Message from His Worship, Mayor Wilson (Wally) Andersen
Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay
As your Mayor, I wish to address my fellow community members of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay in what will be undoubtedly one of the most challenging and uncertain times we have ever faced.
Over the past few weeks, COVID-19 has had an impact on all of our lives. Residents and Businesses are, without a doubt, starting to feel that impact. As your Mayor, I want to assure the community that the 12th Council, Management and Staff of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay are with you and will continue to be with you as we all go through this.
When news started to break that the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic was at our doorstep, I immediately formed an Adhoc Committee chaired by my me with the express goal in two parts:
• Managing the Town’s response to ensure public health & safety
• Getting critical information to our residents & businesses
Since forming the committee on Friday, March 13, 2020, we have met daily and provided updates to Council and to the community as a whole. We have and will continue to monitor both the Federal and Provincial Health Agencies. Like so many people, we follow the daily updates provided by Premier Ball, Minister Haggie, and the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Jane Fitzgerald as well as partners such as Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador and the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce.
We are also in constant contact with Labrador MP, Yvonne Jones, and Lake Melville MHA, Perry Trimper.
In terms of response, as a Town and as a Council we have had to make tough but critical decisions such as closing public facilities to the public which include:
• Municipal Landfill (CLOSED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC)
• Town Hall
• EJ Broomfield Memorial Arena
• Municipal Depot
• Kinsmen Park
• Husky Park Skate Loop
• Goose Bay Curling Club
• Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre
• Recycling Activities at CAF Arena on Northside (MOT)
As mentioned, this was a difficult decision, but the right one to promote Social / Physical Distancing and an attempt to #flattenthecurve. The Health and Safety of residents is our number one priority.
We have also reviewed our workforce, and the Town, along with its dedicated and valued employees, will continue to provide essential services such as:
• Water & Sewer Services
• Roads (Snow Clearing)
• Residential Roadside Garbage Pickup
• Landfill (Contractor Access Only) (Closed to General Public)
• Fire & Emergency Services
• Municipal Enforcement
• Finance & Clerical Staff
Words cannot express my appreciation for the amazing men and women that are employed by the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. As a community, we are so very fortunate to have each and every one of them. As a community, we need to take time to thank them, for without them our community would not function especially during this time of uncertainty.
The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is exceptionally fortunate to have such dedicated men and women working diligently to ensure essential services run without interruption. I want to note as well that we cannot forget that these are not just employees; they are members of our community who also have families that they worry for. As Mayor, and on behalf of my colleagues on the 12th Council of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, I wish to commend our employees for their dedication and to their professionalism throughout this ordeal.
My friends, COVID-19, is a dangerous situation and one not to be taken lightly. It is a virus that is highly transmissible. That’s why you hear the Health Officials at all levels of Government stressing the importance of Social / Physical Distancing. As your Mayor, myself, and my colleagues on the 12th Council implore residents to heed this advice. To Parents and Guardians, I ask that you encourage our community youth to also follow this advice.
I know this is not something we are used to, because Happy Valley-Goose Bay has always been a social community. However, in order to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in our Community, we must adhere to the advice of the professionals.
My friends, I now wish to address the most vulnerable in our society, our Seniors, our Elders. Many of which may be living alone, many of which may not have access to Social Media or the Internet in general. As your Mayor I want you to know that we will do everything possible to reach out to you. I have asked Management to set up a telephone line for Seniors to call if they have questions regarding COVID-19.
The telephone number is 896-3254.
For those reading this, please, if you know a Senior who may not have access to Social Media, please pass along this number.
General inquiries related to Town operations can still be directed to 896-3321 or email at [email protected]
I ask that if you know someone alone and may not have access to this information, pick up the phone and call them, chat with them, ask how they are doing, ask if they need anything. That one phone call will make a difference. However, I do advise that you not visit them as you could potentially put them at risk.
The Medical Experts advise us that COVID-19 is particularly hard on our Seniors and those that have underlying health issues and compromised immune systems. While this virus may prove to be nothing more than a bad flu to our younger generation, it will, however, prove to be possibly life-threatening to our Seniors. As a community we cannot allow that to happen, we must protect our Seniors, our Elders, the people who built our Community.
This will be difficult because you are being asked to not visit Nan and Pop, not to hug them or kiss their cheek. As difficult as that will be it is necessary in order to potentially save their lives.
If you or a family member have flu-like symptoms, please call 811 and report it. Just as importantly, if you have symptoms please isolate yourself. My friends, we cannot afford to take any chances, please heed the advice of the experts. Real lives are at stake here, including your own.
I want to take a moment to say a special thank you to the business community who have taken extraordinary measures to ensure public safety and at the same time ensure access to food and supplies. Our two main grocery stores, the COOP and Northmart have made accessibility for Seniors a priority. I commend them both for doing this.
With regards to shopping, please follow the advice of Health Minister, Doctor John Haggie and the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Jane Fitzgerald when they say “one person per household once a week.” If possible, take advantage of home delivery options.
I also, want to thank all of the frontline workers in our Community. The cashiers, tellers, gas station attendants, pharmacy workers, delivery drivers, shelf stockers, and janitors just to name a few. As a society we must remember that these amazing employees also have families, they also are worried, but day after day, they show up, do their job, in an effort to ensure we all have access to food and services.
As Mayor of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, I would be remiss if I did not address a very very important part of our community, our health care workers. Everyone from Nurses, Doctors, Custodians, and Management of Labrador Grenfell Health here in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has been absolutely amazing. I cannot express just how proud and fortunate we are as a community to have each and every one of you.
All efforts are being made to promote Social / Physical Distancing, and these unprecedented measures, though unfortunate, are necessary to be proactive against the potential spread of COVID-19.
In consultation with officials at Labrador Grenfell Health and guidance released by the office of the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health, the 12th Council of Happy Valley-Goose and Management will continue to monitor updates relating to the Pandemic and update residents regularly.
The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay strongly recommends that residents and businesses continue to utilize a cautious approach and exercise recommended practices to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
Again, for our Seniors in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, please call 896-3254 if you have questions or concerns related to COVID-19.
If you have symptoms or feel ill, please call 811 immediately.
If you think you know of someone who should be self-isolated or quarantined, I ask that you not call the Town office to report it or post it to Social Media. It is paramount that these types of reports go directly to the officials. Information on how to report can be found at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/
I encourage residents to rely on factual information related to COVID-19 updates. We have added links to important information from Federal and Provincial Health officials on the Town website at www.happyvalley-goosebay.com
We will also continue to share important information concerning COVID-19 through all other communication platforms that the Town has such as the Town’s Facebook Page, Email Distribution System and the Happy Valley-Goose Bay App which is available free of charge through Google Play and the Apple App Store.
In closing, I want to let you all know that we can and will get through this. Although we cannot socialize in the way we are used to, we can and will adjust as only we know how to do.
Residents will notice that community-led efforts have taken place: such as Teddy Bear Hunts, where residents have put Teddy Bears in their windows so Moms and Dads can drive around town with their children so children can count them.
We are seeing residents putting out and turning on their Christmas lights, we at the Town have also lit up the Town Christmas Tree and Kinsmen Park. The smallest gestures really do make the biggest impact.
As I said at the beginning of this address, we are in unprecedented times, but we are all in this together, and we will get through this together. We may have to Social / Physical Distance, but our community spirit and our community pride will see us through this.
God Bless and take care of yourselves and each other.
Mayor Wilson (Wally) Andersen
Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay