The Tsawwassen First Nation is giving pedestrians priority over cars on roadways to allow everyone to practice social distancing safely.
On Wednesday, March 25, TFN executive council enacted its COVID-19 Safety Plan for Roads and Pedestrian Access, which grants people right-of-way to occupy roadways on Tsawwassen lands.
This means that pedestrians may now occupy TFN roadways, whether or not there is a pedestrian sidewalk, and that cars must yield to pedestrians, except where they may safely pass.
“Executive council made the decision with concern for the health of its members and leaseholders, to promote proper social distancing measures established by the provincial government (two metres/six feet),” the TFN said in a press release.
Because Indigenous communities have disproportionately been impacted in previous historical pandemics, the release states, residential TFN lands are now open for local traffic only. All residents who live outside the TFN Member Community Housing Area — which extends largely along the waterfront corridor of Tsawwassen Drive — are requested not to access that area.
Only people who live and work on residential Tsawwassen Lands will have pedestrian and vehicular access, except for deliveries and services.
Residential construction job sites will not be impacted at this time, but the safety measures that have been implemented by the executive council’s order must be followed.
“Local Traffic Only” signs will be erected at the intersections of Tsawwassen Drive and Blue Heron Way, Salish Sea Drive and Blue Heron Way, Salish Sea Drive and 41B Street, Tsawwassen Drive South and Highway 17, 52nd Avenue and Highway 17, and at intersections with access to the Stahaken neighbourhood.
On Monday, March 23, the executive council closed all TFN buildings — including the daycare, administration building and lands building — and encouraged everyone to “shelter in place.”
The executive council advised members and residents stay home and avoid contact with others, not touch or use areas that have been used by others, wash hands regularly and use gloves and hand sanitizer outside the home, and, if leaving the house for exercise, to go to areas that allow for minimal contact with others.
The council also asked that everyone limit shopping to the essentials and buy enough to limit needing to go out frequently.
The move came a day after council closed “congregational pinch points” in TFN parks and open spaces, namely the Osprey Park playground, TFN Boardwalk access points, the TFN Rec Centre playground, TFN Sports Field playground and recreational apparatus, and the Falcon Way playground.