Port Moody, Port Coquitlam not yet ready to declare state of emergency: mayors

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov and Port Coquitlam's Brad West said their cities won’t at this time follow Vancouver and Delta in declaring a state of emergency

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov said his city isn’t ready to declare a local state of emergency just yet.

Friday, the city of Kamloops made just such a declaration following a similar decision by Vancouver and Delta. Thursday, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency.

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Vagramov told The Tri-City News Friday the city has already implemented many of the measures it would be empowered to use in a state of emergency, including closing city hall and other civic facilities; setting aside use of the recreation centre for child care programs for families of essential workers like health care; making provisions to allow staff to work from home; and ensuring the provision of critical services like those dealing with water and sewage. Upcoming council and committee meetings, as well as public hearings, have also been cancelled and, Thursday, the city closed playgrounds. 

The city has also activated its emergency operations centre so it can co-ordinate all its responses COVID-19 effects on municipal services.

Vagramov said as provincial legislation allows local states of emergency to last only seven days, he only wants to pull it “out of the city’s back pocket,” when necessary. The declaration can be extended, according to Emergency Management BC.

Port Moody has never enacted a state of emergency.

Other powers a city is granted by a local state of emergency include the acquisition of any land or personal property that could be used to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency; the ability to control or ban travel to or from any area of the province; the power to allow the construction of any necessary works; and the ability to fix prices or set rations for food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies or other essential items

Vagramov said the city is continuing to monitoring the pandemic situation, including taking briefings from Fraser Health.

Meanwhile, in Port Coquitlam, Mayor Brad West told The Tri-City News Friday afternoon, "There is not a need for the city of Port Coquitlam to declare a local state of emergency. However, we continue to evaluate and are prepared to issue a local state of emergency if the need arises or if directed to by the province."

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