Volunteers a key part of making Haldimand County a vibrant, caring community

April 24-30 is National Volunteer Week and an ideal time to celebrate Haldimand County’s dedicated volunteers for their substantial contributions to the quality of life of its communities. It’s also a great time for anyone who is looking to give back to their community to get involved close to home.

“Haldimand County has always benefitted from a strong volunteer base with residents, service clubs and other community organizations giving their time and talents to taking care of community assets as well as organizing programming, sports, festivals and events and more,” says Katrina Schmitz, Manager – Community Development & Partnerships.

“During the pandemic, many of these facilities, activities and programs had to be suspended and volunteers were lost to other commitments and life changes. We’d like to do what we can to support volunteers—both former and new ones—to re-engage with those opportunities.”

To help connect prospective volunteers and organizations, Haldimand County will soon be introducing a volunteer portal where community-minded individuals can reach out to be partnered with volunteer groups that needs their skills and time. Interested participants can email cdp@haldimandcounty.on.ca for more information.

“Residents and users may not realize how many volunteers and groups work together throughout the county to operate everything from community halls, parks and sports fields as well as beautifying our communities and building recreational and cultural amenities,” adds Senior Community Partnership Liaison Sheryl Sawyer. “Many of these groups have seen a decline in their volunteer base and are eager to recruit new members. Any commitment of time can help and there are a wide variety of ways to get involved.”

To find out more about volunteer opportunities in Haldimand County, contact cdp@haldimandcounty.on.ca or 905-318-5932 x 6320.

A Reminder of Haldimand County’s Recreational and Non-recreational Fire By-Laws

The arrival of warmer weather has sparked an uptick in recreational and non-recreational fires in Haldimand County.  The Haldimand County Fire Department would like to remind all residents of our Open Air Burn By-law.  We kindly ask for everyone’s cooperation to ensure that all outdoor fires are safe and controlled.

Haldimand County does allow small fires (recreational) in all areas without a permit as long as the fire meets all of the regulations found in the Open Air Burn By-law.  Things to remember when having a fire on your property are:

  • The fire is contained and supervised at all times.
  • Recreational fires must be at least 10 meters from buildings and structures.
  • A means of extinguishing the fire must be available.
  • Measures must be in place, so no one is adversely affected by the smoke and odours from your fire.

However, Haldimand County only permits Non-recreational fires in specific regions.  As a result, you must acquire a burn permit available on the Haldimand County Website.  Non-recreational fires must meet all of the regulations set out in the by-law.

These regulations include:

  • Non-recreational fires must remain under supervision at all times.
  • Fires must be contained to an area not exceeding 6 meters by 6 meters.
  • Non-recreational fires must be 60 meters from all buildings, roadways and anything combustible.

Conducting Open-air fires that are not in line with Haldimand County’s by-law presents potential safety hazards.  Anyone running an open-air fire that violates the by-law is subject to fines, provincial prosecution and recovery of costs required to respond to and extinguish the fire.

If you have further questions regarding Haldimand County’s Open Air Burn By-law or our Burn Permit, please reach out to Haldimand County Emergency Services at (905) 318-5932, extension 6230.

 

Community & Recreation Facilities Strategy update: Preliminary survey results available on County website for community review and comment

Haldimand County is continuing to encourage residents and users of its facilities to have their say in the development of the County’s long-term Community & Recreation Facilities Strategy.

The Strategy focuses on facilities that support activities such as aquatics, sports, health, wellness, arts and culture and will be significantly informed by public input about recreation preferences.

To date, the public has been able to provide input through a survey and at four in-person consultation meetings. The information panels presented at the in-person session, including preliminary survey results and demographic information, are now available on the County’s website for community review and comment. Residents can share their written input or comments at RecStrategy@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

“Haldimand County received 2,000 responses to the community survey about this initiative and had further input through the in-person sessions,” says Mayor Ken Hewitt. “This is among the highest response we’ve received to any public consultation process we’ve done in recent years and confirms to Council the importance of this issue to residents and users of our community and recreation facilities and services.”

Monteith Brown Planning Consultants, who are working on the strategy, are anticipated to present preliminary recommendations to Council this June. Decisions on major investments, potential locations for new assets, and long-range capital planning will be considered during the next term(s) of Council.

For more information, visit www.haldimandcounty.ca/recstrategy.

Haldimand County launches new online building permit and planning application portal

Haldimand County is pleased to announce the launch of its new, online building permit & planning application portal. Residents, contractors and developers can now submit applications, pay fees, schedule inspections and get status updates from one central location, 24/7.

The new online portal, powered by CityView, will allow registered users to access their own, customized dashboard of all past and present building, municipal enforcement and planning-related business activities. Users will also be able to submit by-law complaints and track their status through the portal.

“The introduction of CityView is one additional step the county has taken to enhance its services and improve customer experience,” said Mike Evers, Haldimand County’s General Manager of Community & Development Services.

“Not only does the portal make it easier for residents and builders to manage their construction and development-related projects, it streamlines the application intake process for staff to maximize efficiencies and save time,” Evers added.

Individuals who wish to utilize this new online portal can create an account at HaldimandCounty.ca/apply. Anyone with an upcoming building or planning-related project is encouraged to sign up and submit applications using the new system.

Individuals with questions about the new online portal are encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact Building & Municipal Enforcement Services or Planning staff for further information.

Haldimand County hosting virtual candidate information session on April 13 for 2022 municipal election

Haldimand County and staff from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be hosting a virtual Candidate Information Session for anyone interested in running as a candidate in the 2022 municipal or school board election.

The virtual session will take place on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome and pre-registration is not required. Connection details will be shared at www.haldimandcounty.ca/election/ closer to the session.

As there have been many changes enacted to the Municipal Elections Act in recent years, this session will benefit newcomers to the municipal election process, third party advertisers as well as those who have participated in past elections. Topics covered at the session will include:

  • Role of council
  • Role of municipal staff
  • Role of school board trustees
  • Third party advertising
  • Nominations
  • Eligibility to run
  • Candidate and third party advertiser duties
  • General campaign rules and election finances
  • Compliance audits and penalties

Election Day in Haldimand County is October 24, 2022. For more information on the 2022 municipal election, visit www.haldimandcounty.ca/election/ or e-mail election@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

Haldimand County Public Library hosting 9th annual Poetry Contest

Haldimand County Public Library invites residents of all ages to get creative and participate in its 9th annual poetry contest, to be held throughout the month of April.

This year’s theme is “Back to Nature”. The Library encourages entrants to express through poetry how nature impacts and inspires them, how they connect with nature, or how their actions effect the natural environment.

Entry forms, and a full list of rules and submission details can be obtained on the library’s website or at any library branch. Submissions can be made in person at any branches or can be submitted online.

Submissions will be accepted during the month of April and entered to win cash prizes in one of the following categories:

  • Primary – Kindergarten to Gr. 3
  • Junior – Gr. 4 to Gr. 6
  • Intermediate – Gr. 7 to Gr. 10
  • Senior – Gr. 11 – 12
  • Adult – age 18+

Judging will take place at the beginning of May by a library-chosen panel. First, second and third-place prizes will be awarded in each category. First prize will receive $50, second prize will receive $35 and third prize will receive $20. Winners will be announced in mid-May.

Individuals with further questions about the 9th Annual April Poetry Contest may call or visit their local library branch. Branch hours and contact numbers can be found on the library’s website.

Haldimand County Council approves 2022 Tax-Supported Operating Budget

On March 31, 2022, Haldimand County Council reviewed and approved the 2022 Tax-Supported Operating Budget. The budget results in a total levy requirement of $76,221,100, which equates to a residential tax impact of 2.29%.

Generally, the annual Tax-Supported Operating Budget pays for day to day operations of the County, including salaries, wages, utilities, insurance and services such as running arenas/programming, maintaining locals parks and cemeteries, providing emergency services (fire, police and ambulance), the collection of garbage and related activities.

“Despite significant financial challenges related to economic factors beyond the county’s control, staff have worked hard to develop a budget that is aligned with Council’s priorities and mindful of the challenges our ratepayers are facing,” said Mark Merritt, General Manager of Financial & Data Services.

Major factors that influenced the 2022 Tax-Supporting Budget include external financial pressures (higher costs of materials, supply chain issues, increased inflation), as well as increases to costs associated with insurance, policing and contracted services (e.g. winter maintenance).

CAO Craig Manley noted that while the Operating Budget initially represented a 7% increase for ratepayers, staff conducted a rigorous review of controllable costs and only brought forward new initiatives that would negatively impact standards of service or health and safety if they were not included.

Manley also emphasized the positive impact of increased assessment from growth in 2021 – nearly $2.0 million or 2.73% – that has helped alleviate the tax burden and achieve the final recommended tax increase for 2022.

“The 2022 Tax-Supported Operating Budget represents a financially sustainable plan that responsibly manages taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars while addressing current and emergent needs of our growing community,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

“Thanks to the continued hard work of staff, we have once again been able to meet the Council-approved tax increase target of 2% annually, a goal that was established in 2018 at the beginning of this Term,” Hewitt added.

Highlights of the 2022 Tax-Supported Operating Budget include:

  • introducing new, permanent staffing resources to address organizational needs, respond to growth and meet service levels expected by residents (including up-staffing paramedic services to address response time standards);
  • proceeding with the Council-approved reorganization of the IT division to prioritize the enhancement of public-facing services (i.e. on-line and self-serve tax information), increase efficiencies and strengthen cybersecurity;
  • funding the continuation of successful economic development, tourism & culture-focused activities, including the successful Paddle Art Tour Haldimand (PATH) and Haldimand County Geocache Tour;
  • maintaining the enhanced levels of portable washroom cleaning and facilities put in place at public parks when the pandemic started in support of tourism and increased community use, and;
  • increasing funding for the proper asset management of existing social housing stock in the County and to financially support a new affordable housing build in Dunnville – a priority set by Council for this term.

On average, a residential property owner can expect their annual property taxes to be allocated as follows:

A chart indicating annual property tax allocations by service.

Haldimand County re-introducing ‘Clean and Green’ program ahead of Earth Day

Haldimand County is committed to investing in programs and partnerships that contribute to the vibrancy and health of its communities. In addition to offering Community Partnership Program capital grants, Community Beautification grants and related supports, Haldimand County provides support to community groups and individuals who wish to lead community clean-up activities.

The County provides supplies like gloves, garbage/recycling bags, pickers, brooms, vandalism wipes and other items to those who wish to lead a community clean-up day(s). The County will also coordinate for waste to be picked up once the clean-up is complete!

Check out the new, simplified Clean & Green application online at HaldimandCounty.ca/Clean-and-Green/.

Anyone seeking further information about Haldimand County’s Clean and Green Program is encouraged to call 905-318-5932, ext. 6119 or e-mail Haldimand County’s Community Development & Partnerships Division at cdp@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

Haldimand County Invites Residents to In-Person Sessions About Community & Recreation Facilities Strategy on April 4 & 5

Four in-person public consultations are scheduled for April 4 and 5 as Haldimand County continues developing its long-term Community & Recreation Facilities Strategy. The drop-in sessions are scheduled as follows:

Monday, April 4; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Cayuga Memorial Arena, McSorley Room
Monday, April 4; 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Caledonia LIONS Community Centre
Tuesday, April 5; 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Jarvis Lions Community Centre
Tuesday, April 5; 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Dunnville Community Lifespan Centre

All sessions will be hosted in keeping with pandemic-associated public health guidelines at that time.

“Haldimand County received 2,000 responses to the community survey about this initiative,” says Mayor Ken Hewitt, “which is likely the greatest response received to any public consultation we’ve done in recent years. This just confirms to Council the importance of this issue to residents and users of our community and recreation facilities and services.”

The Strategy — which focuses on facilities that support activities such as aquatics, sports, health, wellness, arts and culture — is being developed in consultation with Monteith Brown Planning Consultants of London, ON.

“Now that we’re able to host public engagement sessions again, we’re hoping residents who may not have had an opportunity to take the survey will come out to see what might be possible and share their thoughts,” adds Hewitt.

While the Strategy will be strongly informed by public input about recreation preferences, it will also include recommendations about financial feasibility of potential locations and types of facilities. This might include repurposing existing sites or facilities or entering into partnerships to address service and programming preferences and trends.

Find out more about the project on the County’s website or contact us at RecStrategy@HaldimandCounty.on.ca if you have questions or want to provide input into the process.

Haldimand County Community Paramedic Program making a difference locally

Haldimand County’s Community Paramedic Program continues to make an impact locally, and thanks to $4.3 million from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the program will continue – fully-funded – for the next 2.5 years.

The Community Paramedic Program was initiated in March 2021 with the goal of connecting vulnerable or homebound patients to health and community services. Since its launch, the program has grown to serve 160 clients across Haldimand who would otherwise experience challenges accessing vital services.

The program’s primary focus is helping at-risk individuals and older adults remain at home longer and maintain independence while waiting for long-term care. Without the support of community paramedics, many of these individuals would wind up in hospital due to their inability to access care.

Regular home care visits, medication checks and ongoing monitoring of medical conditions by community paramedics help mitigate medical complications for these residents and reduce the likelihood of severe conditions requiring 911 response and hospitalization.

“We are incredibly proud of our community paramedic team and grateful to the province for additional funding that will help us reach more residents in need,” stated Jason Gallagher, Haldimand County’s Manager of Emergency Services and Fire Chief.

“Whether we are visiting someone to perform a medication check, administer IV fluids, take blood, teach them how to use their glucose monitoring system or something else, community paramedics are a vital lifeline to many who lack a support system,” Gallagher noted.

Residents who feel they may benefit from the Community Paramedic Program should speak with their primary care physician and request a referral. There is no cost to eligible individuals, and at-home visits will be scheduled based on an individuals’ needs (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).

More services will be introduced to the Community Paramedic Program in the coming months and shared with the community as they become available.

Individuals who would like to learn more about services offered may contact 905-318-5932 ext. 6113.

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