Millennium Exhibition Centre Walking Track Re-Opens

Altona, MB. February 18, 2021:

Altona residents can take their walking indoors, as the Millennium Exhibition Centre Walking Track is set to re-open on February 19, 2021.

With the recent public health order announcements, the team has been hard at work to find a safe way to offer an option for residents to get moving, indoors. This effort has led to the re-opening of the Millennium Exhibition Centre Walking Track for use by all residents. Access to the track will be available free of charge at this time. Any current track pass holders are encouraged to contact the Recreation Office at 204-324-9005 to discuss options.

“As a regular user of the MEC indoor track, I know full well, how Altona residents of all ages and all fitness levels, rely on the track for our winter exercise…..especially when it’s -30 degrees,” said Mayor Al Friesen. “I have full confidence we will support the public health requirements in order to once again enjoy one of our normal winter activities  And as we continue to strive to lower our active covid case count, more re-openings are on the way.”

The track is available for use from 7 am until 5 pm on weekdays, and those wishing to use it are required to pre-register by calling 204-324-9005. When booking a time slot, individuals will be required to provide contact tracing information, and be advised that they must complete the COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to entering the building. Time slots are limited to one hour, and no more than 12 people are permitted to use the track at a time. Physical distancing is required at all times, and masks must be worn at all times. Touch points within the track are sanitized by the Recreation Team three times daily.

In addition to re-opening the track for use, the public washroom facility at the Buffalo Creek Nature Park is now open. This facility will be available from 8 am – 9 pm daily, and due to current public health orders, must only be used for washroom access. Masks must be worn in this facility at all times.

The Millennium Exhibition Centre ice surface (Sunflower Gardens Arena) will not re-open this season. This decision was not taken lightly, and came after hearing from local user groups, and other rural communities. The Recreation team will remove the ice, and continue to explore options to safely offer that indoor space for community use within public health guidelines.

“Our council shares the community’s disappointment about not re-opening the Sunflower Gardens. We had held off pulling the plug as long as possible in the hope that even though the Maroons, Altona Minor Hockey and the Figure Skating Club had cancelled their seasons, we could ultimately use the ice surface for public skating and other community access. Unfortunately the current restrictions, which remain in effect into March, did not allow us to make that happen.  We do know that our outdoor ice surfaces will be fun options with the return of mild weather.” said Mayor Al Friesen.

As for the great outdoors, there are six outdoor skating surfaces, a tobogganing hill and toboggan slide, along with cleared trails and groomed cross country ski trails available for the communities use, thanks to the combined efforts of our Recreation team, and community volunteers. Residents of Altona are invited to continue enjoying this outdoor space.

Boil Water Advisory Rescinded

On December 18, 2020 at 2:15 pm, the Town of Altona received notification that the Precautionary Boil Water Advisory that was issued for the Town of Altona water system has been rescinded.

You can now resume normal water usage. Please see the below attachment for more information.

Waste Collection Changes December 2020

The end of December often has changes to the regularly scheduled waste collection, as there are several holidays. Here is an overview of the last two weeks of December.

Southeast Collection:
December 22nd – Garbage and Recycling
December 29th – Garbage, Recycling & Compost

Southwest Collection:
December 23rd – Garbage and Recycling
December 30th – Garbage, Recycling & Compost

Northwest Collection:
December 24th – Garbage and Recycling
December 31st – Garbage, Recycling & Compost

Northeast Collection:
December 28th – Recycling
December 29th – Garbage & Compost
January 4th – Garbage & Recycling

Lots of people will be receiving their Christmas gifts and greeting by mail, or delivery, or curbside pick-up, etc, this year – and that means more packaging materials. From December 28 – January 8. we’ve lifted the bag limit per household to allow for easier disposal of those materials.

Christmas Tree Collection will take place on January 11.

Precautionary Boil Water Advisory

On December 9, 2020, the Town of Altona was informed of scheduled maintenance to the water system at the Red River Regional Water Treatment Plant Reservoir, which will lead to the issuance of a Precautionary Boil Water Advisory.

It is possible that regular maintenance can compromise the safety of a water supply.  A precautionary boil water advisory is being issued beginning at 8:00 AM on December 14, 2020 to ensure the protection of public health in the Red River Regional Water System and associated water distribution systems including the Altona Water System.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Commencing on December 14, 2020 and until further notice, all water used for consumption should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before it is used for:

  • Drinking and ice making
  • Beverage preparation, such as infant formula
  • Preparing food; including washing fruits and vegetables
  • Brushing teeth

It is not necessary to boil tap water used for other household purposes, such as laundry or washing dishes.  Adults and older children that are able to avoid swallowing the water can wash, bathe, or shower.  Young children should be sponge bathed.  If boiling is not practical, an alternate and safe supply of water should be used for consumptive purposes (i.e., bottled water).

To avoid burn injuries from hot water, caution should be taken.  Please keep young children away from boiling water.  Place kettles and pots away from counter and stove edges.

Boil Water Advisory Fact Sheet #1 – Boil Water Advisory For Drinking Water Only contains additional information on water use and can be found below.

Boil Water Advisory Fact Sheet #3 – Boil Water Advisory For Commercial/Public Facilities: All commercial, public and permitted facilities (i.e., restaurants, health care facilities, day cares, personal care homes and other private facilities that provide food and water services) must follow water use recommendations from the below fact sheet.

Please share this information with other people who use the tap water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, renters, tenants, staff or clients).  This notice can also be posted in common areas where people tend to gather.

DURATION

The Boil Water Advisory will remain in effect until at least Monday, December 21, 2020 in order to determine that the water supplied by this water system no longer presents a risk to public health.  The public will be notified when the advisory has been rescinded.  Residents are asked to consult the Town of Altona website (www.altona.ca) or social media (www.facebook.com/townofaltona).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Town of Altona Administration Office at 204-324-6468, or the Regional Drinking Water Officer at 204-795-6908, or Health Links at 204-788-8200 (toll free at 1-888-315-9257).

Communicating About COVID: Times are Tough

We’ve been in code red lockdown for three weeks now, and dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for over eight months. It hasn’t been easy. We miss our friends, and our families, and the sense of normalcy. We miss chatting with old friends in the grocery store, gathering at community events or at church, and we miss being able to travel. We miss being able to play sports, and eat in restaurants, and visit our loved ones who are vulnerable.

There are a lot of things that we miss, and we are all tired, and sad, and frustrated. Some people are frustrated because they feel the safety measures in place are not strong enough, and some are frustrated because the feel that they are too strong. We all want our lives to go back to normal – to go back to gathering with friends and family, and doing the things we love to do. We can’t do that until this threat, this global crisis, is resolved, and that means that we need to listen to the medical experts and the scientists, and prevent COVID-19 from overwhelming our healthcare system. When we go back to gathering with loved ones, we want them all to be around the table with us. For those of us in the community who have already lost loved ones to COVID-19, there aren’t enough words to express the loss.

Throughout these past eight months, we’ve kept our messaging primarily focused on the positives – on finding the hope and finding the light at the end of the tunnel, and we are going to continue to do that. If you’ve got suggestions for things we should share or highlight, we would love if you sent it to us!

Here are some things that we haven’t missed out on this year:

We’ve connected as a community in all sorts of new ways, like chalk your walk, and paintings in windows, and zoom calls, and physically distanced visits, and virtual events and forums, and videos and photos and so many more.

We’ve spent more time enjoying the outdoors, going for a walk or bike ride. Lots of folks have tried their hand at gardening, or home improvement projects this year that they felt they didn’t have time to do before, and people have picked up new hobbies and skills as well.

Throughout this all, our businesses have pivoted to new and innovative ways to connect with us. They’ve offered curbside pick-up and delivery, and online or virtual shopping. They’ve run fun new promotions as ways to add a bit more light to our lives, and have supported one another.

As a community, we’ve ordered our food to go, we’ve sent gift cards or gifts to friends and strangers alike, we’ve called our local businesses to find out how we can still access our favourite products and services, and we’ve shopped local. Remember, the majority of our local businesses are still open right now, even if you can’t go in the door. Visit our website for an ever-growing list of the ways that you can access products and services from home.

Thank you for continuing to find the light with us. Times are tough right now, but so are we, and we will get through this together. Let’s continue to practice kindness, and all of the fundamentals to protect one another.

Communications & HR Officer Sarah Radmore
communications@altona.ca

Pembina Valley Reeves and Mayors: Messages of Positivity

Altona Mayor Al Friesen also serves on the Pembina Valley Reeves and Mayors Association.  At its most recent meeting, prior to the upgrade to “RED”, the attending Reeves and Mayors committed to sharing messages of positivity and encouragement, and yet also being clear about adhering to the provincial public health orders. 

Below is a clip of Winkler Mayor Martin Harder sharing a message of encouragement with his community. Here’s another reminder that together, we will get through this.

Altona Police Board Accepting Applications

The Town of Altona is accepting applications for the position of Citizen at Large to serve on the Altona Police Board.

Qualifications:

  • must be at least 18 years of age:
  • must be a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident:
  • must reside in or is employed in, or has a business interest in, the Town of Altona.

The selected applicant will be subject to a comprehensive background check. Remuneration will be by way of honorarium.

Persons interested may pick up applications at the Altona Town Administration Office at 111 Centre Avenue from Monday through Friday from 8:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Call 204-324-6468 to arrange pick-up, as our office is currently closed to the public.

Application deadline on or before the 30th of November, 2020.

Additional Closures

As of Monday, November 9th, 2020, the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region is moving into Critical (Red) on the Pandemic Response System. In response, the Town of Altona has made a few changes.

As of Saturday, November 7th, 2020, the Millennium Exhibition Centre and the Rhineland Pioneer Centre will be closed to the public. Those who had bookings scheduled will be contacted. Recreation programming will also be suspended until further notice.

As of Monday, November 9th, the Town of Altona Administration Office will again close to the public, as it did in March. Residents can continue to access services from the office by calling 204-324-6468, through the website, or by emailing info@altona.ca.

These measures are being taken with the safety of our staff and community in mind, and in compliance with public health orders. The Town staff will continue to be hard at work delivering essential services, and keeping the community connected and informed.

Solid Waste Special Service Plan – Second Draft

The Town of Altona Council has scheduled a public hearing on December 8, 2020 at 6:00 pm to present the special service plan proposal for collection of solid waste, recyclable materials, and compostable materials and the operation of the landfill site. Please see the attached Public Notice and Bylaw Draft for more information.

Updated COVID-19 Precautions

The Town of Altona will require masks within all indoor town facilities, starting on October 19th, 2020.

Masks that cover the nose, mouth and chin without gapping will be required for the public to enter the Millennium Exhibition Centre, and the Altona Civic Centre. This decision was made by Town Council in their meeting on October 13th as a measure to keep staff and the community safe while keeping facilities open to the public.

The decision also aligns with Return to Play protocols from Hockey Manitoba and Skate Canada Manitoba, which require participants to wear masks within arenas such as the Millennium Exhibition Centre. Mandating masks in that facility will create consistency for all users.

“There is a time to lead, and a time to follow. That’s how council members approached the most recent discussion regarding the use of masks.  And overwhelmingly council and staff felt that the wearing of masks requirement would provide additional safety for our staff, consistent with our user groups who have already mandated the use of masks. The recent surge of COVID cases in Manitoba was also a factor in our decision, prompting the comment, do we wait and react when those increased cases arrive here? Or do we take concrete measures now?  We ultimately decided that standing on the sidelines was not in the best interests of the community, and together with the endorsement of administration, we proceeded.”

Mayor Al Friesen

Face masks must be worn over the mouth, nose and chin at all times within the indoor town facilities with the following exemptions:

  • Children under the age of five
  • Individuals with medical conditions preventing them from safely wearing a mask
  • Individuals who are unable to put on or take off a mask without assistance

Visitors to the facilities are permitted to temporarily remove their mask if they are:

  • Receiving a service that requires removal of their mask
  • Actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity (e.g.: on the ice surface, running on the indoor track, participating in a fitness program)
  • Consuming food or drink
  • Needing to remove it for an emergency or medical purpose
  • Establishing their identity
  • Town staff who are working alone in a space with restricted access, such as a private office or open workspace with appropriate physical distancing measures in place, or travelling alone in a Town vehicle.

The Altona Public Works Shop and the Altona Rhineland Emergency Services Fire Hall will remain closed to the public at this time.

Residents are reminded that most services at the Altona Civic Centre Administration Office can be accessed online, or over the phone at 204-324-6468