Mayor Harper

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Letter to Citizens of Nipawin

In just a few weeks have seen schools, restaurants, businesses and our rinks and leisure facilities and even our playgrounds close. Many people are out of work and the staff of those essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, that remain open are fearful and stressed. Our streets are quiet and we are faced with lots of unknowns…not knowing how this virus will impact our community, our loved ones, our friends and ourselves. This is stressful for all of us.

Before this when responding to emergencies, it was our first responders – firefighters, RCMP, or paramedics who were first on the scene and who were the most engaged in the response. In an emergency, the public was most often cautioned to stay away, and the public had little role to play in the emergency.

THIS EMERGENCY of COVID-19 is very different! In fact, during this situation we are expecting the exact opposite from all of us.

For this emergency, all residents of the Town of Nipawin have the essential and primary role to play. Our community of Nipawin, and indeed the entire country, will only be successful if each of us takes our part very seriously. This COVID-19 situation is not about any one of us as individuals. It is about how we work together as a community of people. It is only by each doing our part in this work TOGETHER that we can help to ensure that we all remain safe and healthy.

The risk that this virus poses to many individuals may be low, the risk to our community, our Town of Nipawin, is much greater. When you take safety precautions that are recommended, in fact mandated, you are not doing it only to keep yourself safe, but you are doing it for many others—our medical staff, grocery store staff, for people like your grandparents, for your friends and your family and your neighbours…FOR YOUR COMMUNITY.

The situation we are facing is one where each one of us must try to look beyond, simply, ourselves, and behave and act for the safety of others.

We are in a phase now many changes and adjustments are setting in, and we begin facing the reality that we do not know exactly how long this will all last. Please stay resolved and patient. The efforts that each of us make right now are critical. Please continue to stay the course.

Thank you to businesses who have used display boards and signage to remind us we are all in this together and to “keep your distance”.

I am awed by the efforts of our Nipawin Volunteer Fire Department, the RCMP, North East EMS, health care workers, Public Health Services, the young pastor who winged a prayer of support by email, Town Administration, community organizations that have stepped up to assist those who need it, our community partners, and others, and very importantly, YOU, our citizens, as you stay calm and respond to this crisis.

The Town of Nipawin continues to focus on a few main priorities:

  • The Safety of staff -- We have reorganized staffing (allowing staff to work from home for example) to ensure that the Town is able to continue to provide the core services that all of us rely on
  • The Safety of our residents -- We have responded to Provincial Emergency Orders and have implemented measures such as facility closures, playground closures, changes to how our Town Office functions to do our part to keep the public and our staff safe
  • Support our businesses and our public -- In consultation with businesses we have begun to consider measures through which the Town of Nipawin might be able to to support people losing employment and businesses facing closure and to help prepare for the economic recovery that will surely come.

Even as we in Nipawin are sharing the COVID-19 situation with the entire world Iremain convinced that here we live, work and play in a community that can work together and step up to these challenges. I am very appreciative of each one of you with whom I share this great community. Our slogan remains, “A Town for the People – We are Exceptional by nature.”

As I’ve participated in the celebration of various functions and milestones in the community of Nipawin over the years I have witnessed, again and again, people from our community rising to challenges. This is a community where volunteers are our heart and soul. This community has people who are able and willing to think “outside the box”, people who put egos and titles aside to focus on creative problem-solving. I have no doubt we will have the best outcomes if we are diligent about addressing the challenges we will face, TOGETHER.

During such difficult times please be kind to each other. Be patient with each other as we each are tested by stress and frayed nerves. Continue to consider your fellow citizen and bring the best of yourself and TOGETHER we will make progress.

As your Mayor I, along with the Council, am committed to working as respectfully, collaboratively and effectively as I am able, to support our shared efforts. We are in this situation TOGETHER.

I am here for you as much as I can be…if you need to talk, give me a call, if you have an idea, I will listen. Let’s find joy in the small things around us and support each other over the days and weeks ahead of us.

Be well. Wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who may be sick, avoid all unnecessary travel—inside and outside of our community. Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people (or less) and finally, stay at a distance (That’s the length of a Nipawin Hawk’s hockey stick – 2 meters, or about 6 feet).

I want end by sending my heartfelt condolences to families of loved ones in our Province who have lost their lives during this pandemic. On behalf of our community I want you to know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of many.

Mayor Rennie Harper