Municipal response to shutdown

MORRISBURG – While some Eastern Ontario mayors, most notably Ottawa mayor Jim Watson are pushing back and expressing displeasure with this part of the province being shut down for 28 days, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds said he will not do that.

“We have to do what we have to do,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. “I’m willing to lockdown to get to where we need to, and we must do it now.”

He said the lockdown might be overkill for South Dundas but he supports erring on the side of caution. “It’s time to do what we need to do to make sure we protect our health.”

He added that South Dundas went from zero cases to seven in just a week, so he supports the shutdown.

Shortly after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the 28 day Province-wide shutdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19, South Dundas’ emergency management committee met to decide what that would mean for the municipality.

What was decided is that effective December 26th South Dundas’ municipal offices will close and staff will work from home to provide services for residents.

South Dundas chief administrative officer Shannon Geraghty told council at the December 21st council meeting that there are three office staff who cannot work from home, so they will be on-site, but that 17 will be working from home.

Municipal services will still be available by contacting the office by phone or email. A secured drop box will be available in the first floor lobby along with various application forms that may be needed. Payments are also accepted in the drop box.

No committee meetings will be permitted for the duration of the shutdown and all winter recreation programs are cancelled.

The Morrisburg Arena will be closed for all use until further notice.

Outdoor rinks will not be opened at this time. But parks will remain open although the equipment is not sanitized.

“Please follow all COVID-19 safety guideline,” said Byvelds in a December 22 media release. “While we understand the challenges that the lockdown presents, it is imperative that we trust our health officials to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Everyone must do their part.”

During lockdown people should only leave home for essentials such as groceries, prescriptions and medical appointments. Avoid in-person social activities, respect distancing and stay home to keep the community safe.

On December 22nd, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry announced that it will be closing specific offices to the public and limiting access to others until January 25, 2021.

The SDG administration building will be closed with the public encouraged to contact staff via telephone or email.

Provincial Offences Act court matters are adjourned and will be rescheduled to a later date. Fines can be paid online at sdgcounties.ca.

Severance applications will not be accepted until the office reopens.

All applications for various permits (entrances, moving, setbacks) must be submitted electronically.

SDG Libraries will move to contactless curbside pick-up.

The library is open for these contactless services between Dec. 28 and 30, and from Jan. 2, 2021 onward (check sdglibrary.ca for updates).

During the closure periods noted above, essential services, such as road maintenance, land ambulance and policing are unaffected.

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