More enforcement on horizon if people ignore stay-at-home orders, Midland CAO says

·3 min read

Midland's top staffer says more clarity around enforcement means sterner action by the town against those that disobey stay-at-home orders.

"I know there's been a lot of discussion with the health unit around educating people," said CAO David Denault. "The education can only go so far. I think you're going to have to enforce much more strongly. The health unit itself is getting around to some of the areas where we've heard some of the complaints, like the malls.

"Unfortunately, we're going to have to start patrolling areas like the toboggan hills and rinks," he added. "If people don't listen, we're going to have to ticket them. If numbers continue to rise as they're predicting, I think there will be a sterner side to enforcement."

Until now, said Denault in his update to council this week, the approach was to educate and then enforce.

Since Nov. 15, he said bylaw has issued 282 tickets and done 12 tows (non-COVID related).

"We really don't want to do that to the public," said Denault. "But to be efficient and make sure we're taking care of our services, we need to do this. Please make sure you move your vehicles so we can get around and take care of the facilities."

Coun. Jon Main wanted to know what the town planned for warming centres, considering public buildings are closed due to the stay-at-home orders.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our warming centres are municipal facilities, which are not open," he said. "Is it our responsibility to provide warming centres?"

Denault said that is one facet municipalities are struggling with.

"It is one of the opportunities we have with the rec centre," he said. "We have been able to accommodate some individuals that have come there during frigid times. We'll continue to do that. We'll make sure we connect with our organizations in the community to understand that can be done. The more traditional facilities just aren't able to open."

At the beginning of the meeting, Coun. Bill Gordon also asked what had become of the YMCA's request for town support in reopening its facility.

"I know the YMCA had approached us without a financial ask, but with the indication that there would be something coming," he said. "It looks like we attempted to reach out to them and do something that didn't work out so I wonder if we could talk a little bit about that."

Denault said all municipal CAOs had met up with the YMCA to discuss what they would need and to share with them options their municipalities may be able to bring forward with council approval.

"There were no offers made," he said, adding he couldn't share any numbers due to a request of confidentiality by the Y. "At the end of the day, the YMCA determined they could best address their needs on their own.

"We did leave them with the option that if they do require some assistance from the municipality, we can be engaged to help out," said Denault.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,