As we look forward to the summer and the gradual re-opening of the Province, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the successes and positive changes from the last few months.
In terms of staffing, we are pleased to have been able to utilize flexible work hours, staggered shifts, working from home, and redeployment of staff so that the Town did not have to lay off any employees. Special thanks to union representatives of CUPE local 401 for their support, flexibility and dedication during these complex working times. Our staff have been working harder than ever, keeping the Town running at our usual high standard, while also following new procedures to ensure their safety and that of the community we work for. As a temporary measure, we have chosen not to hire student workers this year. Our students typically work in the summer months on beautification projects, however these projects have been scaled back and taken over by permanent staff, and although there may be fewer blooms on the street this year, our Town is still rich with natural beauty.
Despite COVID-19 throwing a wrench into most plans, the Town has managed to complete several large projects. Our airport renovation is now complete, which includes improvements to parking (new paved lot, with lighting, enhanced security, and pay station) and the terminal, which includes the Final Approach Restaurant. Memorial Avenue now has a multi-use pathway running from uptown to the waterfront, with a living wall, sound barriers, and drought-resistant plants. Line painting is underway throughout the Town, to ensure continued safety for all road users. Grandon Creek will reopen in June, after suffered extensive damage from the rains in February. Also, expect to see work on the roundabout at Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A in the coming months.
Our Emergency Management Oceanside (EMO) team have carried us through this pandemic with exceptional calm and sensibility. With months of hard work behind them, our EMO is now developing and implementing re-opening procedures, while also preparing for a second, or even third, wave of COVID-19 infections. Our EMO is also busy preparing for the wildfire season ahead. As a Council, and on behalf of the community, we extend our sincerest thanks to everyone at Emergency Management Oceanside for their dedication and hard work.
Local businesses have been developing re-opening plans and are excited to welcome back shoppers in a safe and measured way. We encourage everyone to shop local whenever possible, to lend your support to our local workforce friends and neighbours, many of whom have suffered losses in efforts to safeguard the health of the community. Remember to be patient and stay respectful as businesses navigate the inevitable hiccups associated with re-opening. Special thanks to our local Chamber of Commerce for their hard work behind the scenes ensuring consistent communication and the advancement of our local business interests.
Public dialogue has been a challenge but remains a priority for Council. The Town has been introducing alternative formats for meetings and is also working on different communication approaches for such things as our open houses and future public hearings. Please stay tuned for more in the weeks to come.
Many of our outdoor spaces and parks are now open for casual use, and we ask users to respect posted guidelines. Groups should be small (two to six people) and keep to the physical distance guidelines of two metres. Get active, enjoy the
warming weather, but stay safe.
On behalf of Council, Mayor Brian Wiese.