In a release on Friday, July 31, 2020, West Coast Fishing Club staff said they were “shocked” by the ministerial order restricting non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii that went into effect on July 30. (The West Coast Fishing Club/Facebook photo)

Fishing lodge ‘shocked’ by B.C. ban on travel to Haida Gwaii as COVID-19 cases spike

West Coast Fishing Club ‘shocked and stunned’ by travel restriction put in place July 30

Staff of the West Coast Fishing Club say they are “shocked” by the ministerial order restricting non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii, put in place on Thursday (July 30) by Safety Minister Mike Farnworth due to a spike in COVID-19 on the island.

The luxury fishing lodge, which reopened during Phase 3 of B.C.’s Restart Plan without the consent of the Haida Nation, said in a news release that dozens of guests and staff are “effectively stranded on Haida Gwaii.”

Brian Legge, president of the lodge, told the Observer on Friday that although the ban does not prevent people from leaving the islands, “it takes a lot of logistics to move all of the people.”

“We are simply shocked and stunned that without warning or consultation, the B.C. government passed an Order In Council that immediately shuts us down by banning all non-essential travel to Haida Gwaii — while we are in the middle of tourist season — without giving us any plan to remove our guests and staff,” he said, adding that the lodge itself was free of the virus, and was following provincial health and safety laws.

“Our lodge followed all the rules, someone else far away did not, and we get unfairly punished for their mistakes.”

ALSO READ: Province restricts non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii amid COVID outbreak

Legge said the lodge developed and had been implementing a plan to move guests by helicopter from Prince Rupert to their property to avoid contact with Haida Gwaii communities.

“We also circulated our safe operating plan to the [Council of the Haida Nation], who never even acknowledged it, and to the B.C. government, who changed their original acceptance of it,” he said. “It is beyond frustrating that despite all this, our business is shuttered and we are facing enormous losses.”

A spokesperson for Emergency Management BC said ministry staff contacted the lodge to inform them of the order shortly before it became public.

“The decision to restrict non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii was made in consultation with the provincial health officer, and in collaboration with Council of the Haida Nation, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Village Council and local governments,” the spokesperson said.

“The order does not require anyone already on the archipelago — including guests or staff at the lodge — to leave the islands immediately.

“The order does not restrict anyone wishing to leave Haida Gwaii from doing so.”

Do you have something we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police seek suspect in rash of Castlegar thefts

There have been a number of thefts over the last two weeks in Castlegar.

All Mercer Celgar workers in Castlegar return to work

At least 215 of the workers were laid off during a temporary mill shutdown in July

Columbia Avenue and Hwy 3 hot spots for crashes in Castlegar

In 2019, there were 624 accidents in Castlegar and 3047 over the last five years.

Nelson’s American sister city faces COVID-19 culture war

In Sandpoint, Idaho, wearing a mask is about Black Lives Matter, gun rights, and COVID-19

UPDATE: Body of Slocan River drowning victim recovered

The man was swimming near Winlaw on Wednesday.

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read