Sewage overflows in Halifax. And what NOT to flush!

For those who want to stay right up to date with what’s happening in the City on COVID-19, please join me daily on the City of Victoria’s Facebook page at 3:30pm. And please share this link and information with your friends and neighbours. We’re getting lots of emails with lots of questions and we’ll do our best to keep you and the media up to date with these live daily updates. Here’s some of what I shared today.

Each day I’ve been telling you about what Mayor and Council have been doing to support you in the midst of this uncertain time. But I also want you to know that staff are working hard too. Each day, I’m going to highlight the work of a city different department. Today I’d like to start with a shout out and a massive thank you to the City’s Public Works team.

Public works crews are cleaning streets and sidewalks, collecting garbage, maintaining traffic lights, and responding to emergency callouts. They’re busy! If you’d like to do one small thing to help them out, you could move your garbage cans out to the curb on garbage day. It’s a small thing but it will save them time.

Our amazing Public Works team is keeping City services uninterrupted so that you can focus on maintaining health and looking after your families. THANK YOU, Public Works – you are front line workers, you are keeping this City going, and we are all so appreciative.

News from the federal and provincial governments

Today the Prime Minister announced a new federal benefit, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This is $2000 a month for four months if you have lost your job due to COVID – if you are working on contract, self-employed, if you’re quarantined, at home looking after your children, and otherwise. The portal will be up soon, and those eligible will receive the benefit within ten days of applying. This is in addition to the previously announced $1000 one-time benefit from the Province.

Premier Horgan re-iterated today that no one will lose their housing because of COVID-19. And the Provincial cabinet approved a new support package  – up to $500 per month to renters for four months, which will be delivered through BC Housing’s website. The renters relief payment is for low and moderate income individuals who have seen a reduction in income due to COVID-19.

While the emergency order is in place, the Province is also putting a moratorium on current and future evictions until this period has passed (with the exception of court ordered evictions), and a rent freeze for the duration of the pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry – reiterated her order about gatherings. She didn’t change her official order from groups of 50 but she said we need to not meet even in groups of 10 or 20. Don’t meet in groups! And she called on all community leaders to ensure that gatherings don’t happen. She told us to, “be calm, be kind, be safe.”

News from the City

The City has starting to see clogging at our sanitary sewage pump systems. While I understand that everyone is trying to stay safe and disinfect where possible, we can’t be more clear in our message than this: do not flush any type of wipe down your toilets! Wipes including disinfecting wipes and wipes marked as “flushable” go in your garbage and not in your toilet. Many products advertised as being flushable, are not flushable. (See below a great video from Halifax Water if you’re interested in learning more about why.)

As a city we’re dealing with a pandemic and the last thing we need is backed up sewer systems creating unsanitary situations that could cause the spread of COVID-19 further. Thank you for your help on this.

News from the community

On the small business front, I want to give a shout out to Tiny, a local tech company offering small interest free loans to small businesses in Victoria. Andrew Wilkinson, Tiny’s founder, created Tiny Victoria Small Business Relief Fund is offering loans from $500 to $2,500 to as many recipients as possible. All of the information on this program and lots of other good information is up on the City’s Business Hub site.

Yesterday, I asked you to share in the comments below my daily update on something you’re doing to care for each other in our community. Please keep sharing, and each day I’ll read one out.

Yesterday, Cathy wrote:

“I phoned a friend who is immune compromised and has internet but wasn’t really using it to connect with friends and family. I introduced her to facebook, we talked by video messenger and zoom – she was delighted to know she could see faces, not just hear voices by phone. I sent her some funnies that showed up on my facebook page, and I send her email links to community resources that are important to her. Simple and fun for me; but it meant the world to her.”

Thank you Cathy.

And finally, I mentioned this yesterday, and I’d love to see it spreading even wider – at 7pm each night head outside on your balcony, in your yard, and cheer as loud as you can for our health care workers and for all our front line workers. I’m seeing so many creative cheers – playing an instrument, banging pots – take a video and post it in the comments on the Facebook thread. It’s one small thing we can do to create the joy and solidarity necessary to get us through these difficult times.

 

Everything you ever wanted to know about toilet paper, from Halifax Water.

 

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