April 3, 2020
We began the day dealing with individual questions and comments that have come in since yesterday when we posted a picture of the Band’s sign that forbids cottagers and visitors from coming onto the Reserve.
We have now received too many comments/questions to answer in a timely way. So we have picked out the critical issues for which people want information.
The following represents what we know for sure, and in some cases what we think is happening and there are some things about which we know almost nothing.
We have done our best to get the answers you are looking for. However, we ask for your patience since it takes time for the Band Council and/or staff to consider our question and to respond with a definitive answer.
And thank you for expressing your concerns to us.
How long will the State of Emergency last?
The Band declared the State of Emergency (SOE) in concert with surrounding municipalities and the Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health (MOH).
The SOE is open ended.
Our assumption is that the SOE will remain in effect for some time and will only be lifted by Band Council after consultation with neighbouring municipalities, the MOH and when they feel it is safe to do so.
Will our fees be adjusted to reflect our not being allowed to go to our cottages?
The Band Council, in response to our request, has deferred the deadline for Service Fee payment by 60 days to June 1st. The fee amount remains unchanged.
We realize that some cottagers had already submitted their fees before we became aware of the deferral. If the SOE is not lifted until well into the summer or beyond, we would hope that Band Council would revisit this issue. In the meantime, we recommend that you submit your service fees by June 1st to avoid late fees.
The Band Council has indicated that Lease fees will remain unchanged and the due date is still May 1, 2020. We do not see this changing regardless of the length of the SOE.
We are not sure if invoices for the lease fees will be sent out. These fees are the same as last year, so we are again recommending that you pay your lease fee on time to avoid late fees whether you receive an invoice or not.
We have asked the Lands Management Department if they can set up an electronic banking e-transfer account. It may be a while before we get a response.
In the meantime they will continue to receive payment by cheque either through the slot in the door for locals or by mail.
Are Septic Contractors and other trades restricted from working on Band Lands?
Within the past hour we have received the following from Kirk Roote (Manager, Lands Management Department):
“No contractors are permitted to continue until the emergency situation has been lifted”
We now assume that the Band will have to revisit its expectations around completion of septic system upgrades.
We will pick this issue up again once the SOE has been lifted.
What about other trades?
Bayshore broadcasting has published a list of those who are eligible to continue on to Band Land.
- Residents and members
- Essential employees
- Emergency response personnel
- Essential inspection, maintenance and repair persons
- Canada Post employees and other carriers
- Hydro One, Bell Canada and GBTel service people
- Fuel suppliers
- Anyone with written permission of Band Council
Is Winter Patrol being extended?
SCOI and its member cottager associations are working out a voluntary extension of the Winter Patrol program for a fee.
Hopefully we will have something to share with you in the next couple of days.
A Few Final Words
On the off chance that you are still planning to go to the cottage, please understand that
Band security are stopping vehicles before they can enter Band Land.
Band Security is also checking cottages to see if there are people there without permission.
Do not go to your cottage.
The best thing we can all do is respect the Band’s wishes, help them keep their community safe and stay home.
If we do what is asked of us we will get through this sooner and get back to the cottage sooner.
Thank you again for your input and for your understanding and for your patience. As more information emerges, we will post it here as soon as we get it.
Rob McLaughlin, Secretary Treasurer, SCOI