Town of PR updating pandemic plan

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The Town of Peace River is updating its Pandemic Business Continuity Plan to help address the COVID-19 pandemic, and has reviewed the plan at its last two council meetings.

The Town has had a pandemic plan in place since at least 2009, says Mayor Tom Tarpey.

“It is essentially a Business Continuity Plan. We want to ensure that essential services like water and sewer, fire protection, flood management, the transportation network continue to function properly and safely,” Tarpey says.

The Town of Peace River has now launched a section of their website to inform the public of the revised plan.

Council and staff have been identifying personnel that can backfill positions within the Town’s organization, stocking materials and supplies, and taking steps to safeguard the health of Town employees. The Town is also preparing to help the Province and AHS in dealing with the health impacts of the virus as needed.

Due to the Province’s announcement on March 12 asking to cancel all events over 250 people, Town facilities including the Baytex Energy Centre, Peace Regional Pool, Athabasca Hall, Museum and Town Hall are keeping their regular hours of operations, but staff will be limiting capacity at these locations to 250 people at a time.

“Our goal is definitely to flatten the COVID peak as it comes through,” Tarpey says.

The Town hopes to help avoid overwhelming the local healthcare system.

“However, flattening the curve also involves a longer sustained effort. So, there is a fine balance in reacting to the threat. We don’t want to exhaust our resources and people’s patience before the threat arrives, yet at the same time not under react and be overwhelmed by the time the pandemic arrives. We are endeavouring to avoid the latter scenario through preparation and vigilance,” Tarpey says.

He adds there are a few councillors and staff returning to Peace River from personal trips abroad who have been asked to minimize their social interactions and self-isolate where warranted.

Councillor Johanna Downing for instance was recently in Florida to attend several spring training baseball games.

Northern Sunrise County Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba says, “We are working on a policy and procedures for the county as we speak.”

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