There was good news for councillors this week: issues with migrant workers and concerns they’re not self-isolating are being resolved.
Community and development services director Craig Larmour says the public health department has been working to resolve “a good number” of complaints about migrant workers not maintaining physical distancing on farm properties.
A separate issue, of migrant workers in town, “seems to be resolved,” primarily by farmers providing more information to their workers, he said.
He told councillors that the first visit to a farm is to provide education, and on a second visit, fines will be issued.
With respect to public gatherings, the bylaw officers are continuing to see a “trend of increasing visitors to town,” he said.
Two bylaw officers have stopped 58 times to move people along in the last week, on streets and in parks that have restricted access, he said.
While signage and videos, as discussed earlier in the meeting, might help, Larmour suggested a more effective way to get word out would be to issue tickets to visitors.
Staff are currently exploring banning parking outright near parks, especially along the waterfront, where gatherings are the main issue.
Provincial legislation allows the Town’s bylaw officers to enforce orders pertaining to the closure of public places and businesses; events and gatherings of more than five people, which are prohibited under provincial order; and price gouging.
Although bylaw officers are not seeing public urination, they are hearing about it, said Larmour, suggesting the best way to deal with it is to keep people out of parks and off local trails.
The department has hired two more bylaw officers to enforce emergency COVID-19 orders, he told councillors, and is focusing on Thursday to Sunday, with more enhancement required during nice weather.
In answer to a question from Coun. Stuart McCormack about the possibility of road closures to discourage visitors coming to town, Larmour said staff have discussed that possibility. The problem is that the main roads coming into town are under the jurisdiction of either the regional government or the Niagara Parks Commission. “If we close one road, we might be loading up another minor road,” he said.
If the digital signs the Town has ordered are large enough, it would be appropriate to post information about fining any infractions of local regulations, Larmour said.