It’s the junction of three highways, the gateway heading east into British Columbia’s Interior and heading west into the Lower Mainland, but where does Hope rightly belong?
Hope is, of course, technically part of the Fraser Valley and it is part of Fraser Health, but provincial government pandemic travel restrictions announced Friday (April 23) had Hope residents scratching their heads a bit.
That’s because the order combines B.C.’s five health authorities into three regions, and non-essential travel between these regions is now prohibited by law. Vancouver Island is one of the three, while the entire Fraser Health region is combined with Vancouver Coastal Health for another, and Northern Health and Interior form the third.
Yet Hope is not included in the Lower Mainland region, it’s lumped in with the Interior and the North.
A government spokesperson said Friday the move to make Hope part of the Interior/Northern Health region was recommended by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry “based on experience with the November Order on Gatherings and Events that included restrictions that applied only to Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities.”
“The Hope local health area has a natural connection with Interior Health locations such as Merritt and Princeton, so travel between those areas is not being restricted,” according to Susan Williams, communications manager for Emergency Management B.C.
Given that Chilliwack is a centre for some smaller rural communities to the east, Hope residents aren’t barred from coming to the city for shopping.
“Residents from the Hope area can travel to Chilliwack for essential goods and supplies.”
From Hope it is 53 kilometres to Chilliwack, while it is 120 kilometres to Merritt, and 135 kilometres to Princeton.
Similarly, while Bella Coola and the Central Coast are considered part of Fraser Health, for the sake of the travel restrictions, those communities are in the North/Interior.
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