COVID-19, Costco and the Crunch

Good morning, folks. Jeremy here. It’s almost spring, that time of year when a giant telecom company’s fancy turns to acquisition.

Today we’ve got the extension of the Coquitlam Crunch (which is not a breakfast cereal) and the return of the Coquitlam Express. We also have a brief report on a COVID-19 cluster at the Port Coquitlam Costco.

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And now, let’s get on with it.

In a bid to stem a coronavirus outbreak at the Costco in Port Coquitlam, Fraser Health has expanded testing and immunizations at the big box store, according to Fraser Health public affairs senior consultant Aletta Vanderheyden.

While details were scant, Vanderheyden called the concentration of COVID-19 cases “significant,” in an email.

“We are taking an aggressive management approach . . . in order to prevent an outbreak,” she wrote.

No further information on dates or number of cases was provided.

Do you favour plentiful parking, good signage, washrooms, or all of the above?

Input needed: Hikers, runners and wanderers have until Sunday to offer their opinions on the Coquitlam Crunch as city staff fine tunes plans for the trail’s southern extension, which is set to swoop from near Dewdney Trunk Road to Mariner Way and Mundy Park along a BC Hydro corridor.

  • To fund the $3.25 million gravel trail extension, the city deferred plans for viewing decks and exercise equipment on the existing trail.

Initially budgeted at $3 million, the southern section of the popular hiking trail was slated to include 30 parking spots, washrooms, signage, an information kiosk and other features. The planned extension could include those features, as well as stairs in steeper section, according to a staff report.

  • Construction on the extension is tentatively slated to begin in late 2021 and wrap up in early 2022.

The numbers: The Coquitlam Crunch, an 800-stair/gravel trail climb from Eagle Ridge Park to Westwood Plateau, attracts 7,000 visitors per month in its slow season and approximately 52,000 visitors per month in peak times.

After getting the green-light from the B.C. Hockey League board of governors Friday, the Coquitlam Express is heading out of quarantine and into action for an abbreviated season.

Safety first: To keep the game as safe as possible, the season is set to consist of pods of three or four teams playing each other in five different locations across the province. Coquitlam is expected to be grouped with the Powell River Kings and Surrey Eagles, said Express vice president Tali Campbell.

Celebration to isolation: In preparation for the season, the entire roster is in quarantine.

  • “You go from . . . cheering and high-fiving everyone to now being in your bedroom for two weeks,” Campbell said.

The Express are planning to schedule workouts via zoom leading up to a brief training camp before the puck drops April 2.

The team has seen major changes recently, including a new captain, new starting goalie and the recent hiring of interim head coach Adam Nugent-Hopkins.

  • While Nugent-Hopkins has only had a week on the ice with the team, Campbell expects a smooth transition. “It’s not a huge adjustment for Adam,” he said. “He knows a lot of these players already.”

No stops on the way to the rink: “They go home, they come to the arena, they practise, they play, they go back home. They don’t interact with the public,” Campbell said.

The new season gives the athletes a chance to advance to the next level, according to BCHL Executive Director Steven Cocker.

“With no games since November, it has been difficult for these players to get noticed by college programs and, as a result, we’ve seen a significant effect on the number of college commitments in the league this year,” he stated in a press release. “With a shortened season now in place, we are thrilled to get our players back in the spotlight and give them the attention they deserve.”

BCHL health precautions: The BCHL has hired a Chief Medical Officer to oversee all COVID-19 safety protocols for the five-week season, including testing and a quarantine period for players and team staff, according to a release from the BCHL.

Those protocols mean daily coronavirus questionnaires for the players and no fans in the building, Campell explained, adding the games would be available on BCHL TV.

  • That dude can shred: The Coquitlam Spring Shredding Fundraiser is set for March 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Canadian Tire Parking Lot in support of Rotary Club of Coquitlam.
  • Speaking in code: Port Moody coding camps kick off March 22
  • Bee Positive: Port Coquitlam native plant nursery set to open March 20
  • Taste of the Tri-Cities: From now until March 19th restaurants across the Tri-Cities area are being showcased for a local food festival. Check out our featured restaurant below. 
  • Three illegal ride hailing drivers charged in Coquitlam
  • Full metal jackets: Vets design razor-sharp finery for vulnerable pups
  • Office rents are high. Employee commutes are uncertain. In terms of working from home, it looks like the new normal could just become, well, normal
  • Tweeting under the influence: The beer that people with Twitter accounts like best of all

If you’re a compulsive Twitter scroller (which I’m trying not to be) I recommend the serenity and brilliant photography provided by Port Coquitlam master gardener Laura Thomas.

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