would encourage the public to tune into the County services delivery review (SDR) steering committee meetings. The next one will likely be held in March or April via Zoom and YouTube.
I watched the Nov. 24 one learned a lot about what is going on behind the scenes. There are a number of working groups, mostly comprising staff from the five townships, who meet frequently to chip away at recommendations in the November 2020 SDR. At the quarterly meetings to County council, you get a glimpse into what they’re doing.
It also gives insight into what seems to be going smoothly and what isn’t going so well, and those who appear more open to change than others.
At first glance, it struck me that it’s going to take years. Turns out, I’m not wrong. CAO Mike Rutter said there’s basically a three-year window from when the report was delivered in November 2020, which takes us to the fall of 2023.
Procedure-wise it’s not simply a County council decision-making process, either. Each municipality will be voting on various recommendations before they are implemented. In other words, not all of them may be adopted if there is not the political will.
There has been some movement. For example, Scott Ovell began his job as the new director of economic development and tourism on Nov. 8. It was one of five new positions recommended in the SDR to support coordination and increased service levels. The townships have also signed off on hiring a procurement specialist to achieve savings through better sourcing. The only problem is they can’t find anyone.
I laud the building, bylaw and septic working group for inviting the Haliburton County Home Builders Association to the table. The human resources working group had Kyle Brewer attend a meeting. What better input than to hear from customers, or potential service providers, directly? We would encourage the other working groups to consider opening the door to dialogue with other key customers and user groups in the County.
I found the fire and emergency management discussion notes perhaps the most interesting as well as what Dysart et al fire Chief Mike Iles had to say on behalf of the group.
They have basically discounted much of the SDRs recommendations, saying they already have a hybrid approach to training and other collaborations they say were not reflected in the SDR report. However, they want a countywide community emergency management coordinator, not recommended in the report.
The roads, bridges and drainage working group is looking into things such as joint tenders for engineering services and automated traffic control. The waste management group is exploring an integrated waste management program and joint hazardous waste events. The planning group is discussing the County doing all pre-consultation work for consent applications and a consolidated County official plan and harmonized fees. The human resources group is investigating pooling benefits.
This is just a quick snapshot of some of the work taking place. All of the eventual changes will affect you in some way, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the process. I know we will.