Dear Westport Residents and Business Owners:
Currently, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Village. I want to thank each of you for doing your part by staying home and self isolating and by keeping physical distance of 6ft between you and another when you must go out.
On April 1 @ 4:10 p.m. in my role as head of council of Westport, I declared an emergency. The authority to do so comes from the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) S. 4(1) that states “The head of council of a municipality may declare that an emergency exists in the municipality or in any part thereof and may take such action and make such orders as he or she considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area.”
The declaration was made to provide the Mayor the authority to take actions or make orders, which are not contrary to law, in order to protect the inhabitants in the area of the emergency. I want to be proactive and the declaration of an emergency gives me real time decision making authority. The declaration is also required to provide volunteers supporting the municipal emergency efforts with WSIB protection. Finally, the declaration sends a clear message that the municipality is taking the current situation seriously and is taking every step that we can to protect them from the threat.
That being said, the emergency declaration does not provide the Mayor nor anyone else in a municipality, with any extraordinary authorities that are not otherwise provided for in law. For example, the Mayor will not have the authority to order a private business or service to cease operations or to close by virtue of having declared an emergency. The closures of businesses, the harbour and boat launches are due to the Provincial Emergency orders.
Orders have been given under the Municipal Emergency to close Town Hall, suspend the use of Westport garbage bags/tags and the free WiFi – all to be reviewed at the end of April. Town Hall staff can be contacted at 613-273-2191 for assistance with municipal government matters. Using the Town Hall debit machine to pay Rideau St Lawrence Distribution bills is suspended. Payment by cheque or cash with payment stub can be made by using an envelope through the mail slot at Town Hall. Cash payments continue to be accepted at BMO in Westport. To pay by debit, please contact your financial institution to set up an online option. Pre-authorized payment plans are available- call 1-866-381-1841.
Kudrinko’s, Village Pharmacy, Home Hardware, Circle K, BMO and the Post office continue their efforts to provide you with support by remaining open for business. Country Roads Community Health Centre remains open, however they ask you to call first. There are several restaurants providing take out food, these include Tangled Gardens, Steve’s Restaurant, Cottage Coffee and the Dancing Moon Tea Room. Each has put screening in place before you enter the business and has made adjustments for physical distancing once inside. Many, many thanks to these businesses and services who are our front line workers here in Westport.
If you need some help with deliveries of food or other support, there are volunteers available. Pastor Paul Millar is leading the charge for volunteers. You can email email@example.com and if you don’t have email, call town hall and they will put you in touch with the group.
I know these are anxious times for everyone – residents and businesses. My words of encouragement come from the heart, We are stronger together – each of us performing our role to the best of our ability. This is a point in time when we need to believe in our strengths, support each other and remember to be kind.
As always, call anytime .. 273-9195
Mayor Robin Jones and Council
Village of Westport