County Council Highlights - April 30, 2024

Shaping the Future: Ontario’s 2024 Proposed Provincial Policy Statement

Council received a report from the Director of Legal Services and the Acting Manager of Planning offering a preliminary summary of the Proposed Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2024. The PPS is a key document outlining Ontario’s policies on land-use planning, including growth management, housing, agriculture, and cultural heritage.

The Province has established a comment period for the PPS 2024, which runs from April 12th to May 12th, 2024. This period allows municipalities, stakeholders, and the public to provide input on the proposed policies. The County, which serves as an approval authority for subdivisions and official plans, must ensure that all land use planning decisions align with the PPS. Council emphasized the importance of this document, as it guides municipal planning decisions.

Staff will provide a more detailed summary once the Province of Ontario finalizes the PPS after the comment period, incorporating feedback from the public and stakeholders. Council encouraged community members to actively participate in the commenting process to help shape the final PPS 2024.

Road to Renewal: Culvert Rehabilitation Contract Awarded to Hornblower Earthboring Inc.

Following a competitive tender process, County Council selected Hornblower Earthboring Inc. to complete culvert rehabilitations on various County roads at a total price of $355,500. The Warden and Chief Administrative Officer have been authorized to sign the contract, signaling the project’s commencement.

The tender covered 27 culverts across four key road sections in the County, which will be rehabilitated to ensure safety and functionality ahead of future roadwork. The road sections included are Calton Line (CR 45) between Springfield Road and Richmond Road, Clinton Line (CR 11) between Highway 4 and Wonderland Road, Fairview Road (CR 22) between Dexter Line and Sparta Line, and Ron McNeil Line (CR 52) between Imperial Road and Putnam Road. A total of 12 contractors downloaded the tender documents, with four submitting bids before the closing date on March 28, 2024. Hornblower Earthboring Inc. submitted the lowest compliant bid, earning them the contract.

Work on the culverts is expected to begin in May and should be completed by December. If any change orders are required during the project, the County’s Procurement Policy outlines the procedures to ensure transparency and proper authorization. If cost increases exceed 10% of the approved tender amount, additional Council approval will be required. This structured approach ensures that the project stays on track and within budget.

Turning the Page: Elgin County Library’s 2023 Success and 2024 Goals

The Manager of Library Services presented a report on the Elgin County Library’s 2023 Performance, indicating a year of strong growth and engagement. Circulation increased by 8% over 2022, reaching a total of 300,774 checkouts. The number of active library members grew by 18% to 13,673, surpassing the 2023 service goal of 1%. New memberships also saw a significant boost, with 2,339 new members in 2023, a 26% increase over 2022, easily outpacing the initial target of 5%.

Additionally, the library held 1,977 programs in 2023, representing a 45% increase from the previous year. This considerable rise in programs demonstrates the library’s commitment to community engagement and education. The library’s digital checkouts were also noteworthy, totaling 96,583.

For 2024, the library aims to increase in-person services and target a 1% increase in holds placed within branches, as well as a 2% increase in total active library members. These goals reflect the library’s dedication to continuous improvement and expanding its reach within the community. Council praised the library’s achievements and expressed confidence in its continued success.

Modernizing Communication: Elgin County Updates Notice By-Law

Elgin County Council has approved a significant update to its Notice By-law 07-29, reflecting advancements in technology and changes in communication practices since the by-law’s original adoption in 2007. This update aims to improve clarity and ensure effective public notices in line with modern communication trends. Key changes include expanding the definition of “mailed” to include email and redefining “newspaper” to encompass online publications. Additionally, the term “published” now extends to newspapers dedicated to public information, and the requirement to post notices at local member municipal offices has been removed due to its declining relevance.

These changes also address the need for clear language and remove outdated references. For example, the section stating that interruptions in online notice methods would not invalidate the notice has been rewritten for clarity. References to council remuneration and procedural by-laws have also been updated to align with current legislation. By modernizing the Notice By-law, Elgin County aims to streamline public communication, ensuring that residents can access important information more easily. These updates align with the Municipal Act and adapt to technological advancements, helping Elgin County keep pace with contemporary communication practices.

CAO’s First 90 Days: Reflections and the Road Ahead

Blaine Parkin, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), provided an insightful presentation titled “The First 90 Days and the Path Forward,” reflecting on his first three months in the role and outlining future plans for Elgin County. The presentation underscored the CAO’s focus on understanding the organization before seeking to implement changes, summarizing his approach with the adage, “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

The presentation touched on several key themes that the CAO intends to focus on, including accelerating learning, building strong relationships, and fostering a positive corporate culture. The CAO highlighted his approach to employee engagement, emphasizing the importance of care, connection, coaching, contribution, and congratulation—the “5 C’s” of engagement. He also discussed his commitment to customer focus, community development, and setting a positive tone for the organization through effective communication and strategic planning.

Looking ahead, the CAO plans to review the County’s mission, vision, and values, create a strategic plan, and collaborate closely with Council and the Executive Leadership Team.

Council appreciated the CAO’s comprehensive review and future-oriented approach, expressing confidence in his leadership and commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive organizational culture.

Honoring World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Elgin County Council to Hold Flag-Raising Ceremony

Elgin County Council received a letter from Elder Abuse Elgin requesting that June 15th be recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Council agreed to the request and approved a flag-raising ceremony to be held outside the Elgin County Heritage Centre on June 11th, in advance of WEAAD. The event will feature a proclamation reading, with members of Elder Abuse Elgin and local media invited to attend. This annual observance aims to raise awareness and promote the prevention of elder abuse in our community. Council is proud to support this important cause and looks forward to hosting a meaningful flag-raising event to mark the occasion.

Raising Awareness and Advocating for Change: Elgin County Council Declares Intimate Partner Violence an Epidemic

Elgin County Council has declared intimate partner violence an epidemic, marking a significant step towards addressing this pressing issue in the community. The declaration, prompted by a heartfelt letter from Jodi Marissen, emphasizes the need for greater awareness and a concerted effort to combat intimate partner violence. The letter highlighted the tragic impact of domestic violence on women and children in Elgin County, urging Council to take action. The declaration aims to draw attention to the issue and advocate for systemic changes to better protect vulnerable individuals. By joining other local member municipalities in this declaration, Elgin County Council reaffirms its commitment to standing against intimate partner violence and supporting those affected by it.

A Refreshing Fundraiser: Elgin County Declares June 8th as LemonAID Day

Elgin County Council declared June 8th as LemonAID Day, an initiative designed to raise funds for sending children to camp through the Elgin Children’s Foundation. This unique event, spearheaded by a partnership between Doug Tarry Homes and the Elgin Children’s Foundation, invites neighborhoods across Elgin County to set up lemonade stands to generate community spirit and support a worthy cause. The proceeds from LemonAID Day will go towards providing children connected with Family and Children’s Services of St Thomas and Elgin with the opportunity to experience the enriching and transformative power of summer camp. Council’s endorsement aims to boost community engagement, support local children, and promote positive youth development, with a focus on entrepreneurial skills, teamwork, and social responsibility. With lemonade stands popping up throughout the County, this declaration promises to be a refreshing and impactful way to bring the community together for a great cause.

For the complete April 30, 2024 Agenda Package, please visit the following link: County Council Agenda Package

Victoria Day Closure 2024
Easter Holiday Closure Notice
Family Day Closure Notice
Graphic to indicate holiday closures at Elgin County Facilities. The Elgin County Administration Building, Provincial Offences Administration Building, and Elgin County Heritage Centre will be closed on Friday, December 23rd at noon. Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024.