Haldimand County Pools Re-Opening For Bookable Public/Fitness Swims July 8, Aquatics Programming July 20

With the County now in Stage 2 of the Province’s re-opening plan, all three municipal pools—in Caledonia, Dunnville and Hagersville—will open Wednesday, July 8 for public/fitness swims with instructional programming beginning Monday, July 20.

“Staff in our Facilities and Programming areas have been working with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) to get pools open,” says Mayor Ken Hewitt. “We know this has been a challenging time, and the heat is rising, but we’ve had to implement a lot of new protocols to keep residents and visitors safe and healthy.”

The current Stage 2 limitations require that that County incorporate a new way of operating pools, including:

  • Reduced bather loads to 25% to comply with social distancing and social ‘bubble’ (up to ten family members or people with whom you live/socialize regularly) requirements;
  • Incorporating new sanitization and cleaning protocols in keeping with HNHU recommendations;
  • Advance reservations for recreational (public/fitness) swims and registration for instructional programming through the County’s online booking system;
  • Participant arrival at the pool 20-30 minutes before the start of a reservation/registered program for sign-in and screening and to ensure participants benefit from maximum available swim time;
  • Participants showered and dressed for swim prior to sign-in (i.e. at home); dressing rooms will not be available to change;
  • Leaving valuables at home as participants will have to bring and leave their items on the pool deck during their swim;
  • Public/fitness swim reservations will be 45 minutes of swim time, followed by 15 minutes to clean/sanitize the pool for the next group of participants;
  • Walk-ups will only be considered if space is available; and,
  • Social distancing protocols must be adhered to by participants before, during and after swims.

Registration is now open and residents may book free public/fitness swim slots using the County’s online registration system (link.haldimandcounty.ca) or by calling Haldimand County customer service at 905-318-5932.

Registration for paid, instructional programming must be completed online through the registration system or in-person at the Haldimand County Administration Building. Wait lists will be maintained for recreational and instructional programming, and participants may be asked to change bookings depending upon demand.

Reservations for public/fitness swims will be accepted on a week-by-week basis; participants are asked to limit the number of slots they book in one day to ensure the maximum number of participants possible can enjoy recreational swims. Registration for instructional programming (which begins July 20) is also open and can be booked for anytime this summer. There will be an overall reduction in the number of instructional programs offered to comply with social distancing requirements, and participants are encouraged to book their instructional programming as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

“We know everyone is excited to have the pools open; however, we ask everyone to please be patient with staff and other participants and help model the new protocols and requirements,” adds Hewitt. “Splash pads will also be opening in the near future and staff are working to ensure proper measures are in place to protect individuals who will be using them.”

Residents are encouraged to check Haldimand County’s website and social media accounts regularly for updates related to splash pads, pool programming and associated public health protocols.

 

Caledonia, Cayuga Under Mandatory Outdoor Water Use Ban; All Other Haldimand Communities Under Level 2 Outdoor Water Use Restrictions

This morning, the City of Hamilton announced a mandatory ban on all non-essential outdoor water use across all parts of Hamilton until July 13. As Caledonia and Cayuga’s water supply comes from Hamilton’s drinking water system, residents of these communities are being asked to comply with the complete ban.

Residents of Cayuga, Caledonia and surrounding areas on the Hamilton water system can still hand-water their flowers and vegetable gardens, or water newly installed sod as needed.

The mandatory restrictions in effect for are resulting from construction at Hamilton’s Woodward Water Treatment Plant, which is temporarily limiting the plant’s capacity for treating water. This construction project was scheduled to be complete before the hot weather brought increased demand on the water supply. However, delays to the project require this action be taken to ensure the water supply in Hamilton and surrounding areas is not interrupted.

The mandatory ban is in place to prevent low or no water pressure, or not enough water for fighting fires.

All other areas of the County remain under Level 2 outdoor water use restrictions, which requires outdoor water use (e.g. lawn watering, pool-filling, residential vehicle washing, etc.) to be performed on alternate days only. Odd-numbered premises should water on odd-numbered days, and even-numbered premises should water on even-numbered days.

Haldimand County thanks residents who rely on Hamilton water for their cooperation in limiting all non-essential outdoor water use until Monday, July 13, as well as residents who are complying with Level 2 water use restrictions.

 

Haldimand County Public Library branches re-opening July 6 for limited service

Effective Monday, July 6, Haldimand County Public Library branches will re-open for limited service during regular hours. While library collections will remain off-limits in Stage 2, staff will be available to assist patrons at circulation service counters and a limited number of public computer stations will be available for bookable one-hour periods.

Workstations at which visitors can connect personal devices to the library’s wireless network have also been set up. Persons wishing to use computer or wireless stations are asked to book in advance by calling their local branch and stations will be disinfected between each use.

In accordance with Provincial mandates, library collections will remain off limits to the public and shelves cannot be browsed. Seating areas, children’s play areas, and study and meeting rooms will also not be accessible. Staff will retrieve items for patrons and will strive to meet users’ reading needs and interests. Although curbside pickup will no longer be the library’s primary service delivery method, it will be made available to users upon request.

Returns can be made through the library’s overnight drop boxes, which are now open at all times, or inside at special tables located near entrances. These special return locations replace return bins normally located at service desks. All returned items are quarantined for at least 72 hours before further processing or reuse. A grace period applies to ensure no fines accumulate while items are in quarantine.

Patrons will notice a number of safety measures when they return to visit us: plexiglass health shields at our service desks, collection containment demarcations, queue markings and various social distancing signs. Sanitization of high-touch surfaces will be a top priority and, where facilities allow, separate entrances and exits have been designated.

Online services and download applications remain active during this phase of re-opening and patrons are encouraged to continue reserving physical items using the library’s online catalog.

For more information, visit the Library’s website or Facebook page.

Update on Skydive Cayuga

Many County residents have raised issues concerning Skydive Cayuga, Inc. It is apparent that the operation of this business is upsetting and intrusive on many levels. This has led the County to consider possible avenues to regulate the operation of the business to address the issues raised by residents.

Council is aware that one hurdle to regulating Skydive’s operations relates to the fact that its business involves aviation, which falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government, not the municipal government. This means that municipal regulations, such as those relating to land use, nuisance, noise, building permit processes which intrude on those federal powers, do not apply in this situation.

What this means in practice is that, to the extent that Skydive’s operations are related to the core of aviation, there are jurisdictional limitations for the County to regulate those operations.

Recognizing the above, Haldimand County has asked its lawyers to determine possible avenues which would allow the County to exert some regulatory control over Skydive’s operations. Each of these involve complex and novel legal issues.

In furtherance of that request, the County’s lawyers have filed a complaint with Transport Canada, the federal agency responsible for aviation. Transport Canada’s responsibilities include issuing certificates (essentially licenses) to permit certificate holders to engage in aviation-related activities.

The complaint asserts that, while Skydive does have a federal certificate to operate, it appears that it does not have the correct certificate that would allow it to operate in its current location. The complaint also asserts the correct certificate is one that would require some level of municipal input and approval.

The complaint also deals with the construction of the new hangar by Skydive, and asserts that such construction should have been subject to a prior public consultation process.

The complaint also raises the matter of the discharge of firearms on the Skydive property. This is not an aviation issue, and may not fall within the purview of Transport Canada. It has been raised, however, as a public safety issue by questioning the appropriateness of permitting the discharge of firearms on a property used for aviation purposes.

Haldimand County is awaiting a response from Transport Canada, but understand that the response may take longer than normal due to the COVID-19 situation.

County-wide broadband internet project moving forward, NRFP results announced

In June 2019, Haldimand County Council finalized its corporate priorities for the 2018-2022 term. One of the key priorities identified was an initiative to bring high speed internet access to underserviced areas of the County. Since then, staff have been working through complex legal, technical and financial processes to procure a vendor capable of delivering this service. On June 30, KWIC Internet was announced as the successful proponent.

In order to select the most qualified internet service provider, Council approved a 2-step competitive bid process including: (1) the pre-qualification of interested providers and (2) the issuance of Negotiated Request for Proposal (NRFP). With assistance from a third-party consultant, proposals were rated on a pre-determined scale evaluating various technical and financial components.

Of the three proponents, the submission from 676766 Ontario Limited (o/a KWIC Internet) was the highest scoring and advanced to the negotiations procurement stage.

KWIC Internet’s proposal meet all minimum technical and financial requirements outlined in the original NRFP and aligns with feedback obtained from public consultation, including:

  • The ability to provide required minimum download/upload speeds of 50/10 Mbps (in line with minimum speeds identified by the CRTC)
  • The ability to provide unlimited broadband internet service to 100% of the County’s underserviced areas (customers currently without access to unlimited internet with download/upload speeds of minimum 50/10 Mbps). Priority service is being granted to these underserviced areas first;
  • Specific construction timelines ensuring the complete network is built and operational within 5 years from execution of the Project Agreement;
  • Regular progress reporting and testing/monitoring of quality of service and customer satisfaction during construction;
  • Competitive pricing – KWIC Internet’s Proposal met or was lower than the established target price point of $115 per month as required by the NRFP;
  • Financial assistance in the form of an interest free loan amount set at $15,000,000 with the full principal balance of the loan to be repaid within 12 years from the execution of the Project Agreement;
  • Alignment with the County’s financial principles and the ability to demonstrate financial security to protect/ensure repayment of the County’s loan.

It is important to note that the provision of telecommunication systems – which includes internet services – are eligible for the above-noted financial incentives under the Municipal Act. As required under the Act, a Municipal Capital Facilities by-law was passed by Council authorizing the County to provide financial assistance to KWIC for the purpose of delivering broadband internet services.

“Staff, in conjunction with feedback from legal, technical and financial consultants, are confident that KWIC Internet is well-aligned to provide internet access to all underserviced areas of the County,” said Mark Merritt, General Manager of Financial and Data Services. Merritt noted that with Council’s approval, staff now have an agreement in principle and will work to finalize and execute the Project Agreement with KWIC Internet.

“This is incredibly positive news that has been long-awaited by many. Bringing high speed internet to rural communities will help bridge the ‘digital divide’ and have long-lasting impacts for residents, businesses and potential economic development across Haldimand,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “I look forward to the construction stage and seeing this critically important project come to fruition,” he added.

More information will be shared with the community as the project moves forward. All project-related information is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/broadband/.

Haldimand County Administration Building Re-Opening June 29, Libraries July 6

The Haldimand County Administration Building at 53 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga, will be re-opening to the public on Monday, June 29, 2020. A number of municipal services that were temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 are being re-introduced, some by appointment only.

All visitors to the Haldimand County Administration Building will be required to complete self-screening prior to entering to protect the safety of staff and the community. Individuals who are symptomatic or fail the self-screening are asked to refrain from entering the building.

Certain areas of the lobby are marked as waiting and seating areas for appointment-only services to ensure capacity limits and physical distancing requirements are met. Blue, green and red floor stickers have also been installed to guide visitors to appropriate service areas.

General customer service walk-ins will be welcome and served on a first come, first served basis, however, a number of services will be offered by appointment only such as:

  • Planning services
  • Marriage licenses
  • Burn permits (any temporary permits that were issued during the office closure will expire on August 31, 2020. Inquiries for new burn permits should be directed to Haldimand County customer service at 905-318-5932 or info@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

Members of the public can check the website for a list of service impacts or call the Administration Building to confirm whether they require an appointment. A contact form is also available at HaldimandCounty.ca/connect.

In-person Council meetings will resume at the Administration Building on Tuesday, June 30 with physical distancing measures in place. Members of the public are welcome to attend, however, seating will be limited. Instead of attending in-person, individuals may live-stream the meeting from any device with an internet connection.

Libraries will also be re-opening on July 6 for circulation counter assistance and public access computer use. Browsing the library’s physical collections will not be permitted until a later date. Once libraries re-open, residents will be able to use online self-service kiosks (‘myHC’) located within the Dunnville, Selkirk, Hagersville, Caledonia or Jarvis library to pay municipal bills or access online services.

Residents are reminded that a number of municipal services are available online and do not require an in-person visit. A detailed list of County service options is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19, as well as a comprehensive list of what’s open and what’s still closed.

Haldimand County finalizing plan to re-open some facilities/amenities, re-introduce services following provincial announcement regarding stage 2

On Friday, June 19 at 12:01am, Haldimand County progressed into Stage 2 of the Province’s re-opening plan. County Staff are currently finalizing details to re-open certain facilities and re-introduce a number of services that were temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19.

Chief Administrative Officer Craig Manley provided a verbal update to Council on Tuesday, June 16, outlining next steps for gradually re-opening the County.

  • It is expected that the Haldimand County Administration Building will re-open to the public on Monday, June 29. Certain services such as marriage licenses, permits and planning services will be offered on an appointment basis. Full details regarding the re-introduction of municipal services, as well as Administration Building visitor requirements (e.g. self-screening and physical distancing protocols), will be announced shortly.
  • Council will resume in person meetings at the Haldimand County Administration Building (with physical distancing measures) at the Council Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 30.
  • Summer Day Camps offered by the County have unfortunately been cancelled for 2020 given the significant difficulties in meeting Provincial safety requirements.
  • Libraries and the museums in Cayuga and Caledonia will be re-opened in accordance with Provincial Guidelines in early July.
  • The County is undertaking the required health approvals and is commissioning its outdoor pools to provide recreational swims for members of the community by the end of June. There will be reduced capacity limits and a process for residents to book swim times to ensure patron safety. Splash pads may not be able to be opened in 2020 given operational and safety considerations, however the final decision in this regard has not been made.
  • At this stage arenas, a number of sport fields, community halls and events are still impacted by the Provincial Orders and limits on public gatherings that remain in effect.

“Resuming municipal services while ensuring that Staff and public safety are addressed in the COVID-19 environment has been very complicated and challenging in working out the logistics of our Stage 2 re-opening ,” Manley noted.  “We are pleased that the collective community efforts to reduce the virus transmission in Haldimand are finally allowing the County to resume some important community services and look forward to the time when full services are restored.”

The County has also been working to:

  • finalize an expedited approval & permitting process that allows restaurant owners to set up temporary outdoor patios;
  • re-open the Port Maitland Pier, Park and boat launch (coordinating the installation of additional portable washrooms, increased cleaning of these facilities, twice daily garbage pick-ups and the provision of on-site enforcement staff to address parking and public health order enforcement matters, including on weekends)
  • examine opportunities to host ‘virtual’ summer camp programming;
  • establish parameters for the eventual re-opening of arenas and other community facilities so that the County can proceed when it is safe to do so.

Residents and visitors are reminded that despite the re-opening of more municipal services to align with the broader reopening of the Province, COVID-19 remains a significant public health concern and physical distancing remains a requirement when using municipal services.  Further updates regarding the County’s re-opening plan will be shared as details are finalized.

Members of the public are encouraged to follow the County on Facebook/Twitter and check HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19 regularly for the most up-to-date information on municipal services, facilities and related COVID-19 details. Other helpful information – including frequently asked questions and key contacts – is also available on this page.

 

Portable Washrooms To Be Installed In Select County Parks

Since the Province of Ontario began loosening COVID-19 restrictions and allowing certain outdoor amenities to re-open (e.g. boat launches, non-contact sporting fields), Haldimand County has seen an increase in visitors utilizing these public spaces.

In order to address mounting health and safety concerns related to the absence of public washrooms in these areas (e.g. individuals relieving themselves in public), the County is moving forward with a plan to deploy portable washrooms to high traffic areas across the community.

The plan, which was developed in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health, will address the need for public washroom facilities through the duration of the pandemic, especially during the summer months.

Starting Friday, June 12, portable washrooms will be delivered to the parks and green spaces listed below. It will take a few days for all portable washrooms to be delivered and installed.

Caledonia

Kinsmen Park (1 unit at west end and 1 unit at east end)

LaFortune Park (1 unit in the upper park and 1 lower)

Seneca Park

Hagersville

Grant Kett Park

Hagersville Park

Cayuga

York Park

Bob Baigent Park

Dunnville

Wingfield Park

Farmers Market

Centennial Park

The portable washrooms will be equipped with hand sanitizer. All units will be cleaned and disinfected twice per week by a contractor. Members of the public are advised to utilize these facilities at their own discretion, practice proper hygiene and maintain physical distancing if waiting in line.

“I know this has been a frustrating issue for many, and I’m hopeful that bringing in portable units will result in a more positive park experience for everyone. We’ve worked closely with the Health Unit to ensure these facilities are being offered in compliance with current public health guidelines and recognize that while it may not be a perfect solution, it’s one that is most appropriate for our current circumstances,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

For the most up-to-date local information about COVID-19, including facility closures and municipal service options, visit HaldimandCounty.ca/COVID-19 or follow the County on Facebook/Twitter. These channels are frequently updated with announcements regarding closures, re-openings and other important COVID-19 news.

For current public health information, visit the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit website.

 

 

 

Haldimand, Norfolk Mayors issue joint statement on provincial re-opening

Today, Premier Doug Ford provided an update on the Province’s re-opening plan. As of Friday, June 12 at 12:01am, a number of public health unit regions will be able to move forward with stage 2 of re-opening. This includes re-opening a number of additional businesses and workplaces, including personal service settings, retail operations, sport fields and other outdoor amenities. Haldimand-Norfolk is not one of the regions permitted to enter stage 2.

Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt & Norfolk County Mayor Chopp issued the following in response to today’s Provincial announcement:

“Today we learned – along with all of you – that the provincial government will not be allowing Haldimand and Norfolk counties to proceed to the second stage of Ontario’s COVID-19 re-opening plan.

This decision was made by the provincial government after absolutely no consultation with our Medical Officer of Health, and for reasons that remain unclear.

Once again, we must ask our MPP Toby Barrett for clarity on his government’s decision-making process, and call on him to explain why it is that Haldimand and Norfolk are being left behind by the Province.”

Haldimand County Public Library now offering curbside pickup service

Over the past few weeks, Haldimand County Public Library has been working to finalize its curbside pickup service delivery model. As of June 4, residents may borrow books and other media by placing a hold through the library’s online catalogue and scheduling a curbside pickup appointment.

Reserving/requesting materials:

To borrow library items (including books, CDs & DVDs), residents may browse the library’s online catalogue as usual and place ‘holds’ on desired items. Residents may also call their library branch to place holds over the phone.

Picking up materials:

Once holds are placed on materials online or over the phone, staff will gather reserved items, place them in paper bags, and call the borrower to schedule a curbside pickup appointment. Borrowers will be provided a 30-minute timeslot to pick up materials from a numbered bin placed outside of the library branch. On pickup day, borrowers simply need to arrive and collect their materials from the numbered bin assigned to them.

Returning materials:

Individuals may return borrowed materials in their numbered bin when they arrive to pick up new items, or through the exterior drop boxes (24/7). Returned items are quarantined for a minimum of three days and subsequently processed using safe handling practices prior to next use.

Some limits on the number of appointment bookings per member will apply during the launch of this service. To ensure social distancing, participants are asked to approach bin areas only once vacated by other individuals.

For more information on library services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s website, e-mail library@haldimandcounty.on.ca or call your local branch.

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