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County's task force looks at potential regionalization of lower tier services

Posted January 9, 2020

Simcoe County's Regional Government Review - Service Delivery Task Force has picked up where the provincial government's abandoned review left off last fall, presenting council with a series of recommendations that could regionalize water, wastewater, planning, fire and library services.

The committee, chaired by Wasaga Beach mayor Nina Bifolchi, and includes Essa mayor Sandie Macdonald, was struck last spring to coincide with the Ford government's then regional government review, which it ended without any imposed changes.

Despite its conclusion, the County kept the task force active and it met Dec. 16, 2019. At the time, Ms. Bifolchi told Free Press Online via email the committee's role remained legitimate "because we believe there are still service delivery efficiencies to identify for the County of Simcoe and its lower-tier member municipalities."

"Exactly what those efficiencies could be is what we are now considering," she told Free Press Online. "Anything we identify would be a made in Simcoe County approach rather than something imposed upon us by the province. In that regard, this is a unique opportunity for us and not a duplication of any exercise the province performed."

Below are the recommendations County councillors will be asked to support on January 14.
  • Conservation Authorities: In regards to municipal and resident concerns with respect to conservation authority services, that the Honourable Jeff Yurek Minister of the Environment and Conservation, and the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing be requested to respond by advising on the Province of Ontario's intent, scope and timeline of their review relating to the services delivered by the Conservation Authorities.
  • Fire Services: That the County engage a third party consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of Fire Services in Simcoe County, identifying possible efficiencies and preferred Service Delivery models including regional or sub-regional service models.
  • Land Use Planning: That the County engage a third party consultant to conduct a comprehensive review identifying efficiencies and potential streamlining of processes with respect to land use planning services and approvals performed by the County and its member municipal partners.
  • Library Services: That the County engage a third party consultant to conduct a comprehensive structure and administrative review for efficiencies and coordination for the delivery of Library Services across the County and its member municipal partners.
  • Storm Water Management: That the County engage the lower tier municipalities to gain a greater understanding of the issues and challenges they face regarding storm water management, and what if anything the County of Simcoe could do to assist in this regard.
  • Legal Services: That the County engage the lower tier municipalities to gain a greater understanding of the potential efficiencies or opportunities in coordinating legal services.
  • Transit: That the County engage the local municipalities with respect to transit and transit related services seeking opportunities for coordination and efficiencies, with the input and findings potentially creating the content for a regional transit workshop.
  • Water and Wastewater: That the County engage the local municipalities to conduct an update of the Water and Wastewater Visioning strategy, seeking local input on the current service challenges, capacity, potential opportunities on coordination, and any opinions on the potential roles of the County of Simcoe in this regard.
  • Funding Sources: That the third party reviews as recommended by the Regional Government Review Service Delivery Task Force be drawn from the Municipal Modernization and Efficiencies funding, and future funding application opportunities as may be presented by the Province of Ontario.
New Tecumseth council meets Monday for the first time since Dec. 23.


All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri