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Mayor’s Message on COVID-19 – April 28, 2020

Mayor’s Message on COVID-19 – April 28, 2020

Much has changed in the last week and yet much remains the same. In Canada, the cases have risen to 48,500 with 18,268 of that number recovered. In Ontario, 14,856 with now over 1000 deaths. Fortunately, in the Sudbury area only 57 cases have been confirmed with 44 of those resolved. Our testing numbers, particularly here on Manitoulin, remain quite low but, so far, so good, although Sudbury does now have a second long-term care home reporting an outbreak.

Ontario’s curve remains steep, however, Premier Doug Ford announced yesterday a plan entitled “Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province.” “It is a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely.”

I urge everyone to examine this plan ( ). Understandably, there are no hard-and-fast dates attached. Logically, at least in some areas of the province, there is reason to have hope that we can relax a few areas of current restriction, but under no circumstances is there any suggestion that we are returning to business as usual.

Last Sunday we experienced a much higher volume of traffic at our landfill; compared to the previous week, the number almost doubled. Several factors contributed to longer delays and traffic being backed up onto the highway shoulder with a great potential, at the crest of a blind hill, for something to go wrong. Several people were delivering brush and other yard clean-ups to both our burn pit and compactor truck, taking a lot of time to unload. We have previously asked that these items not, for the time-being, go to our landfill. With the provincial fire ban, they cannot be burned. Secondly, the compactor truck became full and had to be emptied, another factor which greatly added to the delay. Lastly, some people still arrive with unsorted garbage and recycling which again slows down the process.

Effective April 27, we are adding two hours to Thursday’s landfill hours, from 2-6 p.m., which should help. Sunday remains 2-4 p.m. for now. In addition, no yard or construction waste will be accepted and please have your items sorted prior to arrival to keep the line moving. Staff will monitor closely and we will adjust to accommodate as required.

Since my last message of April 21, M’Chigeeng First Nation has initiated a non-essential travel ban on their lands. I have had several questions posed to me as to whether this is legal on public highways. I have spoken to Ogimaa Kwe Debassige and she informs me that the land on which the roads were constructed were never ceded to the province and that she has spoken to both the Ontario government and the OPP and assures me that what they are doing is legal. If anyone would like further clarification, please contact the M’Chigeeng Administration Office.

In closing, a lot of sacrifices have been made by a lot of people and I thank all of them. What we don’t want to see is to lose progress on containment and with every passing day where we remain COVID-19-free, it is reason for cautious optimism.

Do not abandon the protocols, remain patient, remain kind.

Thank you and stay safe,