2021 marked by success for Brockton

·4 min read

BROCKTON - The year 2021 was a busy one for Brockton despite COVID-19.

One of the year’s final reports presented to council was an outline of accomplishments.

While the report couldn’t possibly include everything, it does provide a picture of a busy council and staff that have been successful in serving, to the best of their ability, a thriving community.

Coun. Kym Hutcheon commented, “We look awesome! We’ve had a great year! There are 106 actions on the action plan; let’s see how many we can get crossed off this year.”

Mayor Chris Peabody referred to the report as a “great synopsis.”

CAO Sonya Watson said she thought it was time to share Brockton’s accomplishments.

The proverbial jewel in the crown of Brockton over the past year has been East Ridge business park. It garnered almost a million dollars in revenue from the sale of 14.5 acres in 2021, with sale of an additional 8.6 acres pending in 2022 at a value of over a million dollars.

This is only part of a boom in growth throughout Brockton. Staff received an unprecedented number of development requests, from pre-consultation requests to those seeking draft plan approval, for development of various options that will contribute to the supply of housing for all income levels.

There were 217 permits issued for $53.8 million in building. That’s in addition to 871 inspections done between the start of January and the end of November. What it amounts to is a 58 per cent increase in permits for single family homes in 2021 over 2020, and 56.5 per cent more building value added in 2021.

That growth will be enhanced by the expansion of natural gas into parts of Brockton. Three years of work by staff, council and local MPPs culminated in notice of $20 million funding for EPCOR’s expansion of the South Bruce Natural Gas distribution project that will serve over Brockton 500 homes.

Future growth will be guided by completion of the Strategic Action Plan. The work involved months of focus group meetings, council meetings and communications, with 106 actions presented to council for implementation.

One highlight of the year for Brockton was National Truth and Reconciliation Day. All staff participated in online training, and many staff and council members took part in peaceful public action to show support for Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

A lot of work took place behind the scenes. While largely invisible to most people, these accomplishments will result in smoother, more efficient operations.

All committees of council were reviewed and new terms of reference were established for each of them.

There were 161 bylaws approved including the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, purchase of two tandem plow trucks, support for the EPCOR project, the Eh!Tel agreement for fibre internet services to rural Brockton, the updated purchasing and procurement policy, GTR Transit agreement, and Regional Fire Training Centre agreements.

Brockton staff have worked hand-in-hand with the BIA through its restructuring, to continue supporting the business community.

Staff are now overseeing the highly successful Walkerton Dollars program, which has been rebranded into the Brockton Dollars program for 2022.

Communication has been high on the agenda for Brockton in 2021, from broadcasting of 40 council, Court of Revision and Committee of Adjustment meetings, with about a 40 per cent increase in views. The eSCRIBE broadcasting software was successfully launched. The clerk’s department has been diligent in ensuring accurate information is provided to council and residents through various communication channels.

Even with all the positive things happening in Brockton, there were still complaints – 63 of them, as a matter of fact. Staff worked on the creation of a policy to track and ensure a timely response to complaints.

Sixteen water and sewer projects worth more than $1 million were done, including a UV disinfection system, chlorine analyzer and other improvements.

Two major road construction and three major bridge projects were done in 2021, in addition to general maintenance. Sixteen kilometres of roadway received single surface treatment in 2021.

Recreation took a hit during COVID, with many recreation programs put on hold. Things got going again in June of 2021 including 233 swimmers and 223 day camp participants. Revenue in the Lobies Park campground was up 121 per cent.

The Lobies Park skating trail attracted 2,623 skaters.

Staff applied for 14 grants in 2021 for recreation, with $185,000 approved and $14.7 million pending.

Donations of $95,000 for the Market Garden and recreation programs were received.

The Child Care Centre was filled to (COVID) capacity, with no COVID outbreaks. Many residents took advantage of the emergency full day school-age program during the pandemic lockdown, to support front-line workers.

A major triumph for Brockton was the launch of the Regional Fire Training centre, in partnership with the Ontario Fire College and Bruce Power, to provide training for Brockton and area firefighters. There have been four classes, including one in person, certifying 15 firefighters.

The report has been shared on the municipality’s website.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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