Brockton mayor identifies COVID-19 emergency order as area’s most pressing issue

·2 min read

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody states the province’s emergency order is the most pressing issue facing this community.

The order involves a lot more than telling people to stay at home. It means stricter safety measures are required for daycares, for example. Staff must interpret those orders to ensure compliance.

It’s not always easy. Caution tape went up at playgrounds, and came down almost immediately when the province stepped back on its initial order.

The municipality has to decide what to do about recreation staff, with most recreation shut down, except for trails.

Peabody said he’s determined to keep those open and hopes the county does the same.

“It’s low-risk, and people need outdoor recreation for their mental health,” he said.

He’ll “be pushing” to get more outdoor activities open, in addition to trails.

With last week’s “extraordinary” 48-hour order from the medical officer of health, in addition to the province’s stay-at-home order, Brockton decided to support the MOH by offering parents who wanted to keep their children home from daycare the chance to do so without being charged.

“It cost the municipality $6,000 but was the right thing to do,” Peabody said, noting two-thirds of parents kept their children at home.

Although the pandemic is by far the most crucial issue Brockton faces right now, it’s not the only one. The other issue is actually a good news story for the area – trying to meet the demands of growth.

The municipality is having to move quickly on the need for a booster station for the Walker West subdivision. In the past, it would have taken a few years for enough lots to sell before the station needed to be built.

“Lots are selling,” said Peabody. “I never thought we’d have to do (the project) within a year.”

He added, “It’s a good dilemma to have.”

Then there’s the East Ridge business park. All the lots are now sold, and calls are coming in about lots in the next phase, the area adjacent to the soccer park.

“There’s a shortage of serviced lots,” said the mayor. “We’re pushing to get the next phase going.”

The next phase includes the stormwater storage pond. Peabody said the push is on to get approvals in place this summer so work can begin.

“Staff are really scrambling to keep the pace of development moving along,” he said.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times