I am grateful to the Independent for giving me this opportunity to write a letter to all our residents.
The developments of the last two weeks related to the COVID – 19 virus have changed our daily lives unbelievably fast!
As Mayor, I want to tell you that the Municipality of Kincardine has had a very detailed Emergency Response Plan for years which includes a Human Health section to guide us during this COVID-19 crisis. It is important to note that the Medical Officer of Health determines the actions needed to protect our community from a communicable disease and has the authority to issue orders.
On March 16, 2020, the Municipality convened its first Emergency Control Group meeting to coordinate its response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This group consists of our CAO, mayor, our CEMC (Community Emergency Management Coordinator), our Fire Chief, other staff members and representatives from other local agencies such as the Grey Bruce Health Unit, the South Bruce Grey Health Centre and the OPP.
Since then, our staff COVID-19 working group has been meeting daily to take the necessary steps to not only protect the health and well being of our residents but also to ensure that the essential services of the Municipality continue. This includes supporting the steps taken by Premier Ford and the Province of Ontario when they declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020. At that time, we closed all municipal facilities to the public until April 5th, 2020. This will allow us time to develop safety protocol and altered work arrangements to limit staff’s exposure to the virus. We need to ensure our staff is healthy to keep our municipal services operating over the coming weeks and months.
Please note that our staff will still be available for residents by phone and email during normal business hours at Municipal offices to ensure continuity of Municipal business operations. You can visit the website www.kincardine.ca for more information.
Last week, the Province took steps to ensure that Council can continue to serve you by allowing us to meet electronically. Council will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020. This is very new for us so please stay tuned to www.kincardine.ca to learn how you can view this meeting. We want our residents and the media to continue to have the opportunity to be an important part of our meeting process. We ask for your patience as we try to coordinate this venture into electronic meetings.
I would like to thank our dedicated staff for working so quickly to make sure the municipality has all we need in place to deal with this health crisis. We now have a special media team that updates our website and our social media regularly on the COVID19 issue so check it out for the latest information. Some staff are cross training so that, if necessary, they can do other work that might be needed during this crisis.
I am confident that every resident will help our community get through these difficult times. From pioneer times we have come together to help each other through snow storms, accidents, wars, illnesses, or family tragedies. We just have to do it differently this time. Help “flatten the curve” by practicing physical distancing or proper handwashing but ramp up your social interaction online to support others. Phone your elderly relatives, your friends, your neighbours. Let them know you care. Ask if they need any help. As we always do, we will get through this tough time together!
Mayor, Municipality of Kincardine