City-owned buildings may be pressed into service for COVID-19 - InfoNews

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City-owned buildings may be pressed into service for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO - B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks to reporters following a Council of the Federation meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Horgan says he's been guilty of some of the most aggressive examples of name calling in British Columbia's legislature in the past, but now that he's on the government side he supports a ban on derogatory language and name calling by politicians.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
March 26, 2020 - 7:30 PM

It came as no surprise to some city officials when the province said that municipal buildings may be seconded to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

That announcement was made earlier today, March 26, by Premier John Horgan and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth as part of a wide-ranging expansion of powers the province holds under the current state of emergency.

“This isn’t at all surprising to us,” Lance Kayfish, the City of Kelowna’s risk manager, told “One of the basic authorities under a state of emergency – provincially, federally, locally - is the ability to commandeer or to make use of facilities – both public and private, by the way - so that’s something that we’re well aware could be asked of us.”

Usually public buildings are taken first so the city has already compiled a list of buildings and what services they are suitable for, if the province asks.

In a news release, the province only mentioned community centres but any buildings, even hockey arenas that are city owned, could be commandeered.

The suggested uses in the release include self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing and distribution.

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