• Sicamous council made an effort to support local non-profits. In a March 26 video address to the community, Mayor Terry Rysz detailed some of the decisions council had made regarding the COVID-19 situation. Council agreed to repurpose a fund earmarked for sending district councillors and staff to conferences, redirecting that money to nonprofit groups. Rysz said the money will be distributed as grants to the agencies that look after vulnerable members of the community. Groups can apply for grants of up to $2,000 from the $20,000 fund. Applications for the grants could be made through the District of Sicamous website.
• The Eagle Valley Community Support Society’s food bank was hard pressed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer Ribi, a community coordinator with the support society, said their food bank gave out what would usually be three months worth of food in a week as the COVID-19 crisis took hold.
She said there’s been increased demand on the food bank but they were trying to feed everyone in need. To limit trips to the food bank, two weeks of food were being given at a time in order to ensure people had adequate nutrition for self-isolating.
• Social distancing is not a new concept for the Hutchinson family. Teri Hutchinson explained she and husband Colin became familiar with it following the birth of their second daughter, Britton, in May 2015.
Britton was born with a rare congenital heart defect that immediately put her in line for a heart transplant. Britton received the successful transplant on Sept. 3, 2015. Because of Britton’s compromised immune system and her heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, the Hutchinson family have been keeping to their Sicamous home, taking all precautions necessary to avoid exposure to the virus.
“For the past couple weeks we have been staying home at all costs and social distancing,” Teri explained by email.
“It’s the safest and easiest way to prevent the highly contagious virus.
Like many, we are already feeling the affects of these mandatory life changes and really try to stay as positive as possible until ‘normal’ life can resume again.”
• The District of Sicamous gave taxpayers dealing with the financial impacts of COVID-19 a break.
At a special council meeting held April 16, council endorsed a number of recommendations from financial staff for changing how taxes and utility fees are collected.
The due date for property taxes and the associated penalty for late payment was pushed back from July 2 to Oct. 1. The one per cent penalty for metered billings was waived until Oct. 1, and council also voted to defer the 10 per cent penalty on unpaid flat utility billing from July 2 to Oct. 1. Interest on outstanding sewer loans was also deferred from March 1 to Oct. 1.