County Council Highlights - December 5, 2023
Ed Ketchabaw Re-Elected as 2024 Elgin County Warden
After two rounds of a split vote, Elgin County Council re-elected Ed Ketchabaw, Mayor of the Municipality of Bayham, as the Warden of Elgin County during their annual election meeting held on December 5, 2023. Warden Ketchabaw is set to continue his role as the head of Elgin County Council for the upcoming 2024 governance year.
In his capacity as the head of County Council, Warden Ketchabaw will undertake a range of responsibilities, including presiding over Council meetings, providing leadership to Council, representing the County at official functions, serving as the County’s spokesperson, and more.
Elgin’s 2024 Deputy Warden will be Grant Jones, Mayor of the Township of Southwold. The position of Deputy Warden is held by the most immediate past Warden who is a sitting member of Council.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunity, Warden Ketchabaw stated, “It is an honour to have been re-elected by County Council to serve as Elgin County’s Warden for the year 2024. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with Council and staff to ensure that Elgin County remains a vibrant community where people aspire to live, work, and thrive for many years to come.”
Harmonizing Care: Empowering Elgin Homes Through Streamlined Policy Approval
The County of Elgin Homes, which includes Bobier Villa, Elgin Manor, and Terrace Lodge, recognizes the importance of having policies and procedures that comply with legislative requirements such as the Fixing Long-Term Care Act. These policies are essential for meeting the Ministry of Long-Term Care (MLTC) standards and providing clear guidance for all Homes staff in delivering care and services. To ensure that these policies are up-to-date, they are reviewed annually, incorporating changes in legislation.
Currently, all policies and procedures undergo approval by the County Council, which can cause delays in implementation and create challenges during MLTC home inspections. To address this, staff recommended that the Director of Homes and Seniors Services be granted the authority to approve these policies and procedures to ensure a more efficient and timely process. County Council approved this recommendation, which ultimately enhances the delivery of care and services to residents and solidifies a streamlined approval process for policies and procedures within the three (3) County of Elgin Homes.
Fanning the Flames of Efficiency: County Council Greenlights Fire Training Coordinator
The County’s Emergency Management Department has identified substantial gaps and an overwhelming workload related to the Elgin-Middlesex Regional Fire School (EMRFS) over the past two years. To address this issue, the department proposed the addition of a full-time Fire Training Coordinator position to enhance efficiency and productivity. The request, presented ahead of the budget approval process, is prompted by the immediate start of fire training early in the new year and the urgent need for additional resources to prepare and implement 2024 fire courses. County Council approved hiring a Fire Training Coordinator to alleviate the department’s workload, with the associated costs offset by a projected increase in revenue, ensuring the position’s full coverage by course fees.
Safeguarding Scenic Routes: Englobe Corp.’s Path to Slope Stability on Fingal Line and Glen Erie Line
County Council has approved Englobe Corp. to provide geotechnical investigative and construction plans for remediating unstable road slopes on Fingal Line and Glen Erie Line. With the proposed 2024 Capital Budget allocating funds for these projects, Englobe Corp. submitted a proposal for geotechnical fieldwork, borehole drilling, laboratory testing, and remediation design at a total cost of $209,500 plus HST.
Refreshing the Elgin County Brand: Addressing Accessibility
In a joint effort between Elgin County’s Corporate Communications & Engagement Coordinator and the Accessibility Coordinator, the official County logo has been updated to better align with the latest branding, marketing, and accessibility requirements. The refresh was carried out by an external graphic designer at a cost of $316.40.
The updated logo conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as per the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). This update comes at an opportune time as the County’s website is also being redeveloped, and it is important to ensure that the County’s colours, fonts, and branding are accessible to everyone. Elgin County Council has unanimously approved the updated logo to be implemented immediately on all web and digital-based corporate assets.
Rekindling Connections: A Plea for the Return of School Resource Officers in Elgin County
The Elgin Group Police Services Board (EGPSB) issued a letter to Elgin County Council expressing their deep concern regarding the ongoing pause of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program in schools within the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) district. EGPSB advocates for the return of police officers to area schools while acknowledging the importance of building positive relationships with students and the need for adaptation to address the concerns raised during the pause. This program was designed not only to educate students about important topics such as alcohol and drugs but also to build positive relationships with Elgin’s youth. Council directed the Warden to send a letter to the chair of the TVDSB that not only supports but echoes the concerns of the EGPSB.
Extending the Pulse: Elgin County’s Continuation of Vital Ambulance Services with Medavie
The County of Elgin is responsible for providing land ambulance services and has been in productive negotiations with Medavie since the original agreement was signed in 2014. The current agreement is set to expire on December 31, 2023, and in order to allow for ongoing negotiations towards a new, longer-term contract, Council has approved an extension of the current Land Ambulance Services Agreement with Medavie EMS Elgin Ontario Incorporated for up to six months.
Charting the Road Ahead: MTOs Transformative Plans and Strategic Insights for Highway 3 & 4
Elgin’s Director of Engineering Services provided Council with an overview of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO)’s Preliminary Design, Detailed Design, and Class Environmental Assessment for Highway 3 improvements from Highway 4 to Centennial Avenue. Following the second Public Information Centre (PIC) on November 22, 2023, key highlights involved utilizing two median width designs for the Highway 3 cross-section to reduce property impacts.
The proposed construction staging spans five years, starting in 2025, with specific projects each year. The County is advised to minimize construction detour durations, conduct formal assessments on roads used as detour routes, ensure restoration to pre-detour conditions, design cul-de-sacs for easy turnaround, and consider traffic signalization at Clinton Line and Highway 4.
Elgin County’s Partnership Continues with Re:Public Urbanism for 2024 Planning Services
Council approved the authorization for the Warden and CAO/Clerk to execute an agreement with Re:Public Urbanism for planning services in 2024. Re:Public Urbanism has provided planning services to Elgin County since the beginning of 2022. Initially, they only offered limited services. However, in May 2022, their scope expanded, allowing them to work on the County Official Plan and provide planning services related to the County’s approval authority function. The revised agreement extended their services through 2023, and now the County is looking at options for planning services in 2024.
Pioneering Efficiency in POA Prosecutions with Extended Green Light
Elgin County Council has given the green light to extend the Interim Transfer Agreement for Parts III and IX of the Provincial Offences Act to continue until January 3, 2026. The Province of Ontario has mandated the transfer of Parts III and IX POA prosecutions to Municipalities in a phased approach, which began as a pilot project. The successful implementation in Elgin County, which has demonstrated effective resource utilization and cost savings, has prompted the extension request. Elgin County initially took on this responsibility in December 2021, successfully managing more serious offences through a full-time prosecutor.
For the complete December 6, 2023 Agenda Package, please visit the following link: County Council Agenda Package