Statement from Mayor Hewitt & Council – February 16, 2021
Today marks the day that Haldimand-Norfolk opens back up in the ‘orange’ level. Like many of you, I am excited to see this happen and I am hoping that our local businesses can quickly get back to their full production prior to COVID.
I ask you all to consider local businesses before you venture out to the city to shop. Every dollar spent in Haldimand is considerable to those that have had to endure the most difficult times. That said, I am encouraged by the ways our business owners have changed their models to adapt to this new way of life.
We are currently preparing for the rollout of 1000s of vaccines and it is our hope to have the Cayuga Arena ready in the next couple of weeks for mass vaccinations as they arrive.
As many of you know, the date of vaccinations are a moving target and we are at the mercy of other levels of government. It is our belief that those communities most vulnerable and most ready will be of the first to receive the required vaccines. Haldimand’s population is an older one, therefore, more vulnerable, so we will be ready.
Why the Cayuga Arena? There are many factors that were considered and like everything else in this pandemic, it does not always make sense to individuals but does to the whole County. We needed a large venue with several distinct rooms. We needed a central location and the impact although it inconveniences some, is the least intrusive of all other centres. Staff made the decision, putting public health ahead of everything else.
Caledonia Protest Update
As many of you know, the remaining blockades have been lifted by the protestors and we are currently on site trying to repair the extensive damages done by these individuals. It is our hope later this week or next to fully re-open the roads, however, this is dependent on the weather and availability of material.
While I am encouraged by this latest progress, let’s not forget that these roads should never have been closed in the first place. Like it or not, a judge made a ruling and the OPP have an obligation to follow through on such a ruling. To suggest that roads are being closed to protect people against the violence of the OPP is completely absurd.
While the OPP have failed miserably in the application of the injunction and their inability to manage this situation, they are not guilty of violence. Let me state when referencing the OPP, it is always in the context of those making the decisions – not those on the ground.
Speaking of failure, I remind you of the current situation of our court system and the judges within. How can it be possible to have one judge grant us an injunction and other judges to simply release the people arrested for crimes and not hold them accountable for their poor decisions.
You may recall Alex Huntert who was arrested and released on conditions. No surprise he has broken those conditions and is currently wanted for breach. All indications would suggest that he is hiding somewhere within Six Nations and it is our hope that both Six Nations police and the OPP will get this individual off of our local streets soon. Maybe this time our courts will treat him with the same level of respect he has given to date.
In conversations with the Chief of Six Nations, I am encouraged by his efforts to bring leaders on Six Nations together. I am excited that there is a genuine will to put forth a plan to meet with the Federal government. Ultimately, this is truly the progress to get excited about. It is time for those that have aggravated the situation to get out of the way of these good hearted individuals seeking progress and success for the whole of Six Nations, not the self serving ideology that always handicaps their community.
As a County that abuts the territory, it is our goal to work with all of those involved in putting a forth a plan that brings both success and harmony for all. Haldimand continues to look forward to the day where dialogue can happen about mutual needs such as fresh drinking water, roads and bridges, and most of all meeting the increasing health demands of our respective communities – all of which can be achieved for the betterment of both Haldimand and Six Nations. A stark contrast from standing on a road in utter defiance bringing nothing but stalemate and resentment.
Mayor Ken Hewitt