As we address these difficult times with COVID-19 the municipality understands the turbulence and uncertainties that residence are facing.
On top of their needs to self-isolate, there is to the loss of jobs for either themselves or members of their family, or sometimes even all of them.
Saanich is home to some 4,600 businesses. Many of these are small independent businesses that have succeeded in the face of normal business difficulties and barriers. The COVID-19 landscape is a completely new dimension. Many are in dire circumstances.
We are looking to help these circumstances. Working together with the federal and provincial governments we see financial resources are already in place or additional measures on the way to ensure the financial resilience of families and business is retained.
We need to look to the future so that when we come out of the days of COVID-19 our community is in the best possible position.
At the municipal level we have limited financial levers. However, council has ensured that our core services can continue to supply water, sewage service and garbage pick up. Also to keep our roads and intersections maintained.
Saanich residents can be confident that the fire, public works and police services remain intact. To do this we passed an initial approval of the core budget requirements. We have delayed any other budget requests to another time.
As well we are coordinating with the provincial government to ensure the delivery of goods and services. This means that your supplies of groceries, medical supplies and the other essential ingredients of your community and local economy continue. We can take comfort as Canadians in this security.
As mayor I can let you know that your council and staff are also concerned to keep our parks and our trails available. We want your access to nature spaces to as open as possible. In this COVID-19 time it’s important that families, parents, children and all individuals can get out into the healthy, healing aspects of walking or cycling in nature.
In doing so we need to rely on all residents responsibly following the provincial health officer’s recommendations on physical distancing.
I think we also know that it is especially important at this time to treat each other with extra kindness and some extra understanding. Let’s be extra patient with each other. We each individually are dealing with these unique stresses and triggers. Working together, helping each other we shall get through this.
I see so much to be so proud of when I see the positive and resilient ways our residents and businesses are taking on this COVID-19 situation.
– Fred Haynes is mayor of Saanich