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CITY SERVICES UPDATES - COVID 19

The City of Abbotsford will post all information and community updates related to COVID-19 and City services on this webpage.

CITY SERVICES UPDATES REGARDING COVID-19

Parks and Recreation Updates

July 22, 2020 - Safe and Gradual Re-opening of City Recreation Spaces

The pool and arena at Matsqui Recreation Centre will re-open on August 10th for modified swimming activities such as lane swim, aqua fit, public swim and private arena bookings. MSA Arena will also re-open on August 17th for private bookings.

All other indoor recreation amenities remain closed, including fitness centres and Abbotsford Recreation Centre. The City of Abbotsford continues to prioritize re-opening through a safe and gradual approach in alignment with the Province of British Columbia’s Restart Plan. The re-opening of City amenities will be fluid and align with any and all new directives provided by the Provincial Health Officer.

The City of Abbotsford has developed safety plans for recreation offerings to ensure the well-being of patrons and staff in accordance with all Provincial health orders and guidance. Key safety measures include physical distancing in facilities and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of commonly used surfaces.

To access indoor recreation options, users will be required to:

  • Pre-register and pay online through Direct2Rec or by phone (Drop-in options will not be available)
  • Abide by all safety protocols (These will be strictly forced) 

The City has initiated various free outdoor recreation activities through its ‘Go Play Outside’ program including recreation season including outdoor fitness classes, outdoor sports programs, Culture Kits, and Volunteer Programs. Low cost summer camps for children 6-12 are also available. 

Associated Links:

June 19, 2020 - Changes to Summer Aquatics Amenities

The City of Abbotsford has re-opened many outdoor recreation facilities in alignment with the Province of British Columbia’s Re-start Plan, however, the Centennial Outdoor Pool will not be re-opening for Summer 2020.

In May 2020, the City asked residents in a survey about recreation participation post COVID-19. Results from that public and stakeholder engagement saw a significant majority of respondents preferring the re-opening of an indoor pool over the outdoor pool. Municipalities across the region are re-opening recreation amenities based on Provincial directives as well as the unique circumstances in each community. The costs of operating Centennial Pool including maintenance and utility fees were significantly high in relation to the length of the summer season remaining.

The City analyzed the overall costs of operating Centennial Pool compared to the number of people that could be served due to the shortened swim season, and the capacity restrictions in place due to physical distancing requirements. Staff resources will be re-focused on re-opening an indoor pool as soon as possible. Spray parks, playgrounds, and sports fields have re-opened and, starting June 22, the City will be offering free outdoor fitness classes and additional sun safety education.

June 17, 2020 - PRC Update for Fields and Sport Groups

The City of Abbotsford will be re-opening fields to bookings.

  • All current user groups who have bookings from now until the end of August will soon begin receiving a new Facility Use License (“FUL”) to sign and return to PRC prior to their existing bookings being re-confirmed and being allowed to resume play.  The FUL will require that your group has a COVID Safety plan in place and that you are conforming with the City of Abbotsford’s “Return to Recreation’s guidelines which will be posted on our website and linked in the FUL. The quicker you get the signed FUL back to us the quicker we can confirm that you can resume play.
  • Existing field allocations through the end of August will be honored, and another “mini” allocation process for September- December will be announced shortly. All new bookings until the end of August will be “first come-first served”. All will be required to have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that meets all provincial health guidelines and are conforming with the City of Abbotsford’s “Return to Recreation”. 

In terms of indoor facilities, as you have seen in the ViaSport and BCRPA Guidelines, there is no “cookie cutter” approach and each municipality will be reopening facilities based on the unique circumstances in their community. Over the coming weeks and months, some municipalities will be opening facilities, others will not. While this may initially seem unfair, we appreciate everyone keeping Dr. Bonnie Henry’s words in mind: Be Calm, Be Kind and Be Safe. 

At this time, we do not have a reopening date yet for Matsqui and Abbotsford Recreation Centres or MSA Arena. As mentioned in an earlier email, the City is in Level 2 of Restarting Operations – which means limited access to indoor facilities. Our staff safety is our top priority and we are still working on our WorkSafe requirements, Facility COVID-19 Code of Conduct, staff training, Facility Risk Assessments and arena/aquatic safety protocols. Activities returning to “normal” in major facilities will likely not occur until there is a vaccine, treatment, or further instructions from the Provincial Medical Health Officer. We are focussed on reopening to some indoor activities in a safe manner.

Earlier in June the City reached out to Arena users groups to request their anticipated allocation and ice requests for summer/fall/winter and staff are examining these responses. In the meantime, outdoor-based summer day camps, fitness, culture and pop-up spray park opportunities are in the works. The City’s “Return to Recreation” document outlines all requirements of sport and recreation groups so your Safety Plans for indoor sports need to be developed accordingly. The City is not able to provide additional resources to support individual Safety Plans at this time.

This includes extra cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, capital improvements and additional PRC staff support. Please draft your plans with this in mind. Any portion of a Safety Plan that requires modifications to facilities, or use of spaces that are normally not used (like placing “change room” tents in parking lots) must be approved by the City prior to adoption of the plan. Thank you again for your support and understanding and your patience is appreciated. We continue to work with the various user groups and facility use in order of potential openings, aligned with the Provincial Health Office orders.

We will be reaching out to you with information via email and requesting information and follow up meetings as required. Your response time to these requests will be crucial in ensuring the processes go as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we strongly encourage groups to remain patient and ensure they have the required Safety plans ready to go as these will be required in all circumstances. 

June 15, 2020 - Parks and Recreation Services Update
  • Most of the organizations who occupy City facilities with lease/license agreements have been contacted and are ready to provide services and programs again soon;
  • A short term field allocation is going to be underway shortly and we hopeful that organized sports will be playing outside again by July 1. If we can make it happen sooner, we will. As I mentioned in my last email, there is a lot of background administration that has to happen to restart – and we are almost there – thank you again for your patience!
  • We are working on the reopening of spaces such as Ag Rec and the Show Barn and information will be forthcoming.

We do not have a re-opening date yet for Matsqui and Abbotsford Recreation Centres or MSA Arena. We took the opportunity of closing to do much needed maintenance and deep clean of each facility and you will all see the changes when we do reopen. Operations in these facilities will not be how you may have remembered them. In the BC Recreation and Parks Association’s plan it is clear that activities returning to “normal” in major facilities will likely not occur until there is a vaccine, treatment, or further instructions from the Provincial Medical Health Officer. We are working on ways that we can reopen to some indoor activities in a safe manner. In the meantime, outdoor-based summer day camps and outdoor fitness opportunities are in the works.

Thank you again for your support and understanding and your patience is appreciated. The phone call and email volumes to the department continue to be very high, with people looking for information and updates. Please assist us in managing this process by refraining from contacting the department with your specific organization’s requests for space, bookings and updates – we will be reaching out to you with information via email and requesting information as we require it.

Continue to visit this webpage for up to date information.

June 11, 2020 - Spray Parks Opening June 13

Abbotsford’s spray parks will be open with new community safety protocols on June 13. The re-openings include

  • Mill Lake Park - 2310 Emerson Street
  • Shadbolt Park - 36086 Shadbolt Avenue
  • Spud Murphy Park - 32285 Hillcrest Avenue

Visitors are reminded to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres and are asked to stay home when sick. Park users are reminded to bring their own hand sanitizer as not all playgrounds are in parks with washroom facilities. Playgrounds, Sport courts including tennis, pickleball, basketball and skate parks have already reopened.

Re-opening these recreation amenities is in alignment with Phase Two of the British Columbia Re-Start Plan. The City continues to engage with Fraser Health, as well as the Provincial and Federal government for information on revised best practices for re-opening safely.

June 3, 2020 - BC Return to Sport Guidelines

The BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) has submitted Guidelines for Restarting Operations – COVID-19: Recovery Through Recreation & Parks to the Public Health Office (PHO) and these guidelines have now been approved. The City of Abbotsford will be reviewing these Guidelines with City Council and determining what services and facilities to re-activate and when.

This week Via Sport also released the long awaited guide for return to sport.  The City of Abbotsford Parks, Recreation and Culture (PRC) has been reviewing both documents and planning accordingly. 

BCRPA’s plan on page 9, activities returning to “normal”, meaning how they were before COVID, will likely not occur until there is a vaccine, treatment, or further instructions from the Provincial Medical Health Officer. Using the model on Page 9, Abbotsford is in the middle of Level 2. 

This week PRC is working on the updated wording for facility use and booking contracts, a COVID Code of Conduct for all participation, facility risk assessments, facility safety orientations, staff training, and setting up a website for PRC COVID related items. We are working hard to get the administrative side ready to support the return of play, recreation and sport and there is a lot to do.

Your continued patience is appreciated. Here are some things for you to consider when making your Return to Sport Plans:

  • Some facilities may not be open, even though groups may be ready to go. At this time, all indoor recreation facilities remain closed;
  • The City is not able to provide additional resources to support individual plans at this time. This includes extra cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, capital improvements and additional PRC staff support. Please draft your plans with this in mind;
  • If you are a sport/recreation group, you will be required to have an approved “Return to Sport Plan” from your Provincial Sport Organization;
  • You will be required to have a COVID Exposure Control Plan (see Section 8 and page 43 of BCRPA’s Plan); 
  • Your Board of Directors must approve the Plans. 

Once our internal administration processes are finished, our next step is to contact organizations who occupy City managed outdoor facilities to check in and discuss next steps. This will be followed by organizations occupying City managed indoor facilities. After the groups above, we will be connecting with outdoor sport and recreation groups such as baseball, soccer, field hockey, rugby and more.

Please assist us in managing this process by refraining from contacting the department with your specific organization’s requests for space, bookings and updates – we will be reaching out to you with information via email and requesting information as we require it. Thank you again for your support and understanding. We look forward to enjoying Abbotsford’s public spaces and places in the near future.

May 29, 2020 - Playgrounds in Abbotsford Will Re-open June 1

The City of Abbotsford will start re-opening playgrounds, starting Monday June 1.

With over 70 playgrounds across Abbotsford, re-opening may take a few days to be completed. Residents are asked to wait to use the playgrounds until staff can fully remove the caution tape and put up safety signage. Playground equipment is not regularly cleaned or sanitized so usage of equipment is at the user’s own risk. Not all playgrounds are in parks with washroom facilities so residents are encouraged to bring their own hand-sanitizer.

Parents and caregivers are responsible to ensure safety measures are practiced as directed by the Provincial Health Officer of maintaining 2 metres of physical distancing, washing hands for at least 20 seconds before and after use, and staying home if you are not feeling well. Sport courts including tennis, pickleball, basketball and skate parks re-opened on Monday 19, with new safety guidelines in place. City recreation centres remain closed until further notice.

The City continues to engage with Fraser Health, as well as the Provincial and Federal government for information on revised best practices for re-opening safely.

List of open/closed City facilities: www.abbotsford.ca/reopening

May 27, 2020 - Parks, Recreation & Culture is Reviewing Guidelines for Restarting Operations

The BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) has submitted Guidelines for Restarting Operations – COVID-19: Recovery Through Recreation & Parks to the Public Health Office (PHO) and these guidelines have now been approved. The City of Abbotsford will be reviewing these Guidelines with City Council and determining what services and facilities to re-activate and when.

Fraser Health Authority will not be approving individual “return-to-play plans” for sport groups or event organizers. We are hearing from many sport associations and event organizers that obtaining insurance coverage is an issue. We are monitoring this as well and will provide any updates we receive. At this point we know that all user groups will be required to have a “COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan” that clearly demonstrates how activities will be provided to align with the directives of the Provincial Health Office, local authorities, and other relevant regulators (ie. WorkSafeBC).

The purpose of this control plan is to identify the specific measures that will be taken in order to mitigate the risk of virus transmission, the party responsible for ensuring compliance within the user group, and include but is not limited to, a plan on managing physical distancing, common touch areas, and flow of participants. Each local sport organization will also be expected to follow its Provincial Sport Organization’s Return to Sport plan approved by its Board of Directors and in reference to the guidelines provided for the sport sector by viaSport.  Other user groups are expected to have a similar plan outlining its safe practices to reduce transmission of COVID-19. We will also share more information as it becomes available.

The Lifesaving Society has provided their safety protocols for indoor and outdoor pools and spray parks. Staff are reviewing those protocols now, the required staff training and the ability to supply the required personal protection equipment for lifeguards to keep everyone safe.

Please assist us in managing this process by refraining from contacting the Parks, Recreation & Culture department with your specific organization’s requests for space, bookings and updates.  Staff will be reaching out to user groups by email and requesting information as required. Thank you again for your support and understanding. We look forward to enjoying Abbotsford’s public spaces and places in the near future.

May 12, 2020 UPDATED - City of Abbotsford Recreation Services Update

To protect our residents and help to curb the spread of COVID-19, the City of Abbotsford closed many indoor and outdoor recreation facilities earlier this March.  Your patience and support has been greatly appreciated. The Provincial Government announced a BC's Restart Plan on May 5, 2020. We await further updates from the Province of BC, to determine how to safely re-start recreation activities. 
 
First Steps: The City is working towards resuming modified operations and programs at our outdoor facilities, while adhering to the Province of BC's guidelines and recommendations. This will be a phased approach to recreation services to ensure we can offer viable recreation opportunities while ensuring the necessary precautions are in place to participate safely. As conditions improve, and with the advice of the Province of BC, additional outdoor opportunities and the inclusion of some indoor activities will become available.

Current Re-opening Plans:

  • Re-opening Week of May 19: The City of Abbotsford is working on the re-opening of outdoor spaces including skateboard parks, tennis courts, pickle ball courts and other sport courts for the week of May 19, 2020. Public safety measures and social distancing signs are being created and installed across our 200 parks and court locations for May 19. 
  • The Reach and Heritage AbbotsfordThe Reach Gallery Museum and Heritage Abbotsford-Trethewey House, are planning to re-open on June 1st, meeting the requirements of the Public Health Office.  Please visit their websites for further information. 

Not re-opening at this time:

  • Playgrounds and Spray Parks: Playgrounds and Spray Parks are not included in the first phase of opening and will remain closed until further notice.
  • Leagues and Sports Associations: League activities and sport associations are not included in this initial re-opening phase, and will be updated as information becomes available.

Next Steps: The City will keep the public informed and will engage with various user groups and associations on what will be needed to ensure this happens safely and in a coordinated manner that meets all the requirements laid out by the Province. Please assist us in managing this process by refraining from phoning or emailing the department with facility booking requests or program inquiries. We will ensure to reach out to all user groups and customers once we are able to do so. All updates will be posted here to our website and throughout our social media channels.

Thank you for your patience as we work towards re-opening.

Planning & Development Services Update

The closure of City Hall to the public does not impact existing online, phone and virtual City services at the present time, but it will result in some changes to how the City continues to provide services to our customers. 

View the COVID-19 Service Delivery Changes Bulletin.

Development Planning 
Tel: 604-864-5510
Email: planning-info@abbotsford.ca

Building Permits:
Tel: 604-864-5525
Email: building-info@abbotsford.ca

Business Licencing:
Tel: 604-864-5525
Email: businesslicence@abbotsford.ca

 

 

Property Tax Information

May 28, 2020 - Property Tax and Utility Bill Payment Updates

Tax Rate: 

On April 20, 2020, Council decreased the City’ budgeted tax revenue increase from 2.97% to 2.12% in light of the financial uncertainties impacting residents and businesses at this time.  The decrease to 2.12% reduced the 2020 municipal tax revenue increase from $4.3M to $3.0M, with $1.3M in savings going directly to taxpayers.  

Due date for taxes:  July 2, 2020

Property tax due date for all property classes is July 2, 2020, which is the same due date as the Province of BC.  Please view our updated information on property tax payments here

For residential, utilities, supportive housing and farm properties (classified by BC Assessment as Class 1, 2, 3 or 9), outstanding taxes are subject to a 5% penalty on July 3 and an additional 5% penalty on September 16. 

For industrial, commercial and non-profit properties (classified by BC Assessment as Class 5, 6 or 8), outstanding taxes are subject to a 10% penalty on October 1.  

Tax Payment Options: 

Did you know your tax payments and home owner grants can be done from the comfort of your home!  

  • Apply for your home owner grant online: www.abbotsford.ca/hog
  • Pay online: pay for your taxes from your financial institution’s website
  • Pay by credit card: visit www.abbotsford.ca/creditcard for full details (service charges apply)
  • Pay in person: Starting June 1, 2020, City Hall will be open for tax payments only.  Physical distancing measures will be in place.   
  • Contact your Canadian financial institution for other convenient and safe payment options
  • Pay by cheque: Cheques payable to the City of Abbotsford
    • Mail cheque payment to City Hall at 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC V2T 1W7
    • Drop boxes are available 24 hours at both entrances to City Hall (please do not drop cash in the box)

Tax Deferment Program: 

The Province of BC offers a tax deferment program. Residential property owners can apply for property tax deferment on their principal residence online, quickly and easily. Owners can also choose to auto renew their application for next year.

NOTE: this service must be applied for through the provincial government website and not at the City. For more information: gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment or call 1-888-355-2700.

Tax Prepayment Plan:  

Residents and businesses on the tax pre-payment plan have one remaining withdrawal scheduled for May 15, 2020.  If you would like to cancel the plan or change the monthly withdrawal to a lower amount, please contact us at cash@abbotsford.ca or 604-864-5522.  At least 7 days notice is required prior to the 15th day of the month in order to change or stop the current month's withdrawal.

Any outstanding tax balance must be paid and, if eligible, the Home Owner Grant claimed by the tax due date in order to avoid penalties, and to remain on the tax pre-payment plan. Overdue tax balances will result in automatic cancellation of your tax pre-payment plan.

The prepayment plan is 10 equal monthly withdrawals, with the first withdrawal for 2021 taxes starting on August 15, 2020.  

Utility Bill Payments:

The City has extended the payment due date of utility bills from 30 days to 60 days.  This means you have until May 25 to pay and receive the 5% on-time payment discount.  If you pay after May 25, you will lose the 5% on-time discount.

Please note, there is no late penalty or interest charged on your utility bill if you pay after the due date. The unpaid bill will remain on your account until Dec 31, 2020, at which time it will be transferred to your property tax account and start incurring interest.

May 26, 2020 - City Hall Open For Tax Payments Only Starting June 1

Beginning June 1, City Hall will be open to receive property tax payments only. The cashiers will be open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Physical distancing measures will be in place and personal access will be limited. We anticipate there will be a longer waiting period to pay in person. Please consider paying online if you have limited time. Please note that Property Tax payments will be the only service available at this time. All other City Hall Services are accessible online at abbotsford.ca .

Aligned with the updated directions signaled in the Restart BC Plan, the City of Abbotsford will be undertaking a coordinated and gradual re-introduction of our impacted services over the coming weeks to adjust our service delivery and operations to coincide with the province’s phased approach to re-opening in-person services.

Thank you for your patience as we adjust our services to keep the community healthy and safe and continue to slow the spread. Current information can be found on our website. Most City services can be accessed online, including tax payments. For information you can call City Hall, Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at 604-853-2281.

Public Hearing Information

April 8, 2020 - Maintaining Physical Distancing at Public Hearings

COVID-19 continues to have an effect on our economy and the operations of local businesses. In an effort to support continued development activity in Abbotsford, City Council has developed a plan that aligns with the Provincial Health Officer’s orders and guidelines.

Public Hearings will follow the 50-person limit for gatherings as well as have strict measures in place for 2 metres of required physical distancing. These measures will ensure Public Hearings can continue to accommodate the legal requirement for those who wish to provide feedback in-person.

The new Physical Distance Plan for Council Chambers will be initiated April 20, 2020. Abbotsford City Council is actively encouraging residents to submit their comments on Public Hearing matters to Council in writing either by mail (City Clerk, City of Abbotsford, 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC V2T1W7) or via email (cityclerk@abbotsford.ca) versus attending in-person.

Please note that all submissions are a matter of public record. The public is encouraged to watch the live streaming of Public Hearings online at abbotsford.ca/watchcouncilonline

Highlights of the Physical Distance Plan include:

  • A maximum of 50 people will be permitted inside Council Chambers, including persons located on the stage, main auditorium and foyer areas.
  • Approximately half of the 50 spaces are reserved for Council and staff, and the remaining spaces are available to the public who will be rotated out of the building as required to permit all attendees who wish to be heard.
  • All Council, staff and public seating is spaced at least 2 metres from other seating and a one-way entry and exit system has been established using signage and physical barriers to prevent people from coming into contact when travelling from entrances and exits.
  • Staff will be onsite and available to help guide people through the space, while maintaining a 2 metre physical distance.
  • Additional precautions will include no-touch entrances and exits into the building and physical distancing signage for washrooms.
April 2, 2020 - New Process for Public Hearings Due to COVID-19

Public Hearings: Public Hearings are continuing as scheduled. A new format is in place to adhere to the Provincial Government’s 2 metre physical distancing and 50 person maximum gathering requirements. Public attending Public Hearings and/or Council Hearings should follow the directional signage and sit only in designated areas.  Feedback from the public can be submitted electronically to the City Clerk at cityclerk@abbotsford.ca or by mail to: City Clerk, City of Abbotsford, 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1W7. Please note that all submissions are a matter of public record.

Council Meetings: City Council is continuing to conduct council meetings and the public can view these meetings online at abbotsford.ca/watchcouncilonline. Thank you for your cooperation as we work to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Province of BC Information and Updates

May 7, 2020 -  Province of BC Restart Plan

Premier Horgan announced the plan to restart B.C. safely on May 6, 2020.

April 7, 2020 - UPDATED - Enforcement of Health Orders

We are all concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and the City is actively urging all residents and businesses to follow provincial health orders and to ensure they are maintaining the 2 metre physical distancing guidelines. 

  • For general information about social distancing and self-isolation call: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

  • In Abbotsford, Fraser Health, as the provincial health authority, is the entity with the authority to enforce Public Health Orders, including the Order focused on Physical Distancing.

  • The Abbotsford Health Protection Office, through Fraser Health, can be contacted at 604-587-3936 or by email foodsafe@fraserhealth.ca to report businesses that are not adhering to the recent Health Orders.
    Workers who have concerns regarding social distance at their workplace should address them directly with their employer and/or call Worksafe BC at 1-888-621-7233.

  • The City is collaborating with the Abbotsford Health Protection Officers to ensure that businesses are educated with regard to the Public Health Orders that are in place.  In addition our Bylaw Officers will assist with proactive patrols of the City on Tuesdays and Thursdays to remind people who are gathering in public places about social distancing requirements and gathering size of over 50 persons. We will also be responding to specific calls for service with regard to concerns around large gatherings in our City Parks.

  • For reporting concerns after hours, please call the Abbotsford Police non emergency line at 604-859-5225

  • If you need further information on the provincial directive you can visit Fraser Health’s website. In addition, if people have health concerns, they should call 8-1-1. If they have non-medical questions, they can call 1-888-COVID19 or text 604-630-0300 from 7:30am-8pm.

Other City Services Updates

July 6, 2020 Update - Planning and Development Services Update

The closure of City Hall to the public does not impact existing online, phone and virtual City services at the present time, but it will result in some changes to how the City continues to provide services to our customers. 

View the COVID-19 Service Delivery Changes Bulletin.

Development Planning 
Tel: 604-864-5510
Email: planning-info@abbotsford.ca

Building Permits:
Tel: 604-864-5525
Email: building-info@abbotsford.ca

Business Licencing:
Tel: 604-864-5525
Email: businesslicence@abbotsford.ca

July 6, 2020 - City Hall Re-Opening Update

City Hall will be offering in-person appointments for select services starting on July 6, 2020. Cashiers remain open and do not require an appointment.

Please call the appropriate department to set up an in-person appointment, before arriving at City Hall.

Appointments are for one person only.

May 28, 2020 - BC Transit Restart Plan

Following the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC, and drawing on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide, BC Transit is continuing with many of the safety measures put in place to respond to COVID-19, and is implementing additional practices and procedures to align with BC’s Restart Plan.

As restrictions begin to lift across the province, select sectors open back up, and people gradually return to engaging in some of the activities they did prior to March 2020, we want to ensure that BC Transit gets you where you need to be, as safely and efficiently as possible.

Measures already in place that will continue include:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization on buses and at BC Transit facilities
  • Rear door loading and ceasing fare collection until May 31, 2020
  • Additional personal protective equipment for handyDART transit operators
  • Communication to staff and customers to encourage behaviours that contribute to the safety of themselves, our operators and fellow passengers 

New measures will include:

  • Capacity management, including keeping buses at a comfortable load
    • BC Transit will continue to target a comfortable capacity on buses, which may result in buses being full and customers could experience pass ups
    • BC Transit is encouraging customers to use NextRide to check for capacity in advance of boarding and attempt to travel at non-peak times as much as possible
  • The use of face coverings will be encouraged on buses and at bus stops where physical distancing is not possible
  • Protective barriers for operators in the form of vinyl panels or full driver doors
  • One way passenger flow entering through the front of the bus and exiting through the rear of the bus
    • An exception will be made for customers with mobility aids to exit through the front of the bus Resuming front door loading and fare collection effective June 1, 2020
  • Timeline for installation of full driver door protective barriers on buses will be accelerated 

BC Transit continues to provide transportation services you can rely on. As we move through the phases of BC’s Restart Plan, BC Transit will work with our partners to adjust or implement measures based on advice from the Provincial Health Officer. For more information, please visit BCTransit.com/covid19 or call your local transit office.

View BC Transit's full details here

May 19 Update - Indoor Facilities and Outdoor Amenities Re-opening

The City of Abbotsford is following the advice and recommendations set out by our Provincial Health Authority as we work towards opening our facilities and outdoor amenities.  View our webpage for a listing of Indoor and Outdoor facilities

This page will be updated regularly with information pertaining toeach facility and the safety measures in place.  Please visit this page often as information will be updated as we work through a phased and safe approach to re-opening.  

April 23, 2020 - New Emergency Response Centre in Abbotsford

A new Emergency Response Centre (ERC) will be opening in Abbotsford to support vulnerable individuals with support from BC Housing and Fraser Health. The Centre will be operated by Lookout Housing & Health Society at the Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church (Clearbrook Road) and individuals will be referred and supported through Fraser Health. This centre is closed to the public and already provides numerous supports such as mobile showers initiative and weekly meal service.

As an emergency shelter this site will allow for increased isolation spaces that follow physical distancing. Fraser Health will also be providing support to the centre through their Integrated Response Team. This is an interdisciplinary team that supports people along the referral process and with addressing their health care needs at the site.

The team is able to connect people at the emergency response centre with primary care, cultural supports, harm reduction and overdose prevention services, psychiatry and addiction medicine through virtual health, and if Home Health support is required, they help arrange it as needed.

This ERC is part of the Abbotsford Homelessness Prevention and Response System; a network that was developed and implemented in collaboration with senior levels of government, local service providers and community organizations. 

View the full media release.

April 22, 2020 - UPDATED - Open Air Burning Ban Across Abbotsford

The City of Abbotsford will be continuing the implementation and enforcement of the Open Air Burning Ban in alignment with the Province of British Columbia.

No permits for open air burning will be issued until further notice. The burning ban includes all agricultural and rural burning as well as the use of fireworks and sky lanterns. Burning, including campfires is not permitted at any time of the year in the urban boundary of Abbotsford. An exception to this are the designated approved fire pits at Matsqui Trail park. Residents in the urban boundary can still use gas fired fire pits, gas heaters and BBQ’s and should continue to use green waste disposal for organics and compostables.

Agricultural / rural properties are encouraged to seek alternate solutions for approved green waste materials disposal. Where solutions aren’t available, approved materials can be stored and seasoned until the ban is lifted and Burn Permits are available for purchase.

The open air burning ban is expected to be in place until October 1, 2020. The City of Abbotsford will provide updates as conditions change.

Any burning during the ban will be enforced and fines will be issued.

These measures are being put in place to help reduce excessive air pollution in the high risk airsheds across the province. Studies have shown air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections (COVID -19) by decreasing immune function leading to more severe effects. View the Information Bulletin for full details.

April 2, 2020 - #AbbyCares online resource to keep people connected

The City of Abbotsford is proud to launch a new online resource to keep residents connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. #AbbyCares is a selection of online resources to support the community, businesses, families, youth, seniors and children while we are physically distanced.

#AbbyCares will provide an online place for community to gather while the Abbotsford and Matsqui Recreation Centres are temporarily closed to the public. All the #AbbyCares resources will be at letstalkabbotsford.ca/abbycares and new content will be added each week.

Download children’s activities, get new ideas to keep children engaged, join in the 7:00 pm salute for healthcare workers, and find out what other residents and organizations are doing to support each other during this trying time. The #AbbyCares content will also be shared across the City’s social media as we “Stay Together by Staying Apart” over these next few months.

March 27, 2020 - City Undertaking Additional Staffing Changes

Approximately 120 auxiliary recreation staff no longer scheduled for work due to the temporary closure of City recreation facilities will receive lay-off notice today. All City of Abbotsford recreation centres were closed to the public earlier this month to support social distancing and efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

All affected staff will be provided with a Record of Employment from the City of Abbotsford making them eligible to apply for Employment Insurance and other supports from the federal and provincial governments. The City of Abbotsford will continue to maintain contact with these workers to ensure there can be an efficient transition back to work when the current health emergency comes to a close.

The City of Abbotsford is committed to maintaining a high level of essential services for residents through the entire COVID-19 event.

March 25, 2020 - Temporary Staffing Changes - City of Abbotsford

All City of Abbotsford recreation centres were closed to the public earlier this month to support social distancing and efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Temporary staffing changes are now being implemented for fitness and community recreation contractors no longer scheduled for work due to the temporary closure of City recreation facilities.

Approximately 115 contract workers will be provided with a Record of Employment from the City of Abbotsford making them eligible to apply for Employment Insurance and other supports from the federal and provincial governments. The City of Abbotsford will continue to maintain contact with these workers to ensure there can be an efficient transition back to work when the health emergency comes to a close. The City of Abbotsford is committed to maintaining a high level of essential services for residents through the entire COVID-19 event.

March 23, 2020 - Curbside Collection and Compostables Information

Important Curbside Update: To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our waste collection workers, these items are temporarily NOT accepted with curbside compostables:

  • Paper towels
  • Paper napkins
  • Facial tissues 

All waste should be bagged, securely tied, and disposed of with regular garbage. 

Reminder: Don’t flush unflushables! Disinfectant wipes, baby wipes and paper towels should be bagged, securely tied and disposed of with regular garbage. 

Visit www.abbotsford.ca/wastewizard for current information on what goes where. 

March 18, 2020 - All City Facilities Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

Based on the directions of Federal and Provincial governments and Public Health Authorities, the City of Abbotsford is closing all City facilities to the public to support slowing the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to closing all recreation centres earlier this week, City Hall, the Public Works Yard, Abbotsford Police front counters and front counters at Fire Halls are now closed to the public as of 4:30 p.m. today (March 18, 2020) until further notice, pending any further changes or developments related to COVID-19.

All online, phone and virtual City services will be operating until further notice. A dedicated phone number will be available beginning March 19th for residents, businesses and stakeholders who have questions regarding those City services only previously available in person: 604-504-4044.

City Council meetings are available to be viewed online at www.abbotsford.ca/watchcouncilonline.

“This is an unprecedented time for our community, for our country and for the world. It’s time for all of us to come together as a community - we have to break the chain of transmission and continue to flatten the curve.”
Henry Braun Mayor, City of Abbotsford

Resources:

March 18, 2020 - Parks and Field Update
  • Based on recent direction from the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health to limit public gatherings, the City of Abbotsford will not be taking any new field bookings, and will be cancelling all existing field bookings, until further notice.

  • All City of Abbotsford Parks will remain open for the time being and public members using Parks are encouraged to follow safe health practices while using them including social distancing. For a full list of safe health practices and other resources please visit the Public Health Website. Existing bookings for Parks picnic shelters will be cancelled and no new bookings will be taken until further notice. All events booked in Abbotsford Parks will also be cancelled until further notice.

  • Due to the closure of our recreation facilities, the City will also be working with its many lease holders to ensure the directives of the Provincial Health officer are met. This will likely mean that many community service and sports groups will be unable to deliver services from City recreation facilities. A large majority of these lease holders have already ceased operation on their own.

  • Full refunds will be provided to all user groups for all cancellations, including all related City permit fees.

    Update on Bookings at Recreation Centres

  • Recreation facilities remain closed until further notice. No new bookings are being taken, and we will be cancelling existing bookings until further notice.
March 16, 2020 - All Recreation Centres and Non-Essential Facilities Closed

Effective end-of-business today, the City is closing or limiting public access to all city recreation centres and civic-facilities to curb the spread of COVID-19 and focus on providing essential city services. MRC and ARC will be open for Daycamps only on Tuesday March 17, 2020 to assist parents with finding alternate child-care but will be fully closed effective Wednesday March 18, 2020.
 
Today’s closures include:

  • Abbotsford Recreation Centre – Closing at 12 midnight today
  • Matsqui Recreation Centre – Closing at 10pm today
  • Matsqui Centennial Auditorium – Closed immediately
  • MSA Arena – Closed immediately
  • Centennial Pool

Memberships at ARC & MRC will be placed on-hold until the facilities re-open.

Anyone who has already paid for a City program at a closed facility location will receive a full refund.

All other City services and facilities not referenced above remain operational at this time, although service delivery may be adjusted as appropriate to support social distancing. 

The City of Abbotsford continues to work with public health officials and stakeholders on the COVID-19 response. There is the potential for further service closures in the days to come as the City works to ensure the highest level of essential services.   

All gatherings over 50 people in civic facilities or parks are also cancelled or postponed until further notice. Events taking place at the Abbotsford Centre have also been cancelled. 

Residents are encouraged to follow @City_Abbotsford on Twitter to receive the latest updates on COVID-19 response.

“In the interest of protecting our residents and working to flatten the curve of COVID-19 the City of Abbotsford is closing most civic facilities and non-essential programs. This is a time for our community to support one another by practicing social distancing as a way to care for our neighbors who are most at-risk.  Safety and the well-being of our community is at the forefront of our decision-making.”
 
Henry Braun
Mayor, City of Abbotsford

 

March 13, 2020 - Events of people over 250 Cancelled or Temporarily Postponed

On March 12, 2020 the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health directed the cancellation of all public gatherings of more than 250 people within the Province of British Columbia to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In response to this directive, all events of over 250 people that are scheduled in facilities owned by the City of Abbotsford are cancelled until further notice. The City will continue reaching out to work closely with event organizers to assess impacts and provide updated communications as the situation continues.

The City is encouraging event organizers to follow the directive of the health authorities and to use the Government of Canada’s Public Health Mass Gathering Risk Assessment tool to support risk-informed decisions. Community members who may have questions or concerns related to public gatherings being organized by community groups or other agencies, are urged to contact the organizers directly.

The City of Abbotsford will continue to work closely with our stakeholders and customers to coordinate cancellations as well as options for rebooking in the future. We will continue to engage with Fraser Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor this changing situation.

March 12, 2020 - Update to Residents

The City of Abbotsford is working closely with our government partners to monitor developments relating to COVID-19, and are regularly reviewing updates from provincial, Canadian and global health authorities.

The health and safety of our customers and our team members is a top priority for us. In the past several weeks, we have taken additional precautionary measures to enhance the cleanliness and sanitization throughout City facilities. 

We will also increase communication to ensure our clients, guests and teams are supported and informed. 

We are also ensuring our team members have the information they need to stay healthy or stay home if they are not feeling well. 

Based on the guidance we have received from various health agencies, as well as our own preparedness measures, we are confident the City continues to be a safe environment and we remain open for regular business.

We will continue to update residents should things change. Further updates will be posted to this webpage as they are available.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the following resources:


FINANCIAL RELIEF AND BUSINESS RESOURCES

May 22, 2020 - United Way Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF)

The Government of Canada announced the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) as a vital step in the country’s rapid response to COVID-19. These funds are being distributed through United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), Community Foundations of Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross.

Funds from UWCC are being disbursed through local and regional United Ways to address pressing needs caused by COVID-19.  With this fund, United Way of the Lower Mainland is working to support the community in new and caring ways, ensuring everyone in the community gets the help that they need. 

Funds are available from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $50,000 and must be expended and activities completed by March 31, 2021. Application for these funding opportunities opens Tuesday, May 19, 2020 and closes Friday, July 10 at 4:30pm.  Apply online at uwlm.ca/ecsf.

April 24, 2020 - Property Tax and Utility Bill Payment Updates

Tax Rate: 

On April 20, 2020, Council decreased the City’ budgeted tax revenue increase from 2.97% to 2.12% in light of the financial uncertainties impacting residents and businesses at this time.  The decrease to 2.12% reduced the 2020 municipal tax revenue increase from $4.3M to $3.0M, with $1.3M in savings going directly to taxpayers.  

Due date for taxes:  July 2, 2020

Property tax due date for all property classes is July 2, 2020, which is the same due date as the Province of BC. 

For residential, utilities, supportive housing and farm properties (classified by BC Assessment as Class 1, 2, 3 or 9), outstanding taxes are subject to a 5% penalty on July 3 and an additional 5% penalty on September 16. 

For industrial, commercial and non-profit properties (classified by BC Assessment as Class 5, 6 or 8), outstanding taxes are subject to a 10% penalty on October 1.  

Tax Payment Options: 

Did you know your tax payments and home owner grants can be done from the comfort of your home!  

  • Apply for your home owner grant online: www.abbotsford.ca/hog
  • Pay online: pay for your taxes from your financial institution’s website
  • Pay by credit card: visit www.abbotsford.ca/creditcard for full details (service charges apply)
  • Contact your Canadian financial institution about other safe and convenient payment options
  • Pay by cheque: Cheques payable to the City of Abbotsford
    • Mail cheque payment to City Hall at 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford BC V2T 1W7.  
    • Drop boxes are available 24 hours at both entrances to City Hall (please do not drop cash in the box)

Tax Deferment Program: 

The Province of BC offers a tax deferment program. Residential property owners can apply for property tax deferment on their principal residence online, quickly and easily. Owners can also choose to auto renew their application for next year.

NOTE: this service must be applied for through the provincial government website and not at the City. For more information: gov.bc.ca/propertytaxdeferment or call 1-888-355-2700.

Tax Prepayment Plan:  

Residents and businesses on the tax pre-payment plan have one remaining withdrawal scheduled for May 15, 2020.  If you would like to cancel the plan or change the monthly withdrawal to a lower amount, please contact us at cash@abbotsford.ca or 604-864-5522.  At least 7 days notice is required prior to the 15th day of the month in order to change or stop the current month's withdrawal.

Any outstanding tax balance must be paid and, if eligible, the Home Owner Grant claimed by the tax due date in order to avoid penalties, and to remain on the tax pre-payment plan. Overdue tax balances will result in automatic cancellation of your tax pre-payment plan.

The prepayment plan is 10 equal monthly withdrawals, with the first withdrawal for 2021 taxes starting on August 15, 2020.  

Utility Bill Payments:

The City has extended the payment due date of utility bills from 30 days to 60 days.  This means you have until May 25 to pay and receive the 5% on-time payment discount.  If you pay after May 25, you will lose the 5% on-time discount.

Please note, there is no late penalty or interest charged on your utility bill if you pay after the due date. The unpaid bill will remain on your account until Dec 31, 2020, at which time it will be transferred to your property tax account and start incurring interest.

 

April 21, 2020 - Federal and Provincial Financial Relief Resources

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

Direct financial support

Access to capital

Other programs

PROVINCE OF BC

The Province of BC has introduced a variety of measures, including extension of tax filing and payment deadlines, unpaid job-protected leave for sick employees, and a BC Emergency Benefit for Workers of $1000 for British Columbians (EI-eligible and non-EI eligible) whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19.

April 15, 2020 - Responsive Small Neighbourhood Grants

The City of Abbotsford has partnered up with the Vancouver Foundation and the Abbotsford Community Foundation to launch the Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants (R-NSG) which will fund small-scale projects that reduce social isolation. R-NSG projects must adhere to physical distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and invite individuals to dream up creative projects that address the following areas:

  • tackle and address social isolation,
  • build community strength and resilience,
  • and foster community creativity and wellbeing

R-NSG grants range from $50 to $500 and are intended to help you bring your project to life. If you plan to host skill-sharing projects, you can also spend up to $350 of the project budget providing honorariums – this includes yourself.  Learn more about the R-NSG's and how to apply here.

April 14, 2020 - Utility Bill deadline and other license dates extended

The deadline for paying the water and sewer utility bill from January-February 2020 has been extended from April 25 2020 to May 25 2020. In the normal course of business, customers have 30 days to pay the utility bill to receive a 5% on-time payment discount. In light of current events and financial uncertainty for many residents and local businesses, this one-month extension allows customers 60 days to receive the 5% on-time payment discount.  View full details of license and utility bill deadlines

April 2, 2020 - COVID-19 Supply Hub

The Province has launched the COVID-19 Supply Hub, a made-in-B.C. online platform to co-ordinate, source and expedite medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for provincial health authorities to support front-line health workers.

Please direct inquiries that come your way related to offers of medical supplies and PPE to this new platform: gov.bc.ca/supplyhub This platform provides a single point of entry to prioritize the thousands of offers and donations for essential supplies from business and other organizations since the onset of the COVID-19 response. It will focus on sourcing supplies for the health care system and frontline workers, though government is also accepting offers for other essentials, like cleaning supplies.

The COVID-19 Supply Hub will be managed under the new Provincial Supply Coordination Unit at Emergency Management BC, in partnership with PHSA, as part of the Province's approach to COVID-19 response and recovery. PHSA is getting inundated with daily with hundreds of generous offers from suppliers and donors, and as such, we welcome this assistance in verifying vendors and products.


RESOURCES AND INFORMATION:

May 13, 2020 - BC COVID-19 Survey

The Province of BC wants to hear from you about your experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Public health and government leaders have made significant decisions impacting every aspect of our lives in recent weeks.  The Province of BC wants to hear from you as we plan to ease restrictions while keeping citizens safe, especially those most vulnerable.

Take the Survey here

March 18, 2020 - Stay Connected With City Online Services

You can stay in touch with the City of Abbotsford through our website, social media and our mobile apps. 

News and Updates 
News and updates, including news releases are posted to our home page at www.abbotsford.ca in our tops stories and news and updates section. News releases are also posted at www.abbotsford.ca/news. 

Online Services
Many of our services offered in person are also available online.  For a full list of online services visit: https://www.abbotsford.ca/i_want_to.htm

From our “I Want To” webpage, you can filter the online service you need based on the action you wish to perform!  All online services will appear on the page, and you can choose the item you want. Available services include:

  • Permit applications
  • Online bill payments
  • Report an issue
  • Inquiries 
  • Mapping
  • Links to our social media channels

Mobile Apps 
Our apps are also free for download from the App Store or Google Play.  View our list of apps at www.abbotsford.ca/apps. 

Updates and notifications are sent out through the @Abbotsford – City Service app right to your mobile device.  Download the @abbotsford app and choose ‘allow notifications’ to receive our updates.

Social Media  
Follow us on social media to be updated on the latest information.