Sackville Councillor Shawn Mesheau has expressed concern about the town’s re-opening of the natural playground and the beach at Lillas Fawcett Park with plans for student lifeguards to be on duty beginning July 1st.
“On a good day in the summertime, that park is packed full,” Mesheau told his colleagues during Monday’s town council meeting.
“I’m just kind of wondering by offering that type of service this year what type of risk that we might be putting ourselves in as a municipality and to the general public and to our summer students,” he said, adding that the students would have to work within and enforce COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions.
Chief Administrative Officer Jamie Burke replied that the town would do its best to maintain safety, but that residents want it to restore regular services.
He added that student workers would be well prepared for pandemic restrictions and that he had been discussing how to handle things with colleagues in other communities.
“We’re not in the enforcing family business,” Burke said. “We understand there are challenges there, but it’s next to impossible for us to determine who’s related to who and who’s living with who and who’s in whose bubble.”
He said signs would be posted warning people to follow social-distancing rules.
“We’re not looking for our summer students to be enforcement officers,” he said.
“Instead we’re going to ask them to be ambassadors and help spread positive messages amongst the community about the importance to get out, get fresh air [and] the benefits of that for mental health and physical health, and do that as safely as they can.”
Money for hospice
The vote was 5-2 Monday night as town council approved contributing $9,700 to help build a hospice in Moncton that will serve about 120 dying patients in southeastern New Brunswick each year.
Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken along with Councillors Allison Butcher, Andrew Black, Bill Evans and Michael Tower voted in favour while Councillors Joyce O’Neil and Shawn Mesheau voted against. (Councillor Bruce Phinney was absent.)
O’Neil and Mesheau repeated arguments they made at the meeting last week that the money would be better spent to help palliative care patients in Sackville.
Treasurer Michael Beal said the town is hoping to contribute all of the money this year, but the motion council passed gives him discretion to make the donation over three years if the town’s financial picture worsens because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As expected, council also approved spending $16,560 to purchase four shipping containers that will be installed at the new fire department training facility behind the public works building in the Sackville Industrial Park.