Photo/Village of Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Mayor: Visitors largely steered clear during Easter weekend

Coronavirus concerns, stern consistent message kept travelers at bay

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs sent out several messages warning visitors to stay away for now – especially over this past Easter long weekend – and it seems those messages have largely been heeded.

Village Mayor Leo Facio said in a statement released Thursday (April 16) that while there were some visitors to the village, he felt the village as “not inundated.”

“A large majority of vehicles that drove through town were heading east, away from us,” the mayor said in his most recent statement. “Of the visitors who did stop here, the majority were keeping their physical distance from anyone they didn’t travel with.”

RELATED: ‘Let’s all work together’ – Harrison Mayor again urges visitors, residents to stay home over long weekend

Facio reported the local bylaw officers were on duty for all four days of the long Easter weekend and the RCMP had extra presence throughout the village and on the lake as well.

Facio further addressed public outcry about private campgrounds still being open, noting that a majority of sites currently in use are owned or country club memberships. Although non-essential travel is strongly discouraged by authorities federal, provincial and municipal, no orders from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have come down to shut said campsites down.

The East Sector Park is one of many areas the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) has shut down to further stop the spread of COVID-19. There are signs posted at the entrances and along the highway leading up to the park. If there is any activity in the area during the closure, please contact the local RCMP’s non-emergency number at 604-796-2211.

RELATED: ‘Difficult but necessary’ – local parks, trails, rec sites closed amid pandemic

Facio further urged residents to, as much as possible, continue to support local businesses offering takeout services, convenience stores, gas stations and off sales.

“These business people are struggling, and we need them all to fully open when this pandemic is over,” Facio said. “Shop and eat locally. Let’s all help.”

The mayor and village staff continue to be in touch with provincial and regional health officials for the latest coronavirus developments.

Harrison Hot Springs Village Council meetings remain closed to the public at this time. Thanks to B.C. Ministerial Order M083, council meetings may now take place via teleconferencing. Residents can stay informed via the village website at Agendas are always available via the village website, but village officials will also include draft minutes of council meetings on the website as well.

RELATED: Harrison Council asks public to stay away from Monday’s meeting

The Observer will be in attendance to this upcoming meeting and any subsequent meetings in an effort to keep the public informed during this transitional time.

“We look forward to installing a new digital camera in our chambers in the neat future, which should at least afford us the opportunity to share videos of Council meetings until such a time as we can once again convene in person,” Facio said.

The mayor again extended his thanks to the front line workers as well as Dr. Henry, the village staff and crew and the villagers for all efforts in flattening and bending the curve.

“On behalf of Council, I would like to thank you all for taking the provincial health orders seriously and maintaining your physical distance from one another,” Facio stated. “According to [Dr. Henry], the curve (projected number of COVID_19 cases) is very slowly beginning to level out. Unfortunately, there are still reported deaths, and we send our deepest condolences to family and friends from other locations in B.C. We must continue to be diligently and not let our guard down.”

“Stay safe. Keep your distance,” the mayor continued. “Wash your hands and do not touch your face. Together, we can beat this.”

The next regular Village council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20 at 7 p.m. For any inquiries, please contact the Village office at 604-796-2171.

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