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Here's when Centre Wellington's CAO used emergency powers during COVID

Andy Goldie was delegated authority to act in an emergency by council during the early days of the pandemic
Screenshot 2021-09-20 1.21.15 PM
Andy Goldie.

CENTRE WELLINGTON – A report from the township’s CAO states he used delegated emergency powers on “only a few occasions.”

CAO Andy Goldie was given emergency powers in an April 2020 council meeting, just weeks after the township and county declared a state of emergency. 

This delegated authority to Goldie to be able to exercise actions when council authority would normally be required including taking action to protect the health of citizens and entering into funding agreements with other levels of government. 

This move was controversial to some councillors, splitting the virtual chamber 4-3, as some claimed this gave the CAO a “blank cheque” but the majority disputed that claim and found it to be a necessary action in an unprecedented situation. 

A report by Goldie being discussed at Monday’s council meeting noted he was asked by council to provide a summary of actions taken with this power.

Goldie’s report noted three occasions where this delegated authority was used. 

First was in May 2020 where he signed an agreement with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the township to maintain a trail section owned by the GRCA between Gerrie Road and Beatty Line until the GRCA could re-assume maintenance. 

“This would allow the public to have immediate access to the trail as the GRCA had closed all GRCA owned trails due to the COVID-19 emergency,” Goldie wrote. “The GRCA re-assumed the trail maintenance in the summer of 2020.”

The emergency power was next used in an amending agreement with Bell Mobility in June 2020. 

This added a small amount of land area for Bell equipment at the Fergus Fire Hall, required to support rebuilding of core components of the aging public safety radio network. The province provided $765 million to reconstruct core infrastructure, replace outdated equipment and maintain the new radio network. 

In July 2021, the CAO directed staff to allow Centre Wellington Lacrosse to move into arenas after starting their 2021 season outdoors without increasing their rent. 

Prior to July, the province only allowed outdoor activities and therefore the organization paid outdoor field rates. The province later allowed limited indoor recreation in July. 

“Given there were only a few weeks of indoor use, and the strain on local sports organizations, as CAO, I agreed to carry forward the outdoor field use charge for the remaining few weeks,” Goldie stated, adding the loss in revenue was only a few thousand dollars.

The report noted regulations from the province permitting electronic meetings allowed a majority of items to be brought forward in a timely manner.

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