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COVID-19 UPDATES
Municipality of Russell Binscarth
 
July 6, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 
 
Summer has officially begun!!  Despite life's "new normal", I hope everyone was able to enjoy Canada Day.  And I hope everyone continues to be Covid 19 cautious as more facilities, services, and recreational areas open.
 
I had mentioned in a previous article, new regulations from Tri-Roads Planning District would be soon in effect.  On June 29, 2020 the bylaw passed third reading and took effect.  These new requirements definitely have some changes that will effect any type of land usage and building in both urban and rural areas in Riding Mountain West and Russell Binscarth Municipalities.  If anyone has any questions regarding appropriate zoning, building, and development please call the Tri-Roads Planning Officer, Adrienne, at 204-773-2253.  All permits will be issued through this office rather than through the building inspector as previously done.
 
Every year the Municipality of Russell Binscarth gives bursaries to local youth entering or continuing post secondary education.  If possible, consideration is given to those hoping to return to this area for employment following completion of their education. The Bursaries focus on 5 areas - Health, Agriculture, Trades, Law, and Business.  This year six bursaries were awarded - Samantha Baker, Anna Garnett, Kyle Davidson, Brayden Lavallee, and Peyton Woitas in Health studies, and  Hannah Smith in law enforcement studies.  We wish all these young people good luck in the future.  Thank you to everyone who applied.
 
Inadvertently, a recent ad in the Russell Banner was misleading in the days that the Binscarth Municipal Office is open.  Please check the Municipal website for updates. We apologize for this and hope that staffing issues will be resolved soon so hours can be restored in Binscarth. 
 
Please note that the July 14 Council Meeting will be held at 6:00pm in the Binscarth Hall.
 
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy the nice weather.
Cheryl 
 
June 17, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier
 
 And so the world of COVID-19 continues!!  Manitoba's Phase Two is well underway and so far so good!!  Despite the slight increase in numbers, we are keeping ahead of this life changing situation.  Please continue to follow Manitoba Health's guidelines for updates and changes to regulations and safety practices. 
 
Within the next few weeks, new regulations from Tri-Roads Planning District will come into effect.  These changes may impact everyone, urban and rural, who is building or planning to do so.  (Tri-Roads Planning District includes both municipalities of Riding Mountain West and Russell Binscarth and works within the Manitoba Planning Act.)  One of the biggest changes will be that the Planning Officer will now be responsible for all necessary paperwork including issuing all permits.  She will continue to work closely with the Building Inspector.  For all inquiries or information, please call Adrienne at 204-773-2253. 
 
As of this past Monday, the Municipal Office in Russell is open.  Due to Covid and a shift of responsibilities of staff, the Binscarth office remains open only one day a week but we are hoping to adjust this soon. 
 
Also there has been some concern and confusion expressed regarding both the 'Town of Russell' and the 'Village of Binscarth' Facebook pages.  These are privately owned and managed sites and are not endorsed or sponsored in any way by the Municipality of Russell Binscarth. 
 
Until next message, stay strong and keep safe, 
Cheryl  
 
May 20, 2020
 Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier
 
As  I write this, I realize how lucky our area has been throughout the ongoing COVID 19 Crisis and I believe that this has been largely due to everyone's caution and safety practices.  Keep up the great work!  The days since May 4 have not seen a surge in the number of cases but we must remain 'on guard'.   
 
In following the Provincial Public Health guidelines, MRB council has decided to reopen our municipal parks (playgrounds) and play structures on May 20.  (This does not include camping areas.)  However, it is important to note that these areas are to be enjoyed at your own risk  and play-structures will not be sanitized.  Social distancing, no groups larger than 10, and no contact sports must be maintained. 
 
On a different note, the 2020 MRB budget has been completed, presented, and passed.  Council considered all aspects of the budget and believes the outcome represents the 2020 planned expenses and income as reasonably and accurately as possible.  The budget process began prior to COVID 19 but with the ongoing impact of this pandemic, MRB, like all municipalities, may face additional and unplanned financial implications. 
 
As of May 19, 2020 a Burning Ban has been put in place for our municipality.  This decision was based on the heat and high winds over the long weekend creating very dry conditions.   
 
No doubt life has changed for all of us in the past few months and will continue to do so.  As we move into the future with change, stay safe and stay strong. 
 
Thank You, Cheryl  
 
May 7, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier
 
 
The first week of COVID 19 'Phase One' is underway.  Professionals have worked non stop to understand and learn ways to control this Pandemic. Their advice and learned knowledge remains the best defense and the continuing news releases give the best and most accurate updates.   
 
Psychologically, May 4th seemed like a magical date whereby our previous 'normal' lives were restored!!  With the decrease of Manitoba Health restrictions and the nice weather is became a little more difficult to continue the safety practices.  However, now is the time to remain vigilant.  With businesses, services, and travel less restricted, the chance for increase in COVID numbers also increases.  The recent outbreak in Prairie Mountain Health reminds us that COVID is still very present and very dangerous.
 
To everyone who has given 100% to protect others and themselves safe,  Thank You.  Let's continue to do so for a little longer and take no chances. In an entire lifetime, a few months is not long. 
 
Stay home and stay safe.
Cheryl  
 
April 29, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier
 
Good news! 

Manitoba Government and Manitoba Health have just announced the Province’s own ‘Phasing In’ plan for the easing of restrictions that were put in place to help control the spread of COVID-19.  May 4th is the date when Phase 1 will begin.  To see an outline of nonessential businesses and services that are listed, search online at Manitoba Health Covid 19 updates and look at Premier Pallister’s announcement. 

Manitoba Health relates that Manitoba has stepped up and is now in a good position to start a roll back of restrictions.  They will continue to closely monitor the number of cases and have the ability to reverse any of the lessened restrictions at any time.  They caution that this is NOT A RETURN TO NORMAL.  Don’t do too much too quickly, continue social distancing and hand washing ,and continue to use the ten person limit at a gathering. Stay home as much as possible.  Protect those at risk as it is still a time for caution. We are not safe – COVID 19 is still out there!! 

Let’s continue to protect others and ourselves and give each other a proverbial ‘pat on the back’ for what we have all done in the COVID fight. 

Together we have made a difference, Cheryl 
 
 
April 28, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier
 
Another week in the world of COVID-19!! 

Conference calls and "Zoom" meetings continue to occurred very regularly between government officials, Prairie Mountain Health, and municipalities. 
 
Earlier last week, Dan Mazier, Member of Parliament for our riding, spoke with us about several issues of concern.  He discussed various government programs being offered at present to help with COVID19 related losses to businesses, stressing that these monetary compensations are loans not free money.  He told us of the change of criteria for Summer Student Programs, carbon tax implications,  and listened to concerns numerous municipalities are having. However the largest concern is that of CP Rail's plans to make rural landowners financially responsible for all upgrades and maintenance of all railway crossings on private property.  This places a huge burden on farmers who need these crossings for land access.  MRB has spoken with several landowners, AMM representatives, and Transport Canada.  Mr. Mazier is aware of the situation and is hoping the deadline for this to occur will be delayed pending further investigation.  If this issue impacts you please call the CTA RAIL HELP LINE at 1-877-850-7148.
 
 On Friday, Rachelle Squires, Minister of Municipal Relations relations held a conference call with Western Manitoba municipalities regarding Provincial cross border travel Health Orders related to COVID19.  Given the proximity of 'border' towns to Saskatchewan, Manitoba residents may now "access essential services" in Saskatchewan.  These services include business, work, medical appointments, and property ownership.  Those returning back to Manitoba from Saskatchewan do not need to self isolate unless showing symptoms of COVID-19.  With Saskatchewan preparing to introduce a Phased In approach for easing some of the regulations, this may present challenges in keeping Manitobans at home but she encourages everyone to use common sense .  Minister Squires suggested that there may be some changes to Manitoba Health guidelines but nothing  has been introduced.  At present, regulations remain the same as in the past several weeks.  Note that changes could occur in an instant should there be a rise in the number of cases. 
 
The "COVID19 Curve" has begun to flatten, but we cannot lower our guard and have a surge in numbers.  By remaining diligent with guidelines everyone has become a hero in the fight to control this pandemic. 
 
Thank you and stay safe.  If you have any questions about MRB please call the office at 204-773-2253. 
 
 April 10, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier

I had never intended for my messages to be anything other than updates of Council business and activities, but due to the many calls, emails, and social media outreaches on COVID 19, I have decided to speak up on a more personal level.

As a municipality, concerns for ‘our’ people are the first priority as we try to maintain business.  We try to follow all guidelines and regulations set out by organizations who have much greater knowledge and insight than us.  We do not have any enforcement authority on any non-municipal properties or businesses. Because COVID-19 is an unprecedented situation, learning curves are steep.  Changes occur almost daily.

As with any crisis, reactions and emotions are varied.  When that crisis becomes a world-wide pandemic, like COVID-19, those feelings escalate - fear, anger, loss of control over our own lives, or denial - become common.  FEAR - what if someone we love or ourselves become ill, or worse, die.  ANGER - why isn’t more being done by government or health officials.  LOSS OF CONTROL - life as we know and expect it is changed.  DENIAL - "it can’t happen to me”.  The only constant at present is that of self-isolation, social distancing, and good hand washing.  These remain the 3 best ways we can take back our personal control.  Are they 100% effective?   Nothing in this world is 100% effective, but these three guidelines are the best we have right now.  Ultimately, however, each person is responsible for their own actions during this stressful time.  Just remember, those actions may affect someone else also.

Be assured that MRB Council is grateful for those front line workers, the essential services, businesses, and all those who remain on the job doing their best to provide everyone with their needs and wants while practicing vigilance to curb the spread of COVID-19. They too, are following guidelines and regulations while putting others before themselves.

Thank you to all of you! We appreciate you and your efforts.

Together we will become part of the solution.

Stay Safe!!!


April 2, 2020 
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 

 
It never rains but it pours!! Or snows!!
I have not posted in several days, as other than the increase in numbers, the protocols and precautions for COVID-19 have not changed. I want to thank all essential service businesses for continuing to remain open. For those businesses who have closed, thank you for your cooperation. Please note that the Russell office is not open to the public but staff remain at work. There is a drop box located in Binscarth and in Russell should you need to drop off payments.
First of all, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding about a previous post. I had commented that there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our Municipality and some readers felt that this was an 'untrue' statement. At the time there were confirmed cases in the area but not within the Municipality.
I continue to speak with Prairie Mountain Health about the evolving situation and will pass on any new information to you. Earlier this week I brought up the concern of our residents who work out of province and have been directed by their employers to self isolate because of direct contact with coworkers who had tested positive. Prairie Mountain Health was not aware about this as Saskatchewan Public Health had not shared any details. I also questioned the need for a screening centre to be set up here (partially because of this cross border situation). I was told that call frequency is being monitored and if there is a 'surge' in numbers, the need to set up a local screening centre may be mobilized. PMH said both concerns have now been 'flagged' and a communication link to Public Health will monitor.
 
And then March went out like the proverbial Lion!!!
Public works staff are hard at work clearing streets and roads and dealing with all other issues. They will be working long, hard hours. I would like to thank them.
Without dedicated, committed workers in all of the front lines, these situations would be much worse. All of your efforts are appreciated more than you know.
As I have said, "together we can make a difference".
Thank you and keep safe, Cheryl.
 

March 27, 2020 
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 

As time goes by, COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Manitoba, bringing the total as of yesterday to 36.  I am sure that as this progresses, everyone is tired of hearing ‘self isolation’, ‘social distancing’, hand washing, and staying at home, yet these practises remain the first line of defense to slowing the spread.  Please keep practicing these measures.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. The signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe.  Mild symptoms can include sore throat, cough, fever, and cold.  The severe symptoms are shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  Stomach flu is not a symptom.  If you are experiencing symptoms, please take the online screening test at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/.

I thought I would give a brief explanation of self isolation and self distancing.  Self isolation is the 14 day required precaution if you have travelled internationally, (although interprovincial travel is now becoming a growing concern as is community spread), or have come in contact with someone who is positive for or has been directly exposed to COVID-19.  Social distancing is just that - keeping 6 feet between yourself and others, keeping face to face conversations to less than 10 minutes, and avoiding direct contact such as shaking hands, etc. This does not mean that you have to stay in your house at all times, just be very aware of others when you are outside.   Carriers of the illness do not always show symptoms.  Manitoba Health web sites have a more in-depth explanation.
 
The Russell Office has adjusted its hours of business for the time being.   It will be closed over the lunch hour (12:00 to 1:00) and will be open from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.  We still encourage you to do as much business as possible via telephone, mail, e-mail, etc.  Public works continue to work regular hours and have also begun to thaw culverts. 
 
On a much more positive note, several months ago the Provincial government announced a grant for municipalities for Flood and Emergency Preparedness.  MRB applied and yesterday, via telephone, Minister Squires and Minister Schuller informed us that we did receive funding for the purchase of a mobile generator and tiger tubes. 
 
Thank You to everyone for your ongoing support and understanding. 
 
March 25, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 
 
At present the COVID-19 situation in our area has not changed since my last notice.  There are no confirmed cases in our area but precautions and diligence need to remain high. There are cases being reported that have spread from community to community with no international travel and because of this, the Manitoba Provincial Government and  Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (formerly known as the Department of Highways) are in the process of putting up signs on all major inter-provincial roads at or near the Provincial borders.  These signs will enforce the need to not travel out of province.  Those who work cross border or are essential services are exempt but any "social" travel is not recommended.Please practice all guidelines set out by Manitoba Health, as it is now proven that children are at risk as well.  With that in mind, we ask that the use of outdoor playgrounds and parks be stopped.  Please do not let children play on any playground structures as these are impossible to sanitize as necessary.At present, the Russell Municipal office is open with restrictions. Please do as much business as possible via telephone, e-banking, mail, etc.  Due to staffing, the hours may be decreased.  The office will close at 4:00 today and through lunch hour.   Please refer to the website www.russellbinscarth.com for updated office hours.
Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and for doing your part in this serious situation.  
 

 March 23, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier

Another week begins with no end in sight for COVID-19.Although there has not been a confirmed case in our area, the risk remains high. Manitoba now has a confirmed case of a traveller who was in British Columbia, thus making a concern for inter-provincial travel.Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is that, like any lengthy situation, people tend to become less vigilant about it as time goes on. We all take great care at first but as nothing impacts us personally, we tend to " let our guard down”. This is the worst thing we can do with COVID-19. We are not a society where social distancing and self-isolations are practised and it is difficult to do. However, for the safety of ourselves and all those around us we must continue to follow the guidelines set out by Manitoba Health.I want to thank all of you who are taking all necessary precautions. To the businesses who have altered their hours or services, thank you. I realize the hardship and strain that these businesses are under. Please continue to support them as much as we are able. To those on the front lines and working to maintain services, thank you. The Municipal office is still open but we encourage to do as much as possible by phone. If you must come to the office, a table has been set up in front of the main desk to assist in the distancing and we are allowing only one person at a time in the office.The future of our municipality depends on our vigilance and caution. Social distancing, self-isolation, good hand washing, and staying at home remain the best defense. COVID-19 is not going away soon.
Call Manitoba Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 or 1-204-788-8200 or access www.sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19 for questions or concerns. 
 
 
 March 20, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier

 
As the Corona Virus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, the Municipality of Russell Binscarth is monitoring the situation closely.  I have been posting daily updates on both the Municipality web page and my personal Municipality Facebook page and will continue to do so as information comes forward.  For those who don't have access to these, I will give a brief overview.I have spoken several times to Prairie Mountain Health, who assured me that there are no confirmed cases in our region.  Prairie Mountain Health has set up a testing station in Brandon and may set up sites in other areas however, there are not enough test kits available to do this at present.  PMH has placed visitor restrictions on both long term and acute care facilities so if you are planning to visit please call ahead. I attended by conference call a meeting with the Provincial Minister of Health, Seniors, and Active Living and the Provincial Minister of Municipal Relations. There have been daily meetings, via either conference call or Skype, with Municipal Relations regarding recommendations for ongoing business procedures within the Municipality. I also have spoken at length with Emergency Measures regarding any further precautions we can do to further protect our citizens and staff.  They have assured us that we have already implemented what we needed to to.At present, the best steps each of us can do to help control the spread of this illness is social distancing (at least 2 meters apart and maximum contact of 10 minutes), disinfecting surfaces, and frequent hand washing.  If you have returned to Canada from another country or have been in an airport please self-isolate for 14 days.  If you should show symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath please stay home.  (Should these symptoms occur, contacting a professional health care provider is the best course of action.).  If you have questions or concerns,  do not go to the hospital, call health links at 1-888-315-9257 or 204-788-8200 or access www.sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19.At present, the Municipality of Russell Binscarth continues to offer all office and public works services. We have implemented  more rigorous cleaning measures, sanitization, and equipped staff with additional hygiene products.  We do ask that when possible call the office for information rather than stop in.  We realize that self isolation can be difficult.  We are looking at a system whereby, groceries etc. can be delivered to those in isolation.  If you are in this situation or would like to volunteer please call the office.I want to thank everyone for doing their part in this serious situation.  I will continue to provide updates as needed on the web page and Facebook page I mentioned at the beginning of this article.  Again if you have questions or are concerned call Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 or 204-788-8200 or access www.sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19. 
 

 March 18, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier

Update on the Municipality of Russell Binscarth COVID -19 situation.I spoke again with Prairie Mountain Health who have assured me that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our region. There has been a testing station set up in Brandon and PMH may set up sites in different areas, however, there are not enough test kits needed to do this at present. Test sites are not Walk In, an appointment must be made through Health Links who will screen each call.We are having daily meetings, via Skype, with Municipal Relations regarding any ongoing business recommendations for the municipality. (Because of the need for social distancing, some of the procedures need to be revised.)I also spoke at length with Emergency Measure regarding any further precautions we can do to protect our citizens and staff. They have reassured us that we have already implemented what we needed to at present.Again, the most important step each of us can do to help control the spread of the COVID-19 is social distancing, self-isolation (especially if you have been out of the country) for 14 days, and good handwashing. Please stay at home if you are feeling ill.We are looking at a system whereby groceries, etc can be delivered to those in isolation by volunteers. We will keep you updated on this. If you are in this situation, or would like to volunteer, please call the office at 204-773-2253.Due to increased precautions, the Binscarth Office will only be open on Wednesday mornings from 9:00 to 12:00 for the immediate future. Also if you have not signed up for Connect (this is the emergency notification system that has replaced Code Red), please call the Russell Office to do so.If you have questions or concerns, please call Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 or 1-204-788-8200 or access www.sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19.
 

 March 17, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier

Municipality of Russell Binscarth continues its monitoring on COVID-19. There have been no further confirmed cases since yesterday. However, the Manitoba government has recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled. This will help with some degree of social distancing. Licensed Day cares will also be suspended as of March 20. As well, all Manitoba Casinos will be closed.If you have traveled internationally, please self- isolate for 14 days. This may be especially difficult for the "snow birds” as they return home after being away for an extended period of time. Getting family or friends to deliver groceries, etc is suggested. The absolute best practice in stopping the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing.For questions or if you have symptoms, please call Health Links at 1-888-315-9257 or 1-204-788-8200. There is a new self assessment website as well, to assist with the many questions and volume of calls. This service can be accessed at www.sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19.
 
  
 March 16, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 

As I stated yesterday in my notice, I want to provide current updates regarding COVID-19.I spoke this morning to Prairie Mountain Health’s manager of disaster emergency preparedness, who did relay that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area. Manitoba has 7 cases, 5 in Winnipeg and 1 in the Eastern Interlake, all related to travel.  PMH has placed visitor restrictions on all long term care facilities and suspended activities at Personal Care Homes. PMH is also developing placements for testing stations. If you have questions, please do not go to the hospital, call health links at 1-888-315-9257 or 204-788-8200.  I also attended by conference call, a meeting this morning with the Provincial Minister of Health, Seniors, and Active Living and the Minister of Municipal Relations. At present, they continue to reinforce the need for people not to travel unless absolutely necessary, to practice social distancing (minimizing contact with others to less than 10 minutes and keeping 2 meters apart), disinfecting surfaces, and frequent and effective hand washing.  Only those who show symptoms are being tested. If you have returned to Canada from another country, please impose a 14 day self-isolation upon yourself if possible. MRB is cancelling meetings scheduled for the Brad Room effective March 17th. The GPB Hall will be closed until April 13th, 2020 and the Russell Memorial Multi Plex will close at 9:00 PM on March 21, 2020 (This includes all areas within the Multiplex).  Again, check the Manitoba Health website for more information or call MRB Office at (204) 773-2253.

 
 
 March 15, 2020
Message from Mayor Cheryl Kingdon-Chartier 
 
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, Municipality of Russell Binscarth (MRB) is monitoring the situation closely.  The health and safety of our citizens and staff is our top priority.  We have been in contact with Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) and are following the recommendations of Manitoba Health.  (Visit the PMH website for detailed information.)

At present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, but we do ask everyone to exercise caution by avoiding travel and large crowds, and by staying at home, especially if experiencing fever, cough and shortness of breath.  (Should these symptoms occur, contacting a professional health care provider is the best course of action.). There is no need for panic but diligence is the best defense.  Good hand washing and social distancing is very important.  It is possible to be positive for this virus and not show symptoms.

For now, MRB continues to offer all office and public works services.  We have implemented more rigorous cleaning measures, sanitization and equipped staff with additional hygiene products.  With the closing of schools, child-care may become an issue for some of our employees and we will try to accommodate them if possible. Presently, we are not closing the office and hope this does not become a necessity.

As the situation unfolds, health and safety will continue to be of utmost importance.  Should it be deemed necessary, delays or interruptions in service may occur and we ask for your understanding and patience.  We will update you as needed.

For any further information please call the office at 204-773-2253.