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Council Announces Closure Of Public Facilities

Marlborough District Council has confirmed today that community facilities will be closed to the public as a precaution to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Facilities closed from tomorrow Monday 23 March include the Marlborough District Library in Blenheim, Picton Library, Stadium 2000’s public facilities including the swimming pools and gym, the Millennium Art Gallery, Edwin Fox Museum in Picton and the Marlborough Museum in Blenheim.

The Council’s main office in Seymour Street, Blenheim will remain open. People are urged to call the Council first on 03 520 7400 for assistance where possible.

Mayor John Leggett says:

“The services we are closing are popular and much loved by the community. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but it is a sensible precaution to take in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.”

“Our actions follow the recommendations from the Government around the need to limit public gatherings to less than 100 people indoors and encourage social distancing measures, including maintaining space of one to two metres between people.”

“Our facilities are visited by thousands of people each week who are in relatively close contact and it is on this basis that we believe a closure for the foreseeable future is necessary,” he says.

“Many of these facilities rely on Council support – we will need to help them through a difficult period.”

“The Council will be doing all it can to support Marlborough economically and is looking to freeze any rates increase this year to the Local Government Cost Index.

“The Council can make a difference and with Port Marlborough and Marlborough Airport we have significant spending power. We want to keep all our budgeted capital expenditure projects going if possible - they oil the wheels for many construction, trades and small businesses here.”

“We’re in this together and taking a Team Marlborough approach. Let’s support each other, be kind and consider our neighbours, clients, suppliers and business partners – we are one community and we need to look after each other.”

“Please follow the official advice of the Prime Minister, Government and Ministry of Health. Ignore the misinformation and rumours you may hear from others or see on social media. Go to www.covid19.govt.nz for information.”

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, the Council is advising at-risk staff who have certain medical conditions to stay at home. Council is also implementing plans to reduce person-to-person contact including some staff working remotely.

Chief Executive Mark Wheeler said the Council has taken a close look at its services and operations to ensure it is ready in case Council’s staff numbers become reduced through sickness.

“Water supply, effluent disposal, waste disposal and road maintenance are our core ‘lifeline’ services.”

“I’m confident we have the systems and the trained personnel to deliver all these services, even if some staff are off sick. We are planning for the worst but hoping for the best,” he says.

“Everyone at Council is doing important work but during a crisis, where staff numbers may be reduced by illness, some functions become more critical. These are essential services like water supply and waste disposal, amongst others.”

“Staff in agreed ‘non-critical’ areas may be asked to work in a ‘critical’ area if required by either sickness or community need. An example is a secondment to the Emergency Management Team to assist with welfare support to the community.”

“I have determined our service priorities based on the following criteria:

1. Public health

2. Emergency response and recovery

3. Short term environmental health

4. Need for housing development

5. Need to keep the economy going

6. Statutory responsibilities (which may be relaxed by the Government)

7. Support services needed for the above.

Our critical services are:

  • Drinking water supply
  • Effluent disposal
  • Waste management
  • Public toilets
  • Emergency management
  • Flood protection and maintenance
  • Environmental monitoring – flood, rainfall, flows
  • Road safety and maintenance
  • Harbour safety
  • Health compliance
  • Resource, building consents and technical support
  • Subdivision engineering
  • LIMS and PIMS
  • Cemetery management
  • Residential development capital expenditure
  • Economic and community development – response and recovery planning
  • Environmental monitoring and consent advice
  • Environmental policy MEP appeals
  • Biosecurity – response to incursions
  • Support functions including IT, finance, HR, payroll, health and safety, customer services and communications.”

Marlborough’s Civil Defence and Emergency Management Welfare function is also up and running and ready to support the regional response to COVID-19, led by the Ministry of Health and the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board.

CDEM Group Manager Brian Paton advises if people have symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, or are self-isolating, they should call the dedicated Healthline 0800 358 5453 number first.

“Most people who self-isolate will be able to look after themselves with the support of family, whanau and friends. Our welfare team will be there as a backup to support people who need additional support such as emergency accommodation or basic supplies and are unable to manage those needs through their usual sources,” he says.

“We will be talking tomorrow with community groups, churches, sports clubs, retirement homes and Grey Power to see what capacity they have for looking after their members.”

“We will provide a general welfare phone number for people and confirm what it is in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

ENDS.

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