HURON-KINLOSS – The report by Fire Chief Chris Cleave on the recent EF2 tornado topped the agenda at the Sept. 20 meeting of council.
Mayor Mitch Twolan commented that the “pictures (in the report) were something else.”
He gave a “big shout-out” to emergency services and the roads staff, who continue the work of clearing damage.
“We were very lucky,” Twolan said, noting that ACW (Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh) had been hit by “back-to-back tornadoes a day apart. “Things can be fixed, lives can’t be.”
Cleave’s report stated that on Tuesday, Sept. 7, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning. Shortly after 4 p.m., the storm made landfall in the ACW and Huron-Kinloss areas.
Calls began to come in to the fire departments, with reports of a possible tornado in Point Clark, Kingsbridge and Lucknow.
Firefighters were asked to report to their respective stations to begin necessary response operations. Ripley-Huron was right on-scene – the department was already on a call in Point Clark when the storm made landfall.
There were multiple reports of damaged structures, downed trees, blocked roads and downed hydro wires.
Cleave said in his report that fire resources were stretched to capacity, and public works staff were called in to assist with road closures and debris removal. No mutual aid from other communities was required.
There were no reports of people trapped, killed or injured.
The Northern Tornado Project confirmed at least one tornado damage path assessed as EF2 with estimated wind speeds of 180 km/h and a track length of 19 km with a maximum width of 1.3 km.
Cleave stated in his report that damage was kept to a minimum because of the rural path of the tornado. Had the storm gone through an urban community with a higher population, the response would have been very different.
Application made for Trillium Grant
Council has authorized an application to the 2021 Ontario Trillium Foundation Community Building Fund for the Ripley-Huron Community Centre revitalization project.
The Trillium application is for $500,000; the municipal share of the project would be $240,000. The grant, if approved, would be announced in January 2022.
The project includes accessible front entrance doors, main kitchen renovation, social room heating, membrane roof, hallway and lobby floors, and accessible dressing room/storage room.
“I hope we get it,” said Mayor Mitch Twolan.
Proof of vaccine requirement discussed
The municipal emergency control group and planning and operations committee have been discussing provincial proof of vaccination requirements as they pertain to Huron-Kinloss facilities.
Staff are drafting policies and procedures, and will be using a private security company to assist in enforcement of requests for proof of vaccination at the entrance to facilities.
Deputy Mayor Don Murray said he supported the idea of the private company for the time being. It ensures “someone with authority” will be asking for the proof of vaccination.
Mike Fair, community services, said he isn’t sure how the situation will play out regarding games at the arena and private rentals. At present, those entering the arena and other facilities have to provide their name and phone number for contact tracing, as well as proof of vaccination and a piece of photo identification.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times