Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Six who said Aye ... Council members statements on the declaration of a Local State of Emergency in Prince Rupert

As we outlined last night, Mayor Lee Brain announced the imposition of a Local State of Emergency at Prince Rupert City Council on Monday evening.

The declaration setting in motion consideration by a newly empowered Emergency Operations Centre of a number of recommendations from local physicians that will have an impact on much of the daily life in the region.

Prior to all six council members voting aye to in effect handing things over to the members of the EOC, they offered up some comments as to why they had made their decision to support the Mayor's motion to declare the Local State of Emergency.

All of the members were absent from the Chamber and participated in Monday's session by way of electronic means, below we offer a snap shot of their contributions.

"I feel a state of emergency is necessary to give the ability of local government to have a part in how this crisis is dealt with, I feel that after the orders are read that it will send a strong message to our community that we want to survive and we want to succeed at doing the best to control the final outcome of this pandemic"  -- Councillor Wade Niesh

"I want to start by expressing my respect for the local doctors who have spoken out, they are good people and they are not necessarily very prominent public speakers on the issues that face the community but they've spoken out now. Aand I will say that nobody knows the capabilities and the vulnerabilities of the hospital better than they do and this is a situation that is likely to test those capabilities and vulnerabilities ... This motion as I understand it, would pass responsibility for local steps to the Emergency Operations Centre and I'm hoping the Mayor will explain in more detail what that means ... And I want to say about that, that whatever we choose to do, we need to ensure that we precisely identify the problems that we are trying to solve and adopt specific measures to solve those problems " -- Councillor Nick Adey

"Every town is unique and every town is different, in these challenging times our medical professionals who are at the front lines experiencing COVID-19 pandemic having the best understanding of the needs for our city and surrounding communities, so we should listen to the recommendations ... we should be proactive or else it will be too late ... I am in favour of this motion and do believe that for the safety of our city and surrounding communities we need to react now and act fast" -- Councillor Gurvinder Randhawa

"At this point, it's time to stay home unless absolutely necessary cause this is an extremely critical time to flatten this outbreak, so we are already ahead of Ontario in confirmed cases  ... we need to support our health care workers and doctors and nurses and entire system as a whole and we do that by staying home ... respecting their recommendations as medical professionals"  -- Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven

"I am also supportive of declaring a local state of emergency, but I want to start by saying I am incredibly supportive and want to commend Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix for their work ... I see this local emergency as being a necessary compliment to be able to support their work ... I take these letters from our local doctors incredibly seriously and I hope that the EOC will consider their recommendations" -- Councillor Blair Mirau

"I support this whole heartedly we need to get ahead of the curve here, we've got to try to flatten the curve ... we're at the end of the line and we need to take care of ourselves ... the people that are out there and thinking that they are immune to this or whatever, they're the one's that we have to worry about. The doctors have given us a very loud and clear message by their letters to us and the community, these are the first line of defence against us and these doctors are worried" -- Councillor Barry Cunningham

Last night Mayor Brain added to the growing list of entries on his Facebook page, replaying his comments related towards the declaration and listing the wide range of measures that the panel will now consider for implementation.

The council members contribution to the night for the most part left to travel through the digital universe to be discovered elsewhere. Still, the Council members should be on the record as well when it comes to their decisions of support.

You can review the full commentary from each member in support of the Mayor's motion, which come at the start of Monday's Council session below:

While the Council members did provide for their opening statements, following the Mayor's recitation of the expansive list of proposed measures, none of the six offered up any follow up comments or questions about those measures, or the impact that many of them may have on the community.

As to the road ahead for the community, other than saying coming very soon, the Mayor did not specify last night when residents of the city may anticipate the release of the approved recommendations.

Though he did note that further guidance towards those moves would come through a range of communication measures, from the city website to the social media streams that seem to make for the bulk of info relay these days.

For more notes on the work of City Council see our archive page here.

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