The County of Elgin has finished its Service Delivery Review (SDR) which included a comprehensive review of the County’s internal operations, the County’s shared municipal services with Local Municipal Partners, and its social and community services.
In early 2020, the County received a grant through the Province’s Municipal Modernization Program to conduct the review, with the goal of finding opportunities to streamline the way services are delivered to members of our community. The program was designed to assist municipalities’ transformation efforts and reduce costs, supporting the sustainability of the services that residents rely on every day.
Over the last eight months, staff across the organization have been working with an external consultant, StrategyCorp, to identify opportunities for the County to more effectively deliver services for the County’s community and staff, as well as more opportunities to work with our Local Municipal Partners and the City of St. Thomas. The review resulted in 110 different identified improvement initiatives that could enhance municipal shared services, improve internal operations, and support increased value-added activities. These initiatives collectively have the potential to realize over $3M in cost savings that could be achieved over ten (10) years, though it is important to note that some initial investment would be required in some service areas.
“We are very excited by what the findings of this review mean for the future of Elgin County,” said Warden Dave Mennill. “We are continuously looking for ways to make Elgin County even better, and the findings of this report show the County’s commitment to Serving Elgin, a key strategic priority of Council, and responsible use of taxpayer dollars. We’re also looking forward to improving our shared service delivery with our Local Municipal Partners and the City of St. Thomas.” The findings of this review will be submitted to the Province of Ontario by December 4, 2020, and published on the County’s website. For more information, contact Elgin County at 519-631-1460 ext. 156.
Elgin County Warden’s Activity Report – October
Elgin County Warden Mennill provided Council with an update on his activities for the month of October including considerable Committee activity.
The Elgin County Budget Committee has begun the 2021 budget process and is currently accepting feedback from residents regarding their priorities for the 2021 budget. This survey can be found at www.elgincounty.ca/budgetcommittee.
Additionally, the Connectivity Committee is seeking resident feedback regarding their internet connectivity experiences. This survey can be completed at www.elgincounty.ca/connectivitycommittee.
The full report from Warden Mennill is included in the November 10,2020 County Council Agenda package.
Tree Commissioner Quarterly Report
The Tree Commissioner/Weed Inspector presented his quarterly report for the period of July to September 2020.
A total of 15 applications to harvest were submitted from July 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020. Applications were filed by municipality as follows: West Elgin-5, Dutton/Dunwich-2, Southwold-2, Central Elgin-3, Malahide-2, and Bayham-1. The total volume for harvest was approximately 440 thousand board feet. The total forested area involved in these harvests was approximately 380 acres. No Council Exemption for Woodland Clearing applications were received in the third quarter.
Eight (8) weed complaints were received in the third quarter of 2020. Four (4) of these complaints involved ragweed and resulted in those landowners voluntarily destroying the noxious weeds on their property. This was the second consecutive year a ragweed complaint was received for one property in Southwold and control efforts are being undertaken to minimize another infestation next year.
The Tree Commissioner/Weed Inspector also provided some education surrounding Beech Bark and Beech Leaf Disease.
The full report from the Tree Commissioner/Weed Inspector can be found in the November 10, 2020 Council Agenda package.
Long-Term Care Homes Contract Summary
The Long-Term Care Act, 2007 and Ontario Regulation 79/10 require every Long-Term Care Home to arrange for on-site physiotherapy services for residents by qualified therapists. Elgin County’s existing physiotherapy contract is expiring and an RFP was issued accordingly. Council approved the award of the physiotherapy contract to Achieva Health for a three-year term.
The Long-Term Care Act, 2007 and Ontario Regulation 79/10 also require that Long-Term Care Homes provide medical director services, attending physician services and specialized medical services for spasticity management – neurotoxin therapy to residents. Council authorized the execution of a two (2) year agreement with Dr. Derek Vaughan for the provision of Medical Director Services to Bobier Villa and Elgin Manor and with Dr. Michael Toth for the provision of Medical Director Services to Terrace Lodge. Additionally Council authorized a two (2) year agreement with Dr. Derek Vaughan for the provision of medical services to Bobier Villa and Elgin Manor; Dr. Michael Toth for Terrace Lodge; Dr. Ken Morrison for Elgin Manor; Dr. Edward Vivoda for Terrace Lodge; and Dr. Elsie Osagie for Terrace Lodge. Council also authorized the execution of a one-year agreement with Dr. Adam Kassam for the provision of specialized medical services (spasticity management) to Bobier Villa, Elgin Manor and Terrace Lodge.
Full details of the RFP process and contract details can be found in the November 10, 2020 Council Agenda Package.
County Grants Final Approval of Enclave Subdivision
The Manager of Planning informed County Council that Final Approval had been granted to the Enclave Plan of Subdivision in Talbotville in the Township of Southwold.
This residential plan of subdivision is comprised of sixteen (16) single detached lots, one (1) multi-family/townhouse block use, one (1) stormwater management block, and two (2) site triangle blocks.
The original draft plan approval for this subdivision was given by Elgin County Council on March 27, 2018.
Procurement Activity Quarterly Report
The Purchasing Coordinator presented the quarterly procurement activity report in accordance with the County of Elgin’s Procurement Policy which requires that an information report containing details of all contracts awarded that exceed $15,000 be presented to Council on a quarterly basis. The report covered July to September 2020 and can be found in its entirety as part of the November 10, 2020 Council Agenda package.
Terrace Lodge Construction Manager Tender
Elgin County Council granted two exemptions to the Elgin County Procurement Policy as it relates to the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Project. During a review of the tender documents created by MMMC Architects, it was noted that bids for this project would be submitted to the Construction Manager and not the County. This is common in many Construction Manager tenders processes. The County’s Procurement Policy states that bids will only be accepted by the County, electronically. In addition, the Consultant and Construction Manager requested that the bid documents contain a “Post Bid Evaluation” clause. The clause allows for the evaluation of a bidder’s past performance, relevant healthcare experience and available man-power to meet the construction schedule. This clause is typically not included in County tenders; however, it is common in Construction Manager tender processes managed by both the County’s Architect and Construction Manager.
Council deemed these exemptions appropriate for the project in question.
Short-Line Rail Discontinuance
The General Manager of Economic Development presented a report informing Council of actions that are being taken by the South Central Ontario Region (SCOR), and the County of Elgin to alleviate negative economic impacts to the region as a result of the discontinuance of the Cayuga Railway Line.
On May 1st, 2020, Southland Railway transferred the Cayuga Subdivision (Railway Line) back to the Canadian National Railway Company (CN). On June 24, 2020, CN published a notice of discontinuance of the Cayuga Railway Line. This discontinuance will apply to 27.28 miles of the Cayuga Rail Subdivision from New Sarum to Courtland, affecting the operations of existing businesses, vacant buildings, and the potential development of industrial lands, adjacent to the Railway Line.
The South Central Ontario Region (SCOR) which is a regional partnership comprised of the Counties of Brant, Middlesex, Norfolk and Oxford as well as the Municipality of Bayham, are leading the effort to address this issue which has the potential to affect economic development and growth in the Region.
More details about this issue can be found in the November 10, 2020 Council Agenda package.
Library to Donate Discards to Ontario Prison System
Elgin County Council authorized the Elgin County Library to donate discarded library books to the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General for use in local prison libraries.
Finding ways to discard or re-purpose library materials that have been removed from the collection in a responsible manner is a common challenge for public libraries. Many public library systems are forced to resort to recycling or landfills where no other options exist. The Elgin County Library makes a concerted effort to re-purpose responsibly and holds regular book sales which take care of just under 50% of discarded items. This leave approximately 10,000 items per year that need disposal.
This proposal from the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General will benefit inmates at local provincial detention centres and will have a positive impact on the environment, achieving Council’s strategic priority of fostering a healthy environment.
Engineering Services Update
New Community Safety Zone in Port Burwell
In response to a request from the Municipality of Bayham, County Council approved a new community safety zone in front of a school located on Victoria Street (County Road 50) in the village of Port Burwell. The speed limit on the section of road in question was lowered from 50km/hr to 40km/hr. The establishment of a community safety zone in this area is in accordance with other community safety zones previously established by Council.
East Road Port Stanley
At the request of the Municipality of Central Elgin, Engineering Services conducted a review of speeds on East Road in Port Stanley to determine if speed limits on the road should be lowered to 50km/hr for the entirety of the road. Currently, East Road has three (3) distinct speed limits that have been established based upon the adjacent development density and road geometry. Council voted to reduce speeds along the entirety of East Road.
Council Endorses Councillor Marks Re-Appointment to SWIFT Board
Elgin County Council endorsed Councillor Tom Marks’ re-appointment as Elgin’s representative on the SWIFT (Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Network) Board of Directors. SWIFT sent a notice to Warden Mennill on October 28, 2020 advising him that the term of Elgin County’s representative on the SWIFT Board ends at the 2021 Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 9, 2021. SWIFT requested that Elgin County Council either reappoint the current SWIFT representative to the SWIFT Board or nominate a member of Council for consideration as a Western Ontario Wardens Caucus (WOWC) member representative. Councillor Marks indicated his willingness to serve another term and Council endorsed his re-appointment.
Elgin County Strategic Plan 2020-2022 Operational Plan Update
The Chief Administrative Officer presented an update to Council on the progress of the staff action plan in achieving Council’s priorities as set out in the Elgin County 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has required the adjustment of timelines on several projects but given the circumstances of the past eight (8) months, staff have been able to make a great deal of progress towards achieving Council’s strategic vision.
A detailed breakdown of staff action plan progress can be found as part of the November 10, 2020 Council Agenda package.
The complete November 10, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.