Carleton Place mayor explains non-declaration of state of emergency

Special to WC Online

“I want to acknowledge the community questions I have been receiving regarding the Town of Carleton Place declaring a State of Emergency. While I understand that it would be a comfort for some to hear that we have declared a State of Emergency I want to be clear about what a State of Emergency entails and why we haven’t at this time.

“An emergency declaration allows the mayor to take immediate actions and make lawful orders in a timely fashion. I want to be clear, this is the primary reason a municipality would make an Emergency Declaration. Council is working together to ensure timely decisions are being made on behalf of the community so a declaration at this time is not warranted. Further, declaring an emergency at the municipal level does not provide the town with any additional funding. It is also important to note the Province of Ontario has declared a State of Emergency. Provincial legislation takes precedence over municipal and as such we are complying with provincial requirements and we continue to enforce provincial orders such as gatherings of no more than 5 people and the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses to protect the residents of Carleton Place.

“All council members continue to work together to make decisions to protect our community and residents. I know that some of these decisions have been called excessive and unnecessary, but they are a sign of how seriously we are taking the current situation. Below is a summary of some of these decisions:

“On March 13, Carleton Place Town Council made the proactive decision to protect its staff and the public by closing all town-owned facilities to the public.

  • The closure of all town-owned play equipment including the pump track and skate park
  • The closure of the public boat launch
  • The prohibition of use of public benches

“to comply with social distancing guidelines, essential municipal staff are working from home or in shifts when at the office and ocuncil has moved our meetings to a virtual platform.

“In order to assist residents during this difficult time council approved a motion which will see interest on payments owing to the town for water, taxes, and other invoices waived until decided otherwise. We have also allowed for an additional bag of garbage each week during the remainder of the crisis. We will begin the curbside collection of leaves a week earlier than initially scheduled.

“We are in regular contact with local medical professionals, the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit and we are receiving information from both the provincial and federal governments. The current situation is fluid with new information developing daily. While I am taking the input from my fellow councillors and other key stakeholders under advisement, it is my position that the situation in Carleton Place remains within the control of the community at this time.  While I have not declared a state of emergency at this point that does not mean that I am opposed to the idea and I am absolutely willing to change course promptly if and when new information becomes available which would warrant the decision.”

Mayor Doug Black.

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