China Creek Marina and Campground, seen at dawn in this file photo, will have a ‘limited’ opening on June 1. (SUSAN QUINN PHOTO)

Alberni Valley, Bamfield encouraging residents to stay home for May long weekend

China Creek Campground and Marina opening June 1 with restrictions

Local governments in the Alberni Valley and Bamfield are encouraging people to stay home during the upcoming May long weekend.

The City of Port Alberni, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, Uchucklesaht Tribe, Hupacasath First Nation, Tseshaht First Nation and Huu-ay-aht First Nations put out a joint press release on Wednesday, May 13, thanking residents for staying close to home over the weekend.

“It is taking an immense collective effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we recognize the tremendous sacrifice, patience and understanding that residents are undertaking to ensure the health and safety of our entire region,” the release stated.

Although a number of provincial parks re-opened this week, the B.C government is continuing to restrict non-essential travel.

READ MORE: Visits to vacation homes, boating trips off the table this long weekend

Victoria Day weekend in B.C. is typically a time for gathering, recreation and leisure activities, but Alberni Valley and Bamfield local governments are asking residents not to travel to other communities during the holiday weekend.

“These are not typical times and as we readjust to our ‘new normal’ we would like to remind you to enjoy the splendor of your own beautiful community and explore your own backyard,” Wednesday’s release stated.

“Residents of the Alberni Valley and Bamfield are blessed with incredible surroundings that allow us to enjoy nearby lakes, outdoor recreation, green spaces, and hikes on local trails. We ask you to stay within your own area and to take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures near to you.

“COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to small and rural communities, and while the Bamfield and Anacla communities and that of the Alberni Valley are not ready to welcome visitors, we are preparing for the time when we can safely do so.

“A time will come when all communities will eagerly open their arms to welcome visitors but that time is not now. We look forward to the day when we can travel between communities safely and with ease. This day will come and we thank you for your patience.”

READ MORE: City of Port Alberni offers COVID-19 supports for small businesses

The Port Alberni Port Authority is also reminding people that China Creek Campground and Marina is not open for the 2020 season yet.

The campground will be opening to guests with fully self-contained recreational vehicle camping units on June 1. The boat launch and beach access will be available only to guests with a confirmed qualifying camping unit and advanced reservations.

No day-use visitors will be permitted on site until further notice, and the on-site washroom facilities, showers, laundry, playground and cookhouse will remain closed.

The gas dock will be open with limited hours and physical distancing measures for staff and guests, but the main office is closed to the public. For all reservations and inquiries, call 250-723-9812 or email chinacreek@alberniport.com.

“We will continue to follow guidelines issued by Public Health Officers and ask our visitors to do the same also,” said Cecilia Addy, manager of marina services, in a press release. “Only by all of us doing our part to follow such guidelines will we be able to maintain this and, hopefully, expand the opening of China Creek Campground and Marina soon.”

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