Community halls, offices reopen; back from the egg hunt

Councilors discussed the following in a meeting on Thursday, March 17:

Three roads in Bayham will receive guardrails before the end of the year.

The 2022 Capital Budget provides an allowance of $130,000 for guardrails on portions of Best Line, Coyle Road and Eden Line. The council approved the low bid of $123,747 from Royal Fence Ltd.

Municipal elections may still be nearly six months away, but planning has begun for Bayham. Council received a report outlining critical dates.

The date of the election is October 24. Applications for council and school board positions open May 2 and close August 19 at 2 p.m. Candidates also have until August 19 at 2 p.m. to withdraw their names.

Bayham has previously used paper ballots and traditional voting methods. If the municipality wanted to change this, a by-law would have to be passed by council before May 1. (The board has already passed a motion stating that the method of voting would remain unchanged.)

As Ontario lifts its COVID-19 restrictions, Bayham is gradually returning to past practices.

City offices reopened March 7 for limited in-person business. Although most staff have returned to the office, residents are still encouraged to use online services whenever possible. Public works and water/wastewater staff have been working in split shifts since January to limit contact with staff and reduce Covid-related absences – this ended on March 21.

The Port Burwell Marine Museum is expected to open as normal this tourist season.

In collaboration with the Straffordville Hall Foundation, it was decided to open the community hall for rental as of April 4.

The municipality also repealed its face covering and Covid vaccination policies effective March 21.

Bayham, along with other Elgin municipalities in the county, declared a local state of emergency on March 21, 2020. This declaration is still in effect. Thayer said the municipalities wanted to lift the declaration at the same time and more information would come to Bayham Council in the near future.

The Straffordville Community Hall Foundation and the Straffordville Community Committee are hosting the event at Straffordville Community Park on Saturday, April 15 at 10 a.m.

Bayham is looking for a few good men and women to bolster the ranks of its Volunteer Fire Department.

In his annual report to the council, Fire Chief Harry Baranik said finding new recruits was his top priority for 2022. A recruitment drive in 2021 resulted in 11 people signing up. However, by the time training began, that number had dropped to seven.

The report highlighted statistics from the past year, including:

• The number of appeals for 2021 was 202, up from the previous year, but down from a peak of 204 in 2018.

• Medical calls (80) were the main reason firefighters were called; fire calls came second (35) and collisions with vehicles third (25). By location, there were 105 calls for Straffordville and 93 for Port Burwell.

• Structure and vehicle fires increased by two for 2021. The number of calls for a permitted burn decreased.

• Training time decreased in 2021 due to COVID-19. This played a role in staying within the compensation budget despite the increase in calls.

Bayham Council hopes the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund will help with the costs of rebuilding its website.

Advisors were considering this route and asked staff to provide quotes to advise on the range of funding to apply for. Quotes ranged from $12,000 to $60,991 for an overhaul plus annual maintenance from $2,100 to $8,504.

The Council directed that staff apply for the grant and that the website redesign be considered in 2023.


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