Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek and Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese held a press conference at Murrayville Fire hall No. 6 on Thursday afternoon to announce the activation of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The response is jointly operated by both municipalities under the Langley Emergency Program, to provide reliable, consistent messaging and ensure a coordinated response.
The EOC has been opened at Level 1 and activation levels will be raised as required in response to the pandemic.
“Activating the EOC will ensure appropriate levels of services are in place to support our communities and provide a centralized information and response centre as we manage through this unprecedented challenge,” Froese said.
“The primary role of the EOC at this point is to ensure vital information is gathered and shared quickly, so our municipalities can remain informed and up-to-date on any new developments,” added van den Broek.
Updates from the EOC will be provided daily to Langley City and Township Councils.
Provincial state of emergency
On March 18, the Government of B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency to support the province-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
van den Broek and Froese explained that this allows the Province, through the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to implement any provincial emergency measures required, with access to land and human resource assets.
This includes securing the critical supply chains to make sure people have access to essential goods and services, and that infrastructure necessary in a response is readily available.
The mayors thanked the municipal employees, members of CUPE Locals 403 and 2058, the International Association of Firefighters, paid-on-call firefighters, RCMP, Emergency Program Coordinator Ginger Sherlock, and everyone else who is mobilizing this response for their efforts to ensure residents are safe during the pandemic.
“We are actively looking towards a solution to provide child care for our first responders, health care workers, and essential service delivery employees,” Froese added.
Numerous measures have been put in place in the City and Township to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading, including limiting public access at both the Township’s Civic Facility and Langley City Hall.
Business will continue to be conducted by phone, email, online, and by appointment only.
While the municipalities are taking strong action to ensure the safety of residents and employees, vital services will be continuing.
The day-to-day services people rely on will continue, parks and trails remain open, and the RCMP and fire departments are operating as normal.
“this is a marathon, not a sprint”
“We want everyone to be safe, we want them to be diligent and take all necessary precautions, but we want to ensure that life for our residents continues as routinely as possible,” van den Broek said. “By continuing to work together and supporting each other, we will strive to keep our community healthy.”
“This is our time to be kind, be calm, and be safe. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we will overcome this together,” she continued.
“We are dealing with an extraordinary situation that is impacting us all,” said Froese. “Right now, everyone has a role to play. Every decision, every action can have an impact and each one of us must take responsibility and do what we can.”
“Residents of Langley City and Township can do their part by maintaining social distancing, shopping smartly but not hoarding, keeping their hands clean, avoid touching their face, and staying home – all these efforts will make a difference,” Froese added. “How we respond in the days, weeks and months ahead, both as individuals and as a community, will be vital.”
For official updates, municipal closures and cancellations, ways to stay connected with local government, and links to information from the government bodies and health agencies providing direction on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit tol.ca and langleycity.ca.
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