Ambulance Donation and Grand Opening of The Red Pine House
Shortly before Council commenced on Tuesday, September 24, the Warden, County Councillors and staff gathered for a small ceremony to commemorate the County's donation of a 6-year old ambulance and surplus Stryker stretcher to The Living Wish Foundation. Representatives from the non profit organization, which provides transportation and medical supervision for local patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses who wish to visit places of sentimental importance one last time, were pleased to receive the gift of a decommissioned County vehicle. This ambulance will serve as the organization's sole patient transportation vehicle and enhance the lives of many local residents and families.
In celebration of National Forestry Week, the County also held a Grand Opening event for the new Forestry Education Centre – The Red Pine House. The Red Pine House is located at the Simcoe County Museum, overlooking the Kirtland's Warbler Forest and Habitat Restoration site. The building features an interactive learning area for children and youth, artifacts and history on Simcoe County Forests. In keeping with our Simcoe County Forests' #GreenandGrowing self-sustaining operations, the education centre is a 100 per cent solar-powered timber structure that pays tribute to the forests' deep-rooted history.
Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative Year 2 Funding for Social Housing Repairs
In June 25, 2019, it was recommended to Council that Year 2 Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI) funding in the amount of $1,357,820 be directed to the rental housing component, with the potential for another report to be introduced at a later date for Council's consideration, regarding the use of the funding for rental development or social housing repair.
This week, Council approved that the $1,357,820 be directed towards the capital repair needs of social housing stock to offset some of the capital repair costs. With the use of OPHI Year 2 Rental Housing funding, the draft 2020 budget amount for capital repair loans will be reduced from $4.01 million to $2.63 million.
Applications to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada
In 2011, the County of Simcoe entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to establish a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) in Simcoe County. The Simcoe County LIP Settlement strategies inform community-based planning to support the attraction, recruitment, integration, and retention of immigrants. In order to develop welcoming communities, strategic direction is critical in addressing newcomer needs and their barriers to integration.
This week, Council received a report that detailed the recently approved (in principal) federal funding application for the Simcoe County LIP. The recent application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expected to provide the County of Simcoe with a new five-year funding agreement, beginning April 1, 2020, and ending March 31, 2025. The federal submission requested $1,893,241 over five years, including salary expenses for three full-time staff. Staff anticipate that confirmation of federal funding associated with the LIP submission will not be received until later this fall.
Surplus of County owned lands
As part of any road widening project it is necessary for the County to acquire land from private properties along the frontage of the road to be widened. In some cases, the impact of the widening and the construction will interfere significantly with the owner's ability to continue to use and enjoy their property, which results in the County purchasing the entire property as opposed to a portion along the frontage. With the County Road 90 project this scenario occurred at several locations, namely 5493 County Road 90, 5499 County Road 90 and 400 Mill Street.
This week, now that construction is almost complete, Council approved staff's recommendation that the properties be declared surplus and sold in accordance with PFP Real Estate Acquisition and Disposition Policy. Staff's recommendation that the subject property be sold by listing with a real estate firm or broker on the MLS system was also accepted by Council, as this method will reach the broadest area for potentially interested parties and will likely result in the greatest return on value for the properties.
Timber Sales Results – Summer 2019
Simcoe County has long recognized that forests and their many benefits and resources are essential to the long-term well-being of our environment, communities and economy. Commercial timber harvesting is just one of the treatments utilized to achieve the environmental, social and economic objectives identified in the Forest Management Plan. Approximately 1,000 hectares of Simcoe County Forests are inventoried annually. If harvesting is prescribed, trees are marked and tallied according to the prescription, and volume is estimated in order to provide detailed information to prospective buyers. The standing timber is then sold to the highest bidder as per County policy.
This week, Council received a report on annual timber sales, which encompass approximately 600 to 700 hectares, generally divided into 25 to 40 individual sales. The competitive bidding process resulted in excellent prices for all sales. Revenues result in a net operating balance surplus which is applied to the Forestry Reserve to be reinvested into forestry operations and the acquisition of additional forest lands.