Bowen has demobilized its first emergency operations centre three months after it was activated in mid-March.
“Dealing with COVID is no longer an emergency response,” said Mayor Gary Ander in his final weekly video update to the island. “In reality it has become part of our day-to-day municipal operations.”
The virtual EOC headed up the municipal response to the pandemic with emergency program coordinator Jennifer McGowan at the helm. Those duties will now fall into regular municipal operations with a “small staff working group,” said BIM’s press release. Municipal COVID information can still be found on BIM's COVID site.
While talk of EOC demobilization had been in the works for weeks, it finally happened June 24 when Premier John Horgan announced that the province was entering phase three of the Restart plan.
This phase includes non-essential (branded “smart and safe”) travel within the province as well as reopening of (with precautions in place): accommodation providers, film and TV production and in-person K-12 and post-secondary classes.
In his video, Ander recognized the staff who contributed to the EOC, which at times had 15 staff.
“The entire community found its stride as we all came to terms with the new way of being in this pandemic,” said Ander.
While island life is reopening, it’s not back to the way it was. This year’s Canada Day celebrations are virtual with a video streaming from Bowen Island Community Recreation’s Facebook page at noon July 1.