News Releases - COVID-19 Updates

News Release #2020-12 COVID 19 UPDATE: MUNICIPAL PLAYGROUNDS NOW OPEN

News Release #2020-12 - PDF

SMITHERS – In accordance with Phase 2 of the Province of British Columbia’s COVID-19 Restart Plan, and based on information provided by the BC Recreation and Parks Association, the Town of Smithers has re-opened all the Municipal Playgrounds, effective Monday, June 1, 2020.

Playground users should avoid large groups and gatherings and be at least two metres away from people from another household. People should wash their hands before and after using the equipment, cover all coughs and sneezes and avoid touching their face. Anyone who is feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms must stay home.

The Town of Smithers have posted safety guidelines signage around the entrances of the playgrounds.
Please follow the “Playground Guidelines”:

• Practice good hygiene (sanitize face, hands, body, etc.) and equipment as appropriate before and after use.

• Hands should be washed for a minimum of 20-30 seconds. Say the ABC’s or sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.

• Keep your distance! Practice physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart.

• Play Safe. Avoid taking unnecessary risk to minimize potential injuries.

Please note, the playground equipment is not being cleaned or disinfected. Bring sanitizer if you have it, wash your hands before and after. Don't visit if you or your kids are sick.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-

 

News Release #2020-10 COVID 19 UPDATE: TOWN OWNED PARKS TO REOPEN MAY 14, 2020

New Release #2020-10 - PDF

SMITHERS – Effective May 14, 2020 all Parks within the Town of Smithers will reopen to the public, with the exception of sports fields and municipal playgrounds at this time.

With the reopening of Parks, the following practices should be followed:

  • Stay at home and away from others if you’re feeling ill.

  • Please remember to maintain “Physical Distancing”.
    • Small numbers of contacts (2-6 people).
    • No handshaking or hugging outside your family.
    • Keep a safe distance (6 feet apart from the next person).
       
  • Please remember to practice “Good Hygiene”.
    • Frequent hand washing.
    • Avoid touching face.
    • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
       
  • Consider using non-medical masks when physical distancing isn’t possible.

  • Gatherings of 50 are still not permitted.

Together, we can take these actions to keep the curve flat, while doing more to improve our personal well-being and strengthen our connections in our communities.

With regards to the opening of municipal playgrounds, the Town will be opening municipal playgrounds at the same time the Province opens provincial playgrounds within parks.

With regards to the opening of sports fields, the Town is monitoring the discussions that the Province is having with sports organizations and once guidelines are released the Town will relook at reopening sports fields.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-

News Release #2020-08: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated April 21, 2020)

News Release #2020-08 - PDF

For Immediate Release
#2020-07
March 26, 2020, 9:45 a.m. Updated March 26, 2020 2:00 p.m. Updated April 21, 2020

SMITHERS – There have been many questions with regards to how the COVID-19 is affecting the Town of Smithers Operations. We have complied a list of the “Frequently Asked Questions”.

SOCIAL DISTANCING CONCERNS

If you see a large gathering of people and they are not practicing physical distancing, who should this be reported to?
The Public is advised to report any complaints of social distancing and self-isolation to the Ministry of Health at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

BC BUSINESS COVID-19 SUPPORT SERVICE

To help B.C. businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. government, through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness and the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, have partnered with Small Business BC (SBBC) to launch a new B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca 

PROVINCE-WIDE OPEN BURNING PROHIBITION

On April 16, 2020, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development, BC Wildfire Service has prohibited the use of Category 2 and Category 3 Open Fires, as well as Resource Management Open Fires (Prescribed Fires) across the province, including the entire Northwest Fire Centre. More information can be found on the Town’s website.

Who do I call to report an incident of someone burning in the Town of Smithers Boundary during the Open Fire Prohibition?
Please contact the Bylaw Enforcement Officer 250.877.9273, Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. Fires observed afterhours within Town boundaries, please report to the Bylaw Officer for follow-up. Any fires within the Regional District, please contact the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some scheduled meetings may be cancelled or postponed. We regret any inconvenience this causes.

What meetings have been cancelled or postponed?
Council is now able to conduct meetings completely electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic.


SMITHERS REGIONAL AIRPORT

On March 12, 2020, the Smithers Regional Airport Administrative Office was temporarily closed to the public. Staff will be reporting to work as usual, but the general public will not be permitted to access the office. All other channels of communication will still be open to the public, including phone, email, and fax.

The Smithers Regional Airport Terminal Building remains open to the travelling public.

With the suspension of Air Canada flights into Smithers until the end of May, will the Smithers Regional Airport be closed?
The Smithers Regional Airport will remain open to Charter flights and Medevac flights.
 

ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

On March 12, 2020, measures were taken by installing a plexi-glass barrier to prevent the spread of the virus at the Reception counter in the Municipal Hall. All staff will be reporting to work as usual, but the general public will not be permitted in the employee only areas of the office. The public must practise 2-metre social distancing in the lobby, as indicated with the tape on the floor.

Will there be an extension for property tax deadlines?
Please be aware that any decisions to postpone deadlines will come from the Province to us, so we will keep you updated as we learn more.

Will there be an extension for utility payment deadlines?
Not at this time.

WORKS AND OPERATIONS

On March 12, 2020, the Smithers Works and Operations Office was temporarily closed to the public. All staff will be reporting to work as usual, the Works and Operations Clerk will be available to answer the telephone between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

What if I have a request for service?
If you have a request for service, please contact the Works and Operations Clerk at 250-847-1649, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Is my garbage collection affected by the Works Yard Office closures?
Weekly garbage collection continues to operate. Please ensure that all garbage is disposed of properly, by tightly securing the bag prior to placing it in the garbage cart. Ensure that the cart lid closes and garbage is not overflowing.

Can disinfecting wipes or wet wipes (moist towelette or baby wipes) be flushed down the toilet?
NO, these items are not permitted to be flushed. Unlike toilet paper that usually breaks apart in about 24 hours or so, wet wipes will remain virtually imperishable even when flushed down the bowl. Most wet wipes contain plastic fibre, which makes them partially non-biodegradable. Many plumbing experts would attest to the fact that wet wipes have been found intact within drain pipes even after months of being flushed. To help keep the Smithers Sewer Treatment Plant running as efficiently as possible, please dispose of your used wipes in the garbage.

DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

What do I do if I need a building inspection?
The Town will still continue to do inspections on existing new construction. Inspections are to be booked in advance by calling 250-847-1600. Inspections will be performed with the Site Supervisor only.

Existing permits for building additions or renovations involving an occupied dwelling will be inspected "virtually" with the owner/contractor asked to take and email photos to the Building Inspector.

What do I do if I want a new building permit?
As of March 17, 2020, until further notice, the Town will only be accepting building permit applications for new construction and commercial projects.

What do I do if I want to add an addition to a building or a renovation?
As of March 17, 2020, until further notice, the Town is asking that homeowners at this time to hold off on building renovations and/or additions.

I require cemetery services. Am I able to visit the office in person?
Cemetery services can be scheduled by appointment, please call 250-847-1600.


Please follow the recommended protocols and do not come into the Town Hall Office if you are sick, if you have been around sick people, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19.

Thank you for your co-operation and understanding.

 

RECREATION

Getting outside is still important for our physical and mental wellbeing. We encourage you to get outside if you are able to, but while doing so, it is *very* important to stay two metres away from anyone who does not live with you.

Can I use the Town parks, playgrounds, and tennis courts?
As of March 23, 2020, ALL Town owned parks (INCLUDING THE SKATE PARK), playgrounds and tennis courts are closed to the public. Signs will be posted at these facilities.

Can I use the Perimeter Trail that pass through parks?
A trail passing through a park is not closed, the public are permitted to walk on the trail through a park, but not permitted to loiter and/or play in the park. If you choose to use the trail system, please ensure social distancing can be maintained.

Can I use the Smithers Public Library?
As of March 16, 2020, the Smithers Public Library is closed until further notice.

Can I use the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre?
As of March 16, 2020, the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre is closed until further notice.

Can I use the Smithers Civic Centre or New Arena?
As of March 16, 2020, the Smithers Civic Centre and New Arena are closed for the 2019/2020 ice season.

Can I use the Smithers Fairgrounds?
As of March 23, 2020, the Smithers Fairgrounds is closed to the public. Signs will be posted at the entrance of Fairgrounds.

Can I still book a campsite at the Riverside Municipal Campground and RV Park?
The Riverside Municipal Campground and RV Park is currently closed. The 2020 season is scheduled to reopen on May 31, 2020. Reservations can be made online, with the understanding that the reservations may be cancelled if recommended by the health authorities.

MORE INFORMATION:

For more information, please follow the Town of Smithers webpage “2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Summary”

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-

 

News Release #2020-07: COVID-19 Update - Air Canada Suspends Flights into YYD for Remainder of March

News Release #2020-07 - PDF

For Immediate Release
#2020-07
March 24, 2020

SMITHERS – Air Canada just announced the suspension of their commercial flights into the Smithers Regional Airport for the remainder of March (starting March 25, 2020) and the entire month of April 2020.

Following this announcement, the Airport Administration Office and the Town of Smithers confirms that essential airport services such as access for emergency medical evacuations, charter flights, runway maintenance, and our ability to receive supplies will continue to be maintained.

If you have questions regarding Air Canada flights please contact the airline directly at phone 1-888-247-2262 or online at http://www.aircanada.com 

Airport Staff have been directed to take appropriate precautions with respect to social distancing, to self-isolation if they are symptomatic or have recently returned from travel, and other hygiene practices as recommended by Provincial authorities.

We want to reassure the community that we are regularly monitoring the ongoing circumstances related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and are adjusting service levels in line with the advice of health authorities.

At the same time, we will continue to guarantee that air access in and out of Smithers is possible if it is needed in emergency situations.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-

 

News Release #2020-06: COVID 19 Update Smithers Fairground Closure

News Release #2020-06 - PDF

For Immediate Release
#2020-06
March 23, 2020

SMITHERS – Effective at 11:59pm on Monday, March 23, 2020, the Smithers Fairgrounds will be closed to the public, until further notice.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-


News Release #2020-05: COVID 19 Update Municipal Parks and Playground Closures

News Release #2020-05 - PDF

For Immediate Release
#2020-05
March 23, 2020

SMITHERS – Effectively immediately, all Town of Smithers Municipal Parks and Playgrounds are closed to the public.

These include the following:

  • Bovill Square, located at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Main Street
  • Bulkley Drive Park, located on Bulkley Drive
  • Chandler Park Field, located at the corner of Vancouver Street and Third Avenue
  • Dogwood Park, located at the end of Dan Hamhuis Way, off of Toronto Street
  • Elks Park, located at the corner of Railway Avenue and Pacific Street
  • Goat Park, located at the corner of Highway 16 and Main Street
  • Heritage Park, including the Kinsmen Adventure Playground, Skateboard Park and Smithers Barkpark (Dog Park)
  • Husky Park, located at the corner of Main Street and Highway 16 (behind Subway)
  • Outdoor Rink, located behind the Fire Hall
  • Ranger Park, located at 3736 16th Avenue
  • Riverside Municipal RV Park and Campground, located at 3843 19th Avenue
  • Tennis Courts, located at Montreal Street
  • Turner Way Playground, located on Turner Way in Willowvale Subdivision
  • Veteran’s Peace Park, located at the corner of Aldous Street and Railway Avenue
  • Yorke-Hardy Park, located at the corner of Princess Street and 12th Avenue

A trail passing through a park is not closed, the public are permitted to walk on the trail through a park, but not permitted to play in the park.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-
 

News Release #2020-04: COVID-19 Update Building Inspection Services in Smithers

News Releases #2020-04 - PDF

For Immediate Release  
#2020-04
March 17, 2020

SMITHERS – Effective today, March 17, 2020, the Town of Smithers will still continue to do inspections on existing new construction and will only be accepting building permits applications for new construction and commercial projects. Inspections are to be booked in advance and performed with the Site Supervisor only.

Existing permits for building additions or renovations involving an occupied dwelling will be inspected "virtually" with the owner/contractor asked to take and email photos to the Building Inspector.

We are asking that homeowners at this time hold off on building renovations and/or additions at this time.

Media Contact:
Alan L. Harris, Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600

-30-

 

News Release #2020-03: Message from the Town of Smithers Council on COVID-19

News Release #2020-03 - PDF

For Immediate Release
#2020-03
March 16, 2020

SMITHERS – Smithers Town Council support the direction being taken by our Administration to keep our Staff and the Public safe as we follow best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19. This includes the closure of our arenas and limiting public access to town buildings. The Town Hall remains open to the public, although we ask you to consider alternate means of contacting Staff, such as telephone and email and making payments via electronic means.

Northern Health has also launched a COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line to help answer questions and concerns from Northern BC residents. The NH COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line can be reached at

1-844-645-7811

We urge everyone to do their part to control the spread of COVID-19.

Follow the steps outlined by our public health authorities:

  • Wash your hands
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • If you are sick, stay home

Do not over shop. Buy only what you need, and offer to pick up items for neighbours who may not be able to get out.

For detailed information on COVID-19 including prevention methods, the BC Centre for Disease Control website is an accurate source:  http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19

For further information on COVID-19 and the Town’s Operations please go to our website: http://www.smithers.ca/news/detail/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-situation-summary

Media Contact:
Gladys Atrill, Deputy Mayor
(250) 847-1600

-30-

 

News Release #2020-02: Town Facilities - Public Access Temporarily Restricted

News Release #2020-02 PDF

March 13, 2020 - Update
The Smithers Regional Airport remains open to the travelling public.
The Smithers Regional Airport Administration Officeis temporarily closed to the public at this time.

For Immediate Release
#2020-02
March 12, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

SMITHERS – Effective immediately, the Town of Smithers is enacting the following measures in the best interest of our community, our Town Employees and the general public’s health and safety:
The following Town Municipal Facilities listed below will be temporarily closed to the public as we closely monitor the status of COVID-19 Coronavirus.
You may contact the following Municipal Office Facilities directly by calling:

Smithers Fire Rescue Office  
250-847-2015

Smithers Regional Airport Administration Office
250-847-3664

Smithers Works and Operations Office
250-847-1649

Further information will be provided when available.

Media Contact:

Alan L. Harris
Chief Administrative Officer
(250) 847-1600
-30-