This was the scene in Sidney’s Tulista Park last Tuesday. Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble said the municipality will encourage residents to ‘play safe and stay safe’ against the backdrop of a COVID-19 surge among youth in following provincial directions, but also said the municipality lacks the legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public spaces. (Submitted)

This was the scene in Sidney’s Tulista Park last Tuesday. Sidney’s chief administrative officer Randy Humble said the municipality will encourage residents to ‘play safe and stay safe’ against the backdrop of a COVID-19 surge among youth in following provincial directions, but also said the municipality lacks the legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public spaces. (Submitted)

Sidney can ‘only educate and encourage’ people to social distance

CAO says municipality lacks legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public

Sidney simply lacks the legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public spaces, says the chief administrative officer.

“We can only educate and encourage them to social distance,” CAO Randy Humble told the Peninsula News Review.

He made those comments after the PNR shared pictures of crowds in Tulista Park taken July 21. They show several groups of individuals socializing and playing various sports on the green space between the skateboard park and the playground and public washrooms. While the estimated total numbers of individuals in the area appeared below 50 — the upper limit for public gatherings — several small clusters of individuals dotted the area, with individuals appearing to stand within two metres of each other. Comparable clusters have also appeared on other evenings last week.

RELATED: B.C. records 81 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday

Recent days have seen COVID-19 cases in British Columbia spike against the backdrop of images showing large crowds gathering on rafted boats in the Okanagan and on beaches in Vancouver. This imagery has prompted provincial political leaders and health officials including provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to remind the public – specifically youth –to refrain from risky behaviour for not only their own sake, but also for the sake of others, including high-risk groups, such as seniors, which in Sidney accounts for almost 41 per cent of the population.

Humble said the municipality continues to follow the advice and guidance of the provincial health officer. “This includes the [provincial order] limiting crowds of people to less than 50 persons,” he said. “It’s been indicated by Dr. Bonnie Henry that interactions with people that are part of your ‘bubble’ are acceptable while keeping a safe distance from others.”

Henry has also repeatedly indicated that activities outdoors are much safer than those indoors, said Humble. “From the Town’s perspective, we will continue to encourage people to ‘play safe and stay safe.’”

It is not clear whether individuals seen last week belonged to their respective so-called bubbles. This said, it is also important to note the British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard run by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control shows Vancouver Island Health Authority with a total of 143 reported cases as of Tuesday, July 28. That figure represents just over four per cent of all reported cases in British Columbia.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch 94-year-old in Saanich earns permanent Canadian residency

Couple of 45 years to stay together in Cadboro Bay

Ron MacDonnell leans over the railing on Beacon Wharf Tuesday afternoon. The Town of City is currently looking into the future of the aging structure. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney explores public-private partnership for iconic Beacon Wharf

Wharf committee recommends town invite pontoon company to submit proposal

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read