March 10, 2020 County Council Highlights

Elgin OPP Detachment Commander retires

Elgin OPP Detachment Commander, Inspector Brad Fishleigh, was congratulated on his retirement after 10 years of service by Elgin County Warden Dave Mennill during the Council meeting on March 10, 2020.

Terrace Lodge Steering Committee pushes for earlier start

In his Terrace Lodge Steering Committee update, Elgin County Councillor Bob Purcell noted that the Committee is pushing for an earlier start to construction. Slated to begin mid-July 2020, Purcell said the Committee is looking at the possibility of a June kick-off. In order to achieve that goal, Request for Tenders will need to be issued mid-March, something Purcell said the Committee is working on. Site plan approval for the project was given in January, building plans were submitted to Malahide on February 10 and working drawings were submitted to the Ministry of Long-Term Care on February 11. The total project investment of over $32-million does not include a $750,000 fundraising campaign chaired by Councillor Dominique Giguère. That money will be used separately to enhance the redevelopment project through added features that will enhance the quality of life for residents. Currently the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Fundraising Committee is recruiting new members. The application form is available online here.

Elgin County looks to modernize accessibility service

Now at the end of a five-year Accessibility Plan, Elgin County staff is looking to the future with plans to streamline the current Accessibility Plan with its seven (7) Local Municipal Partners. The idea of streamlining the multi-year Accessibility Plan across the County was met with positive feedback when proposed to local administrators at a meeting on February 21. The following benefits were outlined: improved efficiency from an annual statue reporting and compliance perspective, and; lessened administrative burden on local municipal contact points that all share numerous responsibilities. In the coming months, Local Municipal Partners, public stakeholders and the Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee will shape the direction for the next plan (2021-2026). The plan could include items related to policies and procedures, procurement, training, website/web content, employment/recruitment initiatives, transportation opportunities, built environment/capital improvement as well as customer service. In 2013, Elgin County released its first multi-year Accessibility Plan that outlined County’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers to accessibility in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation.

Elgin entertains e-bidding with pilot policy

Council continues to contemplate options that would allow vendors to submit proposals electronically, a move that could streamline the County’s procurement process. A follow-up report will be presented to Council at their next meeting on April 14, 2020.

Economic Development highlights 2019

Building on the unique assets that make Elgin County a beautiful place to live, work and play, in 2019 Elgin County’s Economic Development Community Improvement Program Elgincentives supported 41 businesses, investing a total of $302,702. That amount resulted in an additional private sector investment of $1.27-million. For every $1 Elgin County provided, there was $4.15 in private sector investment, representing a .36-cent, or 7.5 percent increase over 2018. The department also provided 30 businesses direct assistance that helped them overcome planning, infrastructure and workforce-related issues. The County’s partnership with the St. Thomas-Elgin Small Business Enterprise Centre partnership helped with seven business expansions, 37 start-ups and created 43 jobs, while instilling the importance of entrepreneurship to youth in the community. The Economic Development department also provided support and guidance to the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich with the formation of their new Economic Development Committee, as well as assisting Southwold’s Committee in developing a strategic plan. Staff also assisted the Municipality of West Elgin’s Economic Development Committee, which reconvened in 2019. Social media pages for Economic Development and Tourism were also at an all-time high in 2019, with a 23 percent increase in page likes and a 31 percent increase in followers. The reach of Facebook page posts also increased 101.4 percent.

Long Term Care Home Revised Student Placement Policy

Elgin County’s three (3) Long Term Care Homes – Elgin Manor, Terrace Lodge and Bobier Villa, encourage and welcome student placements from secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. While there has always been policy and procedure manuals in place to ensure quality and consistency in the services provided, operational processes need to align with the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007 and Ontario Regulation 79/10. A revised policy was approved by Council.

Contract awarded for Port Stanley’s King George VI Lift Bridge

The King George VI Lift Bridge rehabilitation project tender was awarded to Landform Civil Infrastructure Inc. at a price of $5.84 million (excluding HST). Along with the rehabilitation, the contract administration and inspection engineering services associated with the project – awarded to GM BluePlan Engineering Ltd., was increased by $270,000. As part of the 2020 capital budget, a tender for the bridge was advertised. Contractors were pre-qualified due to the specialized nature of the work, as only contractors with expertise in structural steel rehabilitation with an emphasis on riveted steel plate girders, mechanical and electrical bridge projects and related works to movable bridge structure were pre-qualified.

Contract awarded for St. George Street Bridge Deck rehab

As part of Elgin County’s approved 2020 capital program, the County, in partnership with the City of St. Thomas, will undertake the bridge deck rehabilitation for the existing St. George Street Bridge which crosses Kettle Creek and forms the boundary between the Municipality of Central Elgin and the City of St. Thomas. A total of six bids were submitted through a Request for Tender that closed February 20, 2020. Clearwater Structures Inc. was selected at a price of $435,176.20 (without HST). The project involves removal of concrete from various portions of the bridge, preparing the exposed steel reinforcement and installing a new concrete bridge deck and expansion joints. St. George Street will be closed to all traffic between March 30 to May 29 and a detour will be established by the contractor.

Contract awarded for Kimble Bridge Replacement

Sterling Ridge Infrastructure Inc. was selected to replace Kimble Bridge, a 6.1m span concrete ridge frame bridge originally constructed in 1940. It is anticipated that work on the bridge, located on Fingal Line west of Mill Road in Southwold, will commence in July and substantial completion could be achieved by late September 2020. Sterling Ridge Infrastructure Inc.’s bid of $495,500 was the lowest of five bids that were submitted. Fingal Line will be closed for this bridge replacement project and a signed detour route will be in place.

Council approves Service Delivery Review Project Charter

County Council members at their meeting March 10, 2020 endorsed the Service Delivery Review (SDR) project charter provided by StrategyCorp Inc. The County of Elgin engaged StrategyCorp Inc. to carry out a Service Delivery Review of the following key areas: Shared Services/Resource Delivery, County Operations and Human/Community Services. Phase One (1) of the SDR was held February 20, 2020 with CAO Julie Gonyou, County Directors and StrategyCorp Inc. staff. On February 26, 2020, the CAO met with StrategyCorp Inc. staff to review their Engagement Plan, Communications Plan and Project Charter. A kick-off meeting with the Elgin County Administrators’ group and the City of St. Thomas Manager happened on March 6, followed by interviews with County Councillors. Upon completion of their review, Strategy-Corp Inc. will compile their findings in a report that will be available to the public.

Community Safety and Well-Being Plan Update

In partnership with Mischievious Cat Productions, Elgin County, the Town of Aylmer and the City of St. Thomas have started Phase 1 of the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWB). In collaboration with Police Services, community partners and residents, the goal of the CSWB is to enhance the collective ability to respond to issues and build on the many successful efforts that contribute to a strong sense of safety and well-being in the community and to build on the many successful efforts currently underway. The Elgin County Administrators’ Group compiled a list of relevant service groups and other stakeholders to be invited to form the CSWB Advisory Committee, with an anticipated initial meeting scheduled for early April. The completed CSWB Plan must be approved by Council and made available to the public by December 31, 2020.

The complete March 10, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.