‘Keep calm, keep kind’: Mayor’s COVID-19 approach
BYRON Shire Council has implemented sweeping changes to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In his mayoral minute, mayor Simon Richardson raised a whole raft of measures at today's ordinary meeting.
Some of those measures had already been announced after councillors convened via phone conference earlier this week.
The council has opted to close some carparks, all playgrounds, community halls and was required to close its public pools from midnight today.
It has called for the state government to consider a reciprocal border closure after Queensland closed its borders at midnight and asked for long-distance bus services to be halted.
Council-owned caravan parks will be closed to "non-essential" travel but the meeting heard there had been a state government directive for all caravan parks to be affected by this.
Cr Richardson said it was necessary for the council to do what it could under its powers to help fight the pandemic.
"If they keep moving the way they are … probably by the week's end we'll be in total lockdown," he said.
"What this (motion) is about is council trying to respond in areas that are in their control and also support aspects of our community that are really out of our control."
Cr Richardson acknowledged many had been "increasingly fearful and unsure and confused" and had come to the council as "a first port of call".
"It reflects the fact that as a level of government we are the most trusted," he said.
"What is also does is puts pressure on us to be all things to all people.
"We are not a bank. We cannot afford to strip the meagre fat on our financial bone to any great extent.
"We might be able to be flexible and nimble and support where we can.
"We are in incredibly new territory when it comes to dealing with this."
Cr Paul Spooner asked for the inclusion of a "Byron Stay Home" campaign for a "unified message" and this was adopted.
He also raised concerns about how positions could be held at council-owned childcare if
Staff confirmed they were discussing how to manage this situation.
Of long-distance bus travel, Cr Richardson said it "seems idiotic" to allow a bus full of travellers to sit together for long hours amid the current health crisis.
"If we can keep calm, keep kind and (work) as a professional organisation, we'll get through this," he said.
"I'm confident we can get through this."
All of the present councillors supported the motion; Crs Jan Hackett and Michael Lyon were absent.