Wow! What a summer it has been! We are 6 months into COVID-19 with unprecedented numbers of people living in and visiting Seguin. We understand that water toys from personal watercraft to inflatables have been sold out for many weeks. With summer camps cancelled, travel advisories in place, many families chose to spend their isolation and physical distancing in Seguin. Our health care professionals are beginning to schedule surgeries while they continue to be extra vigilant on all fronts to prevent further spread of this strange disease.
With much uncertainty in the early days of COVID-19 and mixed messages coming from the federal and provincial governments and the health units throughout Canada, I am very proud to say that the Township of Seguin never stopped serving our community. We did adjust our way of doing business. Our offices remain closed for walk-ins but all aspects of the Township business were able to be accessed, online, by telephone and by appointment at our municipal office. We are beginning to open our community centres with strict distancing and cleaning protocols in place and we expect the ice rink to be fully operational the first week of October. Some of our programming has resumed and more will be added as provincial regulations are relaxed. If in doubt on anything, you will be able to find answers at seguin.ca
Our libraries remain closed except for curb side pick up of books. Check out the hours to arrange to pick up a book at seguinpubliclibraries.ca .
Community consultation is ongoing on all aspects of the Seguin Official Plan online at www.seguinopr.com. We urge you and your organizations to write to us about things that concern you or that you would like to see changed in our new Official Plan. The Official Plan is a land use guide which is intended to serve as the basis for making land use decisions and managing change in Seguin. It becomes a guidepost that informs the development of zoning bylaws and land use designations. The Official Plan, together with the Strategic Plan, must ensure that Seguin continues to be an environmental leader, provides an exceptional community experience while enabling community prosperity.
We have completed the collection of public comments on the draft bylaw regarding Short Term Rental Accommodations throughout Seguin. This summer saw an unprecedented number of lakefront homes and cottages rented. Your Council asked for public comment on these rentals. Tabulation of the input is continuing. Many are strongly opposed to any rentals and many others feel very strongly that property owners should be allowed to do as they please with their own property. Whatever the outcome, your Council believes that it is important for our bylaws to be enforceable and fair. Stay tuned for more on this very contentious issue.
We are excited to report that Seguin has entered into a 50%/50% agreement with Vianet to provide affordable, high speed internet to over 4000 properties in Seguin. Leveraging the work that began with the purchase of the MNR tower (now named the SMART Tower) in Parry Sound and the CENGN pilot project to Carling Township, Vianet will be bringing fixed wireless internet to many Seguin properties by mid 2021. To learn more about the partnership and the project please visit https://www.seguin.ca/en/business-development/resources/Vianet-Internet-Project-Fact-Sheet.pdf . This Vianet project is just the beginning. Working with the SMART Community Network, Seguin will be asking for proposals to serve the balance of the township with Internet at the federally mandated 50 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up speed.
Safety of all of our citizens remains a top priority for Council. You will be noticing the installation of rumble strips in the village of Humphrey and some speed measurement radar signs at various locations throughout the Township. These are designed to slow motorists down to increase safety on our road ways. Please obey all traffic signs and pay special attention to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
We continue to receive many concerns about unsafe boating, large wakes and speeding boats too close to shorelines. The Township has no jurisdiction over our waterways. All boating activity is federally regulated and enforcement rests with the OPP. If you observe unsafe boating, you should call the non-emergency OPP number at 1-888-310-1122. Seguin Council continues to support Safe Quiet Lakes which is a volunteer driven organization dedicated to making our lakes safer and more enjoyable for all. I encourage you to visit safequiet.ca, and sign up for their newsletter to learn more about what we can all do to share our precious lakes safely.
We do need your assistance to collect two sets of important data.
1. Working with the Georgian Bay Biosphere, Seguin is asking you to complete the ICECAP Carbon Calculator. ICECAP stands for Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plan. By completing the questionnaire you will be helping the community monitor local energy and greenhouse gas emission baselines and trends to contribute to the local climate action and energy plans. Go to gbbr.ca/carbon-calculator to do your part.
2. We need to update our Internet coverage maps to apply for more funding to expand Internet. You can help by going to www.smartnow.ca , entering your location and taking the speed test in the lower left hand corner of the home page. The data goes directly to CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) and ISED (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) to create detailed Internet coverage maps that will assist us target the underserved areas.
Your Council continues to meet electronically until at least the end of October. You can watch Council meetings on our Youtube channel. (youtube.com Seguin Township. Council Meetings) As we all adapt to the new normal, I want to pay a special tribute to all of Seguin Staff who continue to provide outstanding service to our community. They have all adapted well to our physical distancing and masking protocols. They are doing a wonderful job of helping to keep us all safe. Our health care workers, and front line retail workers continue to put themselves at risk to make our lives easier. Please give them a very special "thank you" for all they are doing.
Please be kind to everyone you meet in these trying times. Enjoy our autumn glory!