EASTERN ONTARIO — Municipal governments in the area started the week closed to the public — their doors shut for the time being because of the COVID-19 pandemic and slew of cancellations, postponements and workarounds now in place.
Local conservation authorities have also followed suit today.
The closures follow the shutdown of municipal recreation programs and libraries across the region on the weekend.
In the case of North Dundas Township, council has opted to extend the payment deadline on the first instalment of property taxes, until the end of April.
Staff continue to work, but are available by phone and email exclusively.
At the upper tier, the United Counties of SDG administration building in Cornwall has closed to the public as well, and Provincial Offences Act court matters have been adjourned until a later date. (SDG says that if you have a fine to pay, you can do so online at sdgcounties.ca. The counties also says it has suspended the automatic withdrawal of fines from bank accounts on both March 20 and April 3.)
New severance applications will not be accepted by SDG until the office reopens and all applications for various permits (entrances, moving, setbacks) must be submitted electronically. “It’s our hope that this closure will be short-term in duration and we thank our residents for their patience and understanding,” said SDG CAO Tim Simpson.
Warden Frank Prevost said the County government is being proactive in its decision-making. “The health of our residents and our staff is of paramount concern,” said Prevost, who is in a 14-day isolation period after returning from a southern cruise vacation.
(Zoom in or pinch and zoom!)
SOUTH NATION CONSERVATION IMPORTANT COMMUNICATION CONCERNING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) RESPONSE
South Nation Conservation is committed to supporting municipalities, partners and people as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic unfolds.
While the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, board, volunteers, and members of the public who interact with us.
Following the advice of public health authorities, we have limited non-essential travel, meetings, public use of our facilities and programs.
SNC Administrative Office has been closed to the public until further notice, community members are encouraged to use our drop box for paperwork or phone and email to connect with SNC staff. Please note that response and processing times may vary.
The following meetings have been postponed with tentatively scheduled new dates:
- South Nation Conservation Annual General Meeting
(March 19 – April 16)
- Drinking Water Source Protection Committee Meeting
(March 20 -TBD)
- Annual Forestry Logging Contractors Meeting
(March 25 – June 4)
- Annual Municipal Information Day
(March 26 – April 29)
Use of SNC’s Public Meeting Rooms is restricted, all meetings and community bookings are cancelled until late April. Updates are posted on SNC’s Website.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Maple Syrup Education Program has been cancelled.
Flood Forecasting Program and Dam Management will continue to operate.
Program information and regular updates are available online and on social media.
Tree Planting Program: tree seedlings scheduled to be available late April.
SNC will make every effort to maintain planning and permit review timelines; delays may be expected where site visits are required.
CONSERVATION AREAS – WINTER RECREATION AVAILABLE
Some Conservation Areas remain open and maintained for passive winter recreation, including:
- Two Creek Forest Conservation Area
- Robert Graham Conservation Area
- Warwick Forest Conservation Area
- J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area
- W. E. Burton Conservation Area
- Russell Recreational Trail
- Nokomis Park
People can continue to connect to nature, group reservations and events have been cancelled.
All of SNC’s Conservation Areas and outdoor facilities are scheduled to regularly open in May.
ADMINISTRATION OFFICE AND STAFF
Our administrative office is closed to visitors and guests. People are encouraged to drop off paperwork in our drop box located outside our office, or to contact our staff by phone (613-984-2948) or by email (nation.on.ca/contact).
Additional preventative cleaning measures are being employed in facilities, staff and visitors are not permitted into offices if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have recently traveled internationally.
We do not anticipate service disruptions at this time and are fully operational. Our teams have access to collaboration tools and internal file servers through a secure VPN service. All staff have access to emails and can answer phone calls.
SNC is monitoring the pandemic and response closely and will provide updates on changes to operations and business continuity as they become available.
Your patience, support and cooperation are appreciated.