Happy New Year Scugog! I hope 2021 brings you all much happiness and renewed hope as we continue our battle with the pandemic and await vaccines.
Earlier in January, the province declared a state of emergency for the second time and issued the Stay-at-home orders. I know many of you may be feeling a bit of COVID fatigue keeping up with the rules. I implore you all, please continue to be diligent.
We know the basic rules of wearing our masks, keeping our distance, and washing our hands. Please remember to stay at home and only go out for essential items. No indoor social gatherings, except with members of the same household. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five (5) people. Wearing a mask or face covering when you are outside, near others, is a requirement. Visit scugog.ca/COVID19 for details on the local measures and how to access municipal and regional services. I would also urge you to not ignore any symptoms, visit covidswab.lh.ca, you can take the online assessment and book a COVID test if needed.
We are heading into colder weather and many families will want to get out and enjoy winter activities. We ask you bear in mind the COVID regulations, as well as review winter and ice safety information. Please remember, weather can fluctuate, causing changes to ice conditions. Fire Chief Berney reminds us, no ice is safe ice, and those looking to snowmobile, skate or ice fish need to check ice thickness before venturing out, avoid going out alone, and wear the right safety equipment. Visit the MNR or Red Cross websites for information.
At the request of Council, staff looked into options for a skating oval, and in consideration of the current COVID environment along with ice conditions, the skating oval will not move ahead this year. The skating area is a great idea and we will work with community partners to implement [one] in 2022.
Scugog staff continue to provide municipal services through phone, email and virtual meetings. Documents and payments can be handed in via the drop boxes set up near the rear public entrance of the municipal office. New building inspection requests will be postponed at this time and paperwork will be handled electronically. The ice has been removed from the Scugog Community Recreation Centre, ice programs have been cancelled, and staff are hard at work transitioning classes and programs to a virtual format. Please visit Scugog.ca/COVID-19 for information on recent changes to municipal services and to connect with staff. Last week, the Waterfront Action Plan team held an online Youth engagement workshop, which was very well attended. It is important to hear from the young people in our community and encourage them in civic engagement. I thank them for participating and giving their ideas on design options for the waterfront. The plan for the waterfront will be presented to Council in March, along with the results of all the public consultation.
Please join staff on February 8th, at 6:30 p.m., for a Virtual Public Open House for the Operating Budget. Finance staff will provide an overview of the draft budget and answer questions from the community. Please send your questions in, ahead of time, by emailing email@example.com
I thank you for your patience with staff, as we deliver services and find new ways to engage and inform the public of updates and information. Take care of yourselves, and be aware if you or your love ones are struggling there are resources available through the Region and Province, visit scugog.ca/COVID-19 for links to these resources and updates.