NewsCity of Courtenay takes steps to support most vulnerable SHARE ON: Troy Landreville, staff Friday, Mar. 27th, 2020 Courtenay mayor Bob Wells. (Stock photo)The City of Courtenay is looking at ways to help the community’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis.The city is working with the Comox Valley Homelessness Coalition and other organizations on initiatives including:Opening the washrooms at the Sid Williams Theatre Plaza and Simms Park, with enhanced cleaning and security protocols to protect both washroom users and City staff; andAuthorizing emergency funding through the Comox Valley Homeless Coalition to help local groups while they wait for provincial and federal support. It’s also doling out funds to the following organizations:Comox Valley Care-a-van – $5,000LUSH Valley Food Action Society – $5,000Comox Valley Food Bank – $5,000Comox Valley Transition Society – $2,500The city is loaning outdoor tent canopy to the Comox Valley Food Bank to support physical distancing as they look to open their doors again.It’s also finalizing plans for reopening showers at a City facility through the Comox Valley Coalition to end HomelessnessMayor Bob Wells said he knew closing city facilities would have a major impact on the homeless population: “So we were immediately looking at options to at least re-open washrooms which we did. But we wanted to make sure that when we did that, we did it in the safest way possible both for the users as well as staff.”Meanwhile, for Courtenay’s business community, council will be voting on Monday to extend the deadline for annual flat commercial utility billing.Wells says the city has been working hard to adjust operations in response to the pandemic. “This is just the beginning of what we expect will be a long, tireless effort to adapt to this extraordinary global health emergency. We’re also advocating for provincial and federal support on numerous fronts, including housing options for the homeless, as well as broader support for residents and our business community,” Wells said. “This has affected our society’s entire way of life. Our council and staff are laser-focused on supporting our community through this crisis.”The city is participating in a regional Emergency Operations Centre along with representatives from the DND/19-Wing Comox, K’ómoks First Nation, Comox Valley Regional District, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, Fire Chiefs Association, and many other external agencies and organizations to collaborate on COVID-19 response measures and best practices for the region.You can follow the CVRD social media channels @comoxvalleyrd on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting the CVRD website to stay up to date. All Comox Valley local governments are centralizing regional COVID-19 information through these channels. The Emergency Operations Centre is standing by to support the lead agencies, Ministry of Health and Island Health, if requested at the federal and provincial level.