May 11, 2021 - County Council Highlights
County Welcomes Director of Information Technology Services
Elgin County welcomed Jeff Brock as Director of Information Technology Services on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Jeff brings over 25 years of experience to Elgin County. He began his career in the automotive industry as a Business Analyst and Project Lead before transitioning into the Healthcare Sector where he managed IT at two (2) regional hospitals, one in Strathroy and the other in Newbury. Some of his major focuses over the past several years have been in the areas of Cybersecurity and overall IT Governance.
Information Technology is critical to the successful operation of the County. Over the past decade technology has become increasingly important, more integrated into our daily lives and more complex. The shift to virtual meetings and telework as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more essential to ensure that Elgin has the appropriate leadership in place to think strategically about Elgin County’s digital future and to lead a digital transformation as recommended in the recently completed Service Delivery Review.
Elgin County Council Supports Rural Education
Rural Education Task Force
The Thames Valley District School Board established a Rural Education Task Force to recognize the challenges faced by rural schools. The Task Force listens to the concerns of rural communities, develops fresh perspectives and innovative solutions, and reports on findings and makes recommendations to the School Board. The Task Force recently completed a Thoughtexchange consultation that garnered 1,200 unique responses. The next step in the consultation process is to hold Community Input Sessions (to be held in-person when conditions permit safe gathering) across Elgin County to gather further community feedback in regards to the challenges faced by rural schools.
Council consented to host three (3) input sessions in various locations across the County to be organized by the Administrative Services Department. Council also consented to covering the costs of utilizing municipal spaces for these sessions, if required.
Council Adopts School Retention Plan
Council approved a School Retention Plan which formalizes its various rural school advocacy efforts into one strategic document. Neighbouring communities have also approved and supported similar documents and this will ensure consistency of advocacy efforts across the region.
Click here for a copy of Elgin County’s School Retention Plan.
Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Update
Council received an update report from the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Steering Committee regarding construction progress.
To date the Committee has drawn on contingency funds to accommodate a slight increase in change in Bonding Insurance costs and to rectify a small discrepancy between the actual dimensions of the existing building and those shown on the drawing for the existing building. These have amounted to approximately $80,000 and the project remains on schedule and budget.
Please see the report contained within the May 11, 2021 County Council Agenda Package for photos of the construction process.
Tree Commissioner Presents Quarterly Report
The Elgin County Tree Commissioner/Weed Inspector presented a summary of activity related to the Elgin Woodlands Conservation By- Law for the period of January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 and weed inspection activity for the same period. Information about logging activity, applications for woodland clearing, and weed complaints are detailed in the report contained in the May 11, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
The Tree Commissioner also provided education regarding the European Gypsy Moth. The Gypsy Moth is an insect native to Europe and Asia and has become well established in many areas of North America, including Southwestern Ontario.
Gypsy Moth caterpillars defoliate many of our native hardwood species, including oaks, birches, poplars and maples. Populations fluctuate annually and vary with local conditions. Gypsy Moth are impacted by funguses, viruses and predators and populations of the moth will crash for lengthy periods as a result.
Draft Plan of Subdivision for Seaside Waterfront Inc.
Council granted approval of a Draft Plan of Subdivision for Seaside Waterfronts Inc. in Port Glasgow, in the Municipality of West Elgin. The development includes a residential Plan of Subdivision, consisting of 62 blocks with a mixture of residential (single detached dwellings, townhouses and quadplexes), commercial, mixed use commercial/residential, open space, a wastewater treatment facility and servicing, walkways and roadways.
Full details of the Plan of Subdivision and associated map are contained in the May 11, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
Library, Museum and Archives Service Update
The Director of Community and Cultural Services provided Council with an update on Library, Museum and Archives activities over the past several months. Despite several province-wide lockdowns affecting services, all three (3) service areas have remained active and committed to serving the public.
Libraries are open to curbside pick-up and this service remains very popular. The Library continues to issue virtual library cards and offer enhanced online resources.
The Elgin County Museum increased social media activity to allow residents greater access to exhibit materials and has been working on content for the virtual reality and mural projects made possible through a donation from the Bushell Estate.
The Elgin County Archives are providing extensive remote and online research assistance to the public, acquiring and processing several new collections, and embarking on a significant digitization project.
For a more comprehensive list of activities refer to the report titled “Library, Museum and Archives Service Update” in the May 11, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.
Port Stanley Temporary Traffic Signals to Remain Until September
The County of Elgin received a request from the Municipality of Central Elgin to retain the temporarily traffic signals installed as part of the King George VI Lift Bridge Rehabilitation Project in Port Stanley permanently. County Council considered that request and directed staff to obtain additional information related to rental costs of the temporary signals.
County Council decided to fund a pilot project which would keep the traffic lights in place until Labour Day so that their usefulness can be assessed over the summer months. At this point, further discussion will be had.
Council Awards RFP for Internet Connectivity Consulting Services
Elgin County Council is taking further steps to address the pressing internet connectivity needs of its residents by awarding a contract to IBI Group Professional Services Inc. for the provision of consulting services associated with the Internet Connectivity and Broadband Analysis, Assessment, and Proposed Solutions.
The purpose of the work is to provide the County with a document to guide the use of County resources to improve internet connectivity in the County. In addition to its function as a resource guide, the document should direct strategies involving partnerships of public and private entities for the same purpose and provide a comprehensive overview of connectivity definitions, standards, and concepts in order to establish a shared understanding of connectivity in Elgin County.
Province Releases Results of LTC Commission
The Chief Administrative Officer presented a brief overview of Ontario’s Long-Term Care Commission Report as well as an overview of Elgin County Long-Term Care’s response to COVID-19.
The Honourable Frank N. Marrocco, Angela Coke, and Dr. Jack Kitts, Commissioners of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, submitted their Final Report to the Minister of Long-Term Care on April 30, 2021.
The final report is 322 pages and can be accessed on the Government of Ontario website (https://files.ontario.ca/mltc-ltcc-final-report-en-2021-04-30.pdf )
The Chief Administrative Officer recognized the entire LTCH team for their unwavering support and exceptional care of Elgin’s 247-residents and for their ongoing commitment to the infection prevention and control measures that are in place. Elgin’s team continues to fiercely fight to keep COVID-19 out of our LTCHs.
The pandemic has been a scary and challenging time for LTCH staff. In spite of this, staff and leadership have been inspiring. Staff continue to thrive and work together to support our residents and each other by encouraging a culture of loyalty, engagement and high performance.
The complete May 11, 2021 County Council Agenda package can be found here.