The County provides a number of key services to residents in Northumberland but like everyone, they are subject to limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past few days, they have made a couple of announcements and changes: 1) They are asking for input on their 2021 budget and 2) masks are now required in all County Buildings. They also keep their Covid-19 status page updated so that it’s clear what is available and what is not. The page lists County facilities and whether they are closed or not. Unlike the Town of Cobourg who has closed all their buildings, the County’s main administration building at 555 Courthouse Road is open to the public although there are restrictions in place.
The County will soon be starting their process to create a budget for 2021 and they say:
Given the impacts of COVID-19 and current economic conditions, and mindful of the need to balance effective municipal operations with the pressures facing local ratepayers, County Council has directed staff to initially target and investigate the feasibility of a zero per cent tax increase for the 2021 budget year.
A zero increase is unprecedented and the survey questions imply that this would involve a reduction in services. However, space is provided for optional comments and I’m sure readers of this blog would be happy to provide suggestions (Link to Budget Survey) The survey is open until 31 July.
County Facilities and Services
Here is a summary of County information on the Status of their Facilities and Services – as of today:
- Administration Building – 555 Courthouse Road – open, mask required – Photo from March 2019.
- 600 William Street, Cobourg – closed to public
- Golden Plough Lodge – restricted access (see services below)
- Landfill and waste transfer stations (Community Recycling Centres)
- Material Recovery Facility – closed to public
- Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) – closed to public
- Provincial Offences offices – closed to public
The requirement for masks currently only applies to the admin building since it’s the only one open to the public but if other buildings are opened in future, then masks will also be required for their visitors. The use of masks will be required while the provincial Emergency Order remains in force or until such time that the Medical Officer of Health lifts the requirement.
Status of Services
- Commissioner of Oaths – Not available
- Community & Social Services – remains open but encourages all non-emergency needs to be addressed using phone, email or text.
- EarlyON Child & Family Centres – All EarlyON Centres have been closed until further notice but they do offer Virtual programming
- Golden Plough Lodge Long-Term Care Home – pre-arranged outdoor visits only, one visitor at a time and strict rules
- Housing Services – Applications and annual renewals for housing should be completed by mail, fax or email wherever possible.
- Licensed child care – variable
- Northumberland County Archives & Museum – Closed to public, online only
- Northumberland County Forest – open but washrooms closed
- Ontario Works – Phone and online only
- Provincial Offences Act matters (e.g. traffic tickets) – Closed until September 11
- Shelter for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness – Phone only
- The Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland – Phone and online only
- Waste Operations – Normal except that Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) in Bewdley, Seymour, and Brighton have some limits and are not currently accepting Household Hazardous Waste or clothing [July 14 – See update below]
For more details, go to this page on the County web site. All County services not listed here continue to operate as usual.
The County’s announcement says that:
Northumberland County staff continue to provide services for the community, however we encourage residents to postpone non-essential visits to our facilities. Consider instead; contacting our staff by email or phone, or viewing our list of forms, applications and permits that can be completed online.
Note that Council meetings are not held in the County’s Council Chamber but instead are virtual – next meeting 22 July; access Agenda here.
Update – Hazardous Waste
14 July 2020
The County has now made the following announcement:
Following a temporary pause on Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) services at Northumberland County Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) during COVID-19, HHW will now be accepted at the County’s Bewdley and Brighton CRCs during the following hours:
- Bewdley CRC: Tuesday and Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Brighton CRC: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Cobourg and Seymour HHW Depots remain closed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
County CRCs accept a multitude of waste materials, and residents are encouraged to make the most of their visit by bringing all of their various waste items at the same time.