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City of Victoria Response to COVID-19 | April 01 2020
The City of Victoria is taking COVID-19 seriously and is in communication with provincial health officials regarding standards and protocols. What You Need to Know City Business and Facilities City Hall is open to the public by appointment only. The public can call 250.385.5711 for general information. Development Permit Applications Effective immediately, the City of Victoria has adjusted its submission processes for all Development and Building Permit Applications. Rezoning, development permit, heritage alteration permit, temporary use permit, and variance applications can now be submitted by email to zoning@victoria.ca (as attachments or by providing a download link). General inquiries or questions about the digital submission process can be sent by email to DevelopmentServices@victoria.ca or by phone to 250.361.0382. View our Planning Department contacts. Building Permit Applications Building, plumbing and sign permit applications can now be submitted by email to permits@victoria.ca, plumbingpermits@victoria.ca, or signpermits@victoria.ca respectively (as attachments or by providing a download link). Electrical permits can be applied for online through MyCity Online. General inquiries or questions about the digital submission process can be sent by email to permits@victoria.ca or by phone to 250.361.0344. View our Building and Inspections contacts. Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre and Royal Athletic Park are closed to curb the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the community. Learn more. Playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities such as skate and bike parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, sports fields and outdoor gyms are closed until futher notice. Open spaces and trails in City parks remain open. City-owned community and seniors centres, which are run by independent non-profit societies, have closed or reduced their operations. Learn more. Reminders No flushing of wipes, please! We've started seeing clogging at our sanitary sewage pump systems. Please do not flush any type of wipes down toilets. Wipes, including disinfecting wipes and wipes marked as "flushable", are to be disposed of in the garbage. Any type of open burning is still prohibited in Victoria. This has been reinforced by additional provincial restrictions prohibiting any type of open burning. The community is invited to join Mayor Helps daily at 7 p.m. to head out on their balconies, porches or yards to cheer, play an instrument or bang pots, to demonstrate their support of health care workers and other frontline staff working hard to keep us all safe and healthy, and taking care of those who are not. City Programs and Services       MyCity Online can be used for many online payment and services. City of Victoria recreation programs and services offered at the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre and Royal Athletic Park closed end of day on March 16. Refunds will be issued for anyone affected by programs cancelled during the closure. Garden Waste Drop-off Service is closed on Saturdays at the Public Works Yard until further notice.  Parking Services: The City has moved towards automated-only parking payments to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. Starting March 18, only automated payments (cash or credit card) will be accepted in City parkades – the same as current on-street parking. The public is encouraged to pay for on-street parking using the City’s free ParkVictoria app.  Engagement Events: Following the advice from BC’s Public Health Officer for social distancing and avoiding large groups, the City has decided to postpone all public engagement events until further notice. This includes any scheduled open houses, workshops, meet-ups, and the Mayor’s Community Drop-In. View engage.victoria.ca for the latest information.   City's Support for the Community On March 26, the City provided an update on temporary sheltering. The two locations will be Topaz Park and Royal Athletic Park. Indoor shelters are coming soon. Council passed a motion requesting the Province take measures to provide rent relief and a ban on evictions for small business and non-profits during the provincial state of emergency on an urgent basis. Learn more. On March 23, the City announced it had convened Island Health, BC Housing, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, the Dandelion Society and other local service agencies to establish additional supports for vulnerable populations including more places for people to self-isolate. Learn more. Watch the Mayor's Update. On March 19, Victoria City Council passed a number of important measures to support residents, local business and the non-profit sector facing hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more. Committee and Council Meetings  March 26, 2020 - In April, evening Council Meetings will move to the daytime and will start at noon. The March 26 Council Meeting Agenda will move to the April 2 Council Meeting at noon. March 24, 2020 - Notice of Cancellation: The regularly scheduled Council Meeting of March 26, 2020 has been cancelled. All business on the March 26 Council Agenda will be forwarded to the April 2, 2020 Council Meeting to follow Committee of the Whole. Committee of the Whole and Council meetings will proceed and are webcast live and archived. Based on recommendations by public health officials, as of March 19:  Council has suspended the holding of public hearings in accordance with the Class Order on COVID-19 from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer until further notice. (NOTE: The public hearing for 1301 Hillside has been cancelled.)  Council has also suspended the question period sections of Council meeting agendas for in-person participation. Requests to address Council will be limited to six delegations through either telephone participation, where possible, and the reading out of submissions and/or broadcasting of recorded submissions, if necessary. All Advisory Committee, Board and Task Force meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Neighbours Helping Neighbours Wondering how you can help other residents who may be most vulnerable to COVID-19? Residents in other cities have responded by setting up neighbourhood networks to provide mutual support. See what's possible with our Neighbours Helping Neighbours resources. Resource Hub for Local Business Check out our Resource Hub for Local Business to find out what resources the federal and provincial governments are providing to support businesses.  By-Election Postponed  To protect residents from the current threat of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has deferred Victoria's April 4 by-election. View the Ministry's media release.  What You Can Do  Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:  Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands Avoiding close contact with people who are sick Coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands Staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others Learn more about what you can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. What the City of Victoria is Doing  Watching daily updates of the Provincial Health Officer and adopting recommended measures Stepping up cleaning protocols and installing hand hygiene stations at City Hall and other City facilities Recommending to staff proper hand washing protocols and to stay home if they feel ill Helpful Resources COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information For information on what the Province of BC is doing to support residents and businesses, click here. Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program / BC 211 The province has launched a program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. Learn more at bc211.ca. Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Learn about the federal government's benefits for individuals, families and businesses here. COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool Government of Canada Information Line: 1-833-784-4397 BC Centre for Disease Control Island Health  Updates from City of Victoria The City's COVID-19 response updates are noted below. Watch live updates from Mayor Helps on the City's Facebook page, weekdays at 2:30 p.m. City of Victoria COVID-19 Update April 1, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 31, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update (begins at 1:13) March 30, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 27, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 26, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 25, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 24, 2020 City of Victoria COVID-19 Update Mayor's Facebook Live Update March 23, 2020 Playgrounds Close in City's COVID-19 Response March 22, 2020 Island Health, BC Housing, Coalition to End Homelessness, the City of Victoria Implement Measures for COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations in Victoria March 20, 2020 City's Support for Community During COVID-19 Pandemic March 19, 2020 City of Victoria Responds to COVID-19 March 16, 2020 Statement from Mayor Helps on Island Health's First Case of COVID-19 March 11, 2020
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Kathryn Calder to Live Stream Performance on April 3 | April 01 2020
Photo credit: Jenna Shouldice With music venues closed and public events postponed due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), musicians around the world are finding creative ways to perform and share access to live music. The City of Victoria’s Artist in Residence, Kathryn Calder, is no exception. Kathryn will live stream a concert from her home in Victoria during these unprecedented times. The 30-minute solo set will include a selection of Kathryn’s own songs, as well as, a couple of her favourites written by others. The live stream will take place on Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. PST. Tune in to Kathryn’s YouTube channel here. Victoria-based musician, songwriter/ recording artist and recording studio owner Kathryn Calder, was selected as the City’s Artist in Residence in 2019. For the past 15 years, Kathryn has been recording and touring as a vocalist/ keyboardist with indie rock group The New Pornographers. She has also released three solo records, five albums with Immaculate Machine, and one album with her latest project, Frontperson. The Artist in Residence program aims to ‘keep art in mind’, providing the opportunity for a professional artist to work collaboratively with City staff and the community to identify and develop creative artwork to augment one or more capital projects annually over a two-year term. Read more about the Artist in Residence program: victoria.ca/publicart
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Outdoor Recreation Facilities Closed in City’s COVID-19 Response | March 22 2020
The City of Victoria is closing all outdoor recreation facilities in public parks to help limit the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This includes skate and bike parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, sports fields, outdoor gyms and more.  Signs will be posted at these facilities to further notify the public of this decision. Provincial public health advice is very clear – when people are outside their homes, they must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres. Open spaces and trails in City parks remain open for people to get outdoors while maintaining the required physical distance. This decision comes after the closure of City playgrounds and indoor recreation facilities last week. 
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VIDEO: What's Up at Council on Thursday, March 26? | March 20 2020
Want to know what’s coming up for final decision-making in Victoria? Tune into What’s Up at Council?, our video series for a glance at what’s coming up for discussion at City Council, hosted by Mayor Lisa Helps. You can watch the video here and on the City of Victoria’s social media channels.  NOTICE OF CANCELLATION (March 24): The Council Meeting on Thursday, March 26 has been cancelled. All business on the March 26 Agenda will move to the April 2, 2020 Council Meeting. Council Meetings – What You Need to Know City Council meetings are where final decisions are made that will most impact you. Mayor and Council convene twice a month to make decisions about bylaws and development permits, City business such as programs and services, and our Strategic Plan initiatives. Victoria City Council meetings normally occur on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Agendas are posted the Friday before by 3 p.m. Committee of the Whole and Council meetings will proceed and are webcast live and archived. Based on recommendations by public health officials, as of March 19:  Council has suspended the holding of public hearings in accordance with the Class Order on COVID-19 from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer until further notice. (NOTE: The public hearing for 1301 Hillside has been cancelled.)  Council has also suspended the question period sections of Council meeting agendas for in-person participation. Requests to address Council will be limited to six delegations through either telephone participation, where possible, and the reading out of submissions and/or broadcasting of recorded submissions, if necessary.  All Advisory Committee, Board and Task Force meetings have been cancelled until further notice.  Read about the City of Victoria Response to COVID-19 here.
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Victoria's By-Election Postponed | March 19 2020
To protect residents from the current threat of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, has deferred Victoria's April 4 by-election. This action, requested by the Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health and the City of Victoria, will help ensure residents are not required to gather in polling stations and will free up the City's resources to focus on dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Decisions to reschedule the by-election will be made by the City in conjunction with public health officials and Elections BC. View the Ministry's media release. All nine candidates have been informed of the postponement. The vote for one Councillor had been scheduled for April 4, with advance voting starting next week. The position became vacant when Laurel Collins resigned from Victoria City Council in November 2019 following her election to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Victoria.  Although the by-election has been postponed, the flyer that Victoria residents receive in the mail this week contains helpful information on what residents need to know to vote regarding eligibility and required identification for voting. Background On March 16, 2020, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health recommended that the City of Victoria's April 4 by-election be postponed until the coronavirus pandemic is declared over. The City requested an order from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to authorize the postponement under the Local Government Act. Learn more.
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