County Council Highlights - April 9, 2019

County Road Speed Limits

At a recent Council meeting, Warden McPhail relayed a question he had received in regard to why Elgin County’s roads are posted at 80km/hr and most neighbouring county roads are 90km/hr. The Director of Engineering Services submitted a background report that included engineering evaluation rationale and implications that inform speed limits. To review this report, click here. County Council decided not to make any changes to the posted speed limit on County Roads at this time.

Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)-Port Bruce Bridge Replacement

Through the ICIP, the federal government is providing $11.8 billion dollars in federal infrastructure funding to cost-share projects under four (4) streams: public transit, green infrastructure, community/culture/recreation, and rural/northern communities.

Elgin County submitted an application for the current stream of available funding – “Rural and Northern Communities Funding”, which targets near-term transportation improvement projects, hoping to secure funding to offset the cost of the construction of the Port Bruce Bridge. While funding from this program is not guaranteed, Elgin County is hopeful that the Port Bruce Bridge Replacement project closely aligns with the program eligibility. The County is seeking Provincial and Federal Funding in the amount of $5,291,455 (Federal 50%, Provincial 33.33%) with a total project cost of $6,350,000 (County 16.67% or $1,058,545).

Municipal Funding Review (January to April 2019)

Since budget approval on February 12, 2019, the County has received an additional $800,000 in funding, with the potential for a further $1.6 million. Five (5) separate government funds have been received so far in 2019 and include:

1. Service Efficiency Funding: Elgin County is thrilled to receive $725,000 in one-time, non-designated funds from the Province of Ontario to improve service delivery and efficiency.
2. Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund: The County received notice from the Ministry of Infrastructure in regard to the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund that the 2019 allocation is $1,231,903 – an increase of $420,100 over 2018. The proposed allocations for 2020 and 2021 cannot be confirmed and are subject to change.
3. Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund: Council budgeted for a loss of $200,000 in the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). The actual allocation announced on March 14, 2019 is providing an 85% guarantee from the prior year’s OMPF funding levels resulting in funding of $628,800. This is a reduction of $110,900 from the 2018 actual funding level.
4. Ontario Cannabis Legalization Fund: The County received two equal payments of $29,640 from the Ministry of Finance through the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund totalling $56,092.
5. Federal Gas Tax: In 2018, the County received $1,578,406 in Federal Gas Tax funding. The original 2019 budget included a small reduction in funding of $59,500 due to relative population changes. The federal budget announced a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion in added funds for 2019. The County anticipates receiving additional funding equal to the amount of funding received in 2018. In the past, Elgin has used the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund and the Federal Gas Tax funding to support investments in our road infrastructure.

Catfish Creek Conservation Authority – Request for Speed Reduction

A formal request was received from Catfish Creek Conservation Authority to reduce the speed limit on Springwater Road (County Road 35) at the Springwater Conservation Area from the current posted speed of 80km/hr to 60km/hr or, if possible, even slower (40km/hr). The Director of Engineering Services will evaluate this stretch of County road to assess whether it qualifies for a reduced speed limit or the designation of “Community Safety Zone”.

Long-Term Care Homes Admissions – Council Advocacy

A large portion of the residents living in the County’s three (3) Long-Term Care Homes are from outside of Elgin County. Current legislation does not allow for applications from residents in the County to be given priority placement status over residents residing outside of Elgin County. The process of admissions has become a regional/provincial service and Elgin County has no way of ensuring that County residents are benefitting from the additional investment they make annually to this service ($5 million/year).

Residents are assigned to a home based on a priority level which includes: crisis; reunification with spouse/partner who already resides in the home; clients who are of, or whose spouse/partner is of, the same religion, ethnic origin or linguistic origin that the home specializes in; and other clients (clients not eligible for any other higher priority level). Council has submitted letters to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and to Honourable Jeff Yurek, MPP to advocate for the addition of a “municipal resident” admissions category, which would give priority status to Elgin County residents.

Port Bruce Bridge – Supplemental Information

For more information regarding the timeline of events and the key decision-making milestones and costs associated with the collapse and the installation of the temporary bridge, please click here.

The complete April 9, 2019 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

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