Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Alistair Waters/Capital News file)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Alistair Waters/Capital News file)

Kelowna implements safety measures ahead of May long weekend

Safety education ambassadors will be back in popular Kelowna areas beginning this weekend

Hot on the heels of the May long weekend — the unofficial beginning of summer — Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is again urging safety for both residents and visitors.

“That means a lot of people getting outside to enjoy our great city and beautiful public spaces,” said the mayor.

“Knowing that we have put a number of community safety measures in place so that everyone can enjoy themselves safely and responsibly.”

Starting May long weekend, the city will send safety education ambassadors to popular outdoor spaces in Kelowna, including beaches, parks and waterfront areas. The city quickly added safety ambassadors to its staff following a rise in local COVID-19 cases around the Canada Day long weekend in 2020. Last year, the ambassadors had more than 9,000 interactions with members of the public over six weeks.

“We found that people were responsive and willing to adjust their behaviour with simple, friendly reminders,” said Lance Kayfish, the city’s risk manager. “Once again, the ambassadors’ role in our more popular spaces will be to monitor, educate and encourage the public to make smart choices while pandemic restrictions are still in play.”

In addition to educational positions, the Kelowna RCMP has bolstered its foot-patrolling Community Safety Unit with six new Mounties, bringing the unit to a total of 27 officers. The expanded unit will increase visibility in priority areas, including downtown and Rutland.

“While this is an important step forward that reflects Kelowna’s fast-paced population growth, adding more police resources is only one of several steps we are taking to enhance community safety,” said community safety director Darren Caul. The unit works closely with city bylaw’s community response unit.

Basran said the city is doing everything it can to keep residents safe this summer.

“Please, be responsible and respectful of one another as we navigate through what we hope is the final stages of this pandemic.”

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