Georgian College Funding Event
On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Warden George Cornell, Councillors and Economic Development staff members joined Georgian College's students and faculty in celebration as the County presented Georgian College president and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes with a cheque for $500,000 – the County's latest installment on a $5-million commitment to help develop the Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre. Over the past 10 years, the County has invested more than $9 million in Georgian College to help students develop the skills our County needs to grow the local economy, boost employment figures and support successful Simcoe County enterprises.
On November 11, 2019, County of Simcoe staff and local residents joined CAO Mark Aitken, Payroll Supervisor and 5-year Royal Canadian Navy veteran Monique Laporte, Lieutentant Commander Nic St. Louis of CFB Borden, 2LT Patrick Michalski from the Grey-Simcoe Foresters and the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services Honour Guard to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have fought or who currently fight for our freedom. This year marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day (Battle of Normandy) and in recognition of the milestone, the County created a special memorial to recognize the 26 soldiers with connections to Simcoe County who died on or shortly after the D-Day Landings. The County's Remembrance Day ceremony took place outdoors at the Simcoe County Museums' WWI trench.
Waste Collection RFP
In March, County Council directed staff to seek qualified vendors for the provision of curbside collection services for garbage and organics through one service contract and for the provision of curbside collection of recycling through another contract, both based on a four day collection week (which would allow for an extra day to address any collection delays or impacts among other benefits). A number of service providers have expressed interest in providing garbage/organics for the whole County as one contract and recycling collection for the whole County as a separate contract.
County Council approved staff to seek proposals on the garbage/organics and recycling contracts, and has allowed staff to explore the value of splitting the County into two sections, so that there could be potentially two contracts for garbage/organics and two contracts for recycling. This decision is to allow smaller collection contractors to compete, who might otherwise have been unable to accommodate a whole-County contract, while aiming to enhance consistent collection services. A decision on the new contractor(s) will be made by March 2020. Based on current contractual timelines, the new contract would commence on November 1, 2021.
Funding Application for Multicultural Centre
As Simcoe County's immigrant population continues to increase and account for a growing percentage of our diverse communities, the County was presented with an opportunity to partner with the Ethnic Mosaic Alliance (EMA) to develop and build a multicultural centre. The EMA is a not-for-profit organization that incorporated in March 2019 with the help of the Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership. The Alliance envisions establishing a multicultural centre that is safe and welcoming to all who wish to embrace the growing diversity in Simcoe County.
County Council approved direction for staff to submit a funding application to the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure as the lead applicant, in partnership with the EMA. This decision is in alignment with the County of Simcoe's Community Settlement Strategy, which first recommended the creation of a multicultural centre in 2012.
Next Generation 911 (NG 911)
Following two inquests held in the fall of 2018 that identified several shortcomings in the current 911 system, new Ontario legislation has been introduced to support the implementation of common standards of 911 service across the province. As Ontario is only one of two provinces that does not currently have 911 legislation, moving forward with a standardized approach will ultimately improve the 911 system and enhance public safety.
Council received a report on upcoming changes to the Emergency 911 system that is utilized in Ontario and across Canada. After more than 30 years, the current 911 system has reached end of life. It cannot keep up with evolving technologies or public expectations of a modern 911 system. Next Generation 911 (NG 911) is a replacement of the current Enhanced 911 infrastructure and systems. NG 911 is not just about new technology. This Internet Protocol (IP) based network provides updated infrastructure and operational procedures to capitalize on new capabilities to meet the evolving expectations of citizens and emergency responders. For example, these enhancements will enable texting with 911, improved wireless cell phone tracking, and the transference of images and video during emergencies.
Regional Government Review (RGR)
In October, the Government of Ontario announced the results of a review into 82 municipalities including Simcoe County that sought to ensure efficient and effective government at the municipal level. Throughout the review process, the Province heard from a variety of stakeholders including many residents, who indicated that local communities should decide what is best for them in terms of governance, decision-making and service delivery. The Province agreed with municipal and public feedback, but asked municipalities to continue to seek local efficiencies.
Following this announcement, County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell issued a statement on the decision. The County remains committed to delivering high quality, affordable and sustainable services, and working with the Province to find efficiencies wherever possible. Council voted to schedule further Governance Committee and Regional Government Review Task Force meetings to continue discussions related to the recommendations brought forward by the two Committees earlier this year regarding governance and service rationalization.