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)

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

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation man shot and killed by Tofino RCMP

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Visitors relax at the natural hot springs located within Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. (tofinohiking.com photo)
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park boardwalk project on track

“The walk down the two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs itself is by far one of the most incredible experiences.”

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read