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

The candidates for the Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding in the 2020 provincial election. Clockwise from top left: Rob Clarke, Graham Hughes, Evan Jolicoeur, Helen Poon and Josie Osborne. Osborne was declared the winner on Saturday night. (Photos submitted )
POLL QUESTION: Are you happy with the results of B.C.’s provincial election?

Josie Osborne of the BC NDP and Tofino’s now-former mayor won the Mid Island - Pacific Rim seat.

Ucluelet RCMP detachment. (Westerly file photo)
Driver facing charges after crashing into pedestrian at Ucluelet crosswalk

“It’s a reminder to slow down and pay attention,” said Sgt. Steve Mancini.

Josie Osborne and her campaign team watch the results roll in during B.C.’s provincial election on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Josie Osborne)
Tofino expected to wait until New Year to elect new mayor after Josie Osborne wins provincial seat

Josie Osborne is the West Coast’s new MLA and that means Tofino needs a new mayor.

Dylan Hillis preparing collagen samples from ancient dog bones at the UBC musuem of Anthropology. Photo: Eric Guiry
Ancient ‘woolly dog’ ate mostly fish, new University of Victoria study finds

Study gives researchers better understanding of human-dog relationships on Tsehaht First Nation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Most Read