Mayor responds to RCDHU Bulletin – includes message for protesters

Madawaska Valley Council amended its agenda for a Special Council meeting at 2 p.m. on Feb.19 to allow Mayor Kim Love to read the following statement in response to yesterday’s press release from Dr. Robert Cushman and the Renfrew County & District Health Unit.

Dear Madawaska Valley residents, businesses and community

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit successfully advocated to the Government of Ontario to allow us to move back to the Green Category first as the current provincial lockdown is lifted. The Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Cushman has stated that “This is a testimony to the hard work of the residents of RCD and their strict compliance with public health guidelines since the December 26th lockdown.”

Late yesterday, the Renfrew County and District Health Unit issued a press release identifying that there have been 27 cases of COVID-19 in the Barry’s Bay area since January 1st. “This is worrying,” states Dr. Cushman, who goes on to say, “While there is no obvious direct cause and effect link, and the spread has mostly been within families, we have to ask, why is this area not following the downward trend we see across the rest of RCD.” The press release also notes that the Barry’s Bay area has been the source of frequent complaints from local merchants about customers who do not comply with the mask/face covering requirements. Dr. Cushman expresses concerns about anti-mask demonstrations and post-secondary students not complying. He emphasizes that the last thing he wants to do is implement more stringent rules in the neighbourhood of Barry’s Bay.

It is now nearly a year since the fight to flatten the curve and contain the spread of COVID-19 began. Throughout the pandemic, the Township of Madawaska Valley has been steadfast in its support of Dr. Cushman and the Renfrew County and District Health Unit. The municipality has repeatedly asked everyone to comply with provincial orders and follow the guidelines of Public Health. Not doing so jeopardizes the health of our essential workers, healthcare providers, families, seniors, and the economic viability of the local businesses we all depend on.

“Stay home

To the vast majority of Madawaska Valley residents and visitors who are staying within their household bubbles, wearing masks, washing their hands, staying six feet apart and limiting their exposure to others, you are putting the wellbeing of our entire society first, and we sincerely thank you!

To anyone who for medical reasons can’t wear a mask, please contact a friend or a volunteer group that is willing to pick up food and essentials for you while you stay safe at home.

To anyone simply unwilling to follow the guidelines of Public Health, if you can’t join the rest of society in wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying six feet apart, then please stay home.

To anti-mask protestors, please note that protests will not end this pandemic. COVID-19 doesn’t care if you protest. Everyone who is following the guidelines of Public Health does care. If you can’t join us, then please stay home.

Let’s all make sure the Barry’s Bay area doesn’t require stricter enforcement measures. We are all in this together. We all need to stay vigilant right now to protect the local economy and our community.

Office of the Mayor, Madawaska Valley Township(2021,Feb.19) 2021 02 19 Press Release [media release]


  1. Dan Olshen

    G.K. Chesterton commented a century ago, “Precisely because political speeches are meant to be reported, they are not worth reporting.” Chesterton’s whimsical observation should be considered by readers. Ditto for Cushman: he should also be more relevant and focus on getting us vaccines NOW instead of grandstanding on causal prognostications.
    BTW: Did anyone else notice the 10 fold influx of snowmobilers in the MV the last 2 weeks, and in all probability most of them were from hotspots like the GTA and Burlington areas. Could there be a correlation with the fact there was only1 Covid case prior to Feb. 6. vs. Eganville which has few outsiders coming in for this sport and the cases there are static.

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