North Huron CAO reports on projects, upcoming reports to council

·3 min read

NORTH HURON – North Huron CAO Dwayne Evans provided an update on the status of several projects from Economic Development and Recovery Committee to council at the July 5 regular council meeting.

Evans said the committee’s identified priorities are housing and development, economic recovery, rural broadband, implementation of the Community Improvement Plan, filling committee vacancies, and affordable leisure activities.

The Wingham Trailer Park purchase and sale agreement will be presented to council at the July 19 meeting, Evans said.

“At the May 17, 2021 meeting in closed session, council received and discussed all offers received for the former Wingham Trailer Park property,” Evans’ report said.

“In open session, council authorized the CAO to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement with an interested purchaser.”

The report also provided an update on the Hutton Heights project.

“BM Ross has been actively working on the engineering design for Hutton Heights. This is nearing completion. Once the design work is complete, staff will be seeking council’s authorization to proceed with tendering the construction and installation of services,” said Evans.

“At or around that same time, council will need to decide how this project will be financed.”

The former Blyth Public Works property is currently undergoing a phase one and two environmental site condition assessment by MTE consultants, the report said. Staff will be seeking further direction from council once these assessments are completed.

“At a previous meeting, council declared the Richard LeVan Airport as surplus to the municipality’s needs,” Evans said. “Since that time, the Director of Public Works and Facilities issued an expression of interest to purchase.”

These were due June 30.

“At a future meeting, the Director of Public Works and Facilities will be reporting to council on the outcome of that process.”

The Blyth Festival’s outdoor site is being completed, and “reports suggest performances at this venue will begin later this summer.”

The Blyth campground is open for business, Evans’s said in his report.

“As directed by council, the Blyth Campground is operational with picnic tables and firepits. Bookings are accepted through the township’s online booking system. Later this year staff will present a report on this initiative,” said the report.

Evans told council he recently had a conversation with the chair of the Blyth BIA regarding a number of matters, including meeting procedures.

“Staff offered and will be attending the August Blyth BIA Board meeting to assist with meeting procedures. For example, staff want to ensure the Blyth BIA Board is familiar with the process to bring forward requests for council’s consideration,” said Evans. “Blyth BIA matters have been brought forward for council’s consideration, however, the process could be streamlined making it more efficient for all parties involved.”

The Blyth BIA Chair gave permission for an invitation to the Wingham BIA to attend this meeting.

Other projects include the North Huron Economic Development and Recovery Committee’s discussion on the need to have projects developed and ready for future potential funding opportunities. Staff will be presenting a report on possible projects at the July 17 committee meeting.

In addition to the above, the CAO is investigating whether funding can be secured for all or some of an Economic Development Officer position. It is expected a report will be presented by the end of August for the council’s consideration.

Evans updated the new draft human resource policy manual, which was presented to council in a special closed session meeting.

“Council provided feedback and authorized staff to proceed with a legal review of the new draft manual. The legal review has been completed with many positive comments. A couple of matters required further discussion and investigation,” Evans said. “For this reason, there has been a delay in the presentation of the final draft for council’s consideration. The proposed implementation date for the new HR manual has been changed from July 1, 2021 to Sept. 1, 2021.”

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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