Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick

Thoughtful plan for reintroducing visitors to Kimberley required: Mayor McCormick

As the City begins the process of reopening, Mayor Don McCormick wants to congratulate Kimberley residents for how they have coped with this strange new world.

In a message posted on the City website, McCormick said that the reopening is thanks to decreasing case numbers and low levels of hospitalization.

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“Great job BC and specifically Kimberley,” he said

“As a community, we have followed the Provincial Health Officer direction to the letter. When lock-down is the order, the message is the same for everyone. Going forward, we will continue to follow the PHO advice, but execute re-opening in a way that considers our unique needs as a community.

“Since 2001, Kimberley’s single economic driver is tourism. This is significant because our retail business community is dependent on tourism spending. Local spending is not going to be enough to keep everyone viable. Opening up our economy is going to mean opening up to visitors, but it must be done in a safe way.

“Tourism has been under siege since the beginning of this pandemic. The Alberta visitor experience the last few months in several East Kootenay communities is troubling. There are stories of contempt, conflict and even vandalism. Secondary homeowners and regular visitors to Kimberley have been awesome, respecting our reasons for asking them to hunker down in their primary residence as per the advice of both Provincial Health Officials.

“The next phases of the BC Restart Plan are about learning to live with this virus. It starts with re-opening businesses over the next several days and weeks. It means a thoughtful plan for reintroducing visitors to Kimberley. It also means a strong ‘shop local’ commitment from residents.

“A business-focused stakeholder team has been working on an opening strategy for several weeks now. The team includes: John Hamilton (Tourism Kimberley), Daniel Holden (Chamber of Commerce), Pat Elynuik (Northstar Mountain Village, Mountain Spirit, Kimberley Lodging Company), Ted Funston (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) and myself. Our goal is a made-in-Kimberley strategy that addresses all interests of the community: our residents, our businesses and our visitors. Great care is being taken to develop ‘safe’ behavioral practices and continuing to focus on protecting ourselves from COVID-19.

“Details will be announced as we approach Phase 3 and the addition of activities as specified in the BC Restart Plan. In the meantime, stay informed, stay calm and be safe.”

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