Perth County Council Briefs: GGR Plan, grant policy changes, ambulance replacements discussed

·4 min read

PERTH COUNTY – Perth County’s July 7 council meeting saw the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (GHGRP) extend into the near future, the grant policy formalized, Emergency Medical Services equipment and ambulances replaced, and a contract for highway salts awarded.

GHGRP extending into the future

Council approved its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (GHGRP) and Beyond, which provides the county and lower tiers with a guide for local climate action initiatives.

The county and municipalities partnered to create this plan with Stratford and St. Marys, with all but Perth East approving it. Stratford and St. Marys have begun implementing the plan, “leaving the County, Perth South, North Perth and West Perth to consider their own options to advance the Plan in 2022.”

The GHGRP proposes a number of actions, including:

Engaging Low Carbon Cities Canada, “a group that is supporting municipal climate change efforts across the country, to facilitate a workshop with County and Local Senior Management;”

Develop a Perth County Clean Water Project, which $25,000 has been budgeted for the 2022 operating budget;

Align the new Official Plan policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions;

Support active transportation by including pedestrian and cycling infrastructure into new plans and promoting these transportation corridors;

And launch a communication strategy for the above actions.

Cultivating Opportunity Grant Program Policy formalized

Council was requested to review the county grant program on Jan. 23, 2020, in order to formalize the program. It has now been redeveloped, to:

“Direct grant funding to eligible not-for-profit organizations and registered charities to enrich the community and support the goals of the County’s Strategic Plan and initiatives;

“Establish clear eligibility criteria, standardize the application process and

ensure that the allocation of grant funding is transparent, consistent and

achieves the maximum impact for the investment provided;

And “establish standardized reporting criteria for grant recipients to ensure

accountability, evaluate the program and celebrate community successes.”

Two options were presented to council beyond the changes: whether or not Council would approve applications. Option 1 gives staff authority to assess applications using a scoring matrix. A report of successful recipients would be submitted to council. Option 2 had staff compile applications to provide council.

Deputy Warden Rhonda Ehgotz disapproved of staff having that authority, saying “I am not comfortable that staff are going to be the one to pick some people who get money and how much they get. I think that’s a political decision. They can gather the applications, they can make sure they meet the criteria, they can bring it to council, but that is a council decision. Because we could change the amount of money, we could do many things. But I think that is a political decision of what each organization gets.”

Coun. Robert Wilhelm disagreed, arguing that it should not be a political decision. Grants should go towards who quantitatively is better rated.

Deputy Warden Ehgotz put forward that they approve option two, which passed.

The updated grant program is available in the agenda package of the council meeting.

Ambulances replaced early

Council approved the early purchase of two ambulances for the Perth County Paramedic Service (PCPS). The PCPS has 12 frontline Type III ambulances and was scheduled to replace two of them in 2023. Noting supply-chain issues, it was recommended to place an order now for 2023 ambulance replacements, in order to mitigate delays.

The total budget for the ambulances and equipment is $503,900, which includes two Stryker stretchers.

It was noted that PCPS currently has two vehicles from 2021-22 on order. They hope to receive those prior to 2023.

Tender results for highway salts

Tender results for the three-year supply of treated and untreated OPSS compliant bulk highway salts. The tender also included the supply for the lower tiers: Perth East, Perth South, North Perth, West Perth, St. Marys, and Stratford. Collectively, 23,000 tonnes of salt are used annually. The previous contract was held by Compass Minerals Canada Corp. and ended in the 2021-22 winter season. The same company produced the low bid for the next contract, with no change to prices. The county awarded the tender to them, with the contract being completed in the 2024-25 winter season.

Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner

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