Haldimand County Paramedic Services Offering Community Flu Vaccine Clinics

In late 2019, Haldimand County received $5,910 in funding from the Hamilton Norfolk Haldimand Brant Emergency Services Steering Committee (HNHB ESSC) to host influenza vaccination clinics across the community. The first clinic will take place Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 10am to 3pm at R Villa Caledonia Retirement Living in Caledonia (339 Argyle St. S). Vaccinations are free, and no appointment is required.

Local influenza vaccine clinics are funded through the HNHB ESSC using funds from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The goal of the clinics is to enhance access to influenza vaccines for vulnerable residents and individuals with limiting medical issues.

Vaccinations will be administered by a Haldimand County Community Paramedic. Residents who wish to attend and receive a vaccination may do so on a walk-in basis during the clinic hours. While vaccinations are free, residents must provide a valid Ontario Health Card.

Additional vaccine clinic times and locations will be announced shortly at HaldimandCounty.ca.

Flood Watch Issued For Lake Erie Shoreline, Residents Urged To Stay Away From Waterways

Effective immediately, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority is issuing a Flood Watch for all areas along the Lake Erie shoreline. The Grand River Conservation Authority has also issued a Watershed Conditions Statement for the Grand River Watershed.

Environment Canada is expecting up to 37 km/h winds from the northeast this afternoon, diminishing to 19 km/h southeast overnight and south Thursday morning. Winds are expected to increase to 28 km/h southwest by noon Thursday, and further increase to 65 km/h southwest Thursday evening.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is currently forecasting Port Colborne to rise 1.1 meters above the current level to an elevation of 175.7 meters (IGLD) and Long Point to rise 0.5 meters above the current level to an elevation of 175.2 meters (IGLD).  Strong winds are expected to cause wave heights to reach up to 1.7 meters in the Port Colborne area and up to 2.5 meters in the Long Point area. The forecasted lake surge and wave heights are similar in magnitude to what occurred during this past Sunday’s event.

Lake levels are expected to begin to rise early Thursday afternoon, and peak between 8:00 PM and midnight late Thursday evening. If this surge level is reached, flooding can be expected in low lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline.

“In addition to the flooding, high winds will likely pose a hazard during this event, especially when they peak Thursday evening,” said Jason Gallagher, Fire Chief / Manager of Emergency Medical Services. “High winds can easily toss objects that become projectiles; it’s best to stay indoors if at all possible,” Gallagher added.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be closely monitoring conditions and roads along the lakeshore and will implement closures as necessary. Access to the Port Maitland Pier will be closed tomorrow afternoon and the public is urged to stay away from this area due to expected high winds and waves.

Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from all waterways. Residents are also advised to contact their insurance company regarding flood insurance if they do not already have it.

This Flood Watch is in effect until noon on Friday, November 1, 2019.

New Library Partnership Program Helps Connect Caregivers To Autism Resources/Information

Haldimand County Public Library has embarked on a new partnership with Autism Ontario to help caregivers of children access resources and navigate the new Ontario Autism Program. Information sessions will be held by Autism Ontario staff at both Dunnville and Caledonia library branches this fall.

Autism Ontario (formerly Autism Society Ontario) is the province’s leading source of information and referral on autism and is one of the largest collective voices representing the autism community. It is a registered charitable organization dedicated to increasing public awareness about autism and the day-to-day challenges faces by individuals & their families.

As services for individuals with autism are changing, Autism Ontario has instated the Service Navigation Program to provide system navigation supports to families who are interested in accessing the province’s new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) and Childhood Budgets.

A free information session for parents about the new OAP will be presented by an Autism Ontario service navigator at the Caledonia Library in October and the Dunnville Library in November.

Caledonia Library – Ontario Autism Program & Childhood Budgets Information Session
100 Haddington St, Caledonia
Wednesday, October 23
1 to 3pm OR 5 to 7pm

Dunnville Library – Ontario Autism Program & Childhood Budgets Information Session
317 Chestnut St, Dunnville
Thursday, November 21
1 to 3pm OR 5 to 7pm

The information session is intended for parents only. Registration may be completed online via the Autism Ontario website.

For more information about this and other Haldimand County Public Library programs, visit the Library’s website, follow along on Facebook or call/visit any local branch.

Haldimand County Fire Department Reminding Residents Of Open Air Fire Burning By-Law

With the return of warm weather there has been an increase in the number of recreational and non-recreational fires in Haldimand County. The Haldimand County Fire Department is reminding residents of the Open Air Burn By-law and asking for everyone’s cooperation to ensure that outdoor fires are safe and controlled. During this hot & humid weather, any burning should be limited to recreational fires.

Recreational fires are allowed in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations set out in the Open Air Burn By-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring the fire is contained and supervised at all times and that it is set back at least 10 meters from combustible buildings/structures. A means of extinguishing the fire must be available and measures must be in place to ensure that no one is adversely affected by the products of combustion (smoke and odours).

Non-recreational fires are only permitted in certain areas of the County and require a burn permit that can be purchased at all County offices. Non-recreational fires must meet all of the regulations set out in the by-law. These regulations include, but are not limited to: ensuring fires are supervised at all times and contained to an area not exceeding 6 meters by 6 meters. Non-recreational fires must also be set back at least 60 meters from all buildings, roadways and anything combustible.

Open air fires that are not conducted according to the by-law present potential safety hazards. Anyone conducting an open air fire that violates the by-law are subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and/or extinguish the fire.

‘Healthy You’ Series At Haldimand County Public Library Brings Healthcare Information To Residents

In partnership with the Haldimand Family Health Team, Haldimand County Public Library will be offering ongoing health education sessions at its branches throughout the year. The series will include free, informative programs about important health topics led by registered healthcare professionals.

“This is an exciting partnership that gives the public a chance to meet with health professionals, learn how to stay healthy and ultimately improve their quality of life,” said Michael Feraday, Executive Director for the Haldimand Family Health Team.

The Healthy You Series in 2019 will highlight one topic per program. Topics include: eating for one on a budget, coping with stress, understanding anxiety & depression, heart health, surviving menopause and conflict management. Program dates, times and locations are listed on the library website.

Registration is required for all Healthy You Series programs. Interested community members may register in person at the library branch hosting the session or by calling 289-674-0400. More information about the Healthy You Series can be obtained via the library website or by calling the Haldimand Family Health Team at 905-768-9599 ext.1000. Residents are also encouraged to contact the Haldimand Family Health Team at the phone number above to suggest topics for upcoming Healthy You Series programs.

Haldimand County recognized for Grand River water quality improvement efforts

Haldimand County has been recognized by the Grand River Conservation Authority for its efforts to improve the water quality of the Grand River.

During the Grand River Conservation Authority’s annual Grand River Watershed Wide Optimization Program workshop on Tuesday, November 20, recognition awards were handed out to a number of municipalities for their water quality improvement efforts throughout 2017. All three of Haldimand County’s wastewater treatment plants discharging to the Grand River were recognized: Caledonia, Cayuga and Dunnville.

Caledonia’s wastewater treatment plant was the only plant in the entire Grand River watershed to receive gold recognition. The Dunnville plant received silver and Cayuga obtained bronze. To be recognized, municipalities are required to meet specific criteria related to environmental compliance regulations and performance reporting. Haldimand County met – and in some cases exceeded – recognition criteria.

The GRCA continuously works with municipal water managers and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to improve the operation of wastewater treatment plants.

The goal of the Wastewater Optimization Program is to raise the quality of the treated effluent that leaves the plant and enters a river or stream.

“This recent recognition fully demonstrates our commitment to protecting the natural environment by reducing pollutant discharges to the Grand River”, said Mayor Ken Hewitt. “These achievements are primarily a result of enhancing process control through data based decision-making and efforts to understand plant needs, which over time have saved the County a significant amount of money through infrastructure deferral,” he continued.

For more information about the County’s water and wastewater treatment operations, including water quality reports, visit the Water and Wastewater page.

What the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit wants you to know about cannabis legalization

The federal government has legalized recreational cannabis. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) wants to ensure the public knows what this means locally.

While recreational cannabis is now legal for adults, it is still illegal in Ontario for anyone under 19 to purchase, possess or use recreational cannabis.

“Legal doesn’t mean harmless. No drug is without risk,” said Michelle Lyne, program manager of Community Health at the HNHU. “Youth, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, and people who have a history of mental illness or addiction should not use cannabis, unless prescribed and monitored by a healthcare provider.”

“The Health Unit is most concerned about young people starting to use cannabis. The health risks to young people are serious and multifaceted,” said Dr. Shankar Nesathurai, medical officer of health at the HNHU.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is also a major public health concern. Cannabis use increases your risk of being involved in a collision. Combining cannabis and alcohol increases this risk further. Using cannabis and driving is illegal and dangerous. Never drive high or be a passenger in a vehicle with a driver who is impaired by cannabis.

In Colorado, where cannabis has already been legalized, there has been a significant increase in poisonings among children who accidentally eat or drink cannabis. Always keep cannabis out of sight and reach of children and pets. If your child consumes cannabis by accident, call the Ontario Poison Centre 1-800-268-9017 and seek medical attention right away.

The HNHU’s website has information on the health effects of cannabis as well as resources for parents talking to youth and potential cannabis users. A coordinated campaign on cannabis and driving will be rolled out in 2019. The HNHU is also planning community and school-based programming to help prevent youth cannabis use.

If you choose to use cannabis, you can lower your risk by following Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, which can be found at www.hnhu.org.

New Haldimand County Ambulances Debut Blue Emergency Lights

Two new ambulances will be added to Haldimand County’s emergency vehicle fleet next month. These ambulances will be equipped with forward and rear facing blue lights – instead of the usual white lights – in an effort to increase first responder visibility and improve safety during emergency responses.

“Using a combination of flashing red and blue lights will help get the attention of drivers and keep emergency responders safer,” said Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Fire Chief and Manager of Emergency Medical Services. “Blue lights tend to stand out and are more visible than red or yellow in daylight,” he added.

The placement of blue lights on Haldimand County’s new ambulances are the result of an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act in July 2018, which allows ambulances and fire trucks to use flashing red or blue lights. Previously, only police were allowed to use blue lights.

Gallagher is also reminding residents how to react on the road when an emergency vehicle approaches with a simple phrase: move to the right for sirens and lights. At an intersection, stop sign or traffic light, drivers should stay put if they cannot pull to the right.