30th March 2020
As a councillor and one of your local representatives I would like to send my best wishes to everyone in the Valley for a safe few months as we face the threat of COVID -19. Val sends her best wishes as well.
This threat comes on the heels of the most extensive and intensive bushfire season in the area in living memory followed by floods and now the virus. The way the community pulled together during the bushfire crisis was amazing and inspirational. During this crisis we have seen the worst of human nature with selfish people panic buying and stripping the supermarket shelves of toilet paper, pasta, canned foods etc. They have not thought to leave some for others. It is understandable that you might want to stock up on a few extra items to tide you over so that visits to the supermarket, which can be potentially dangerous, are kept to a minimum but what we have witnessed is deplorable.
However there are also many stories of people stepping up and supporting their neighbours and friends.
There have been posts on Facebook asking why, if Clarence Valley Council is cutting back on some services, staff are not being laid off. I asked the General Manager about this and he advised that staff are not sitting around idle but they have been carrying out other, related, duties and catching up with maintenance and cleaning etc.
Claims have also been made that rates should be suspended but the main services provided with rate income, such as water, sewerage and waste collection, will continue. Despite this the situation changes almost daily and who knows what things will be like in a month’s time. Anyone having difficulty paying their rates should contact Council immediately to work out a solution. This opportunity already applies.
The outcome over the next few months though will rely mostly on you. Stay at home as much as possible and when you have to visit the supermarket, fruit and veggie shop, doctor’s clinic or pharmacy or to go to work keep your social distance (1.5 m) and wash your hands regularly with soap or hand sanitiser. If you have a cough or a temperature don’t go out. Remember your careless behaviour could end up killing people.
If there is anything that I can do for you during this crisis please don’t hesitate to ask.
Dr Greg Clancy, Councillor, Clarence Valley Council