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Kawartha Lakes Council meets virtually, receives pandemic update

Virtual council meeting screen

Virtual electronic meeting screenKawartha Lakes – On April 28, Kawartha Lakes Council held its first electronic meeting. The meeting was livestreamed on YouTube and broadcast on Cogeco Your TV. A copy of the video is usually available on YouTube within 24 hours of the meeting.

Council received an update on the municipality’s pandemic response from Ron Taylor, Chief Administrative Officer. Over the last six weeks, the municipality has been focused solely on pandemic response. A local state of emergency was declared on March 24. Since that time, the municipality has followed all provincial orders issued through the provincial state of emergency to ensure public safety.

Service changes include:

  • Close all municipal buildings, landfills and parks amenities to the public.
  • Prohibit events and public gatherings on public lands up to June 30, including traditional Canada Day activities.
  • Provide property tax and utility services payment deferrals.
  • Increase curb-side waste collection measures while landfills are closed to the public.
  • Local enforcement of provincial orders by OPP, Kawartha Lakes Police Service and Municipal Law Enforcement.
  • Distribute emergency response funding of $1.8 million from the province in the form of immediate food and housing supports across Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County.
  • Put into use an additional $70,000 in emergency funding from the province at Victoria Manor Long Term Care to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff.
  • Testing for COVID-19 is being carried out by Kawartha Lakes Paramedics, both in-home for vulnerable residents and at long term care homes.

Taylor spoke about moving from the response phase to the recovery phase of the pandemic, noting that everyone from staff to community members are eager for this to begin as soon as possible. The City will lead by example and spearhead the recovery efforts.

“All staff departments have been challenged to rethink how we do business, how we can leverage technology and how we can deliver services into the next phase of this pandemic,” commented Taylor.

The 2020 budget will be revisited line by line to determine priority projects that will support economic and community recovery. The City will look at how to accelerate funding and approvals more quickly than normal to ensure recovery moves forward.

Council adopted the following:

  • A modification to the Planning Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference that will allow planning applications to be forwarded directly to Council for consideration and approval. This will expedite planning applications and maintain public safety.
  • Create a new Economic Recovery Task Force to spur recovery of all sectors, with a focus on stimulating development, agriculture and tourism.
  • Develop a new Community Pandemic Recovery Task Force to focus on community safety and well-being, vulnerable residents, food and housing security and volunteer coordination. Staff will reach out to partners, agencies and community members to finalize the terms of reference for both Task Forces. The Terms of Reference will be brought to the May 26 Council meeting.
  • Changes to the Procedural By-law will allow future electronic meetings for Committees and Boards of Council.

Staying Connected

The municipality continues to post updates to www.kawarthalakes.ca/COVID-19. Visit the webpage for the latest updates on closures, meeting cancellations and changes to services.

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Community members concerned about their health are asked to use the Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if they need to seek care.

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