RDCO Response to COVID-19 Virus

The situation with COVID-19 virus is rapidly evolving in British Columbia. The safety of our residents and staff is our primary concern and the Regional District of Central Okanagan is carefully monitoring the situation. We are following the direction of our public health experts from Interior Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We are taking the situation seriously and are developing response plans that follow the direction of public health authorities.

1. What We're Doing

With the provincial COVID-19 Restart guidelines, the Regional District is providing limited, in-person service from its main KLO Road building in Kelowna.

While public visits are available weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, residents are encouraged whenever possible to save time and travel by continuing to contact staff:

Responses will be provided as quickly as possible during regular business hours, weekdays 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (excluding holidays).

As the pandemic response has evolved, customers have readily adapted to online, email and telephone services. It’s hoped that in the interest of everyone’s safety, people continue to utilize these convenient, available options.

In keeping with the public safety guidelines of the Province, Interior Health and WorkSafe BC, the RDCO has instituted a number of protocols for visitors to its KLO Road administration building including:

  • A limit on the number of visitors to the building (if possible, one per party)
  • Personal hygiene requirements on entry
  • Increased daily cleaning and sanitation of common contact surfaces
  • Physical distancing in public areas and when dealing with staff
  • Directional signage and floor markers for customers requiring service
  • Installation of barriers to reduce potential transmission of the coronavirus

Development Applications, Planning, Building Inspections

Customers requiring specialized services like development applications and building inspections should continue to arrange appointments with staff by phone or email.  A department directory is available at rdco.com/directory.

Parks and Park Programs

  • The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park is open Tuesday through Sunday for a maximum of five physically distanced visitors. 
  • As health and safety allows, our Regional Parks interpretive programs are being provided to small group in-person activities and events.  We will continue to offer Live stream family-friendly parks interpretative programs.   For our schedule of in-person and mobile friendly Instagram Live @regionalparks programs visit rdco.com/parksevents

  • Playgrounds in RDCO regional and community parks are open.  The BC Centre for Disease Control has guidelines for parents and families that use playgrounds and play equipment in public areas:

RDCO Dog Control and Regional Dog Pound

As health and safety guidelines evolve, the Regional District will adjust and update its customer service response to reduce potential spread of COVID-19.  For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.

Please contact other organizations providing services from the RDCO Kelowna office on their public accessibility

Essential Services provided by the RDCO are currently being maintained such as:

  • Curbside garbage and recycling
  • Solid waste transfer stations (North Westside, Traders Cove, Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre)
  • Water systems (Falcon Ridge, Killiney Beach, Upper Fintry-Shalal Rd.-Valley of the Sun, Sunset Ranch, Trepanier/Star Place, Westshore Estates)
  • Fire Services (Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilson's Landing)
  • Dog Control and Regional Dog Pound (pound open with restricted number of public visitors.  You may also continue to arrange to claim/drop off dogs by calling 250-469-6284)
  • Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant and RDCO sewer collection system
  • Building Inspections - See More Details

COVID-19 Utility Bill Late Payment Relief

The Regional Board has adopted nine amendment bylaws providing relief from late payment penalties on utility bills to help those facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  No late payment fees will be charged on outstanding balances in quarters 2, 3 and 4 for water, solid waste management and sewer utility invoices in the electoral areas for the rest of 2020.  Penalty charges will resume in 2021 for outstanding utility payment balances.  Residents that can afford to pay their utility bills on time are urged to do so in order to provide cash flow and help in mitigating potential interim borrowing costs for operations.

Regional Mayors and Westbank First Nation Chief Economic Recovery Task Force - supporting immediate needs of local business and drive for a full economic recovery - See Details and View Updates / View News Conference Video

To keep our staff healthy, we have instituted the following measures:

  • Some staff are working remotely
  • Increased daily cleaning of shared contact surfaces 
  • Additional tissues and hand sanitizers around our public facilities
  • Staff and visitors must follow personal hygiene measures including sanitizing/washing hands
  • Social - physical distancing among staff and visitors
  • Requesting staff/visitors stay home if not feeling well
  • Building inspectors are maintaining social distancing and only being conducted for vacant or unoccupied buildings.

 

2. Changes in Our Service

Keep Garbage Collection running smoothly during COVID-19 - 

The following changes affect solid waste disposal services:

  • Cash is not accepted as payment at the Westside Transfer Station in West Kelowna or at the Glenmore Landfill in Kelowna. 
  • To stay up to date, download the Recycle Coach app, or visit rdco.com/recycle

Until further notice the following RDCO facilities are closed to the public:

  • The Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Joe Rich Community Hall
  • Ellison Heritage School Community Hall
  • Killiney Beach Community Hall (in conjunction with North Westside Communities Association)
  • All fire halls serving Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilson's Landing

As health and safety allows, Regional Parks interpretive programs are provided for small group, in-person activities and events.  We continue to offer Live stream family-friendly parks interpretative programs Tuesdays and Thursdays.   For our mobile friendly Instagram Live @regionalparks programs visit rdco.com/parksevents or subscribe to our playlist on YouTube

Playground equipment and structures in seven regional parks and four RDCO community parks are open with health and safety regulations in place:

  • Wash and/or sanitize hands before and after visiting
  • Keep a safe physical distance and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people
  • Stay home if you feel unwell

The BC Centre for Disease Control has guidelines for parents and families that use playgrounds and play equipment in public areas:

Please note that playground equipment use is at your own risk and that structures and equipment are not sanitized.

As of June 1, bookings of up to 50 people for parks facilities and amenities are permitted.  More Details

3. How To Contact RDCO And Other Agencies In KLO Road Building?

Information for the following agencies located in the RDCO office can be made by:

  • City of Kelowna KLO Community Policing Office
    Phone:  250-470-0600
  • Okanagan Basin Water Board
    Phone: 250-469-6270 website: obwb.ca/contact/
  • Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program
    Phone: 250-718-4096 email:  occp123@gmail.com   website: okcp.ca
  • Okanagan Film Commission   
    Phone: 250-717-0087 email: info@okanaganfilm.com   website:  okanaganfilm.com
  • Sterile Insect Release Program
    Phone: 800-363-6684 email: sirinfo@oksir.org   website: oksir.org

 

4. Resources for Central Okanagan Businesses

The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission is providing updated resources and assistance for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Regional Mayors and Westbank First Nation Chief Economic Recovery Task Force - supporting immediate needs of local business and drive for a full economic recovery - See Details and View Updates / View News Conference Video

5. Financial Services and Utility Bill Late Payment Relief

The Regional Board adopted nine amendment bylaws providing relief from late payment penalties on utility bills to help those facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

No late payment fees will be charged on outstanding balances for water, solid waste management and sewer utility invoices in the electoral areas for quarters 2, 3 and 4 during 2020.  Penalty charges will resume in 2021 for outstanding utility payment balances.  View Report to Board / View Presentation

Residents that can afford to pay their utility bills on time are urged to do so in order to provide cash flow and help in mitigating potential interim borrowing costs for operations.

Financial resources and resident / business support
The RDCO has taken a fiscally balanced approach to the 2020 budgeted expenditures by reducing spending in areas where work must be curtailed to meet health restrictions, and continuing with essential projects and those where meaningful work can still take place to keep local businesses working and staff employed. The RDCO is also helping support residents and
businesses with the following actions:

Financial resource actions:

  • Suspended all staff travel and training
  • Suspended recruitment of new positions outside of those required for essential services
  • Reduced recruitment of summer students
  • Cancelled public facing programs and events like the Repair Café and Trunk Sale and park programming
  • Continuing with capital projects for essential services such as upgrades to the Waste Water Treatment Plant (TWAS vault)

Support actions:

  • Giving Regional Board consideration to suspending late payment penalties on utility bills
  • Continuing to review and process development permits and issue building permits online and by appointment so development and construction can continue
  • Keeping essential services like the water utilities, waste water collection, garbage and recycling services all running smoothly to support residents and businesses
  • Providing information to residents regarding the Province’s tax deferment programs for:

It is important to note that the RDCO operates differently as a regional district compared to a municipality. The RDCO does not tax property owners in the region directly and is legislatively required to submit the budget bylaw to the Province before the end of March.  The final budget bylaw was passed by the Regional Board on March 23, 2020. The RDCO’s total budget for 2020 is $56 million. Tax requisitions of $22.7 million (40 per cent of the budget) have been submitted to the Province and Municipalities for collection, as required.  Any changes made to the 2020 budget now will not change the tax requisition for 2020 but may offset costs in 2021 through surplus funds. Municipal debt payments to the Municipal Finance Authority of BC (MFABC) totaling $14.3 million (25 per cent of the budget) must be received and made via the RDCO on time.

6. Are RDCO Regional Parks And RDCO Community Parks Open?

Currently, all Regional and RDCO Community Parks remain open for visitors to enjoy our natural surroundings. 

For the safety of everyone using our outdoor park areas please practice social-physical distancing to help reduce any potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.  As health officials recommend, keep at least two metres space between yourself and others visiting parks and open spaces.

As health and safety allows, Regional Parks interpretive programs are being provided to small group, in-person activities and events.  We continue to offer Live stream family-friendly parks interpretative programs each Tuesday and Thursday.   For our mobile friendly Instagram Live @regionalparks programs visit rdco.com/parksevents or subscribe to our playlist on YouTube.

Playground equipment and structures in seven regional parks and four RDCO community parks are open with health and safety regulations in place:

  • Wash and/or sanitize hands before and after visiting
  • Keep a safe physical distance and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people
  • Stay home if you feel unwell

The BC Centre for Disease Control has guidelines for parents and families that use playgrounds and play equipment in public areas:

Please note that playground equipment use is at your own risk and that structures and equipment are not sanitized.

As of June 1, bookings of up to 50 people for parks facilities and amenities are permitted.  More Details

7. Is The EECO Or Other RDCO Facilities Open To The Public?

The EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with physical distancing required and a maximum of five people inside at any time.  

Currently, these RDCO facilities are closed to the public:

  • Community halls in Ellison, Joe Rich and Killiney Beach
  • RDCO fire department halls
    • Ellison
    • Joe Rich (Hwy 33. main and Goudie Rd.)
    • North Westside (Udell Rd. in Killiney Beach, Stn. 102 Westside Rd., Stn. 103 waterfront)
    • Wilson's Landing
  • Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
As health and safety allows, Regional Parks interpretive programs are being provided to small group, in-person activities and events.  We continue to offer Live stream family-friendly parks interpretative programs each Tuesday and Thursday.   For our mobile friendly Instagram Live @regionalparks programs visit rdco.com/parksevents or subscribe to our playlist on YouTube.

As of June 1, bookings of up to 50 people for parks facilities and amenities are permitted.  More Details

Playground equipment and structures in seven regional parks and four RDCO community parks are open with health and safety regulations in place:

  • Wash and/or sanitize hands before and after visiting
  • Keep a safe physical distance and avoid gatherings of more than 50 people
  • Stay home if you feel unwell

NEW - Playgrounds in RDCO regional and community parks.  The BC Centre for Disease Control has guidelines for parents and families that use playgrounds and play equipment in public areas:

Please note that playground equipment use is at your own risk and that structures and equipment are not sanitized.

8. Building Inspections and Permits During RDCO Office Closure

During the current COVID-19 health emergency, RDCO Building Inspectors are continuing to complete inspections while minimizing personal contact during inspections and ensuring that the minimum two metre physical distance standard is respected at all times. Building inspections are only being conducted for unoccupied and vacant buildings.

To further ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers, all requests for onsite inspections are also be subject to review and approval to proceed on a case by case basis. 

Customers wishing to make an appointment are asked to please submit your request and purpose details to inspections@rdco.com.  Inspection Services staff will contact you to determine what alternate options need to be made for document submission (e.g. by email, general post, drop box or project site).

For more information or for general building and permit inquiries, please continue to contact: Inspection Services at (250) 469-6211 or inspections@rdco.com

 

9. Cancelled RDCO Activities and Events

  • RDCO Tire Collection and drop-off
  • Go Fish youth urban fishery program will not be held this year 
  • Pick up events for pre-purchased composters and rain barrels.  Those who have purchased units will be contacted regarding alternate delivery to your home in early May.  More Details
  • April's Community Clean Up month
  • Spring Trunk Sale
  • March 28 Repair Cafe 
  • March 16 Recruitment Open House and BBQ for Wilson’s Landing Fire

10. What You can do

Please follow all the directions of Public Health Officials

You can reduce your risk of contracting the virus or passing it on to others with the following hygiene habits:

  • Frequent hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer
  • Not touching your face
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or tissue, followed by hand washing
  • Social-physical distancing by providing at least two metres space between yourself and others
  • Staying away from crowded areas 
  • Staying home if you feel sick or show any symptoms of the virus

Get informed on latest COVID-19 information by visiting reliable information sources like:

 

 

 
 
 
Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)