • Operating and supporting Emergency Operations Centre.

Fanny Bay

  • First Responder training cancelled due to COVID-19.

Fire

  • Fire Smart program planned for spring and summer 2020 delayed.
  • Fire department / volunteer training moved to on-line approach.

Merville

  • Merville fire hall design continues with elector approval planned.

Mt. Washington

  • Mount Washington fire hall design delayed.
Core Service: Finance and Administration

Staff Report - COVID-19 Response June 12, 2020

Communication

  • Public engagement paused.

CVRD Office Building

  • COVID-19 procedure for contractors working in the main administration building.
  • Increased cleaning of office space.

Finance

  • Promoting electronic payments and receipt of utility bills.
  • Expedited supplier payments during the response period.
  • More than $200,000 in grant funding provided to community organizations to assist with homelessness supports, food security and COVID-19 response.

General

  • Significant increase in regional/provincial collaboration with many partners and municipalities.
  • Grant process review approach delayed.
  • Training and professional development opportunities reassessed; in some cases training is cancelled, in other cases training has shifted to an online format.

General Administration

  • Online community engagement opportunities created for virtual town halls or public meetings.
  • Accelerated grant payments to organizations supporting response efforts.
  • No public access to 770 Harmston Avenue.
  • Installation of quick unlock button for front door.

Human Resources

  • Opportunities created for CVRD staff to work from home, enabling physical distancing to occur while continuing to provide services.
  • Creation of external website for staff communication.
  • Creation of COVID Action Teams.
  • External hiring freeze on all non-essential positions and internal restructuring resulting in reduction of one exempt position.

Office Fleet Vehicles

  • Increased cleaning of fleet vehicles.

Procurement

  • Shifted all tender/proposal delivery to eBidding only (no longer offering the option of physical hard copy delivery).
  • Replaced procurement related site visits with drone footage or 3D mapping/modelling.
  • Roll out of a remote purchase order process to expedite procurement and facilitate those CVRD staff working at home.
Core Service: Recreation

Recreation Complexes

  • Comox Valley Sports and Aquatic Centres and Wellness Centre closed on March 16, 2020 forcing staff layoffs.
  • Use of Exhibition Grounds facilities for community food handling and preparation in partnership with community groups.
  • Major maintenance work and extra cleaning conducted at recreation facilities during shut down.
  • Recreation staff undertaking programming considerations for future sessions.
  • Active Comox Valley websites and free partnership activities being updated to respond to COVID situation.
  • Swimming tips and safety outreach plan being created in place of closed facilities.
Core Service: Regional Growth Strategy

No COVID-19 response items at this time.

Core Service: Sewage Treatment

Sewage Treatment Plant

  • Split employees into two crews on alternating one week on and one week working from home to ensure business continuity.
Core Service: Transit

Transit

  • Enhanced cleaning on buses. 
  • Rear door loading and not collecting fares.
  • Limiting passenger capacity.
Core Service: Water Supply

Human Resources

  • Isolating water operators on the job and putting off two person jobs unless absolutely necessary (reduced maintenance).
  • Implemented new working alone app - SafetyLine.
  • Allowing only one person per vehicle to enable physical distancing.
  • Disenfectant kits inside the door of every building and all fleet vehicles.
  • High consumption meter reads - leave information sheets rather than speaking to resident.
Comox Strathcona Waste Management

Comox Strathcona Waste Management Centre

  • Reorganize bin-wall parking and unloading areas to ensure separation between members of the public and bteween public and CVRD employees.
  • Install plastic barrier at scale house to decrease contact between public and CVRD employees.
  • Prohibit use of cash and only accept card payments, debit or credit, to decrease contact between public and CVRD employees.
  • Additional cleaning and disinfecting of all common contact points between staff and between public and staff.

General

  • Several remote landfills and recycling depots have reduced hours and levels of service to reduce contact between employees and public.

Human Resources

  • Split employees into two crews with one crew working three days per week and the other four.
  • Eliminate all contact between crews to ensure business continuity.
  • Stagger breaks to prevent contact between staff.