Editor's note: This story was updated on Nov. 4, 2021 to correct the headline and clarify some items in the story.
NORTH HURON – Director of Recreation and Community Services, Vicky Luttenberger, was prepared to present a dire report to council which would see reduced hours or the closure of the Wingham and Blyth recreation centres when Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) clarified its vaccine requirements for staff, changing the outcome of the report.
Luttenberger told the Wingham Advance Times that she was very nervous about the situation before the last-minute communication from the health unit, which she said she learned about earlier in the day on Oct. 18.
“Following a discussion last week with local municipalities,” Luttenberger told council, “the health unit has now reviewed their policy.”
According to the health unit, the original letter of instruction sent to municipalities on Oct. 6 was "unclear" and was interpreted to read "that facilities were expected to make vaccinations mandatory for facility staff, contractors and/or subcontractors and volunteers."
In a follow up letter sent on Oct. 8, the health unit clarified "that owners and operators of facilities were required to develop and implement a vaccination policy for staff, contractors and/or subcontractors and volunteers."
This clarification changed the motion on the floor, which provided options to deal with the staffing shortage caused in part by the pandemic, including the closure of both facilities.
Council received the report for information purposes only, and no decisions were required. However, council is well aware that this could change again.
Luttenberger also updated council on the search for a recreational facility operator, saying that they had just completed interviews with some very qualified applicants and that a report would be coming shortly to council on the subject.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times