The Town of Castor will follow provincial advice on re-opening certain facilities to the public as the coronavirus pandemic appears to be winding down. Councillors discussed the issue at their May 11 regular meeting.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee presented a report to council on COVID-19 re-opening, stating the provincial government had released some guidelines May 11 on how municipalities could go about opening certain amenities to the public.
Robblee stated some directions seem to change on a daily basis.
He said the guidelines applied mostly to public spaces and noted that restrictions on things like public gatherings were being loosened, but some measures such as social distancing of six feet per person were still in effect.
Robblee stated municipalities were in charge of determining how these requirements should be followed.
The CAO stated that another measure is the regular cleaning of surfaces that could be touched by multiple people on a regular basis. If it’s a high touch surface, noted the CAO, it must be cleaned every three hours.
His recommendation included re-opening the baseball diamonds so the public could use them as they wish, but all health guidelines must be followed.
Mayor Richard Elhard suggested closing off the dugouts to ensure groups could not congregate there.
Robblee noted anyone using the ball diamonds was giving their consent to be there.
As far as campgrounds go, Robblee noted the provincial guidelines stated that municipalities “may” reopen them but all public health measures must still be followed.
He also stated that if the campground is re-opened for overnight stay, a record should be kept of every guest coming into the campground in case COVID-19 shows up there.
Robblee’s recommendation was to re-open the campground at 50 per cent capacity to ensure there was adequate room between guests.
Green spaces such as public parks could also be re-opened so long as pandemic measures are followed, such as the restrictions on the number of people allowed at a public event.
However, Robblee stated he wasn’t sure how the Town of Castor could guarantee that those restrictions were followed.
His recommendation was to re-open the public green spaces but to keep the playgrounds closed as they are high touch areas that the town couldn’t guarantee were cleaned regularly.
Mayor Elhard stated he didn’t see a problem with re-opening the boat launch, as it doesn’t seem like the kind of place where a lot of touching goes on.
Councillors also discussed re-opening the fish pond and agreed there wasn’t much there that the public touches on a regular basis.
One more decision councillors made was to ban tenting at the campground until further notice.
As well, public washrooms would also remain closed.
Councillors passed a motion allowing all of these decisions to come into effect.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter