The City of Grande Prairie has declared a state of local emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move would give the city the ability to enact additional powers to help stop the spread of the pandemic and stabilize core services and support to the community.
Mayor Bill Given says some of the powers granted to the city include broad enforcement capabilities, especially when it comes to the guidelines put forward by the province.
“It does give the city wide-ranging authority to enforce those provisions and any other new ones that may be required to ensure our community is safe and secure, following good social distancing practices and for us to ensure there is no need for residents to be concerned about the availability of core services.”
Councillors also discussed the possibility of giving up city-owned buildings to Alberta Health Services as part of a potential COVID-19 screening facility. However, Given says at this point, the discussion around the Ernie Radbourne Pavillion was simply a pre-emptive promise to allow AHS use of the building if the need arises.
“As a preparatory measure, the city has provided support to Alberta Health Services by providing that facility on an as-needed basis,” he says.
“Just to be crystal clear, it is not an assessment centre today, [but] should Alberta Health Services determine that it’s needed, the city is prepared, and the facility is ready and prepared for them.”
Given says while the self-isolation may be tough for people, he hopes residents can understand that the measures are being put in place for the greater health of everyone in the region.
“We must take active measures to slow the pace of the pandemic so we can give our local health systems an ability to cope with the increased demand that will come. We must all work together to protect the people in our community who are most vulnerable,”
The state of local emergency is in effect for seven days, and will be re-discussed, and re-declared by members of the council on a weekly basis.