MOPC continues to offer services to residents during COVID-19 Crisis

building colour2

PICTOU – Rural Pictou County residents can expect to receive services from their municipality during the coronavirus crisis, but how these services are delivered will be modified, says Municipality of Pictou County Warden Robert Parker.

Warden Parker said Friday municipal staff have been working under provincial guidelines that focus on keeping everyone safe during this difficult time of dealing with COVID-19 while ensuring that residents are still receiving essential services.

Early actions taken by the Municipality included social distancing practices which led to the suspension of all public meetings and the closure of its administration building to walk-in traffic. Steps are being done to have staff work from home with the exception of public works which will continue to service water and sewer sites but will do so by traveling to areas alone in separate vehicles and distancing themselves at scenes that require more than one person on a project.

“I want to assure all of you that our rural municipality continues to function and supply the services that you need and expect, albeit in a different fashion. Our Municipal Offices in Pictou are closed, but the staff is operating virtually by phone and computer. Many of our staff are working at home and can be reached at their regular work phone numbers. Paperwork can still be moved around if so, needed by Canada Post or email, “said Warden Parker.

He said public council and committee meetings will be suspended until further notice, but councillors and staff will continue to meet electronically.

“Your council will continue to meet via teleconference to make the important decisions that are necessary including a budget, capital, high-speed internet and other important matters that move our rural Municipality forward.”

The Municipality of Pictou County is also working with other local municipalities through its involvement in the Regional Emergency Management Organization. REMO is made up of members from the six municipal units who all follow the same emergency response plan as well as enacting their own business contingency plans.

REMO is also in regular communication with its provincial body, Emergency Management Office, which in turn keeps the provincial government abreast of what is happening across the province.

John Davison, who is the REMO coordinator, said the cooperation between the local municipal units has been going well and the right steps are being taken by every area to keep people safe and maintain services.

“We work with municipalities to help enact their emergency response plans which have been approved by the province,” he said. “This way we have one message going out. There are many so-called experts out there, but we are following the message of the province and we make sure the municipalities all have the same information.”

Davison said when this crisis is over, REMO and the municipal units will go over how things were done well and what improvements can be made for the next time, but now focus is on regular communication so everyone feels supported during this difficult time.

Warden Parker said good communication is key to successfully see the end of this crisis and he encourages everyone to follow provincial guidelines regarding social distancing and staying at home if possible.

“I want to thank our staff for all the hard work and flexibility they have shown in the last short while to allow us to continue to serve you. Check our website regularly as this situation evolves. Be sure to contact your councillor if you have inquiries. Take care of yourself and each other and will make it through this together. “

Services offered by the Municipality of Pictou County:

Administration Building:
Closed to Walk-in Traffic. Please be assured that our staff is available to assist you via phone by calling 902-485-4311. As we anticipate higher than normal call volumes, we ask for your patience as we do our best to respond to your questions and voicemails. If you leave a message on voicemail it will be returned as soon as possible. Payment of tax and water accounts will continue to be accepted through online banking through your financial institution, or by cheque/money order sent to PO Box 910, Pictou, NS, B0K 1H0.
Inquiries may be directed to:
Tax Inquiries: tax@munpict.ca
Water Inquiries: water@munpict.ca
General Inquiries: carolyn.macintosh@munpict.ca
It is recommended that you monitor our website and Facebook pages for updates on operations.

All Public Meetings Suspended:
All public meetings including council and committee meetings have been suspended and council will meet via electronically. Meetings rooms in our administration building are no longer available for public meeting spaces.

Public Works:
Our public works department is operating as usual but will be limiting their exposure to the public and practicing social distancing procedures. For after-hours public works emergencies, please call 902-301-1825.

Bylaw Officer:
Our Bylaw and Dog Control Officer is continuing to work as usual with social distancing procedures in place. This department can be reached at 902-485-8640.

Building Inspections:
New protocols have been put in place for buildings inspections to take place. See our website at www.county.pictou.ns.ca for more details or contact 902-485-4588.

Recreation:
All recreation programs have been suspended, but our recreation coordinator and active living coordinator are continuing to work on upcoming events and programs. Recreation staff can be reached at 902-485-8528 or 902-485-2247.

Communications:
Website and social media sites will continue to be updated regularly and submissions of photos and community happenings are welcome by emailing, sueann.musick@munpict.ca or by calling 902-485-2238.

Garbage and Waste Collection:
Reduced hours are in place at Pictou County Solid Waste’s Mount William site, but the curbside collection will continue as usual. More information can be found at https://www.pcwastemgmt.com/

Policing:
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police continue to provide our municipality with policing services. Call 911 for emergency police services.

Fire Departments:
Local fire departments are continuing to provide emergency services and anyone in need of emergency fire services should continue to call 911. Steps are being taken to protect volunteers with fire departments and many local fire halls will not be open to public events at this time.

Public Health Updates:
We will continue to monitor the Coronavirus pandemic and post updates from the provincial and federal governments on our website and social media pages. We encourage people to visit the following sites for more information.

Nova Scotia Health And Wellness: https://novascotia.ca/CoronaVirus/
Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/…/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.ht…