South Peace News
As the Alberta government moves ahead with relaunching after the COVID-19 shutdown, the Town of Peace River still isn’t sure when the next phases of reopening facilities will begin.
Town council discussed the relaunch at their regular May 25 meeting, and reviewed a briefing note on how relaunch plans to open in three different stages will specifically affect Peace River.
Since May 15, ball diamonds, sports fields, tennis courts, the skate park and all playgrounds have been reopened in Peace River.
Since May 19, the museum archives have reopened for research by appointment and the gift shop has reopened with limited hours, and Town Hall front counter services resumed on May 20 although staff are still working remotely where possible.
Tanya Bell of Community Services says the Peace River pool is also undergoing its annual maintenance now, but staff have run into some snags, such as problems getting respirator cartridges and a need for recertification.
“All of the pool staff will have to recertify prior to us reopening. So we’re deciding how to do that recertification safely,” Bell says.
Athabasca Hall, the NAR Visitor Information Centre, and the outdoor water park remain closed, and so do the Riverfront Park bathrooms.
The Town’s summer programs have also been revamped to meet guidelines and staff are being hired in anticipation of moving to Stage 2 of reopening.
The annual Paddle the Peace event may also go ahead with reduced participant numbers or two shifts of the event.
Councillor Colin Needham asked Bell what kind of discussions administration has been having with the Province about future reopenings and if Peace River may be phased in differently due to a low number of cases.
“We’re not the state of New York. We’re not the city of Montreal. We’re not Ontario. We’re not Quebec. We’re not Calgary,” Needham says.
“I look at density of population [and] geography.”
“We anticipate the Province sticking to staged plan,” Bell says.
Bell says large facilities like the Baytex Energy Centre are likely still not opening until stage three.
“Except there is a lot of advocacy for fitness studios like Champion Fitness and Fitness on the Go to reopen in stage two,” she says.
“We’re hearing mid-June for stage two. Nobody is saying anything about when stage three could be put in place, and that’s the big question for us because the bulk of our facilities would reopen in stage three.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of wiggle room,” Bell adds.
Relaunch plans continue province-wide.