Simcoe County Councillor John O’Donnell passed on last week after battling cancer. John served as a Councillor in the Township of Ramara since 2000. Since 2014, John has been Deputy Mayor and on County Council, where he made further significant contributions. He served his community with passion and dedication and he will be missed.
Thank you to all front-line workers, essential workers and those who are working from home. We are very appreciative of you doing your part.
The Township continues to respond to the COVID-19 health pandemic in our community. The Springwater Emergency Community Control Group, made up of myself, the Deputy Mayor, CAO Schmidt and various department heads, meet by conference call throughout each week to share information and determine next steps in moving forward.
Our team is communicating regularly with the Dr. Gardner of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the County of Simcoe, other area municipalities and all levels of government. The numbers are showing that cases have increased recently in the area, and community transmission rather than travel related exposure has started. It is most important to continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene, as this is the only way to prevent the spread in our community. It is evident that COVID-19 is affecting ALL age groups – people under 40 account for approximately 12% of the hospitalized cases at this time. RVH continues to do an excellent job adapting to COVID challenges. It is currently at approximately 70% occupancy, after having made approximately 100 bed space available for potential case needs within the next 4 weeks. Please consider going on the RVH website for current information and donation possibilities.
All municipal facilities remain closed to the public at this time. In an effort to maintain physical distancing, staff members, where possible will continue to provide services online and by telephone, while working on rotating shifts in the office and remotely. Staff that work outside of our facilities will work in smaller teams and on shifts, to ensure safe physical distancing.
Playground, outdoor fitness equipment and outdoor rinks are also closed until further notice. This equipment cannot be sanitized and to ensure the safety of all residents, we ask that you do not use it at this time. All parks have been signed and caution taped as a reminder.
Springwater Public Library is open for business through its website and Facebook pages. The website is www.springwater.library.on.ca and has links to e-books, e-audiobooks, as well as databases and information. The brand-new Virtual Programming tab has several craft videos and a special story time video coming on this week. If you do not yet have a library card or are having technology problems, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Like the Facebook page for daily activities and signup for the e-newsletter to be the first to hear updates: http://www.libraryaware.com/390/Subscribers/Subscribe.Springwater Public Library will help you stay entertained and informed while you are at home.
In an effort to provide relief to residents and businesses during this time, Council has made the decision to waive all penalties and interest on property tax and water/wastewater until June for any bills if you are unable to pay them on the due dates. Details on this are available on the Township website.
If you are in search of groceries, pharmaceutical supplies or other services, call 211 or visit 211ontario.ca. This resource is available to help you find stores that are open and offering delivery, as well as provide information on programs and services available.
Canadian Blood Services will be hosting a Blood Drive at the Elmvale Community Hall on April 11 in a safe and secure fashion. To make an appointment to donate, you are encouraged to call 1-888-2-DONATE or visit blood.ca
Elmvale & District Food Bank
These are challenging times, resulting in reductions in work and pay for some. The Elmvale & District Food Bank wants to help if you need it – it is open Wednesdays 4-6pm and Thursdays 10 am to noon. During this COVID-19 time, they will NOT be taking any financial information from people they help. They are very appreciative of the support they have received and continue to welcome any donations possible – please call 705-322-1757. You will find further information from the Food Bank in this issue and on Springwater.ca. Council voted to donate $2500 to support the Food Bank from funds raised from the 2019 Springwater Swing Golf Tournament. The Food Bank remains open and operational to service those in need in our community.
County Landfills and Transfer Stations
In addition to the regular ongoing waste collection, Simcoe County has re-opened four landfill sites and transfer stations in North Simcoe, West Gwillimbury, Nottawasaga and Oro-Medonte. The sites will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm.
The County requests that residents follow all Public Health recommendations and use the landfill for critical or essential drop-offs only. If you are in self-isolation, stay at home. Please store materials at your home if possible; don’t make any unnecessary visits to the sites. The County has enhanced procedures at these four sites to provide additional safety and physical distancing measures for staff and customers. These include speakers installed at weigh scales to avoid direct contact, increased sanitization and a minimum $10 fee to be paid by debit or credit only at an external terminal (no cash transaction). Number of vehicle limits allowed access at a time will be implemented to reduce contact with others. This could lead to longer wait times. Staff will no longer be able to assist with unloading.
For regular waste collection, residents are reminded to utilize curbside organics and recycling, and the two-bag garbage limit on garbage collection weeks as the best means to dispose of their usual household materials. Organics and recycling quantities for curbside collection are unlimited. Please continue to use your green bin as much as possible, and bag and seal your organics and garbage to protect the well-being of collection crews. Diapers can also be set out in sealed clear bags on garbage weeks and won’t be counted against garbage bag limits.
Postponing the 2020 Assessment Update
The provincial government has indicated that property assessments for the 2021 taxation year will continue to be based on the fully phased-in January 1, 2016 current values (i.e., the same valuation date in use for 2020 taxation year).
The Township will continue to communicate any changes as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook of visit the Township website springwater.ca/COVID19 for regular updates. Additionally, follow the Township Youtube page, where I am posting regular updates on the current situation. If you do not have access to a computer and need help – call me at 705-302-4253.
Take care of yourselves, your families and your loved ones and keep gatherings to a limit of 5 people. Thank you for taking this seriously. Stay healthy and be well.