Message from Mayor McCormick #4
Well, another week passes and it feels like we are pretty much where we were last week. However, this is not the case. Much is happening in the background and this update touches on several of those things.
1. Non-essential travel
The vast majority of people in Kimberley and in BC are staying home. However, despite direction from our Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and warnings of the negative consequences of ignoring her directive, people continue to travel to Kimberley and our region. These are people who just don’t understand that the largest risk to all of us is transmission, and not whether you are sick or not.
I have taken calls from Albertan’s and BC Residents who own homes in Kimberley. They are upset that I and other mayors in the region have pleaded with them to stay home until we are told it is safe to travel again. Ownership and paying taxes does not make it acceptable to travel here at a time when that travel puts our community at a higher level of risk. No matter where you live in the country, the message is ‘stay home’. I am not picking on any one. Because our population is less dense does not mean the risk to all of us is less. Please…use common sense and stay home until we get word that travel is OK again. I cannot emphasise this enough.
2. City of Kimberley
City staff lead by CAO Scott Sommerville and his managers are focused on continuance of core City services today, and everyday. Our emergency operations center (EOC) is at Level 2. It expands EOC staffing to include a Risk Management Officer and additional section chiefs as required. Scott is the EOC Director and Fire Chief Rick Prasad the Planning Chief and Corporate Officer Maryse Leroux the Risk Management Officer. We are fortunate to have this team looking out for the community. Council fully supports their actions.
Although City Hall is closed to the public, the City of Kimberley remains open. Scott’s first operational priority is staff safety. His second priority is continuance of core services. You will see that our crews are still doing things as planned and will continue to so until the situation dictates otherwise.
We are taking steps to financially help residents with actions that are within our control. For example, we have announced a deferral on utilities payments for two months. We will assess what other actions are appropriate and act accordingly.
It is important to remember that the vast majority of City revenue comes from taxes and utility payments. So as payments are stressed, so is our operating budget and consequently service delivery. Council is meeting with staff this week to review our cash flow projections and discuss what this means for the balance of 2020. We will communicate as it all unfolds.
3. Our mental health.
We live at a time of instant answers to any questions. We expect the 30 second soundbite. We have a 30 second attention span. It is against common behavior to be patient and wait at a time when we have the most questions. Anxiety levels are increasing as time passes. We have weeks to go before we see an end to the isolation. We need to trust our healthcare community, our scientific community and our leadership that they are doing all that is humanly possible to lead us out of this pandemic. I am already hearing critics. And it will only get worse in the coming weeks unless we apply a huge dose of patience and keep the faith in our leaders. A lot of good humor and new activities are there for the viewing. Tune in and participate…it will make you feel better.
As time passes, so does the data we collect and our understanding of the behavior of this virus. This progress is not always visible to us, but it is there. It is giving our leaders the information they need to make good decisions. And it will pave the path out of this if we continue to do our part:
- Stay home.
- If you need to go out, practice physical distancing
- Wash your hands frequently; there are so many touch points in even the simplest activity.
We are making a difference. Stay informed. Stay calm. Stay safe.