Building & Waste director departs

·2 min read

STRATHROY-CARADOC - Council’s regular meeting of 1 March, 2021 began with a farewell to former Director of Building & Waste Management, Matthew Stephenson. He is departing the township to accept an offer in St. Catherines. The position is expected to be filled, with a posting going out in coming days.

In Stephenson’s absence, Jennifer Huff, Building & Planning Manager, led council through a highly-anticipated Rapid Housing Initiative report about affordable apartments in Mt. Brydges.

Council directed staff to proceed with the required steps to undertake a zone change to permit a multi-unit residential building on the lands at 22647 Adelaide Road (commonly known as a drive-way to the Tri-Township Arena lands). Those steps include acquiring drawings, hosting an open house to collect feedback, and then submitting a rezoning application likely in mid-April.

Brian George, outgoing Fire Chief, shared his disappointment with the closure of the Ontario Fire College in Gravenhurst. The college has long been a cost-efficient option for local firefighter training at all levels. With questions about the effectiveness of online training, council directed staff to bring back a report outlining the different types of safety training that local firefighters are getting.

An 11,000 square-foot extension was approved for Gray Ridge Eggs’ facility on Wright Street. With the addition of a loading dock and warehouse space, this maximizes the coverage of this property in terms of further expansion.

Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) minutes were approved by council. Rob Lilbourne, Community Services Director, said that CDAC is prioritizing the importance of beautification efforts in Mt. Brydges in 2021.

HR Director Doug Payne was given approval to issue an RFP for a new Human Resources Information System, a database to track payroll and employee demographics. He explained that Middlesex County is in the market for the same system, so they’ll be partnering up on the purchase to save some costs. Cost estimates were given in the range of $50,000 to $200,000 per year depending on the vendor; municipal modernization funds will be used.

Staff explained that $70,000 revenue was lost at the Tri-Township Arena in 2020 due to pandemic-related closures. With the corresponding reduction in expenses, the net loss for the arena was about $48,000. The future of the 48-year-old arena is a looming question that will soon need to be addressed by council.

After some councillor comments about roadwork, staff will bring an update on all capital projects being operationalized in 2021. With this update, the meeting was adjourned. Council meets again on Monday, 15 March.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner