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RMWB Council to address elderly care amid COVID-19 crisis

Last Updated Apr 13, 2020 at 6:26 pm MST

PHOTO. RMWB Council chambers inside the Syncrude Athletic Park Clubhouse. A special meeting has been scheduled for March 27, 2020. MYMCMURRAY/Phil Wood

Mayor and Councillors meet on April 14, 2020, to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Wood Buffalo.

There are two new active cases of COVID-19 in Fort McMurray’s urban service area.

Four previous cases of the virus in the area recovered.

READ MORE: Alberta reports two new cases of COVID-19 in RMWB

St. Aidan’s Society will make a presentation to the RMWB Council on elderly care.

Executive Director Luana Bussieres will update Mayor and Councillors on the status of Wood Buffalo’s older adult population.

Alberta Health Services previously announced its proposal to move seniors at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre to a care facility in Lac La Biche, Alta.

READ MORE: Mayor and council concerned about the moving of seniors from NLRHC

CAO Jamie Doyle and Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation CEO Kevin Weidlich will also provide updates on COVID-19 response.

Council will also review the new COVID-19 funds from the federal government to address homelessness in the region.

If approved, the administration will allocate $744,997 as part of its 2020-2021 Community Plan on Homelessness.

The groups to receive the funds are Salvation Army, Wood Buffalo Wellness Society, and YMCA of Northern Alberta.

Next, RMWB Council will debate the Fort Chipewyan Social Distancing Enforcement Bylaw.

The Municipality received several reports of all ages gatherings in the hamlet, especially at night.

This despite the state of local emergency and public health orders from Alberta Health Services, such as physical distancing and limits on public gatherings.

On April 5, Alberta confirmed two active cases of COVID-19 in the region’s rural areas.

The province would not release the exact location of these cases.

On April 7, the RMWB met with leaders from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) and Métis Local 125 via virtual call.

Indigenous leaders said issues like community isolation, overcrowded housing, and limited access to medical care put the hamlet at higher risk.

The administration said enforcing the bylaw would reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the rural hamlet.

If approved, a person may receive a warning or a fine of $100 for their first offence of the bylaw.

RMWB Council will also consider a motion to defer property tax payments for select urban and rural properties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the administration would defer payments for specific properties from June 30 to September 30, 2020.

Councillor Jane Stroud will also introduce a motion asking the administration to explore tax incentives for businesses in the RMWB’s rural service area.

Council meets via teleconference on April 14, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.