Councillor calls for regional re-opening plan to give people hope

Regional coun. Sean Strickland wants Waterloo region to have a reopening plan "sooner rather than later" to give people hope.

Staff are working on plan that will be brought to council, Waterloo region's CAO says

Regional coun. Sean Strickland wants Waterloo region to have a reopening plan "sooner rather than later" to give people hope. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Regional Coun. Sean Strickland wants Waterloo region to have a reopening plan "sooner rather than later" to give people hope.

Strickland made the remarks Tuesday during a regional committee meeting, saying another committee should be created with regional councillors to discuss what reopening the region and lifting the state of emergency would look like.

"We're not out of the woods yet. We've contained the spread. We're seeing some improvements," Strickland said. "I think it's important as we move into recovery and reopening considerations that we do more than have reopening considerations, we have a plan for reopening, and I think it's important to have council input on that."

Strickland said he thinks elected voices should be at the table to make the plan. 

Coun. Karl Kiefer, who represents Cambridge, agreed.

He said it's critical the region comes up with a framework to lift the state of emergency.

"As I see it right now, we don't have a plan," he said. "I think this regional pandemic control group … as a regional councillor, I should be sitting on that and so should all the directly elected officials."

The region has a regional pandemic control group which is overseeing five different areas: health, community support, critical infrastructure, the municipalities and communications.

Those five areas also have their own working groups, which are led by regional or city staff.

Strickland said he believes councillors are being left out of the planning.

Coun. Geoff Lorentz agreed.

"I feel in some cases that I was not in the loop and was not part of the decision making process, or at least the operational part," Lorentz said.

"I think people in the community are looking for direction from this council, and I certainly hope that we have the skills and the knowledge and the opportunity to pass that on."

Plan will be brought to council

Murray said there is a "whole team of people" working on a plan to lift emergency measures and reopen the local economy. 

"That work is happening right across the organization, and when it's ready, we'll bring it to council for council's information," he said, adding they need to consider what directions the region receives from the province.

Chair Karen Redman said she believes in a slow and steady reopening of the region because as soon as the region relaxes some measures, it's hard to clamp back down if needed.


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