The County’s four mayors are planning to send out a unified message to reassure the public during the COVID-19 crisis.

The idea was brought forward by Coun. Carol Moffatt during the April 21 County meeting.

She suggested the mayors of the four lower-tier townships get together to put out a joint statement about the pandemic.

“We do have individual needs in our communities, but we are working together,” Moffatt said. “Just let the public know we are united; we are in communication behind the scenes. “Staff are working together. There’s a little bit of silo going on, but there’s far less silo going on than the public believes.”

Algonquin Highlands, Dysart et al, Highlands East and Minden Hills have all been publishing regularly updates on the pandemic specific to their municipalities. The County has also been publishing information, but the only joint statement so far has come from the four township building departments regarding permits.

Coun. Andrea Roberts said the townships have done an excellent job of communicating how COVID is impacting their respective services.

“Our (chief administrative officers) are talking on a regular basis to make sure they’re in touch,” she added. “We have to make sure we don’t overstep our responsibilities.”

Warden Liz Danielsen said the County has seen public outcry over communication on issues such as cottagers attending seasonal properties and boat launches remaining open.

“There’s been an awful lot of grey areas in some of the (provincial) orders that have come down,” Danielsen said. “We’re all trying to weed our way through exactly what’s intended. I think there could have been some clarity provided.”

Moffatt said although the work municipalities are doing is great, the community is looking for more.

“We are the faces and the voices of our community. The community is frightened, community is nervous, community is confused, and I think we need to get out there as a group to say we’re working hard. That we support the community,” she said. “It’s just letting people know we are aligned, we are informed.”

Coun. Lisa Schell agreed.

“It’s just about showing the four municipalities are collaborating at this time. That there’s not four silos,” Schell said. “I think that’s just basically what the community wants, and I believe needs, to see.”

Council made no formal motion on the subject, but councillors did agree to work on a joint statement.

“We need to keep a message, if there’s going to be a joint message, relatively simple and clean without getting into too much detail,” Danielsen said.

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