Public washrooms are now open in West Kelowna. (City of West Kelowna)

Public washrooms are now open in West Kelowna. (City of West Kelowna)

West Kelowna leading the way in safe reopening

Staff said the city’s protocols are being used by other municipalities

The City of West Kelowna has reopened a number of its facilities and services as provincial restrictions ease, and it is proudly leading the way for other municipalities.

During the Tuesday, June 23 meeting, chief administrative officer Paul Gipps said it’s all thanks to the city staff’s hard work.

“We’ve worked very hard and we’re leading in some areas in the province, so much so that they’re actually using our examples of how to open facilities,” he said.

“We’re getting tremendous kudos and I just want to acknowledge the great work that staff in parks and recreation (are doing).”

Parks, recreation and culture manager Bob Kusch gave a presentation of which facilities are now open and how they are functioning under the “new normal”.

Kusch showed they have signage at facilities reminding people to observe physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations as well as where the designated seating areas are.

“In the (Jim Lind) arena, we’ve divided it in half. We have the first group come in one side, they then go through a door and participate on the ice and then come back to (their designated side). Once they leave, the next group comes in from the far side,” he said.

“This way, it gives us time to disinfect one side while another group is on the ice. We now have a procedure that allows us to have groups shifting and changing.”

Other West Kelowna facilities that have opened include the Westside Youth Centre (operated by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs), beach volleyball, tennis and pickleball courts, playgrounds, public washrooms, as well as the spray park, which Kusch said is one of the first in the province to open.

Coun. Stephen Johnston congratulated staff and said the update was exciting.

“I feels so good to be on this side of the pandemic. Not that we’re totally through it, but we’re in this relaunch phase of life again, and that’s super encouraging,” he said.

“We’re very fortunate to have a great provincial health officer, and the residents of B.C. have done their part and not to mention the residents of West Kelowna.”

Coun. Jason Friesen said he was thankful and proud of all the staff had done.

“I think it’s so great that staff worked so quickly. Once we could go, you guys went and that’s fantastic. I’m proud as a councillor to hear that our staff are being utilized and consulted on provincial matters. Kudos to you guys.”

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Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
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City of West Kelowna