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Brock council not ready yet to lift state of emergency

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Township of Brock is taking a cautious approach regarding when to lift their state of emergency. After seeing correspondence from resident Judi Forbes asking for the township to lift the municipal state of emergency, the issue was discussed by members of Brock council, at a meeting on Monday, August 10th. “There’s a lot of consideration there, and it’s not something we want to do just in a one-off discussion, or in a rash decision,” Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden said, in regards to lifting the state of emergency. “The Region of Durham is not in a place where they are anticipating lifting their state of emergency yet, and I think we need to take direction from our director of health, which is Dr. [Robert] Kyle. At Regional council last week, Dr. Kyle made it quite clear we’re not out of this yet, and we are going to anticipate that all of the programs that we have put into place will stay in place for quite some time. You all need to get used to wearing a mask, because [the requirement of] wearing a mask is not going away. It is here for the long haul, at least until the end of the year.” Mayor Bath-Hadden also cautioned councillors about the repercussions of lifting the state of emergency. “If you are considering lifting the state of emergency, everything we have put into play today disappears,” she said, using the example of the resident only policy at the Beaverton Harbour as an example. The Mayor asked councillors to give the control group until after the Labour Day weekend to lift the local emergency state. “Give us the rest of the month of August to work with our other municipalities, but not only that, [the idea] is, our residents would like to continue to enjoy the resident only policy that we have down at the Beaverton Harbour until at least after Labour Day,” Mayor Bath-Hadden implored. Acting CAO Ralph Walton stated, it would be best for all Durham municipalities to lift their states of emergency at the same time “to avoid confusion.” Fire Chief Rick Harrison agreed it is too soon right now to “terminate the state of emergency,” referencing, Ontario has only been in stage 3 of the provincial reopening plan for a short amount of time. But Ward 1 Councillor Michael Jubb was concerned about the level of say council has on emergency decisions. “We’re now into month 5. Where that concerns me is, as elected officials we do not have the decision making powers that I feel we should at this time,” he said. Mayor Bath-Hadden suggested councillors could be shown reports from the emergency control group and provide their feedback. Councillor Jubb questioned if council could take over on emergency decisions rather than them being made by the control group. Mr. Walton explained the decisions made by the emergency control group have been mostly on “operational” issues. Chief Harrison explained how the control group could continue to operate, while also providing council the ability to make some emergency related decisions. “Bigger type decisions that don’t need to be done quickly can certainly come back to council with a recommendation from the control group,” he said. Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble opined she would like council to be involved with decisions on “things that are having a budgetary impact.” Councillor Jubb used the examples of arena and beach re-openings as things he would like council to be able to make decisions on. Regional Councillor Ted Smith said he is fine with keeping the local state of emergency in place at this time, saying he hasn’t “had any serious dispute with any of the decisions that have been made” by the municipality’s control group. Mayor Bath-Hadden declared a state of emergency in Brock Township on Tuesday, March 24th.

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