Rob: I want to talk a little bit about the reopening plans for some parts of Canmore that might be closed right now, as well as the whole Main Street scenario.

Mayor John Borrowman: Decisions were made by the Emergency Coordination Centre yesterday. We will be basically reopening Canmore, tied somewhat to the Stage Two of the Alberta relaunch strategy.

The big part of this will be changes for the Main Street area. We want to create a sense of security. We want to encourage people to come downtown and feel safe and allow for the businesses to welcome their customers back in a really controlled manner. So Main Street from the Stonewaters and Tin Box corner down to The Wood corner will become a pedestrian-only zone. That provides a lot of room for keeping social separation. Businesses will be able to stage their entry from the sidewalk.

Tanya: Are we going to be seeing this in time for this weekend?

John: I would have hoped that we could have that in place for this weekend. I don’t think that’s likely, but very soon. It’s not as simple matter of throwing a switch. Barricades have to be erected, lines painted, and other things have to be done. That’ll take a bit of time. I’m not certain of the final plan, but in the early stages of this discussion, it included the possibility of redesigning the crosswalk at the Stonewaters corner to become a scramble crosswalk. So it’ll be a slow morphing, I suppose, to something other than what it is now. But as quickly as possible, we’ll have the pedestrian only controls in place for Main Street.

Rob: What are some other decisions that were made during that meeting? For example, my four year old and I are jonesing for a playground.

John: We can expect to see the yellow tape coming down from the playground equipment soon. Again, I wish I could put specific dates to all these things, but soon. We will be removing the message signs from the highway entrances and canceling our state of local emergency. During the state of local emergency most of these decisions are made by the Emergency Coordination Centre, and with the ending of the state of local emergency these decisions will go back to be made through the normal process, including council input.

Tanya: This might cause a bit of anxiety for people knowing that there’s still COVID out there. One of the things that is important for me is knowing that my actions count and that we already know from public health officials like Dr. Deena Hinshaw what we can do to prevent the spread of this, but we can’t keep everything closed indefinitely. We need to reopen in a slow and thoughtful manner and hold ourselves accountable for the behaviors that we need to keep doing in order to get through this.

John: There’s concern, I know, about the second wave, and we and the provincial authorities and all parties will be watching new cases or any change carefully. If we should see a change in direction, a spiking, then we’ll reconsider everything. But as always, we take our primary lead from Dr Hinshaw and the other provincial authorities.

Filed under: Canmore, covid-19, Mayor John Borrowman, Mountain Insider