Augusta Council welcomes South Nation Conservation’s public conservation area in Augusta Township and receives COVID-19 updates from Staff.
Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka
(As published in the South Grenville Journal – Wednesday, June 24, 2020)
On June 1st, 2020, John Mesman, Team Lead, Communication and Outreach at South Nation Conservation (SNC) wrote to me regarding their future public conservation area being established in Augusta Township. The letter was discussed by Council at its Council meeting held on June 15, 2020. Mr. Mesman’s letter announced that SNC will be developing its first public Conservation Area in Augusta Township thanks to municipal and federal partnerships to increase outdoor recreational opportunities in the Township and surrounding area. For its part, Augusta Township voted to donate a 9-acre parcel of land along the South Nations River on McCrea Road for river access and recreation. Council also agreed to have our support staff work cooperatively with SNC to develop the property for public use. Federal grant funding has been secured to permit work scheduled to take place through 2020 and will include parking lot and trail creation, river access, site clean-up and excavation, tree maintenance, tree planting and new signage. According to Mr. Mesman, the site is planned to be open and accessible to the public for day-use in 2021. Council appreciated SNC’s initiative in our Township and look forward to working with SNC for establishing increased outdoor nature and recreational opportunities and river access while protecting local nature heritage and forest cover.
At the same June 15th meeting, Karen Lavigne, Head Building Department, CBO and CBCO, updated Council on the Department’s activities for May 2020 including building permits. Karen also provided us with a COVID‑19 update that noted that all construction is now permitted under Provincial regulations, contractors and workers on construction sites are required to follow self-distancing measures and are asked to respect the same with building inspectors. Karen also reported that interior inspections are now permitted following social distancing measures and ensuring the resident has not been in contact with Covid-19 situations within the past 2 weeks of the inspection request. In addition, inspectors have the discretion of wearing PPE, such as face shields, gloves and masks and insisting that no person is in the building during the inspection. Inspectors also have the right to refuse entry into a building for the purpose of inspecting if they feel it is not safe to do so.
Fire Chief, Rob Bowman also provided Council with a report for May 2020 which included an update on COVID-19 and the Fire Department. According to his report: Augusta Fire stations continued to be closed to the public; firefighters are now permitted more access to station, under strict guidelines for sanitization and maintaining Social Distancing; our Fire Department continues to have sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gowns, medical gloves, safety glasses, face shields, and N95 masks. Chief Bowman also reported that Augusta Fire Rescue continues to respond to all medical calls with full PPE and the interior of vehicles continues to be sanitized after every use. On the subject of the Township’s St. Lawrence Flooding response, Chief Bowman stated that it appears flooding will not occur this year. As a result, sand has been removed from Station #1. However, sandbags are still available from Station #1 and sand can be redeployed quickly by Public Works if required.