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April Newsletter 2020

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
Crazy times! Do look after yourselves!
Our birch bark canoe build, originally planned for April has been postponed until September.
Here’s hoping we will be able to go ahead with it then! In the meantime…..
1. Activities for Kids At Home
2. City Declares State of Emergency
3. Letter from Councillor Rob Hutchison
4. Some Revised City Policies for COVID19
5. Some Revised Utilities Policies for COVID19
6. Quattrochi’s Free Grocery Delivery
7. Service Canada Phone Line for Claims
8. COVID-19 Scams
9. Water Level Updates
10. Great Lakes Cruise Ship Restrictions
11. Street Art Wall Update
12. Turtles
13. YouTube Video Shows how Chinese are Tracking it
14. New Canadian Data Collection Site
15. To Lighten your Spirits – Funny Video by Jitsy Wolf – STAY THE FUCK AT HOME!
1. Activities for Kids At Home
2. City Declares State of Emergency 
At 1 p.m. March 26, 2020, Mayor Bryan Paterson declared a State of Emergency for Kingston to help contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision aligns with steps the Province of Ontario has taken in response to the pandemic.
“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we’re evolving with it. Declaring a state of emergency is not something I take lightly,” says Mayor Paterson. “This is about making sure we’re taking every step possible to support our community during this challenging time. We need access to any and all resources available and this declaration provides more flexibility to take local action.  Let’s continue to do our part to flatten the curve by acting on the advice of our public health officials by staying home, leaving only if necessary, and practicing physical distancing.”
The declaration of an emergency, under Section 4 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, allows the City to use all available options to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents. The state of emergency is effective immediately, and will remain in effect until further notice.
“We must act now to address this serious public health threat,” says Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “This situation clearly illustrates the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of practicing physical distancing and self-isolation in order to control the community spread of the virus,” adds Moore. 
What You Can Do: Stay Safe. Stay Home.
Acting decisively as a community, can help maintain the safety and well-being of residents.  Residents should follow the advice of our Public Health Unit to help alleviate pressures on the healthcare system, and best protect themselves and loved ones. Precautions to prevent transmission include:
self-isolation, maintaining at least a 2 metre distance from others, avoiding all unnecessary travel, washing hands often, and regularly disinfecting high touch zones in shared spaces in your home.
City Continues To Operate
The City of Kingston has been proactive in its response to COVID-19, and will continue to take action to help contain the spread of this virus. Although municipal offices are closed to the public, essential services continue to be provided.
The City has adapted the way it delivers many services to minimize the risk to residents and staff. Essential services continue to be provided, including:  Emergency Services, the Rideaucrest Long-Term Care Home, Social Services, Waste Collection, and all other City Services.
“This declaration is not meant to stir up panic. It’s meant to trigger action” says Mayor Paterson. “Our decisions have a real impact. Please, do your part. Listen to our health professionals. Stay at home. Practice physical distancing. And together, we’ll get through this.” 
Stay up-to-date with the City’s COVID-19 changes.
Find answers to your COVID-19 questions from KFL&A Public Health.
3. Letter from Councillor Rob Hutchison,March 28, 2020
“King’s Town Residents 
As your City Councillor, I am supplying this information because, as you may know, the City of Kingston has declared a municipal public emergency related to the first community transmitted cases of COVID-19 in the Kingston area. This declaration is in line with a previous declaration by the Province and actions by the federal government. 
Where to Get Your COVIV-19 Information 
In this emergency it is very important that everyone get their information from reliable authoritative sources such Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington Public Health at   Other credible resources are the CDC (Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention – U.S. National Public Health), PHAC (Public Health Agency of Canada), or WHO (World Health Organization – UN). 
To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 
Take these measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
•         Clean your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
•         Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, or a tissue and not into your hand.
•         Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands.
•         Clean objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as doorknobs, phones, and television remotes with regular household cleaner.
•         Practice social distancing and avoid large crowds. Reduce physical contact with others to break the pathways COVID-19 uses to move between people, such as shaking hands and direct contact.
•         Get your influenza vaccine.
•         Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone.
•         Do not share personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinks, water bottles, and towels
•         Avoid large crowds because COVID-19 is spread from person to person through close contact with others.  
Well Being and Mental Health is an important part of your overall health
Here are a few things you can do to support yourself: 
•         Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. When you are gathering information, use credible resources such as the CDC, PHAC, or WHO or
•         Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
•         Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
•         Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
•         Support others in your community. Check in on people who might be at higher risk. Show compassion. 
Keep Safe! Keep Well!
Rob Hutchison,
Councillor – King’s Town District
4.  Some Revised City Policies during COVID19 (abbreviated)
a) Kingston Transit will be limiting total bus capacity to 12 to 15 passengers, depending on the bus model. This decision aligns with the City of Kingston’s declaration of a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective March 28, 2020, every other bus seat will be unavailable to enable passengers to practice safe physical-distancing. Seats will be marked as unavailable. The limit on the number of passengers will continue until further notice.
To ensure seats remain available to those who truly need them, we ask riders to use Kingston Transit for essential trips only. Capacity will remain limited and further changes are possible.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, Kingston Transit continues to:

  • ensure increased sanitizing practices on all common touch points aboard buses.
  • deliver essential public transportation service across Kingston on a reduced Sunday schedule.
  • ask riders to board and exit buses using the back doors.
  • assist healthcare workers in our community by adding a dedicated shuttle bus with service from Centre 70 Park & Ride to Kingston General Hospital, with a stop at Providence Care Hospital.
  • assist passengers with lost and found and trip-planning service by phone only at 613-546-0000

b) Garbage Bag Increases until April 5
The City is increasing the number of garbage bags allowed per household from one to four per week without requiring bag tags. This increased limit is effective immediately and will be in place until April 5th. It will be reassessed at that time.
This measure is being put into place to help individuals and families who are self-isolating to dispose of their garbage safely.
Residents are urged to continue to comply with the one bag limit if possible and only put out up to four bags if absolutely necessary.

c) City to waive hourly parking payments to support essential travel
As of March 19 the City has waived hourly parking payments in an effort to better support the essential travel needs of residents and commuters during the COVID-19 pandemic.”We recognize that daily travel patterns for many in our community have changed and we want to ensure that parking remains available and accessible to those who require it. These parking changes are being implemented to support essential travel needs as recommended by KFL&A Public Health during this time.”Until further notice, hourly parking payments will no longer be enforced for public parking. This applies to:
On-street parking spaces
Surface parking lots
City parking garages
All public parking will remain open to serve the downtown and hospital areas. Gates at City parking garages will be lifted to allow vehicles to enter and exit without making payment.
Parking demand is expected to remain high in areas that surround hospitals, particularly for accessible parking spaces and short-term parking zones. We ask that residents keep in mind the needs of others when selecting a parking location and, where possible, park in areas that have lower demand.
As an additional measure, the City will also be lifting the overnight winter parking regulations effective immediately. These regulations are normally in place until March 31.
Other parking regulations will continue to be enforced during this time, with a focus on safety and transportation-related concerns such as accessible parking, transit stops, and no parking or stopping areas. As of Wednesday, March 18, restrictions for on-street time-of-day parking are no longer in effect.
The situation is evolving rapidly, and we appreciate the patience and understanding of the community as we continue to adjust City services in response to COVID-19. 

d) Supporting the Most Vulnerable
March 22, 2020
In response to COVID-19, the City of Kingston is introducing additional resources to help support our most vulnerable residents.
“Public health is top of mind for all Kingstonians. While many of us are able to go home, to practice social distancing, and to cope with the effects of this pandemic through the help and support of family and friends, there are those among us who don’t have that option. The City of Kingston is working diligently with community partners to provide those residents with the resources they need,” says Ruth Noordegraaf, the City’s Director of Housing & Social Services.
Actions the City of Kingston is taking, with community partners to support vulnerable residents include:
Ensuring a safe place to practice social distancing: Effective Monday, March 23, the Kingston Youth Shelter is relocating its operations from 234 Brock St. to 113 Lower Union St. This new space will provide residents with the opportunity to practice social distancing. The City is also working with community partners to identify a second location that will provide homeless individuals with a space for self-isolation. 
Identifying and addressing unintended consequences of closures: In light of the closure of City facilities, additional portable toilets have been installed at Belle Park and Artillery Park. These are in addition to washrooms available at City Hall and the Salvation Army.
Working with partners to ensure food security: The City is working with community partners to continue food programs, as many meal programs are switching to take-out only, and the food bank is by appointment. 

5. Some Revised Utilities Kingston Policies during COVID19
a) Water and Sewer Bills
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Utilities Kingston is taking additional steps to help customers with their water and sewer bills. These include extending the Conservation Rate for water bills, and extending payment arrangements for customers who are experiencing hardship.
First and foremost, before falling behind on utility bill payments, contact us for assistance. We want to work with you to help. Call our credit department at 613-546-1181, ext. 2278, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  
Water Conservation Rate Changes until June 15
Residential water customers are now exempt from the High Usage Rate of $1.7451 per cubic metre, which normally applies to water consumption over 25 cubic metres per month.
This means that customers will pay the Conservation Rate of $1.3961 per cubic metre, even if they use more than 25 cubic metres per month. Utilities Kingston intends to maintain this price until June 15 when watering restrictions come into effect.
The price change applies automatically – no customer action is required. Customers will benefit for a 25 per cent rate reduction, for usage above 25 cubic metres.
Utilities Kingston is taking this step to help customers who are using more water, while sheltering or self-isolating at home. 
Extended payment arrangements
If you are concerned about paying your bill, please call us to extend payment arrangements for your water and sewer bill. Call our credit department at 613-546-1181, ext. 2278, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
b) Helping Customers and Offering Assistance
We at Utilities Kingston recognize that this is a difficult time. We’re here to support you. If you are concerned about paying your bill, experiencing hardship, or have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please call us to discuss extended bill payment options and financial assistance programs.
In addition to the new measures explained above, we are assisting customers by:
Temporarily suspending disconnecting customers for non-payment.
Offering flexible payment terms and arrears payment agreements for water, sewer, gas and electricity bills, in order to provide customers with more time to pay outstanding balances on their account, if needed. 
Supporting Ontario’s decision regarding off-peak time-of-use prices for electricity customers.
We will continue to issue late notices to customers who fall behind in their obligations, but will not send disconnection notices or disconnect residential services until further  notice.
Get additional information on the electricity portion of your bill
Save water and money
To help save water and money, we support customers in their water conservation efforts. For one-on-one assistance, call 613-546-0000 and say ‘conservation’.  You can also refer to our water conservation tips.
Did you know? Leaky plumbing in your home can damage your property, decrease your home’s water efficiency, and increase your home’s water consumption.
c) Thanks for not flushing wipes, facial tissue and paper towel
As residents spend more time at home, other municipalities are reporting an increase in sanitary system issues, due to an increase in using disinfectant wipes and residents resorting to other options in light of the toilet paper shortage.
 “Our wastewater system operators have confirmed: Kingston’s sanitary system isn’t yet showing an increase in clogs, as related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jim Keech, President and CEO of Utilities Kingston.
 “We thank the community for your efforts. Please keep up the great work and place wipes, facial tissue and paper towel in the trash. These steps will help protect your home from a costly and unpleasant sewer back-up,” says Keech.
Our community is reminded: flush only the three Ps: pee, poo and toilet paper. Flushing other items, like facial tissue, paper towel and wipes, causes equipment to fail, poses a health and safety risk to staff – and can even put your home at risk of sewage back-ups. Place these items in the garbage instead.
Here’s how to properly dispose of the following:

  1. Wipes of any kind: cleaning, baby and hand wipes go in the garbage, even if the package claims they are flushable. It’s a toilet, not a trash can!
  2. Similarly, used paper towel and facial tissue belong in the garbage.
  3. Fats, oils an
  4. d greases (“FOGs”) can combine with wipes to create an even bigger problem.  Wipe greasy pans with a paper towel and put it in the Green Bin. Dispose of solidified fats and grease in a one hundred per cent paper cup, in your Green Bin. Dispose of cooking oil in a screw-top container in your garbage. (Utilities Kingston and its partners are temporarily suspending the FOG cup program.)

Learn more about protecting your home and health by knowing what not to flush
6. Quattrocchi’s Free Grocery Delivery
Very kind gesture on their part that is much appreciated – 613-542-4996
7. Service Canada Phone Line for Claims
Service Canada has set up a SEPARATE phone line to contact them to set up EI claims for quarantine, illness, work closure, etc due to COVID-19. The number is 1-833-381-2725.
TORONTO — The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has updated its list of known COVID-19-related scams. The CAFC, which works with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Competition Bureau and Ontario Provincial Police, is urging Canadians to be vigilant as fraudsters look to exploit the crisis.
Here is the CAFC’s latest list of tricks that have been detected, as of March 18:
— Cleaning or heating companies offering duct cleaning services or filters to protect from COVID-19 offering “special” air filters.
— Local and provincial hydro/electrical power companies threatening to disconnect power for non-payment.
— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHOoffering fake lists for sale of COVID-19 infected people in your neighbourhood
— Public Health Agency of Canada giving false results saying you have been tested positive for COVID-19 tricking you into confirming your health card and credit card numbers for a prescription
— Red Cross and other known charities offering free medical products (e.g. masks) for a donation.
— Government departments sending out coronavirus-themed phishing emails tricking you into opening malicious attachments tricking you to reveal sensitive personal and financial details
— Financial advisers pressuring people to invest in hot new stocks related to the disease offering financial aid and/or loans to help you get through the shut downs.
— Door-to-door sales people selling household decontamination services.
— Private companies offering fake COVID-19 tests for sale.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2020.
9. Water Level Updates
As the Great Lakes surge to record heights, coastal areas face a time of reckoningMLive (Ann Arbor, Michigan), March 26, 2020.  The spillway gates are open at the Long Sault Dam on the mighty St. Lawrence River.  Water rushing over the dam is an unusual sight.  For most of its 61 years, the gates have been closed to divert the river flow to the dam’s electricity-generating companion, the Moses-Saunders Power Dam, about three miles downstream.  But these are extraordinary times along the Great Lakes.  High water records are falling throughout the region less than a decade after the lakes hit record lows.  The annual St. Lawrence Seaway opening is delayed by efforts to drop levels on Lake Ontario — the first time in decades such efforts have impeded movement of goods on the lakes.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board Announces Strategies, Oswego Daily News (Oswego, New York), March 18, 2020.  The International Lake Ontario–St. Lawrence River Board agreed March 11th to amend its Plan 2014 temporary deviation strategies to allow for additional increases to the rate of water removed from Lake Ontario through the spring.  The first adjustment to the deviation strategy involves the Plan 2014 rule that attempts to balance high water impacts upstream and downstream of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam known as the Flood Limit.  The second deviation strategy amendment will begin April 1st, following the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Working closely with commercial navigation experts, outflows will be increased as quickly and as much as possible above the Plan 2014 usual safe navigation limit (L Limit).
10. Great Lakes Cruise Ship Restrictions
Restrictions on cruise ships entering Seaway system in light of COVID-19, Newstalk 610 CKTB – iHeartRadio (Toronto, Ontario), March 24, 2020.  The Welland Canal is opening for the season, and even the waterway is not immune from COVID-19 restrictions.  The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority says all cruise ships carrying 500 or more people are now prohibited from entering Canadian waters.  For ocean vessels, as well as domestic, entering the system, they must give 96 hour advance notice of their arrival to the federal government and all crew members must be monitored for symptoms of the virus and notice must be immediately given to the nearest Seaway Traffic Control Centre.  There will also be limited capacity to help ships requiring mooring lines for lockage at a lock equipped with Hands-Free mooring.
Canada Defers Cruise Season, Cancels in the Arctic, High North News (Postboks, Norway), March 19, 2020.  As a response to Covid-19, the Government of Canada will defer the start of the cruise ship season in Canada, from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest, according to a recent press release.  This deferral will apply to cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members.  Given the limited public health capacity in Canada’s Northern communities, the cruise ship season for vessels with Canadian Arctic stops will be deferred for the entire season this year.  This would apply to cruise ships of all sizes.
11. Street Art Wall Update
As you know a year-long pilot project has been in effect to determine the viability of designating the retaining wall behind Rideaucrest as a permanent legal wall.  Due to the great work of the artists involved it looks as if this dream will become a reality.  Staff will be reporting to Council sometime in April.
12. Turtles
As you also know, Lesley Rudy has been involved doing an exciting M.Sc. project on Inner Harbour Northern Map turtles with Dr. Stephen Lougheed of Queen’s University.  She has inserted thermometers in several nests and will study relationships between gestation temperatures in the nests underground over the winter and a number of other variables. 
Currently she and Kenny Ruelland of Reptile and Amphibian Advocacy are hoping for grants from the Ontario government and Freshwater Future.  Truly hoping these applications will be successful so that last year’s capture/release and radio-telemetry work can get the financial backing needed to continue.
Sadly due to the repurposing of 9 North Street (old stone building behind Rideaucrest), some of the nest covers were destroyed and currently the huge materials spread out on the Wellington St. right-of-way for the repurposing may represent real hardships for the new hatchlings.  Here’s hoping for the best. 
Lesley checks the nest covers daily now as, surprisingly, on March 9, eight hatchlings emerged.  So do keep your eyes peeled and if you happen to see any please contact and Lesley will get back to you.
13. YouTube Video shows how Chinese are tracking it.
14. New Canadian COVID Data Collection Site. You Can Participate.  Fascinating.  Have a look.  It would be nice if a ton of people from Kingston participated and we could have a bit of a look at how COVID is affecting the local population.  Also see…
15.  To Lighten your Spirits – Funny Video by Jitsy Wolf – STAY THE FUCK AT HOME!
That’s it for now. 
Take care,
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour