Haldimand County Permits Seasonal Campgrounds And Trailer Parks To Open Early Under Exceptional Circumstances

Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt has issued an order permitting seasonal trailer parks to open earlier than usual. Under the same order, travel trailers or mobile homes on residential properties may be opened and occupied for purposes of self-isolation, in accordance with directives from the Medical Officer of Health. These temporary allowances have been made to accommodate residents returning to Haldimand after wintering abroad who have had to return earlier than expected and self-isolate for 14 days.

Normally, seasonal campgrounds and trailer parks are permitted to open from April 15 to October 31. Limitations on times of occupancy are a zoning by-law matter, & seasonal restrictions are related to health & safety concerns (adequate heating, and the functionality of communal water & sanitation systems). Given the mild weather, opening seasonal trailer parks early is not a significant concern. Legislatively, campgrounds & trailer parks are obliged to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Health Promotion and Protection Act & the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

As long as these provincial requirements are met by site operators, campgrounds & parks may be opened early this year. Site operators will need to decide whether they are able to provide all necessary services & comply with all provincial legislation.

Furthermore, any resident who is required to self-isolate will be permitted to occupy an attached or detached secondary suite (e.g: motor home, travel trailer) on their residential property, regardless of zoning. Normally, use of such facilities would not be permitted under municipal zoning but will be as an interim measure.

“We were contacted by a number of residents stuck abroad and seasonal sites requesting flexibility under these exceptional circumstances,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “This order allows residents to access their trailers or mobile homes in order to self-isolate & prevent community transmission,” he added.

As per the written order, these special allowances will expire once the State of Emergency is lifted.

Haldimand, Norfolk counties declare emergencies

On Tuesday, March 24, both Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt & Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp declared emergencies for their respective communities.

Declaring an emergency allows municipalities to swiftly take action on activities that are violating public health officials’ orders. Declaring an emergency also allows municipalities to tap into provincial resources & emergency funding that would not otherwise be available.

“While I have been in close communication with Mayor Chopp, declaring an emergency will allow both Haldimand & Norfolk counties to make quicker decisions, support our health team in a more expeditious manner and implement additional measures to protect the health & well-being of our communities,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “We’ll continue to do everything in our power to stop the spread of COVID-19, and I ask that residents do their part as well. Stay home, stay safe and look out for one another,” Hewitt added.

“Staff in both counties, as well as with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, are working around the clock to keep our communities safe and healthy during this pandemic,” said Kristal Chopp, Mayor of Norfolk County. “Mayor Hewitt and I are in constant communication with each other and our shared Medical Officer of Health to ensure decision-making is timely and serves the best interests of Haldimand and Norfolk.  I will continue to act as board chair and both Mayor Hewitt and I will strive to ensure you are fully updated as well as all necessary steps are being taken to protect our respective communities.”

For local information about the COVID-19 pandemic – including facility closures, program cancellations, meeting postponement & visitation restriction information – visit HaldimandCounty.ca/covid-19/ or NorfolkCounty.ca/covid-19.

For up-to-date public health information, including frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and daily updated from the Medical Officer of Health, visit the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s website.

Haldimand County Council acts to reduce charges during public health emergency

The COVID-19 emergency and the unprecedented efforts of all levels of government, businesses and citizens to respond to it are having real impacts on Haldimand County residents and businesses in terms of income, employment, quality of life and convenience. In an effort to reduce the financial burden and inconvenience imposed on Haldimand residents and businesses as a result of implementing the directions of public health officials to try to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Haldimand County has put in place measures to mitigate service fees and charges.

Effective immediately and on a go forward basis, Haldimand County Council has directed that for those unable to meet the March 31 and May 29 tax installment deadlines, the County will waive the penalty charge associated with late payment.  As such citizens and businesses have increased flexibility to defer the payment of property taxes until August 1, 2020 without penalty.

 

Statement from the Mayor & Council – March 19, 2020

In these unprecedented times people come together, governments come together, countries come together. The efforts that have been seen from leaders, from the business community, to the countless donations and help from the very many unselfish people around us is a true testament that when pushed, we roll up our sleeves and find ways to help each other back to the lives we all deserve to enjoy.

COVID-19 is having a real impact on the lives of Canadians beyond health related matters.  It is affecting incomes, employment and quality of life.  In response we are seeing higher level governments putting together substantial monetary packages to help lessen the burden on citizens and businesses that are following the advice of health officials.  We eagerly await announcements on how that money will reach those in need. The long-term economic and social impacts that COVID-19 will have on our daily lives is still difficult to determine, however, all financial supports announced to date have been to only address the immediate massive hole in our local economies. I have never seen governments move as fast as they have in the past two weeks and in such a non-partisan fashion to ensure necessary supports will be provided.

In an effort to play an active role in helping our County citizens and business that are facing  economic challenges given these unprecedented circumstances, Council and I have directed staff to waive the interest costs and any fees attached to the next two property tax instalments, March 31 and May 29.  Haldimand County property owners can pay their taxes at their own discretion up until August 1st without penalty.  We hope that this will provide you with the flexibility to manage your day to day to finances and afford you the time you may require.

In Haldimand, we will soon be finalizing our tax-supported operating budget. Council has directed staff to carefully review the 2020 budget so that is sensitive and responsive to these strange times we are living in.  Over the past several years, staff have worked diligently to ensure our financial position is strong and ready for unforeseen challenges. For this reason, we are ready to respond.

I want to assure you that both staff and Council have been working to protect your interests, to ensure that the quality services you are accustomed to continue, and that our frontline EMS staff are fully equipped with all the resources needed to meet your needs.

I would like to take this time to acknowledge those within the Haldimand-Norfolk Health & Social Services, the H-N Health Unit and our first responders for their leadership in helping Council manage our response to the COVID-19 virus. On behalf of the County and Council, we sincerely thank you for being there in times of need, never more so demonstrated than today.

 

Mayor Ken Hewitt

Haldimand County Council

Stewart Patterson

John Metcalfe

Dan Lawrence

Tony Dalimonte

Rob Shirton

Bernie Corbett

 

Statement From Haldimand County Council Regarding Highway 6 Bypass Blockade

Haldimand County Council is very frustrated and concerned about the ongoing blockade on the Highway 6 bypass in Caledonia. The blockade – which is going into its third week – is detrimentally impacting Caledonia and resulting in adverse impacts to the local economy, traffic disruptions and residents’ quality of life.

The continuation of this blockade, while others across the country are being dismantled, is unacceptable. The County is doing everything in its power to mitigate the impacts of the blockade on communities and residents.

“The little information that has come from the Ford government is misleading and causing more anxiety amongst our residents. I encourage all to contact their local MPP and press for immediate action,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

While the blockade is on provincial lands and outside of Haldimand County’s jurisdiction or direct control, Council is demanding that the Province of Ontario, as the agency responsible for oversight of the Ontario Provincial Police, require its police force to enforce the law and facilitate removal of the blockade. Haldimand County also encourages the federal government to deal with systemic issues that are leading to these reoccurring, disruptive events.

Both levels of senior government have a responsibility to address this unacceptable blockade and to ensure that the County and Caledonia do not continue to be burdened by collateral damage from inaction.

Haldimand County has worked hard to develop a good relationship with its First Nations neighbours and believes it is in the interest of all to expedite a resolution that will put an end to the blockade. Council and staff will continue to advocate on behalf of its citizens and call on the Province and Ontario Provincial Police to remedy the situation at hand.

Haldimand County Launching Youth & Seniors Advisory Committees

Haldimand County is pleased to announce the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee and Seniors Advisory Committee to advise Council and staff on issues impacting these groups. This opportunity will provide community members a unique chance to volunteer their skills, share ideas and contribute to the enhancement of their communities.

All residents with diverse backgrounds, skills and interests are welcome; applications to participate will be available on the County’s website beginning April 1, 2020.

Information Sessions outlining details of general objectives, meeting commitments and other expectations of members will be held across Haldimand County throughout the month of April:

Youth Advisory Committee Information Sessions:

Saturday, April 4; 3:00 p.m. – Cayuga Library + Heritage Centre

Wednesday, April 15; 4:00 p.m. – Haldimand County Caledonia Centre (Arena Remax Room)

Monday, April 20; 4:00 p.m. – Dunnville High School

Thursday, April 23; 7:00 p.m. – Hagersville Arena (Almas Room)

Monday, April 27; 6:00 p.m. – Jarvis Lions Lawn Bowling Club Bldg.

Seniors Advisory Committee Information Sessions:

Thursday, April 2; 9:30 a.m. – Jarvis Lions Lawn Bowling Club Bldg.

Tuesday, April 7; 10:00 a.m. – Dunnville Public Library

Thursday, April 16; 10:00 a.m. – Hagersville Arena (Almas Room)

Tuesday, April 21; 10:00 a.m. – Haldimand County Administration Building (Cayuga)

Tuesday, April 28; 6:30 p.m. – Haldimand County Caledonia Centre (Arena Remax Room)

Interested residents are encouraged to RSVP & indicate which information session they plan to attend. Residents can RSVP by calling 905-318-5932 ext. 6114 or e-mailing cdp@haldimandcounty.on.ca.

Applications to become a member of either Committee will be available at each Information Session and posted online as of April 1, 2020. Applications will be accepted until May 8, 2020.

For more information about the Committees, please e-mail cdp@haldimandcounty.on.ca or call 905-318-5932 ext. 6114.

 

Council Reviews 2020 Tax-Supported Capital Budget

Haldimand County Council reviewed the 2020 Tax Supported Capital Budget on March 5; it will be ratified on Monday, March 9. The Tax Supported Capital Budget outlines $37.1 million of infrastructure investment in 2020, with a total tax-supported infrastructure investment of $246.4 million over the next 10 years. In total, 334 new tax-supported capital projects have been scheduled for the 2020 calendar year.

The 2020 Capital Budget is heavily focused on infrastructure renewal with notable expenditures in areas such as roadway improvements, bridge and culvert rehabilitation and enhancements to corporate, community and recreation facilities.

2020 Capital Budget Highlights:

● $20.2 million towards roadway and active transportation improvements such as paving, reconstruction, resurfacing, gravel road conversion, pedestrian crosswalk installation, sidewalk/curb replacements and street lighting as well as bridge repairs, bridge rehabilitation and other structure-related projects (such as culvert replacements)

● $9.5 million towards community partnership projects and enhancements to parks, trails, arenas, pools, museums and libraries

● $679,000 towards tree conservation and reforestation initiatives

In recent years the County has deliberately increased its investment in capital to ensure that existing facilities are updated, new facilities desired by the community are added and that a funding plan is in place to minimize tax impacts. Money is set aside every year to ensure that when assets need repairs or replacing, funding is available.

“We’re at a point where, during budget preparations, there aren’t a lot of surprises. Staff have applied strong financial principles and asset management practices that result in a predictable, flexible and sustainable capital program. By planning for the long-term, we’re in an excellent position to address priorities and respond to community needs,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt.

Similar to past years, the capital levy, funded by property taxes, will increase by about $672,000, or about 1% of the overall municipal levy. The total municipal levy for 2020 will be determined in April once the 2020 Tax Supported Operating Budget is approved by Council.

The 2020 Tax Supported Operating Budget will be presented to Council on the following dates:

• April 22 & 23*, 2020 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the new Haldimand County Administration Building Council Chamber (*if required)

More information on Haldimand County budgets can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/Financials/Budgets/. You can view the full 2020 Tax-Supported Capital Budget document on the Budgets page.

County-Wide Broadband Internet Project Moving Ahead

During Council in Committee on Tuesday, March 3, staff provided a verbal update regarding the County-wide broadband internet project. Substantial progress has been made to date and the County is on track to secure an internet service provider (ISP) capable of delivering county-wide broadband internet by spring 2020.

With assistance from a third party Technical Consultant, staff have prepared a draft Project Agreement (PA) outlining all technical and financial project requirements including: 1) the technical feasibility of proposed service deployment, 2) service deployment timelines and 3) a comprehensive cost analysis. These components are of critical importance and will guide evaluations of all ISPs moving forward.

Next steps involve finalizing the draft PA, issuing the Negotiated Request For Proposal (NRFP) and facilitating individual consultations with the 3 pre-qualified ISPs – KWIC Internet, Metroloop Inc. & Xplornet. Consultations are expected to take place over the next several weeks and will provide valuable insight into the technical and financial feasibility of all ISP proposals.

“Council is committed to finding a financially sound, practical solution that makes internet connectivity attainable and sustainable for everyone,” said Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. “We’re taking all steps necessary to ensure we find the right provider that is capable of delivering these services in the long-term,” he added.

The draft PA and NRFP will be shared with the public once finalized. Once available, residents will be invited to review these documents and provide input on technical and financial components of the project (e.g: minimum download speeds, service costs, etc). More information regarding this community consultation will announced shortly.

Staff intend to issue the NRFP in April and negotiate an agreement with the successful ISP by the end of May.

Haldimand County Council Approves 2020 Rate-Supported Budget

Haldimand County Council ratified the 2020 Rate-Supported Budget on January 28, 2020. Otherwise known as the Water & Wastewater Budget, it is an important strategic document that ensures reliable, safe, clean and affordable potable water is available to residents across the County.

This Rate-Supported Budget deals exclusively with water and wastewater treatment initiatives & is funded directly by user rates (with no support from property taxes). The Budget provides a 10 year financial plan to ensure that operations, capital replacements and new treatment facilities will be provided when required with no new debt incurred. For 2020, residential water & wastewater users will see a slight increase of about .60¢ (0.7%) on their average monthly bill. The new rates take effect February 1, 2020.

Haldimand’s water & wastewater rates remain below the provincial average due to ongoing strategic planning efforts, diligent asset management practices & the application of strong financial principles. In the long-term, rates are expected to remain stable due to a comprehensive, long-term infrastructure maintenance/rehabilitation schedule and a projected increase in user growth.

The County recognizes that provincial legislation has the ability to significantly impact municipal operations & associated costs. As such, senior staff will continue to monitor the political environment & lobby against changes that may impact the affordability of water rates in Ontario.

Council will next review the Tax-Supported Operating & Capital Budgets on the following dates:

Tax-Supported Capital Budget: March 5, 2020 & March 6, 2020* (*if required)
Cayuga Administration Building – Council Chambers
(45 Munsee St. N, Cayuga)

Tax-Supported Operating Budget: April 22, 2020 & April 23, 2020* (*if required)
New Haldimand County Administration Building – Council Chambers
(53 Thorburn St. S, Cayuga)

Budget deliberations begin at 9:30am and members of the public are welcome to attend or
watch live via HaldimandCounty.ca/livestream. More information about County budgets is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/financials.

New Haldimand County Administration Building opening February 25, 2020

Construction on Haldimand County’s new administration building is wrapping up and the building will be open to the public for service on February 25, 2020.

“The new administration building is a reflection of the County’s long-term, strategic focus on continued service excellence and efficient, transparent government. The building design is community-focused, cost-effective and well-equipped to lead our growing County into the future,” said Mayor Ken Hewitt.

Staff will be permanently relocated to the new administration building at 53 Thorburn St. S throughout February on the dates highlighted below.

Satellite OfficeRelocation details
Haldimand County Caledonia Centre administration offices
100 Haddington St., Caledonia
HCCC administration offices will close at 12pm on February 7, 2020
Dunnville Satellite Office
117 Forest St. E., Dunnville
The Dunnville Satellite Office will close at 12pm on February 21, 2020
Caledonia Satellite Office
282 Argyle St. S., Caledonia
The Caledonia Satellite Office will close at 12pm on February 21, 2020
Kohler Garage / Office
1162 Kohler Rd., Cayuga
The Kohler Office will close at 12pm on February 21, 2020
Hagersville Satellite Office
1 Main St. S., Hagersville
The Hagersville Satellite Office will close at 12pm on February 21, 2020
Cayuga Administration Building
45 Munsee St. N., Cayuga
The Cayuga Administration Building will close at 4:30pm on February 27, 2020.

 

‘myHaldimand’ or ‘myHC’ community hubs will soon be open for use at all local libraries. Dunnville, Caledonia & Hagersville hubs are now available for use and Selkirk, Cayuga & Jarvis hubs will be open shortly. ‘myHC’ community hubs are computer and information stations designed to connect residents with County news, information and access to online services. For residents who are not familiar with online services offered, such as paying taxes or water bills online, library staff will be available to provide guidance on how to utilize them. Additional 24/7 online services (such as applications for certain permits) will be introduced in the near future.

“The new building is a one stop shop. Under the new centralized service delivery model, there’s no longer a need to visit multiple offices for specific services, and many services can be accessed online,” Mayor Hewitt noted. “This is an exciting moment for Haldimand County and I look forward to welcoming and serving the community in this new space.”

Other key dates & information

  • All satellite offices, with the exception of the old Cayuga Administration Building (45 Munsee St. N., Cayuga), will be permanently closed as of Friday, February 21 at 12pm. Residents who require in-person service between Friday, February 21 at 12pm and Tuesday, February 25 at 8:30am may visit the old Cayuga Administration Building.
  • The first Council in Committee meeting in the new Haldimand County Administration Building is expected to be held on Tuesday, March 31.
  • Court will begin operating in the new building as of Wednesday, March 4.
  • Service enhancements that residents and contractors will experience immediately in the new administration building will be the provision of full day permit application intake, general inquires and building inspections (Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:00 pm). Inspection requests can be made by calling 905-318-5932 or emailing inspections@haldimandcounty.on.ca. As of February 25, building inspections received prior to 3:00 pm will be scheduled for the next business day.

Plans for the new building and centralized service delivery model have been in the development stages since their approval by Council in early 2016, with a focus on enhancing customer service, maximizing administrative/operational efficiencies and ensuring long-term cost effectiveness. More information about the new administration building, including a project timeline, is available at HaldimandCounty.ca/HCAB.

Haldimand County’s New Administration Building On Track For January 2020 Completion

On October 8, 2019, Haldimand County staff presented Council with an update on the new Administration Building’s construction progress. A number of major construction milestones have been reached and the building is on track to be completed by January 2020.

Painting, floor finishes and light fixture/ceiling tile grid installation is currently underway within the building’s interior. Electrical work will continue over the next several weeks, as will landscaping and work on remaining exterior finishes (e.g: composite paneling, landscaping). Furniture deliveries and the overall setup/configuration of the building’s interior will begin in early December. Staff moves and satellite office closures are expected to begin in January 2020.

All services currently available at the County’s satellite offices will be offered at the new administration building, and new online tools will be introduced to provide more 24/7 services to residents. Library branches will be retrofitted with ‘Community Hubs’ – computer and information stations designed to connect resident with County news & online services. Library staff will be available to provide instruction and guidance on how to make use of online services, like how to pay taxes or water bills online.

Satellite office closure information will be announced and communicated to residents later this fall. To ensure service consistency across the County, Community Hubs openings will be coordinated to occur prior to satellite office closures.

The project is within budget and moving along well to substantial completion despite weather delays and impacts related to trades-related workforce disruptions in spring 2019.

More information about the new Central Administration Building – including construction updates – will be shared on the County website and social media channels as the project progresses.

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