Mayor Facio says highway closures to Harrison ‘not possible’

Tight visitor restrictions remain in place

A Harrison local said he came back to his car to find this note attached to his windshield, the writer mistaking him for a day visitor. Mayor Leo Facio emphasized that people who leave notes like this should stop immediately. (Contributed Photo/Harrison Hot Springs News and Views)

While it’s important for Harrison Hot Springs to remain in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, there are limits to what can be done.

In his weekly address to the village released Thursday (April 23), Harrison Mayor Leo Facio said village officials have recived multiple requests to close the intersection of Highways 7 and 9, Hot Springs Road and McPherson Road, which he says is not possible.

“This is not possible for many factors, including emergency vehicle access, District of Kent residents who live on Rockwell Drive, traffic from logging roads and general deliveries,” Facio said in his statement. “The measures that have been put in place to discourage non-essential travel to the village are working. How long we continue to block access to beachfront parking and maintain facility closures will depend on the actions and advice coming from our provincial health officials.”

RELATED: Harrison Mayor: Visitors largely steered clear during Easter weekend

The mayor went on to report that certain unidentified people have taken it upon themselves to place documents on windshields stating village bylaw officers are on duty and license plates are being recorded as a way to warn visitors – and perhaps even locals, erroneously – to stay at home. Village officials have not authorized this action.

“This notice did not come from the village and is not consistent with our messages or practices,” Facio warned. “To those who did this, please discontinue this practice.”

During his last address the week prior, the mayor indicated much of the traffic passing through the area during the Easter weekend was headed east of Harrison and that bylaw enforcement officers as well as the RCMP were on duty to keep visitors at bay.

RELATED: Provincial state of emergency extended

Facio said the message the village has touted for weeks has not changed – Residents, stay at home if you don’t need to go out. Visitors, stay away from small communities and don’t travel. Everyone, remember to look out for neighbours and be kind.

“I am in touch with all 14 resort municipalities and we are all very much in the same position and communicating the same message to visitors,” Facio said.

The mayor once again stressed the importance of supporting the local economy however possible in an effort to stimulate a tourism-based economy that will no doubt face a significant uphill battle even after the pandemic begins to recede.

“With this virus…changing every day, communities (not just ours) find themselves in a waiting game, trying to gauge how to move forward,” Facio said. “I apprecaite your patience and understanding.”

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