Barrie bylaw enforcement active in investigating COVID-19 related incidents, says Prowse in update

Michael Prowse, Barrie CAO

In his latest COVID-19 update to city council, CAO Michael Prowse says 818 incidents were investigated by bylaw officers between April 27 and May 3.
The majority of the cases came from routine patrols. Bylaw officials received 111 complaints through its dedicated COVID-19 Enforcement line.
With the Province giving the OK for some businesses and workplaces to reopen on Monday (May 4), Prowse said the City can expect increased calls for service for enforcement.
“There will be added complexity for enforcement agencies associated with interpreting whether a business or workplace is permitted to open and if so, whether the strict safety guidelines have been met. This is expected to increase the amount of staff time required to address enquiries and complaints.”
The total number of instances included 633 from routine patrols. Of those, 462 did not result in a violation. Of the 154 violations, the majority related to dogs-off leash, children playing on playground equipment, use of closed sports fields, as well as non-COVID-19 related matters such as smoking in parks, said Prowse.
The following is a breakdown of the complaints received from the public: gatherings, 66; park equipment use, 17; businesses, 16, two-metre distance, 12. Two charges were laid last week for entering park areas/amenities where the area was closed.
Since measures were enacted in March, the total number of instances addressed by Municipal Law Enforcement related to COVID-19 is 3,837.
On April 3, the City set up a dedicated COVID-19 Enforcement Line for the public to report instances of non-compliance with the COVID-19 emergency orders. Members of the public can call the COVID-19 Enforcement Line at 705-739-4241 or email at enforcement.services@barrie.ca.
Other items in the update included:
Together At Home: Recreation and Culture Services have been working with Access Barrie to develop an initiative, Together at Home, which is an assortment of online content to provide residents with weekly activities to beat boredom and lift spirits. The online content is available at Barrie.ca/recreation.
Cancellation of Canada Day fireworks: Barrie’s 2020 Canada Day fireworks will be cancelled due to COVID-19 and the restrictions on large gatherings. Canadian Heritage is planning a virtual show that would allow Canadians to watch performances by Canadian artists and other programming remotely on July 1. Additional details are coming.
Free garbage tags: As of May 1, 5,987 requests for free tags had been submitted, with 4,851 mailed out. The City asks that only one additional bag (with a tag) be used per garbage collection week. Many items can be diverted to your green bin and recycling bins.
Financial hardship: Applications are available on the City’s website for elimination of the fixed charge on the next water and wastewater bill. As of May 4, 2,320 applications for elimination of the fixed charge have been received. Residents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as there is limited funding available for this program. Landlords are required to pass the water bill relief to tenants if water charges are included in their rent.
Community Heroes: The City has launched Community Heroes, an online campaign to showcase appreciation for the many acts of kindness that members of the community have experienced during this unprecedented time. #BarrieHeroes is a way for residents to share photos and stories about the many different heroes that emerge in a time of crisis, including those who have gone to work so most can stay home, the essential workers on the front lines, and the people who’ve shown strength of character helping others. To submit a story and share a picture visit barrie.ca/heroes or use the #BarrieHeroes on social media.
Service level impacts: Due to extended cancellation of several non-essential services and resulting financial impact, the City temporarily laid off additional positions and redeployed other positions. In total, over 500 City staff positions have been affected since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Loss of revenue: The CAO told council on Monday that the City is looking at a projected loss of $65 million in revenue by the end of the year because COVID-19. The City’s current lost revenue is about $1.7 million.
“It is important to note that it will take several weeks or longer, to ramp service levels back up once Province announces openings. This is due in part to the fact that the way services operated in the past will likely need to be adjusted to address physical distancing requirements or other health and safety matters for the public and staff. In other areas, service levels may look very different in 2020 than in previous years due in part to the reduced staff complement.”

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