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Mayor's Message - January 7, 2022

Mayor's Message - January 7, 2022

Message from the Mayor – January 7, 2022                (click to view PDF version)

Hello and welcome to 2022! First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope everyone had a great Christmas break.

The Pandemic unfortunately, remains in full swing, as we continue to battle variants of COVID-19. Although we were hopeful to see the restrictions continue to loosen, we’ve unfortunately taken more than a few steps back to protect the hospitals and ICUs. We are back in Stage 2 of the Province’s Reopening Plan, which thankfully has not resulted in significant changes to the Municipality’s operations, but we are sadly seeing another major impact on our small and local businesses. With no in-house dining options and a reduced capacity for retail, we must do our part to support the businesses that contribute to our local economy. Ordering take-out, curbside pick-up options, the purchase of gift cards are all ways that we, as a community, can help.

The Bill Barber officially opened this week. The Operations Crew worked hard over the holidays to ensure we had the rink open as soon as we could. We are excited to get another season underway and are hopeful that restrictions will not impact the rink this season. We encourage you to stay up to date on our Facebook page, or by following updates under News and Alerts on our website.

It should also be noted that the Municipality has opened the Orton Room this season to provide a space to lace up. This should continue for the remainder of the year, pending restrictions imposed by the province and our local health unit. Patrons within the Orton Room will need to be masked and will be permitted to enter at limited capacity. We expect everyone to obey the social distancing and gathering regulations, and to not congregate indoors.

I am happy to see many ice huts already on the ice, and/or getting ready to be placed on the ice. Our “ice hut village” plays a major role in our economic development profile here in Callander. It is one of our largest defining characteristics and the scenery truly embodies what Callander is about: the community. On another note, we will be excited to welcome the Farquhar Lighthouse to the Callander Bay scenery next summer to embody another important characteristic: our nautical history.

In December, the Recreation Group had held the annual “Lights Up” event, which was well attended. We want to thank our volunteers for everything they do, and our Operations Crew for setting up to make our events possible.

The water and sewer rates for 2022 were approved by Council in late December, with a 2.1% increase which is in line with the municipality’s Water Financial Plan.

The draft budget was presented in December, however due to the high costs associated with the OPP presentation, the budget process was put on hold until mid-January, while staff awaited the costs of their alternate 5.1 option. We have received confirmation that the total costs for 2022 policing will be $375,000 + $2,200 for 911 primary safety answering point (PSAP), due to the province absorbing the cost of the calls for service. The budget will be brought forward on January 18, 2022, noting this change in pricing. We continue to encourage you to submit more ideas, suggestions and opinions regarding the budget by e-mailing clerk@callander.ca or by writing a letter to 280 Main St N, Callander, ON, P0H 1H0.

I would also like to take this time to welcome the OPP to our Municipality. The OPP officially took over policing on January 1, and we look forward to building a strong relationship with them as we work together to keep Callander a safe place to live and play. A final thanks to the North Bay Police Officers for many years of great service. We wish them well.

Council has also made the decision to modify the dates and times of our Council meetings. Moving forward, they will be held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm instead of 6:00pm. Meetings continue to be closed to the public but are streamed live on YouTube.

We continue to ask that you do your part and get vaccinated as soon as possible, and you can stay tuned on provincial announcements and restrictions here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions. There have been several pop-up mobile vaccination clinics throughout the district, a range of large-scale clinics at Memorial Gardens in North Bay, and opportunities to be vaccinated at local pharmacies as well. For information on vaccination clinics and walk-in options,  please visit: https://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/health-topics/covid-19-vaccine-appointments.asp#ClinicSchedule

We continue to request that patrons, instead of coming into the office, try to use alternative methods for municipal services as much as possible, to reduce the community exposure and non-essential visits. Some examples are provided by visiting the following link: https://www.mycallander.ca/en/news-alerts/show/municipal-services-update-following-stay-at-home-order-  

As always, and I cannot stress this enough, continue to support our local businesses where you can and please continue to follow all safety protocols, as recommended. Stay safe.

Mayor Robb Noon

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