Planning

Planning

Elgin County Official Plan

In 2010, Elgin County Council embarked on a program to develop the County’s first ever Official Plan, a policy document that sets out long-term goals and objectives for how a community wishes to grow and develop.
The Elgin County Official Plan was approved by the Province in October, 2013. This long-range document is based on a planning horizon for the next 20 years and address matters of County importance while acknowledging local planning authority and the need to provide a balanced approach to planning in the County. Elgin County consists of seven local municipalities.

Planning for the next 20 Years

This long range planning document is based on a planning horizon for the next 20 years (2011 to 2031).  The Plan addresses matters of county importance while acknowledging local planning authority and the need to provide a balanced approach to planning in the County. Elgin County consists of seven local municipalities:

The City of St. Thomas is geographically located in Elgin County but is a separated City. 

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May 11, 2021 – County Council Highlights

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.

February 9, 2021 – County Council Highlights

February 9, 2021 - County Council Highlights

Elgin County Council Approves 2021 Budget

At their meeting on February 9, 2021, Elgin County Councillors approved a $72.4 M operating cost budget and a $39.1 M levy – a $1.8 M increase over 2020.  The levy represents a tax increase of 2.9% on an average property and as an example equating to approximately $61 on a $350,000 home. The 2021 Budget is a financial plan that has been developed to produce the best possible outcomes for Elgin County residents in a way that utilizes tax dollars in a prudent and responsible manner. Careful planning, the use of reserves and leveraging debt have allowed for modest, reasonable tax increases over the next ten years.

In 2020, Elgin County Council finalized its 2020-2022 Strategic Plan which acted as a roadmap for resource allocation throughout the 2021 Budget planning process. The Strategic Plan prioritizes investing in Elgin in a way that is financially responsible by ensuring Elgin has the necessary tools, resources and infrastructure to efficiently deliver programs and services now and in the future.

For more information about the 2021 Budget process or to view a complete copy of the Elgin County 2021 Budget please visit www.elgincounty.ca/budgetcommittee.

Additionally, a 2021 Budget Fact Sheet has been created to provide quick, high-level Budget details. 

Delegation Summary

Elgin County Council received several delegations at its meeting on February 9, 2021 including:

Elgin Ontario Health Team

Elgin County Council was joined virtually by Councillors from the City of St. Thomas to receive a presentation regarding Elgin’s Ontario Health Team Application. The province of Ontario is currently undergoing a restructuring of the health system and the creation of a central Ontario Health agency which will be comprised of regional Ontario Health Teams. The goal of these Health Teams is to strengthen how providers work together to provide care to patients. The Elgin Ontario Health Team has submitted its full application to the Province and once it has met all criteria it will become a designated Ontario Health Team and members will move to an integrated funding envelope. 

St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital MRI Application

The President & CEO of STEGH presented information to Council regarding the Hospital’s application for funding to implement Magnetic Resonance Imaging Services in St. Thomas. Residents of Elgin are currently required to travel to other regions for this service and sometimes forced to endure long wait times. The Warden was directed by Council to send a letter of support to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance advocating for provincial operating and capital funding to make Magnetic Resonance Imaging service a reality for the Elgin community.

St. Thomas Elgin Social Services Update

St. Thomas Elgin Social Services provided Council with an annual update on the status of its three (3) areas of operation – Children’s Services, St. Thomas – Elgin Ontario Works, and Housing & Homelessness Services.

Additional presentation materials for the above-mentioned delegations are contained within the Elgin County Council February 9, 2021 Agenda Package.

Local Business Support Initiatives

Economic Development provided an overview of the local business support and workforce initiatives that the department has been involved in over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the dissemination of important provincial and federal government funding information to local businesses in need, the Support Elgin Campaign promoting the goods and services that Elgin County businesses have to offer, and extensive involvement in several Workforce Planning and Development Board initiatives. A detailed account of these activities is available here.

Planning Update

Jacklin Farms Phase 3 Draft Plan of Subdivision

County Council granted Draft Plan Approval for Draft Plan of Subdivision Jacklin Farms Phase 3 to be located in the Municipality of Central Elgin (Lynhurst). The applicant, Prespa Construction Limited, requested approval of a residential Plan of Subdivision, consisting of 26 single detached residential building lots, 34 semi-detached residential building lots, one (1) block for future road right of way, all served by four new municipal streets.

The Ridge at Talbotville Gore, Phase 2 Final Approval

Final Approval was given for Phase 2 of The Ridge at Talbotville Gore Plan of Subdivision on January 27, 2021. This subdivision will be located in the Township of Southwold (Talbotville) and is comprised of 57 single detached residential building lots, and one future residential block (Block 58), all serviced by the extension of Glengariff Drive and two (2) new local streets.

Museum Committee Appointment

County Council appointed Ms. Donna Lord of the Middlemarch branch of the Elgin County Women’s Institute to replace Mrs. Helen Van Brenk on the Elgin County Museum Advisory Committee.  Mrs. Van Brenk has provided 16-years of dedicated service to both the Committee and the Elgin County Museum, including 7 years as Chair. The County of Elgin would like to recognize these significant contributions and thank Mrs. Van Brenk for her dedication to the preservation and dissemination of Elgin County historical information. Her efforts have contributed greatly to ensuring that the future generations of Elgin County will learn about Elgin’s rich heritage.

Library Services Update

The Director of Community and Cultural Services provided Council with an update on Library Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The last update was provided in October when Council had approved a transition to Curbside Plus, an initiative that allowed limited patrons into library branches while maintaining health and safety protocols. In-branch visits were eliminated when the province went into lockdown on December 26, 2020; however, unlike the first provincial lockdown in March of 2020, Libraries have been allowed to remain open for curbside pick-up only. This is a testament to the important role that libraries play in ensuring the emotional and mental well-being of residents during these difficult times. Throughout the pandemic curbside pick-up has remained popular and Elgin County has seen increased usage of online services.

Council were also informed that Green eRecycling who had previously provided e-waste recycling services at several of Elgin County’s library branches was unable to provide this service going forward. Over the course of the program over 75,000 kilograms of e-waste were collected through the library system and a large portion of was used by the STEAM Centre in its programming.

The STEAM Centre continues to collect and refurbish desktops, laptops, and tablets in good condition which are donated to students, Indigenous communities and people with limited income as part of its re//BUILD.IT program. E-waste can either be dropped off by appointment at the STEAM Centre (located at 745 Talbot Street in St. Thomas) or they will arrange for pick-up.  Appointments for both drop off and pick up can be made by calling the Centre at 226-212-0048 or by e-mailing rebuild.it@steameducation.ca. 

Engineering/Facilities Update

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Update

The County of Elgin’s joint public-private partnership funding proposal with the Municipality of Central Elgin and ERTH Corporation was successful in receiving funding from the Zero-Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Program. This project will install 20 electric vehicle charging stations in public places, on-street, in multi-unit residential buildings, at workplaces or for light-duty vehicle fleets. Council directed staff to provide a report detailing the process involved in charging owners of electric vehicles a nominal fee to utilize these charging stations. This report will be received at a future meeting of Council.

Council Considers Conceptual Designs for Lobby and Council Chambers Remodel

Council were presented with various conceptual design alternatives prepared by L360 Architecture Inc. showcasing six (6) Council Chamber and main entrance lobby reception area renovations and budgetary construction cost estimates presented for the Council’s consideration and direction. Council selected Option 4 which includes a modest remodel to include enhanced IT solutions, potential increased seating for staff, accessible doors, and new furnishings. This option does not increase the footprint of Council Chambers. All options can be viewed as part of the February 9, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Elgincentives Renewed for 2021

The County of Elgin is currently in the process of exploring the possibility of forming a joint Economic Development Corporation with the City of St. Thomas as recommended in the recently finalized Service Delivery Review. In the meantime, County Council has directed staff to proceed with a status quo Elgincentives Program for 2021 while continuing to work with Local Municipal Partners to conduct an ongoing review of the program to ensure alignment with community needs. Staff will present alternatives for the program to Council as part of the 2022 budget review process.

Settlement Areas Expansion

At the request of Councillor Purcell, Elgin County Council discussed the approach to Official Plan Settlement Areas and what process might be undertaken to expand Settlement Areas as part of the upcoming Official Plan Review. The amount of Settlement Area land in Elgin County (and all municipalities) is governed by the Provincial Policy Statement and is based on population projections. Several of Elgin’s Local Municipal Partners are experiencing an influx of new residents fleeing larger urban centres and looking to settle in rural areas. It was noted by some Council Members that population projections may not accurately reflect the reality of these new circumstances. This issue will be explored further with a future report to Council.

Annual Accessibility Status Report

Elgin County staff are required to prepare an annual accessibility status report on the progress of measures taken to implement the strategies outlined in the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan. Staff presented an overview of accessibility related accomplishments for 2020. The full Annual Accessibility Status Report for 2020 is available here.

The complete February 9, 2021 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

November 10, 2020 County Council Highlights

November 10, 2020 County Council Highlights

Elgin County Receives Service Delivery Review Final Report

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.

October 13, 2020 County Council Highlights

October 13, 2020 County Council Highlights

Elgin County Launches Strategic Plan Video

After a final strategic planning session on September 22, 2020 to develop a measurement framework, County Council has finalized its Strategic Plan. The planning process began in late 2019 and includes an operational plan for staff, an action plan for Council and a framework for measuring success.

A key step in the development of this strategy was consultation and gathering of feedback from several different stakeholders. Council, County staff, Local Municipal Partners and the community at large were asked to provide input on Council’s direction moving forward. The goal of this consultation was to ensure that Elgin County is responsive to the needs of the broader community and to strengthen trust and relationships with key stakeholders.

At its meeting held on October 13, 2020, Warden Mennill introduced a video designed to promote the goals and priorities of the Strategic Plan to members of the public and County stakeholders. Please click here to view the video.

For regular updates on the progress of the Elgin County Council Strategic Plan 2020-2022 please visit: www.elgincounty.ca/strategicplan.

Elgin County Planning Update

Elgin County Council granted approval for a Draft Plan of Subdivision for the Brokenshire Farms Subdivision located in the village of Dutton in the Municipality of Dutton Dunwich. The Plan consists of 72 single detached lots, 20 semi-detached dwellings and 1 storm water management block.

Council reconsidered and confirmed approval of Official Plan Amendment No. 25 in the Municipality of Bayham. This approval was originally granted on March 10, 2020; however, as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, notices of decision between February 26, 2020 and before April 15, 2020 were deemed not to have been completed, and were required to give notice again, after the termination of the COVID-19 emergency. The Province passed an amendment to the regulations to add a termination date of June 22, 2020 related to Planning Act applications. Recirculation of the notice for OPA 25 was not completed within the 15-day requirement from the Act. Council was therefore required to reconsider the amendment so that proper notice could be completed.

Elgin County Financial Update – August

The budget comparison for the County shows unfavourable performance of $22,000 for the month of August, primarily the result of COVID costs, bringing year-to-date (YTD) favourable performance to $281,000.

The full breakdown of August 2020 financials can be found in the October 13, 2020 Council Agenda Package.

Meeks Bridge Replacement

Elgin County Council approved the Project File for the Meeks Bridge Replacement Project.  As identified in the County’s 2019 biennial bridge inspection report, Meeks bridge was recommended for replacement in 6-10 years based on its existing poor structural condition. As a result, the County completed a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study which reviewed alternatives for the replacement of Meeks Bridge.

Based on the results of the study analysis and evaluation, replacement of Meeks Bridge with the use of the existing Acrow Port Bruce temporary modular bridge as the replacement structure was the preferred alternative. A new structure is currently being constructed in Port Bruce and the temporary bridge will no longer be needed in this location.

Council also directed staff to issue a purchase order to Acrow Corporation of America in the amount of $204,180.00 (excluding HST) to begin manufacturing the additional bridge parts needed to repurpose the Port Bruce temporary bridge for Meeks Bridge so as to ensure their availability as soon as the contractor is engaged. This will avoid potential project delays of three to four months.

Traffic By-Law Amendments

Elgin County Council adopted amendments to By-Law No. 17-11 “Being a By-Law to Authorize Speed Limits” and By-Law No. 20-05 “Being a Consolidated By-Law for the Regulation of Traffic including Parking on County Roads” at its meeting held on October 13, 2020.

By-Law 17-11 was amended to reduce speed limits on Iona Road in Iona and Iona Station from 60km/h to 50km/h at the request of the Township of Southwold Council.

By-Law 20-05 was amended to add a no parking zone in the village of Sparta from the east property line of Drake Street for a distance of 80 metres easterly on the north side of Sparta Line.

Salt Management Plan

Snow and ice control are important parts of keeping Elgin County roads safe for motorists. Road salt is the preferred de-icing chemical for maintaining winter roadway safety. The County of Elgin, like other road authorities, utilizes road salt to fulfil its obligations under the Municipal Act to maintain safe roads in winter.

In 2001, Environment Canada released an assessment report indicating road salts are entering the environment in large amounts posing risks to plants, animals, birds, fish, lake and stream ecosystems and groundwater. Users of road salts are encouraged to develop management strategies to minimize salt entering the environment.

At its October 13, 2020 meeting County Council approved the County of Elgin’s updated Salt Management Plan. A copy of this Plan can be accessed here.

Woodlands Conservation By-Law

At its September 22, 2020 meeting County Council reviewed the Woodlands Conservation By-law as part of the “fostering a healthy environment” strategic priority in the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. At the October 13, 2020 meeting Council consented to a housekeeping update of the By-law which will be brought forward at a future meeting. Council also committed to considering a more fulsome review of the By-law in the future in conjunction with the review of other relevant policies.

Council Directs Staff to Issue Intranet RFP

Elgin County Council directed staff to draft and issue a Request for Proposal for a Council/Employee Intranet. An intranet provides one central place to store all corporate documents, ensuring staff and County Councillors can search and quickly access the information they need. This is particularly important given the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to provide staff with regular, up to date and easily accessible health and safety information.

An intranet site that is intuitive and responsive for mobile devices will encourage and enhance two-way communication and make information sharing simple.

Solicitor Billing Increase

Elgin County Council approved a planned increase to the County Solicitor billing rate. Participating Municipal Partners will now pay $195/hour up from $175/hour previously.  

Library Launches Curbside Plus

Elgin County Council approved the next phase in reopening of the Library service. Elgin County’s library branches will be opening for restricted service described as Curbside Plus + as of October 19, 2020. Curbside service will continue and library interiors will be open for limited browsing, use of public access computers, photocopying, printing, scanning and faxing services (to be done by staff), and for renewing library cards, placing inter-library loans and placing holds. Occupancy of libraries will be limited to a one-to-one basis based upon staffing levels. Physical distancing, masking, and enhanced sanitization will be in place. Curbside Plus + conforms to the Provincial framework for libraries as authorized in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of reopening and follows all public health guidelines.

A detailed description of this service is included in the October 13, 2020 Council Agenda Package.

Registered Dietitian

The Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 requires that every home engage the services of a Registered Dietitian to oversee the nutrition and hydration programs at the home.

Elgin County’s current contract for Registered Dietitian services is expiring and a new RFP was recently issued. An evaluation committee scored each proposal received using set criteria. Council supported the evaluation committee’s recommendation to award a three-year contract to Urbshott Faulds Dietetics Professional Corporation for $89,000 per year. Funding for this service is provided by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Council Calls for Cannabis Legislation Loopholes to be Eliminated

Elgin County Council joined other Ontario municipalities in urging the Federal and Provincial governments to eliminate loop holes in Cannabis legislation that allow for unlicensed Cannabis operations to flourish without required municipal permits and required set backs. These illegal operations pose a threat to community safety, produce odours that adversely affect residents and are difficult to enforce. Council also called on the Provincial government to reevaluate minimum distance set backs associated with licensed Cannabis operations. These operations if located in proximity to residential areas cause unpleasant odours and light pollution for nearby homeowners.

The complete October 13, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

September 8, 2020 County Council Highlights

September 8, 2020 Council Highlights

Elgin County Warden’s Report – August 2020

The Warden presented a report to Council outlining his activities for the month of August and providing updates regarding the County’s COVID-19 response.

He thanked all Elgin County staff for their considerable efforts in serving Elgin County during this time of great uncertainty. All departments and services have been affected by the pandemic and this has meant that staff have had to adapt to continuous and rapid changes over the past six (6) months. Staff have accepted redeployments, adjusted hours and duties, and implemented enhanced health and safety requirements to ensure that County employees, Long-Term Care residents, and members of the community remain safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.

With much regret the Warden announced the cancellation of the 2020 Warden’s Dinner in November as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Warden informed Council that Premier Ford had announced that the envelope and structure of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) would remain unchanged for 2021. This will guarantee $500 million of critically important funding for municipalities, particularly in rural and northern communities. The Warden had sent correspondence to the Province earlier this year, on behalf of Elgin’s Local Municipal Partners, asking that funding remain stable in order to allow municipalities to plan for economic recovery.

The Warden announced that the 2021 application intake period for the Community Grant Program is now open and the County will be accepting applications until November 10th. Grant applications and information about the Community Grant Program can be found online at www.elgincounty.ca/communitygrantprogram.

Final Approval for Plan of Subdivision

The Manager of Planning informed Council that Final Approval had been granted to theKemsley Farms Plan of Subdivision in the Municipality of Central Elgin. This residential Plan of Subdivision is comprised of 65 single detached lots, 1 storm water management/valley lands block, 4 walkway/servicing blocks, 1 park/trail block, 1 park block, 1 valley lands block, 5 future residential blocks, and 3 reserve blocks. The original Draft Plan Approval for this subdivision was given by Elgin County Council on September 24, 2018.

Elgincentives Program Review

The General Manager of Economic Development provided Council with an overview of the process that will be used to evaluate the Elgincentives Community Improvement Plan.

In 2015, each of Elgin’s Local Municipal Partners adopted an Elgincentives Community Improvement Plan (CIP) as a component of a strategic County-wide framework for community improvement planning that is administered and funded by Elgin County. In 2015, $1 million was allocated to the Elgincentives program to support the local business community. In 2018, the tax vacancy rebate of $80,000 per year was added to the original program amount giving a total of $1.24 million to be allocated over the six-year time period of the program.

Economic Development staff will undertake an analysis of the program’s success over the past six (6) years to assist Council in determining whether they wish to continue the program past 2020. This analysis will evaluate program statistics to determine to what extent the program achieved the following three (3) goals:

1. To stimulate economic growth and diversification
2. To enhance the quality of place for residents and visitors
3. To improve the sustainability and stability of the tax base

Economic Development staff will be assisted in this analysis by the Elgincentives Coordinating Committee comprised primarily of the Chief Administrative Officers of Elgin County’s Local Municipal Partners. Past applicants will also be asked to complete surveys about their experiences with the program.

A full description of the proposed evaluation process can be found in the September 8, 2020 Elgin County Council Agenda Package.

Provincial Funding Allocations

On August 11, 2020, the County of Elgin received correspondence from Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health confirming that the Ministry will be funding Land Ambulance Services in the amount of $5,100,079 which is an increase of $72,184 over last year’s funding of $5,027,895. This additional funding will become part of base funding.

The County of Elgin received additional correspondence from Minister Elliott, indicating that one-time funding in the amount of $420,000 would be provided to support the temporary pandemic pay initiative for Land Ambulance Services. Elgin’s service provider, Medavie EMS, will be distributing these funds to its employees as outlined by the Provincial guidelines.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) announced the total 2020 per diem funding changes for base level of care and project funding. The impact of the Long-Term Care changes in per diem and project funding is a gain of $119,820 for the 2020 budget year and a gain of $221,265 for the full year impact.

July 2020 Financial Update

The budget comparison for the County shows unfavourable performance of $39,000 for the month of July, primarily the result of COVID-19 costs, bringing year-to-date (YTD) favourable performance to $302,000.

The “June 2020 Financial Update” presented to Council discussed assuming $12 million of debt in 2020, as part of the $35 million of debt previously planned as part of the 2020 ten-year plan, to take advantage of the favourable rates. Council enacted a borrowing by-law in order to submit a long-term financing application with Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation (OILC) for $12 million.

Administration Accessibility Elevator Addition

The County of Elgin has identified the need to upgrade its current original 1960’s vintage elevator systems at the Administration Building and address accessibility deficiencies on the main level, between the outer and center blocks of the building so as to maintain compliance with the Province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requirement and significantly improve barrier-free circulation on this level. Council voted to re-engage the services of L360 Architecture to prepare construction and building permit application design drawings, tender documentation and provide contract administration services associated with the project.

Port Bruce Bridge Replacement

Additional archaeological assessment requirements and ongoing delays associated with material delivery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in an increase to the scope of the engineering services required for the Port Bruce Bridge Replacement. Council increased the amount of engineering services previously awarded to K. Smart Associates Limited Consulting Engineers and Planners by $119,585.77 to accommodate this increased scope. The project remains on schedule to be completed by the end of 2020.

Committee Appointments

At its August 11, 2020 meeting County Council appointed three individuals to the newly formed Connectivity Committee. At its meeting held on September 8, 2020 Council appointed an additional applicant to the Committee.

The County of Elgin also appointed six (6) individuals as members of its newly formed Environmental Advisory Committee. These individuals are passionate about finding solutions for environmental challenges, come from diverse employment backgrounds and have a unique set of relevant expertise and technical knowledge.

Full applications can be viewed as part of the September 8, 2020 Elgin County Council Agenda Package.

Name Change at Dutton Library

Elgin County Council considered a recommendation thatthe name of Dutton branch of the Elgin County Library be modified from John Kenneth Galbraith Reference Library, Dutton to John Kenneth Galbraith Library, Dutton.

The Dutton branch of the Elgin County Library was previously named in honour of John Kenneth Galbraith to recognize his impressive accomplishments as an international statesman and economist. Dr. Galbraith was raised in the former Township of Dunwich and maintained an intimate connection to the library throughout his life, including the donation of funds to support the construction of a larger library in the early 1990s and supporting community fundraising efforts. It is appropriate that his name continue to be associated with the library.

“Reference” was originally included in the title because the library serves as the reference library for Elgin County’s western library branches. Aylmer Library serves as the reference library for branches in the east; however, “Reference” is not included in its name. For the sake of consistency and shortening the title on signage and marketing materials Council voted to remove the word “Reference” from the title.

Bill 197, COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020

Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 received Royal Assent on July 21 and is now in force. This Bill made changes to many different pieces of legislation governing municipal operations including amendments to the Municipal Act, 2001. Council considered the merits of incorporating these changes into its Procedural By-law.

The Municipal Emergencies Act passed in March allowed for municipalities to amend their procedural by-laws to allow Municipal Councillors to participate electronically in Council and Committee meetings, be counted towards quorum, and have their votes counted in open and closed session meetings. This only applied during a state of emergency. Bill 197 will now allow Municipal Councils to amend their procedural by-laws to allow for electronic voting after the state of emergency is lifted. Council directed staff to bring forward an amendment to the Elgin County Procedural By-law to allow for ongoing electronic participation.

Bill 197 further amended the Municipal Act by adding Section 243.1 (1), permitting municipalities to amend their procedural by-laws to include a provision for proxy voting. Through this provision a member of Council would be permitted, in accordance with a process established by the Clerk, to appoint another member of Council as a proxy to act in their place when they are absent. County Council did not consider it necessary to amend the Procedural By-Law to include proxy voting given the ability to participate electronically and the existing provision to appoint alternates.

County Renews Contract with Independent Resolutions Inc.

Elgin County Council passed By-Law 20-45 extending the appointment of Independent Resolutions Inc. as Integrity Commissioner, Closed Meeting Investigator and Ombudsman for Elgin County for an additional two years starting on January 1, 2021.

The original contract with Independent Resolutions Inc. was approved in 2018 and had an option to renew for an additional two years. In April Council passed a resolution to renew with Independent Resolutions Inc. and directed staff to determine whether Elgin’s Local Municipal Partners would continue their use of Independent Resolutions Inc.

Six (6) of Elgin’s seven (7) Local Municipal Partners have indicated through Council resolution that they intend to extend their contracts with Independent Resolutions Inc. The Town of Aylmer has separate arrangements for Integrity Commissioner, Closed Meeting Investigator and Ombudsman services and will continue with these arrangements.

County Raises Childhood Awareness Cancer Flag

Jack Hildebrand raising the child cancer flagAt its meeting held on September 8th, County Council made a proclamation declaring September to be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Elgin County. After the meetingChildhood Cancer Survivor Jack Hildebrand of Belmont raised the Childhood Cancer Flag in front of the Elgin County Heritage Centre.Representatives from Childcan, childhood cancer survivors and their families were in attendance.

Warden Mennill, The Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and Jill Ferguson, a representative from MP Karen Vecchio’s office, provided remarks.
The County of Elgin is honoured to work together with organizations, such as Childcan, who support families dealing with childhood cancer to raise awareness of the disease and its devastating effects. Awareness and funds raised by these organizations help families and children faced with childhood cancer to deal with the emotional and financial tolls associated with this disease.

“The County of Elgin stands with these families and brave children in their fight to overcome childhood cancer,” said Warden Dave Mennill. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to hear the stories of these courageous individuals and we proudly raise the Childhood Cancer Flag to draw attention to this important and worthy cause.”


Paramedics Memorial Bell Ceremony

On September 8, 2020 The Warden was invited to bring greetings on behalf of Elgin County Council at a Ceremony honouring paramedics who have died or been injured in the line of duty.

Each year a ceremony takes place in Ottawa where paramedics from across the province travel to see the Memorial Bell and pay their respects to fallen colleagues. As a result of COVID-19, the large annual ceremony in Ottawa was cancelled and instead the Memorial Bell has travelled across the Province for a series of smaller ceremonies. This has presented a rare opportunity for paramedics in Elgin County and across the Province to see the Memorial Bell and participate in ceremonies in the very communities that they serve.

It also brings a wider awareness to the challenges and risks faced by paramedics as they perform their daily duties.

“Today as we honour paramedics who have died in the line of duty or are suffering from injuries sustained on the job, we also recognize the significant contribution and sacrifices that all paramedics and their families make to ensure our communities are kept safe, said Warden Mennill. “Paramedics are the first call when Elgin County residents are sick or injured and they can always be counted on in our times of need. Thank you to paramedics in Elgin County and across Province for your continued service and dedication.”

The complete September 8, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

County Council Highlights – June 23, 2020

County Council Highlights - June 23, 2020

Final Approval of Little Creek Plan of Subdivision

The Manager of Planning presented a report informing Council that Final Approval had been granted to the Little Creek Plan of Subdivision in Port Stanley on June 12, 2020.

This residential plan of subdivision is comprised of 44 single detached lots, 39 semidetached lots, 2 medium density blocks, 1 high density block, 1 high density/apartment building/long term care facility/retirement home block, 1 walkway/watermain/storm sewer block and 1 valleylands block. The subject lands are located in the Village of Port Stanley, and they will be developed on full municipal services.

Multi-Sector Service Accountability Agreement

Council authorized staff to sign the Multi-Sector Service Accountability Agreement Declaration of Compliance – Schedule G” for April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020.

The Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 requires that the SWLHIN and Health Service Providers (HSP) enter into a service accountability agreement referred to as the M-SAA. The M-SAA includes a schedule of reporting requirements for specific reports related to performance, occupancy, compliance, etc.

The M-SAA process requires submission of an annual Declaration of Compliance – Schedule G declaring that the Health Service Provider has fulfilled its obligations under the M-SAA during the applicable reporting period.

Temporary Suspension of Green eRecycling Program at Library Branches

In 2017, County Council approved a partnership between Elgin County Library, the STEAM Centre in St. Thomas and Green eRecycling to install e-waste bins at library branches. Green eRecycling provides the bins free of charge and empties them as needed. The STEAM Centre has an opportunity to re-purpose any equipment received and also receives a portion of any revenue derived through the recycling market which then goes towards supporting programs at the Centre. These bins were installed at the following library branches after receiving approval from the County’s local municipal partners who own the library’s facilities: Springfield, Belmont, Shedden, Dutton and West Lorne.

Green eRecycling has recently notified the County that they need to suspend the program to at least the end of August due to staffing shortages. The service will pick up the existing bins and clean up any debris adjacent. It is hoped that the service will resume as soon as September.

In the interim, those wanting to donate electronic waste to the program can drop off items at the STEAM Education Centre located at 745 Talbot Street in St. Thomas.

Council Approves Telework Policy

Council approved a Telework Policy for the County of Elgin as presented by the Director of Human Resources.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many staff were reassigned to work remotely on short notice in respect of social distancing measures. The County quickly implemented ‘Emergency/Temporary Telework Guidelines’ and an Agreement for all staff who were redeployed to work remotely. The Guidelines covered the basics required for a productive and safe telework setting, including eligibility, approval and termination process, productivity and office equipment expectations, health and safety, and information security.

The Telework Policy formalized these guidelines and ensures a safe and productive telework arrangement, as the global pandemic continues.

May 2020 Budget Performance

The Director of Financial Services presented the Budget Performance for May 2020.  The budget comparison for the County shows unfavourable performance of $21,000 for the month of May, primarily the result of an unbudgeted legal settlement, bringing year-to-date favourable performance to $273,000.

Council Recommends 4-Way Stop at Talbot Line and Currie Road Intersection

As requested at the June 9, 2020 meeting, the Director of Engineering Service presented a re-evaluation of the operation of the intersection of Talbot Line and Currie Road including collision data, traffic counts and speed assessments. Additionally, the Director detailed the costs associated with installing traffic signals and the cost of installing a four-way stop condition along with a reduced speed limit. Council made the decision that a pilot project be undertaken with the installation of a four-way stop, appropriate speed limit reductions and signage at the intersection of Currie Road and Talbot Line; and, that the pilot be reviewed after one (1) year; and, that the pilot project be presented to Dutton Dunwich Council for the approval of financing.

Council Advocates for Broadband Funding

County Council will join the Member Counties and local municipalities of the WOWC in advocating for the region’s fair share of the CRTC’s $750M Broadband Fund.  WOWC and its Member Counties and local municipalities should be advocating for 10% (or $75M) of the funding as the region represents 10% of the population of Canada. WOWC must also advocate for the region’s fair share of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) $1.7B Universal Broadband Fund. Applications are opening this year and WOWC should once again be advocating for 10% (or $170M) for Southwestern Ontario based on population.

Advocacy will take the form of a letter writing campaign to the CEO of the CRTC and the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Council Approves Appointment to Green Lane Landfill Public Liaison Committee

County Council approved the recommendation to appoint Brian Lima, Director of Engineering Services to serve as the County’s representative on the Green Lane Landfill Public Liaison Committee.  The Green Lane Landfill Public Liaison Committee serves as a focal point for dissemination, review and exchange of information and monitoring results relevant to the operation of the landfill site in Southwold Township.

Mr. Lima replaces Ms. Elsie Marie Hutchings a longstanding citizen appointee of the Green Lane Landfill Public Liaison Committee who recently passed away. Council recognized Ms. Hutchings’ considerable community support, extending beyond her participation as part of the Green Lane Landfill Public Liaison Committee to the Kensington Club, Southwold Communities in Bloom, Southwold Zero Waste Committee, and Southwold Township History Committee. Ms. Hutching’s lovely disposition and her incredible, unwavering commitment to bettering the community and advocating for change will leave a void that will be challenging to fill.

Canada’s Rural and Remote Broadband Conference Series

To develop greater insight into how to address Elgin County’s connectivity issues, on June 8 and June 9, the County’s Director of Financial Services, and the General Manager of Economic Development, attended Canada’s Rural & Remote Broadband Conference Series (CRRBC). This virtual two-day event featured community, government, and industry stakeholders addressing the challenges of rural broadband. The report contained in the June 23rd, 2020 County Council Agenda Package outlines several options that small municipalities including Elgin County can take to proactively address broadband issues.

The complete June 23, 2020 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

Land Division

Land Division

COVID-19 Notice re: Applications for Land Severance

Applications for land severance can be submitted to the County in three ways:

1. Electronically to the Elgin County Office at alaverty@elgin.ca
2. Regular mail – Address: 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas, ON N5R 5V1 Attention: Land Division
3. Drop off in person at the front counter (COVID mask protocols in place) 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas between the hours of 8:30am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Affidavits and sworn declarations will need to be administered by your lawyer or other individual that is authorized to commission your signatures. This service will not be available at the Elgin County offices. Signatures can be scanned and emailed to the County upon submission of your application.

Application fees will still need to be in the form of a bank cheque made out to “Treasurer – County of Elgin” and forwarded by regular mail.

Due to the pandemic and the availability of staff for signatures, please email alaverty@elgin.ca when final deeds are anticipated to be dropped off. Allow one week for the stamping of deeds for final approval.

Land Division Committee 2019 - 2022

Mr. Dugald Aldred  – The Municipality of West Elgin
Mr. Ian Fleck – The Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich
Mr. John Andrews – The Township of Southwold
Mr. Dennis O’Grady – The Municipality of Central Elgin
Mr. Jack Van Kasteren – The Town of Aylmer
Ms. Rosemary Kennedy – The Township of Malahide
Mr. John Seldon – The Municipality of Bayham

What is a Land Severance?

A land severance is the authorized separation of a piece of land to form two new adjoining properties. This is commonly known as consent. It is required if you want to sell, mortgage, charge, or enter into any agreement for 21 years or more, a portion of your land. If a road or railway splits the two parts already, for example, consent is not needed. In addition to the division of land, rights-of-way, easements, and any change to your existing boundaries also require land severance approval.

Land division in Ontario should generally occur by plan of subdivision. If several severances are intended in the same area, this process may be more appropriate. It is a process that involves the laying out of roads, division of land into lots or blocks, the dedication of lands for other public purposes, and entering into subdivision agreements. This process involves wide consultation with the public and government agencies.

Where land division is minor, involving only one or two lots and, for example, where a plan of subdivision is clearly unnecessary for orderly development, the Planning Act provides a simpler process, called the granting of consent.

Land Severance Application Form

If the application involves the severance of a surplus farmhouse (through farm consolidation), please complete Appendix “C” – “Surplus Farm Dwelling Information Form” and the following MDS 1 form: Excerpt from MDS1 Form. (Completed Appendix “C” to be attached to the Application)

For general information on the severance process, you can also visit: 
Citizen’s Guide to land use planning: land severances

For more information on the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) formulae and guidelines, please see below link:
Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) Formulae

Land Division General Information

Your local Municipality and various agencies listed on the Rules of Procedure will receive a copy of your severance application and will provide comments to the Land Division Committee. Pre-consultation with the Municipality involved and interested agencies is essential before submitting your application to ensure the application reflects any special land severance requirements set out in the official plan and what other permits and approvals may be required.

The Land Division Committee requires that one application be submitted for each unrelated new lot created or for each lot addition, mortgage or charge, easement or right-of-way, correction of title, technical severance, partial discharge of mortgage and agreement of sale and purchase. The owner or his agent, authorized in writing must make the application, and the approval authority must be satisfied that a plan of subdivision of the land is not necessary for proper and orderly development. Incomplete applications will be returned without processing.

The Land Division Committee requires that, in addition to the prescribed information required by minister’s regulation, Appendix B forms part of the application for consent.  Appendix B, which must be completed and certified by the municipal clerk within which the property is located, provides the Committee with names, and complete addresses of all persons assessed within 60 metres of the land that is the subject of the application, for circulation purposes.

Once the authority receives an application that contains all information prescribed by minister’s regulation, accompanied by a fee, currently $1250.00, in cash, or cheque payable to Treasurer County of Elgin, the Secretary-Treasurer will accept the application as complete and commence with the deliberation process.

Yellow identification signs are sent by courier to the applicant after the complete application has been filed. These signs are to be posted immediately on stakes at each front corner of the lot to be severed, and are to remain there until the Decision of the Committee becomes final and binding. These signs assist the Committee member when visiting the site and also serves to notify neighbours of your application. Failure to post signs may result in a delay of a Decision from the Land Division Committee. Check frequently to ensure that signs are in place.

The Secretary-Treasurer, on behalf of the Committee, by personal service or by regular or registered mail, shall give written notice to all persons and agencies prescribed in the regulation, of the time and place of the hearing of each application, not less than 14 days prior to the date of the hearing. Notice of Application will be circulated to property owners within 60 metres of the subject land.

In making a decision on an application, the approval authority shall have regard to the requirements of the Planning Act, the policies of the official plan, the government’s Provincial Policy Statement, agency comments, and input from the public. Anyone attending in person will be given the opportunity to address the Committee. The Committee members may also ask for further information or clarification at this time.

It is strongly recommended that the applicant or authorized agent attend this meeting. If the applicant does not attend, the Land Division Committee will proceed with consideration of the application on the assigned day.

When the consent-granting authority has decided on your application, it is required to send a Notice of Decision approving or refusing the application within 15 days of the decision being made, to the applicant and any person or public body requesting to be notified. When a Notice of Decision is given, a 20-day appeal period follows during which time any person, Corporation or public body may appeal such decision and/or condition(s) imposed by the Committee to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. If the authority receives no appeal in that time, the decision becomes final.

A severance approval may have certain conditions attached to it including requirements for road widening or Day Light corners on County or Municipal Roads, parkland dedication, or a rezoning to allow a new land use. In addition, the property owner may be required to enter into an agreement with the municipality to provide future services or facilities. Severances applied for in rural areas that are serviced by septic systems and/or wells require review and lot assessment by the municipality in which the land is located. 

Pre-consultation with the municipality involved and interested agencies will address these issues in order to avoid time delays. The applicant will have one year from the date the decision was given to fulfill all conditions imposed by the Committee. One condition generally imposed by the Land Division Committee is that a deed be presented within one year of the date of decision so that the consent stamp may be affixed, otherwise the severance is considered lapsed. Legislation under the Planning Act does not allow for extensions to the one-year time limit to meet imposed conditions.

When the applicant has met all the conditions, upon expiry of the 20 day appeal period, the Secretary-Treasurer shall, on behalf of the Committee, affix a stamp to the deeds or legal documents and sign it, certifying that consent has been given pursuant to Subsection 42, of Section 53, of the Planning Act. The Secretary-Treasurer shall accept only original signed copies, accompanied by a fee, currently $300.00, payable to Treasurer County of Elgin, for affixing the consent stamp. In the event it is necessary to have a survey, two copies of the survey (one hard copy and one digital), must accompany the documents.

Appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal can be made in three different ways:

  1. Any person or public body may appeal a consent-granting authority’s decision and any condition within 20 days of the notice of decision.
  2. The applicant may appeal if no decision is made within 90 days from the date of receipt of the completed application by the consent granting authority containing the prescribed information.
  3. Any person or public body may appeal any changed conditions imposed by the consent-granting authority within 20 days after the notice of changed conditions has been given.

An appeal may be filed with the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee, within 20 days of the date of decision. A Notice of Appeal, accompanied by a certified cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance, currently in the amount of $300.00 for the first appeal and $25.00 for each further related appeal to the same matter, is required. For example, if you are appealing three related applications, the cheque would be in the amount of $350.00. If you wish to appeal, a copy of an appeal form is available from the LPAT website at www.elto.gov.on.ca or for pick-up at the County Municipal Offices. 

If the consent-granting authority receives an appeal, it has 15 days in which to forward the notice of appeal, fee, and compile a complete record containing the prescribed information, to the LPAT.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal may dismiss an appeal without holding a hearing if the appellant failed to put their concerns in writing before the authority’s original decision, or make an oral submission at the public meeting, or if the appellant fails to provide further information that the LPAT may request. The LPAT may also dismiss the appeal if the appellant does not include planning reasons, if in the opinion of the LPAT the appeal is frivolous, or for delay, or if the consent is premature because necessary public services would not be available within a reasonable time. The LPAT will make a decision based on the facts presented at the hearing. The LPAT’s decision is final.

If no appeals are received within 20 days of the notice of decision, the Secretary-Treasurer will swear a declaration that notice was given in the manner and in the form and to the persons, Corporations, or public bodies prescribed, and that no appeals were received within the time allowed.

  • Submit one copy of Completed Application, severance sketch and any
    supporting documentation or required forms with fee of $1250.00 payable to TREASURER, COUNTY OF ELGIN.
    If the application involves the severance of a surplus farmhouse (through farm consolidation), please complete Appendix “C” – “Surplus Farm Dwelling Information Form” and the below MDS 1 form:
    Excerpt from MDS1 Form
    (Completed Appendix “C” to be attached to the Application)
  • Identification Signs: Two yellow signs will be sent by courier to you for posting on the portion of the lot to be severed.
  • Notice of Hearing: At least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the hearing you will receive a “Notice of Application” with the date and time when the severance will be heard.
  • Hearing: The Land Division Committee will consider the application(s) and submissions by all interested parties regarding the severance. The Committee’s decision will be made immediately following the hearing of the application.
  • Decision: A Notice of Decision will be forwarded within fifteen (15) days after the date of the hearing.
  • Conditions: A one-year time limit after the date of decision to obtain the consent stamp on the deed(s) is generally imposed and other conditions may be imposed.
  • Appeal Period: A twenty (20) day appeal period from the date of the Notice exists during which any person may appeal the decision and/or conditions imposed by the Committee to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. After the appeal period, notice will be sent that either no appeals were received or that the application has been appealed.
  • If Appealed: A Notice of Appeal outlining the reasons for the appeal is forwarded to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee, with a cheque payable to the Minister of Finance for $300.00 for the first appeal and $25.00 for each further appeal related to the same matter. Notice of Appeal must be received within the twenty (20) day appeal period. A copy of an appeal form is available from the LPAT website at www.elto.gov.on.ca or for pick-up at the County Municipal Offices at 450 Sunset Drive, St. Thomas. 
  • No Appeal: If no appeal is received, the decision is final and binding and the applicant is required to: a) Satisfy the conditions imposed by the Committee within one (1) year from the date of decision; b) Obtain the services of a land surveyor to survey the lands to be severed in accordance with the Decision; c) Obtain the services of a solicitor to prepare the deeds and necessary documents; d) Submit the deeds to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Land Division Committee for final certification; e) Register the deeds at the Registry Office for the County of Elgin.
  • Stamping of the Deed: Signed Acknowledgement and Direction, Three (3) Copies of the Transfer Document with Schedule Page for affixing the Consent Stamp, (1) Hard copy and One (1) digital copy of the Reference Plan and a fee of $300.00 are required for affixing the consent stamp.

Land Division Agendas

January 26, 2022 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: December 22, 2021 at 4:30 pm
December 15, 2021 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: November 2, 2021 at 4:30 pm
November 24, 2021 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: October 13, 2021 at 4:30 pm
October 27, 2021 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: September 15, 2021 at 4:30 pm
September 22, 2021 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: August 11, 2021 at 4:30 pm
August 25, 2021 – DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: July 14, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Land Division Committee July 28, 2021 / Agenda Package
Land Division Committee June 23, 2021 /Agenda Package
Land Division Committee May 26, 2021 / Agenda Package
Land Division Committee April 28, 2021 /Agenda Package
Land Division Committee March 24, 2021 / Agenda Package
Land Division Committee Agenda February 24, 2021 / Agenda Package
Land Division Committee Agenda January 27, 2021 / Agenda Package
Land Division Committee Agenda December 16, 2020 / Agenda Package
Land Division Agenda November 25, 2020 / Agenda Package
Land Division Agenda October 28, 2020Agenda Package
Land Division Agenda September 23, 2020
Land Division Agenda Package – September 23, 2020

Land Division Agenda August 26, 2020

Contact

Contact Information
Aisling Laverty
Land Division Secretary
Phone: 519-631-1460 x122      Email: alaverty@elgin.ca
Office Hours: Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To contact via email, press the button below.

April 20, 2021 – County Council Highlights

April 20, 2021 - County Council Highlights

Council Receives Update from MPAC  

Council received an update presentation from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). MPAC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario municipalities. This organization’s role is to accurately assess and classify all properties in Ontario in compliance with the Assessment Act and regulations set by the Government of Ontario.

MPAC completes a province-wide Assessment Update every four (4) years based on a legislated valuation date which is established by the Ontario government. Market increases in assessed value between Assessment Updates are phased in gradually over four years. As a result of COVID-19, this Assessment Update was postponed and property values continue to be based on the market at January 1, 2016.

The full presentation by MPAC is included in the April 20, 2021 County Council Agenda Package. More details about MPAC can be found here.

Planning Update

Final Approval Given for Kokomo Beach Phase Two

The Manager of Planning advised Council that Final Approval was given for a Plan for Subdivision in the Municipality of Central Elgin in the Village of Port Stanley. Phase Two of the Kokomo Beach residential subdivision is comprised of 146 single detached residential lots, three (3) apartment residential blocks, two (2) parkland blocks, one (1) stormwater management block, two (2) future development blocks, and one (1) natural heritage block, all served by five (5) new local streets.

Council Approves Purchase of Registered and Deposited Plan Images

Council approved the single source purchase from Teranet to obtain all County of Elgin Registered and Deposited Plan Images for a total amount of $20,328.70, in accordance with section 4.7 (c,d) of the Procurement Policy. This will allow the County to purchase digital versions of every historic plan (R-Plans, M-Plans etc.) from Teranet.

Teranet is the exclusive provider of Ontario’s online property search and registration. They have developed, own and operate the Ontario Electronic Land Registration System. Any documents submitted for registration at the Registry Office are uploaded and maintained by Teranet.

The one-time purchase of these historic plans will ensure that the County’s GIS Elgin Mapping GIS system reflects the correct parcel data information for the County and addresses any gaps in information over the years. This will make available accurate information to the community, stakeholders and local municipalities.

Engineering Services Update

County Directs Staff to Investigate Local Municipal Requests

The Municipality of Central Elgin requested that the County of Elgin make permanent the temporary signal improvements installed at the Carlow Road and Sunset Road intersections of Warren St. in Port Stanley. These improvements were installed as a temporary measure during the King George VI Lift Bridge capital project. Council considered the matter and directed staff to gather additional information related to rental costs of the temporary signals and the degree to which the Municipality of Central Elgin will be involved in the recommended endeavor. 

Brent Clutterbuck Reappointed to Thames -Sydenham and Region Source Water Protection Committee

County Council reappointed Mr. Brent Clutterbuck, Drainage Superintendent for the Township of Southwold, to the Thames-Sydenham and Region Source Protection Committee on behalf of the County of Elgin, and subject to acceptance by the County of Essex and Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

Mr. Clutterbuck has represented Elgin County, Essex County and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent on the Thames-Sydenham for the past four (4) year term which will end on June 1,2021.

More Information about the Thames-Sydenham and Region Source Water Protection Committee appointment can be found in the April 20, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Council Directs Staff to Develop School Retention Plan

In the spirit of solidarity with its neighbours and to ensure a consistent approach to advocacy across the region, Elgin County Council passed the following resolution at its meeting held on April 20, 2021:

THAT Elgin County Council support the resolution passed by the Municipality of Thames Centre on January 18, 2021, which includes the following actions:

  1. Include a school retention plan as part of the County’s Strategic Plan and advocate accordingly;
  2. Maintain ongoing membership in the Community Schools Alliance (CSA);
  3. Support, through resolution, the CSA’s endorsement of the Rural and Northern Education Fund (RNEF) as an appropriate differentiator and funding model for rural and northern schools;
  4. Request that the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) and London District Catholic School Board (LDCSB) suggest possible reallocation of Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) to support a net funding neutral increase in the RNEF;
  5. Recommend that the TVDSB review its policies for capacity planning and pupil accommodation reviews to formally recognize the importance and value to the community of rural and single school community schools;
  6. Request communication and notification on an ongoing basis of all relevant School Boards of any areas of study considering possible consolidation, closure, additions, or new builds within Elgin County;
  7. Request annual planning reports from all relevant School Boards for all Elgin County schools and possibly related/affected/affecting schools and compare municipal growth forecasts and school board(s) growth forecasts identifying discrepancies.

Staff will develop a School Retention Plan incorporating Elgin’s current advocacy efforts and present it for Council’s consideration at a future meeting.

The complete April 20, 2021 County Council Agenda package can be found here.

January 26, 2021 – County Council Highlights

January 26, 2021 - County Council Highlights

SCOR EDC Update on Cayuga Short Line Rail Discontinuance

The South-Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation (SCOR) provided Council with an overview of the issues facing the region particularly in relation to the discontinuance of the Cayuga Short Line Rail. The Cayuga Short Line Rail runs from New Sarum, through Aylmer and Tillsonburg and ends just west of Delhi. In 2020 CN issued a notice of discontinuance of the Cayuga Line and this process is underway.

SCOR noted that aging infrastructure particularly rail infrastructure, the discontinuance of the Cayuga Line and the global pandemic all pose threats to the growth of advanced manufacturing in the region.

The SCOR EDC Lead is working with a short line rail provider to develop of a business case/feasibility study on the re-start of rail operations on the Cayuga Subdivision.

The full presentation from the SCOR EDC can be found in the January 26, 2021 Elgin County Council Agenda Package.

Council Provides Letter of Support for Broadband Application

At the recommendation of the Connectivity Committee, Council considered and consented to providing a letter of support for Xplornet for the company’s application to the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) for the installation of fibre infrastructure in several underserved locations across the County.

The Connectivity Committee continues its work towards finding a “Made in Elgin” solution for internet connectivity challenges facing residents in rural Elgin County. Providing letters of support for proposed projects in Elgin is one way that the Committee and County Council can advocate for better service for Elgin residents.

For more information about the activities of the Connectivity Committee please visit: www.elgincounty.ca/connectivitycommittee

Tree Commissioner Update

Quarterly Report – October – December 2020

The Tree Commissioner provided a summary of activity related to the Elgin Woodlands Conservation By-Law for the period of October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and weed inspection activity for the same period.

A total of 18 applications to harvest were submitted from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The total forested area involved in these harvests was approximately 655 acres. Applications for Woodland Clearings: Four (4) Council Exemption for Woodland Clearing applications were received between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 for the clearing of approximately 3.89 hectares. No weed complaints were received during this time.

The Tree Commissioner also provided education regarding a series of invasive trees and shrubs including, Autumn Olive, Norway Maple, European Buckthorn and Tartarian Honeysuckle. More information about these invasive can be found in the January 26, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Annual Report 2020

A total of 68 applications to harvest were submitted from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The total forested area involved in these harvests was approximately 1500 acres. There were 7 applications received to clear portions of woodlands within the county in 2020, for a total area to be cleared of approximately 6.39 hectares (~15.7 acres). A total of 12 complaints were received over the 2020 season.

Clearing Exemption Application 

Elgin County Council approved a Clearing Exemption Application for Part Lots 7 & B, Range 1, North of Lake Road in the Township of Southwold, on the condition that the applicant plant 420 trees as per the County’s “No Net Loss” policy. The full report can be found in the January 26, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Budget Update

Councillor Purcell, Chair of the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment Steering Committee presented a report to Council regarding the budget for the Terrace Lodge Redevelopment project. 

Tender bids have resulted in a Construction Manager cost of $29,086,452 and ancillary/soft costs (includes design, project management and fixtures and equipment) of $5,614,031 for a total project cost estimate of $34,700,483.  In December, the province confirmed changes to the funding for LTC development.  The Construction Funding Subsidy per diem is increased to $21.28, providing the equivalent of $1.9 million in incremental funding.  Additionally, the province has announced a development grant of up to $2,492,000.

The net impact of tender pricing and increased funding allows the Redevelopment Steering Committee to recommend that $1.4 million of the provincial funds be directed to County Council for other purposes. 

It is anticipated that on-site work will begin in February 2021.

Elgin Awards Contract for Port Bruce Temporary Panel Bridge & Boat Launch Removal Engineering Services

County Council voted to sole source the provision of detailed design and contract administration engineering services associated with the Port Bruce Temporary Panel Bridge & Boat Launch Removal in the amount of $29,380.00 (excluding HST), to CIMA Canada Inc. as part of the ongoing Meeks Bridge Replacement engineering assignment previously awarded to the company by Council on December 12, 2019.

Following the collapse of the Imperial Road Bridge in 2018, a temporary bridge was installed to restore vehicular and active transportation traffic across Catfish Creek. Impacts associated with this temporary bridge’s location and footprint prompted the need to install a temporary boat launch on Rush Creek Line. Prior to the installation of this temporary boat launch, the County of Elgin obtained the required agency approvals from the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority and acquired short-term jurisdiction over affected road allowances from the Township of Malahide. As part of these approvals and agreements, the County of Elgin is required to remove the temporary boat launch and restore the disturbed areas to pre-existing conditions after the construction and opening of the replacement bridge on Imperial Road.

The temporary bridge will be relocated and utilized for the replacement of Meeks Bridge in Southwold Township.

More details about the removal of the Port Bruce Temporary Bridge and the Temporary Boat Launch are contained within the January 26, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Renovations of Council Chambers, Administration Building Lobby and Reception Kiosk

As identified in the proposed 2021 Capital Budget, Council approved additional architectural design and construction administration scope of services to be included in L360 Architecture’s ongoing Administration Building Accessibility Elevator Addition and Basement Public Accessibility Washroom Upgrades Project assignment.

These additional services are associated with the renovation of Council Chambers, the establishment of a designated front lobby reception service kiosk, and decommissioning of the existing elevators. This combined scope of work will result in a more efficient and consistent design, and contract administration. Once completed, the project will comply with the Province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requirements for redeveloped public facilities.

CSWB Plan Update

The County of Elgin continues to work in conjunction with the Town of Aylmer and the City of St. Thomas to develop a Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) Plan in accordance with the requirements of Bill 175 – The Safer Ontario Act. The Plan will identify priority risk factors as well as threats to safety and well-being and outline strategies and actions to improve safety and well-being for our community.

Planning for a CSWB Plan has been ongoing since March 2020. The planning process includes four (4) Phases:

Phase 1: Project Planning and Onboarding
Phase 2: Research and Asset Mapping
Phase 3: Community Engagement
Phase 4: Plan Development

Community Engagement is ongoing throughout the process and Plan Development is now underway. The deadline to adopt this Plan is July 1, 2021.

A detailed account of Committee activities is contained within the January 26, 2021 County Council Agenda Package.

Council Approves Strategic Work Plan for 2021

Elgin County Council continued its work on the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan at a planning session held on January 20, 2021. At this meeting, Council developed a 2021 Council Work Plan with associated timelines. Council formally approved this work plan at its meeting on January 26, 2021. Click here for a copy of the 2021 Council Work Plan.

Elgin County Approves Environmental Committee Priorities for 2021

Elgin County Council approved the following Environmental Advisory Committee priorities for 2021:

  1. Advise County Council on environmental policy and sustainable matters and programs to promote the protection, enhancement, and management of the County’s natural and built environment:
    • Move to a paperless environment
    • Look at ditches along roads as ecosystems
    • Environmental Committee Members can participate in the 2021 Official Plan 5-year review/Natural Heritage System Study review public consultation process.
    • Naturalized spaces north of the County Building
    • Identify ways to increase habitats for local species (e.g. Bat boxes, etc.)

2. Research environmental sustainability practices to improve information available to County Council.

    • Research best practices associated with sustainable green purchasing policy (in collaboration with Local Municipal Partners)

Council Sets Service Delivery Review Priorities for 2021

In November of 2020 Elgin County Council received the Final Service Delivery Review Report which included 110 unique recommendations for improvements to Elgin County’s services. At its meeting on January 26, 2021, Elgin County Council determined which priorities would be included in the 2021 draft Budget. These priorities are as follows:

Long-Term Care Homes

  • Monitor provincial policy changes and how it affects the County homes (ongoing);
  • Continue to advocate for increased funding to offset the Homes costs to the County (ongoing);
  • Continue to explore recruitment initiatives with Human Resources (ongoing);
  • Invest in online scheduling and online recruitment software (2021); and,
  • Include annual direct costs of $38,000 and annual direct savings of $60,000 in the Draft 2021 Budget to support the aforementioned initiatives.

Organizational Review

  • Staff were directed to consider the options included in the Service Delivery Review for an improved Organizational Design and present options to Elgin County Council in 2021 for implementation in 2022.

Improvements to Manual Processes

  • County Council directed staff to create training manuals for digital tools, as needed; and
  • To formalize an internal Project Management structure to support initiatives identified in the Service Delivery Review to improve manual processes.

Information Technology (IT)

  • Elgin County Council directed staff to develop a 2021 Action Plan followed by a three-year digital transformation strategy in 2022; and
  • To include a placeholder of $170,000 in the draft 2021 budget and consider adding an IT Director to the current staffing complement.

Collaborative Initiatives with Elgin’s Municipal Partners

  • Elgin County Council directed staff to undertake the following actions as recommended in the Service Delivery Review: codify consultation processes for new shared services; codify risk mitigation strategies into new agreements; undertake independent appraisals for the costs of delivery for shared services (costs to be shared); avoid using a weighted County levy option for cost structures going forward; add shared services as a standing item on the County-Local Municipal Partner CAO meeting agendas; establish governing processes for the current advisory committee (Public Works Managers Working Group) for road maintenance agreement; and conduct annual review of all shared services.

Road Maintenance Agreement

  • Staff were directed to work with Local Municipal Partners to review Schedule C – Scope of Services Expectations and prepare a Request for Proposal for review by Local Municipal Partners and Council prior to issuance; and
  • The Warden was directed to notify Local Municipal Partners that Service Coordination – Road Maintenance Agreement Review has been identified by Council as a priority for 2021; and
  • To include a placeholder of $150,000 in the 2021 Draft Budget for consultant fees associated with a review of the RMA.

In-House Engineering Design & Adjusting Job Titles to Reflect Roles and Responsibilities

  • Staff were directed to prepare a business case for Council’s review that includes costs, opportunities, and savings associated with the recommendation to deliver engineering design in-house for consideration in 2021; and
  • To include placeholder of $110,500 in the 2021 Draft Budget to support the capital cost-savings opportunity associated with bringing Engineering design in-house.

Development Services

  • Council will include $10,000 for software subscriptions in the 2021 Draft Budget to support a streamlined process of submitting forms for review by the Land Division Committee.

Human Resources

  • Staff were directed to present information with respect to an hourly HR Consulting services rate and list of offerings, following a discussion with LMPs, for Council’s consideration and direction in July/August 2021.

Library Services

  • Staff were directed to work with St. Thomas Public Library to identify opportunities for enhanced partnerships and opportunities to jointly plan for a future library location in a coordinated approach to reduce future capital and operating expenses; and,
  • To work with St. Thomas Public Library on joint procurement initiatives that target savings of $15,000 – $45,000 for the draft 2022 budget.

Elgin County Launches Official Plan Process 

The County of Elgin has launched its Official Plan Review process. This process will include considerable public and stakeholder consultations over the course of 2021 and will begin with a Special Meeting of County Council scheduled for February 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

An Official Plan is a legal statutory planning document required by the province that describes the County’s land-use strategy. The County of Elgin’s Official Plan includes the vision, goals and policy directions of the County, as established by the community, and provides guidance for land use planning decisions in the County; including:

  • locations for settlement areas, agricultural lands, and natural heritage;
  • when and in what order parts of our communities will grow; and
  • protection for agricultural, mineral and environmental resources.

The County is required to update its Official Plan at least every five (5) years, in accordance with Section 26 of the Planning Act. The 2021 Review will ensure that the community vision/values, directions, policies and actions contained within the Plan reflect changes in the community and meet the future needs of residents. It is also critical that the plan reflect any changes to the Provincial Policy Statement – a key document that governs planning in Ontario.

“The Official Plan acts as a road map for future development in Elgin County,” said Warden Tom Marks. “This document will shape how our communities grow and what they will look like in 25 years from now. It is important that this Plan reflects the values, needs and unique realities of our rural communities and urban centres alike. I encourage residents and stakeholders to take the opportunity to provide the County of Elgin with feedback throughout the process so that our Plan is in alignment with community priorities.”

The Special Meeting of County Council to discuss the Official Plan Review and hear comments from the public will be held on Thursday February 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting will be held virtually and live-streamed over Elgin County’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/elgincountyadmin. Any person is invited to attend and make comments at this meeting both over the phone or online via WebEx. Only those that register will be permitted to participate during the meeting. To register, send your request via email (opreview@elgin.ca) or by phone (519-631-1460 ext. 183) no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Please include your first and last name, phone number, home address with postal code, and any prepared speaking notes with your email request.

For more information about the Elgin County Official Plan Review Process or to review a copy of Elgin County’s current Official Plan please visit www.elgincounty.ca/officialplanreview.

The complete January 26, 2021 County Council Agenda package can be found here.