A Message from Mayor Brian Saunderson

March 17, 2020
Mayor Saunderson

To the Residents of Collingwood;

We are living in exceptional times. The COVID-19 pandemic poses a very real threat to the health and well-being of our community and our residents. Exceptional times call for exceptional measures and we have seen both the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister of Canada announce exceptional measures today and over the last week. The Deputy Mayor, members of this Council and myself as your Mayor, want to assure the residents of Collingwood that we take this threat very seriously and that your health and safety are our primary focus and concern, today and in the coming weeks.

As a result, Council is responding with exceptional measures of our own. We have closed our Municipal facilities, including the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena and the Central Park Arena and the Centennial Pool. Effective earlier today, we closed Town Hall and other municipal offices to the public and have asked all non-essential staff to work from home. After the completion of this Council meeting tonight, we will be suspending all Town Council, Committee and Board meetings indefinitely.

I want our residents to know that the Town will continue to provide essential services including fire, drinking water and waste-water, snow clearing, enforcement of priority by-laws and essential customer services. Updates about these Town services will be available on the Town Website, and the Town Twitter and Facebook channels and we will continue to provide timely and regular updates for our residents. We are undertaking all of these exceptional measures to flatten the curve of the virus, slow the infection rate, and use every available means to save lives.

I know we can all agree that Collingwood is an exceptional community. We are ranked the 22nd best place to live in Canada by MacLean’s magazine based on a multitude of metrics. I believe that the most important metric to judge any community is the size and strength of its community spirit. We are a strong, united and caring community and while we have weathered hardship in many forms, from World Wars to depression and recessions, to massive industry closures. Yet in every case and without fail, our community has prevailed and emerged stronger and more resilient than before. I know that will be our future when the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

As champions of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11, which promotes safe, inclusive and resilient communities, I urge our residents to practice each of these qualities. Safety by taking all precautions against the spread of the virus by following the guidelines for hand washing and hygiene and responsible social contact. Inclusiveness by looking out for your neighbours, particularly, the vulnerable including the elderly, those with chronic health issues and those with compromised immune systems. This is not a time for panic, it is a time for calm, reasoned decisions about how we minimize our risk of infection and the spread of the COVID-19 virus. I want to assure all residents that there is no shortage of food and other essentials, please shop responsibly, there is no need to stock-pile beyond a 2 week supply. Finally, resilience, through cooperation, compassion and working together, our community will survive this crisis and we will emerge stronger and more resilient as we have in the past.

Let us show the world how a safe, inclusive and resilient community acts in a time of crisis and how we work together to overcome adversity and care for our neighbours and those at risk. I know that together we can do this. 

Watch the video of Mayor Saunderson making this statement at the Council Meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020.