The Williams Lake Stampede Association will be opening its campground for use for frontline workers beginning April 1. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Stampede Association opening campground for frontline workers April 6

Only doctors, nurses or first responders will be able to use the service

The Williams Lake Stampede Association will be opening its campground on Monday, April 6, for nurses, doctors and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s only going to be for frontline health care workers,” said Allan Smith, WLSA director in charge of the campground. “I’m going to have a limited number of sites open by Monday, my signage is being made.”

He has been contacted by frontline workers already who want to self-isolate because they are worried about putting their families at risk.

“Some of them are scared and are already staying in RVs in their own driveways because they don’t want to take the virus inside their home,” Smith told the Tribune Wednesday. “An ask was made to me if I could open up the campground because we told our caretakers not to show up until at least May 1.”

He is delaying offering the service until next Monday because temperatures are still dipping down to below minus double digits, however, by next week the forecast is indicating some ‘decent’ overnight lows around -5C, starting Monday.

“Even though my RV is listed for -25C, I don’t like running it without glycol in the system or draining the glycol until it is at least -5C or -10C.”

Read more: Plans for Williams Lake Stampede continue, campground closed due to COVID-19

The power has been turned on, the sewer system is ready, but he cannot turn water on to the site until Mother Nature lets him, which is typically mid-April.

People will be self-isolating in their own RVs, making their own meals, which would be cheaper than a motel room because he is not going to be charging them, he added.

“If search and rescue, or a police officer or a paramedic approaches us and says they believe they were exposed to someone with respiratory illness and they need to self-isolate 14 days, come on in.”

Once the weather breaks, Jason Bell at Chemo RV will be making nine RVs available to the Stampede Association for frontline workers at an ‘extremely’ reduced rate, he said.

“I appreciate Chemo’s response to something like this, it’s awesome.”

Presently the washrooms are being renovated, however, they will not be available because of COVID-19 precautions.

Smith said he does not have a full-time staff person who could go in and literally clean the washrooms after every single time they are used.

The washrooms will stay locked as will laundry facilities.

“They will have a place to park an RV, they will have power and sewer, and hopefully they will have water here really quick. The City is doing what they can to open up the water station at the front entrance at the sanidump to see about running a hose connection so people can water up their RVs prior to parking it.”

Updated information will be posted on the WLSA website and Facebook page in the near future and Smith is drafting up a form for people to sign so he can keep track of who is in-house.

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