Hello, Breezes readers.  I continue to be very impressed with how North Enders have come together (while six feet apart) during these unprecedented times. Here we are in May 2020 and about 50 days since my colleagues and I on City Council enacted our Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).

With that, before I thank you, I would like to first thank the EOC members. Seven days and nights per week the EOC is managing the many evolving issues that we have been confronted with during this pandemic. The 19 members of the EOC Management Group with their expertise in Health, Public Works, Planning, Emergency Services and Communications, make the best decisions possible for the health and safety of our friends, families and neighbours. For nearly a month now, Council has resumed sitting virtually each Wednesday and we have been working formally and collaboratively with our EOC. And since day one of our EOC activation, I have been working on your behalf sharing outcomes and sometimes challenges from these ever-evolving EOC decisions that have affected the North End and the Ward.

One of the decisions that the EOC had made early on was to utilize City of Hamilton recreation centres as Isolation Centres.  When a member of our most vulnerable community (a homeless individual) is tested as positive for Covid – 19, these recreation centres transform into a safe space for the individual to recover.

While the EOC had isolated on many recreation centres throughout our city, Bennetto was chosen as the first facility to transform.  The recreation centre was well suited as an Isolation Centre for a number of reasons that included a footprint conducive to physical distancing, separate and secure rooms for staff and patients.

At the time of writing this, only one visitor has entered Bennetto for recovery and that visitor departed about two weeks ago.  But from the start of the speedy set up of the Isolation Centre to the time the doors opened there was an incredible, but not surprising, outpouring of kind comments from North Enders.  I received nothing but caring and inclusive remarks via email, phone calls and on Twitter.  Some folks even asked in what ways they could volunteer (though that was covered by City staff and staff from the shelter networks). For this, I truly thank you all for opening up your arms and hearts to this temporary use.

We can only hope that nobody else will need to recover at our North End Isolation Centre.  It certainly appears that almost all of us have taken heed of the call to stay home and stay safe when outside and so the flattening appears to be happening.  So, thanks for that as well.

For now, stay safe and please continue you to get in touch with me at anytime and respecting any matter.  Covid – 19 related or not.  Until next time, Breezes readers.

Councillor Jason Farr

Ward 2

Email: Jason.Farr@Hamilton.ca

Phone: 905 546 2711

Twitter: JasonFarrHamOnt