Minto mayor, CAO hosting interactive online sessions

Town officials also working on ways to allow public to participate in teleconference council meetings

MINTO – Mayor George Bridge and CAO Derrick Thomson updated the community on local concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic during a recent interactive online session.

The Town of Minto announced the weekly online sessions will be held every Thursday at 11am on the town’s Facebook page.

Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the mayor and CAO during the sessions.

“These are extraordinary times,” Thomson stated during the April 2 session.

“I can assure you though that our essential services like fire water and waste, and road maintenance, and were doing some building services as well, all those departments are still working hard and those staff are in and out of our offices while maintaining social distancing protocols. The rest of our staff are actually working from home and continuing to process different requests from the public.”

In his remarks Thomson stressed, “How important it is right now for people to continue following social distancing protocols.  We have to absolutely flatten the curve. We cannot overwhelm our health system.”

Thompson also pleaded with residents to stop flushing paper towels and disinfecting wipes down their toilets

“I can’t begin to tell you the damage there is going to be,” he stated.  “You are going to start to have backup in your basement. Please. I implore you. Do not flush wipes down the toilet. It will cause damage not only to the town’s system … but your own system as well.”

Bridge also emphasized the urgency of adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“If we’re going to get through this pandemic, we have to basically make sure that we follow the rules and regulations set out by our federal government,” said the mayor, who advised the public to check out the information and resources available on the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website.

Bridge noted the town’s economic development staff continues to work hard helping local businesses deal with the ongoing crisis. He recommended local business people contact the staff with questions and concerns.

He also outlined the terms of Wellington County’s new Keep Well – Emergency Business Sustainability Fund which provides low-interest loans to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“With federal and provincial government money it takes a little time for it to come through. So this is going to be done very quickly,” said Bridge.

Only one question was asked during the first online session: if there were any facilities open for leaf dumping in the area.

Thompson replied he would bring up the question at the next conference call of county CAOs. Such calls are being held regularly during the pandemic.

March 31 council meeting

The Town of Minto is working on ways to allow the public to listen in on council meetings as they take place via teleconference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the first orders of business at a special meeting held remotely on March 31 was to amend the town’s procedural bylaw to permit electronic participation at council and committee meetings where an emergency has been declared to exist in all or part of the municipality under section 4 or 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The resolution also included a provision to suspend the public question period section of the agenda during the current COVlD-19 pandemic, and that no delegations be received.

Mayor George Bridge noted the County of Wellington is still waiting on further information from the province regarding public meetings for zoning and planning issues.

Bridge stated that acting clerk Annilene McRobb is working on a way to allow the public to listen to the meetings as they take place. The minutes of the March 31 meeting state that further information will be put out to the public prior to the next council meeting, currently scheduled for April 7 at 3pm.

Mintues of the meeting indicate council:

  • approved the 2019 Annual and Summary Reports for the Town of Minto Drinking Water Systems in Clifford, Harriston, Palmerston and Minto Pines subdivision; and
  • approved a bylaw appointing CAO Derrick Thomson as deputy clerk.

Before adjournment the mayor invited comments from members of council.

Councillor Jean Anderson stated that everyone needs to do their part and stay home and asked other members of council to remind residents of how important this is. Anderson spoke about front line workers’ need for personal protective Equipment (PPE) and noted if anyone has any sources it would be appreciated. Anderson said she would like to see the town advertise direction to keep residents at home.

Bridge thank Anderson for her service as a frontline health care worker and stated that further social media information will be put out to residents.

Deputy mayor David Turton told council the Harriston Food Bank has not seen a surge in use at this time and is down in numbers this week compared to two weeks previous.