Regional district adds COVID-19 coordinator to temporary worker's campground in South Okanagan - InfoNews

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Regional district adds COVID-19 coordinator to temporary worker's campground in South Okanagan

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has added a COVID-19 coordinator to staff at the South Okanagan's Loose Bay temporary workers' campground.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ RDOS
May 08, 2020 - 6:00 PM

To reduce the risk of the potential spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is stepping in to manage a temporary agricultural worker campground.

The Loose Bay Campground is a seasonal domestic temporary worker campground located near Oliver that opened for the season at the beginning of May.

The regional district holds a license of occupation on the Crown parcel where the campground is located, which was managed in past years by the Loose Bay Campground Society. The society was an independent agricultural group that voted to dissolve in late April after being faced with the additional complexities of operating the campground under additional COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

This is the first time the regional district has stepped in to provide oversight to the campground, which currently has three staff members including a site manager, a site caretaker and a new position of RDOS COVID-19 coordinator.

Other agricultural organizations are also assisting the regional district.

Regional district communications officer Erick Thompson said in a telephone interview today, May 8, the site manager and caretaker positions are paid for out of campground revenue. The new co-ordinator’s position is paid by the regional district.

Thompson says the position is funded through an existing local service area budget, the Loose Bay Campground Service, which historically was for water service only.

He couldn't say what would have happened to the campground had the regional district not stepped in.

"We wouldn't be able to say as that would be speculative, but I think the reason the (regional district) and other groups are involved is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," he said.

He says the regional district was informed of the dissolution of the society on April 28, the day after the society made the decision.

“The society chose to dissolve due to the complexities of dealing with COVID-19. It was certainly something they didn’t see and probably was going to involve a lot more than they had set out to deal with,” he said.

The campground has introduced procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 which includes requirements for a self-assessment and implementation of steps for a camper to take if identified to have COVID-19 symptoms.

The campground is used by farmworkers, tourists and others, many of whom stay for weeks or even months.

Regional director board chair Karla Kozakevich said in a press release issued, May 7, agriculture is an essential service and the area’s agricultural workers play an important role in the region’s economy. She says the regional district will continue working with the province, Interior Health, industry representatives and local elected officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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