July 23, 2020
Provided by Our Ward 4 Councillors
Good afternoon Council,
As we move into Stage 3 of re-opening we are noticing increased traffic at our waste management facilities with the inevitable line-ups that ensue, especially at our island transfer stations where we need to maintain social distancing. This is unfortunately causing a bottle neck as boats have to wait until the dock is free before tying off. Stage 3 is also causing a certain degree of complacency and expectation of “return to normal service”, whereby staff should be assisting residents with their garbage disposal while wearing a mask and gloves.
The safety of our staff remains a top priority, considering the most recent data that suggests cases of Covid-19 are starting to increase again.
So far we have been fortunate in that all of our staff have remained healthy and virus free. Protecting our staff means we are able to keep our facilities operational. If one member of staff falls ill everyone else who worked at that location or came into contact with the infected person would have to self quarantine for 14 days, effectively closing down one or more locations for a fortnight due to the staffing levels we operate under.
COVID-19 can be spread at the workplace in two main ways:
The risk of getting COVID-19 is higher if you:
The most important barrier to protecting ourselves from contracting Covid-19 is social distancing and non-contact. The use of PPE should be the last line of defence in protecting staff from the virus.
Staff have access to sanitizing solution, gloves and masks, however we should not be putting them at unnecessary risk with the belief that wearing PPE will achieve the same protection as maintaining a safe distance and non-contact.
Wearing of PPE will lull staff and residents into a false sense of security and the expectation from some residents that we are back to business as usual.
We have the luxury of being able to work outdoors and achieving the safest of working conditions. By expecting staff to come into close quarters with residents we are knowingly increasing their risk of exposure, even if they wear PPE.
Having said the above, we have some unique scenarios whereby access to a transfer station is not easy (e.g. Sheep Head at the end of a steep incline), or where year round residents are elderly or have some form of disability. Staff have been helping those individuals that truly need assistance and have requested it. On top of the purchase of additional carts at Pointe au Baril Wharf we are implementing additional measures that staff have suggested to assist our most vulnerable members of the community, such as placement of bins for residents to place their garbage in and subsequently the bin is picked up by staff and emptied into the compactor bin followed by disinfection of the bin with a bleach solution.
Staff is trying to help whenever it is safe to do so and they too wish they could do more, however as we come to terms with the “new normal” our residents have to accept that activities which were simple in previous years and where staff provided above and beyond customer service, now require more planning and self-sufficiency.
Manager of Operational Services
Township of The Archipelago
Phone: (705) 746-4243 ext.311
Fax: (705) 746-7301