-1.5 C
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Woolwich signs on to plan that will see rural townships collaborate


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new family...

Talking sports, and then some

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of major sports leagues, the On the Rise podcast has got...

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...


Crime of the Week: December 9, 2019 Case#: 1704 Offence: Theft Date:...


overcast clouds
-1.5 ° C
0 °
-3.3 °
68 %
90 %
-1 °
-1 °
-3 °
-11 °
-14 °

With Woolwich signing on this week, the region’s four rural municipalities have now all agreed to look at ways they can work together to offer services more efficiently and with lower costs.

Township councillors meeting July 30 approved plans to hire a consultant for a joint service delivery study as the first step in a new working agreement. It makes formal an undertaking between Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot and North Dumfries townships.

“It is anticipated that a series of studies could be undertaken through to 2022, subject to the success of this initial study. The intent of the study is to improve the understanding of the services currently provided by the respective townships and to provide better information, which will allow the councils and staff the opportunity to make more informed, strategic choices regarding those services,” wrote Woolwich chief administrative officer David Brenneman in a report presented Tuesday night.

The first study will focus on five areas seen as the best chance for finding common ground between the townships: fire services, emergency management, library services, information technology and corporate communications.

“These were the five areas we thought we could make the best impact with,” said Mayor Sandy Shantz of the findings of longstanding meetings between the mayors and CAOs of the four municipalities.

Brenneman noted the conversation among the four townships began before the province announced its regional review, seen by many as a prelude to another round of amalgamation talks.

While amalgamation isn’t being highlighted, much of the feedback from municipalities during the review – conducted by special advisors Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling, the latter the former chair of Waterloo Region – have opposed that prospect.

By working together, said Brenneman, the townships can demonstrate efficiencies can be found without reducing the region to a single-tier government from the current system.

“It’s a process that can show that ultimately the two-tier system can work,” he said, noting the agreement moves the process beyond simply talking about changes. “It clearly documents that we can walk the walk.”

While agreeing it was a good idea to collaborate, Coun. Larry Shantz expressed some concerns about the prospect of taking on library services as “a pretty big chunk to bite off.”

Under the current system, the townships provide and maintain library buildings, with the Region of Waterloo Library operating them, a budgeted expense of $3.2 million.

Brenneman noted having the townships take over the libraries would give each greater control over both capital and operating costs, pointing to rising administration costs in recent years.

Pointing out that Woolwich has a more pronounced relationship with neighbouring Wellesley Township – the two even share the village of Heidelberg – Coun. Patrick Merlihan inquired if the new joint commitment precluded Woolwich from working with just one other on certain efforts, with Brenneman noting there would be no such restrictions.

As a bonus, the cost of the joint study would be covered from one-time funding the province provided to all municipalities with fewer than 25,000 residents in support of finding efficiencies and modernizing how services are offered. Woolwich’s share of that pie was $725,000, cash that’s already in the bank, Brenneman said.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


Embracing the trappings of the season, writ large

A local decorator has transformed her Wellesley property into a winter wonderland, carrying on a decade-long tradition for a good cause. The final product is truly a festive sight, featuring...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Christmas is definitely a spectacle in this show

Requiring the efforts of several performing groups and a host of singers, dancers and musicians, the Yuletide Spectacular Christmas show offers up everything short...

Talking sports, and then some

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of major sports leagues, the On the Rise podcast has got you covered.

Wellesley Applejacks win lone game of the weekend

The Wellesley Applejacks got back on track with a win over the Mounties in Paris on Saturday night, making up for a pair...

Kings take two of three in a busy weekend schedule

It was a mixed bag for the Sugar Kings, who won two out of their three games during a busy weekend that saw...

The trek south was long and gruelling, but they’ll do it again

It was a long haul complete with many hurdles, but having completed the 4,300-kilometre ultra-marathon last month, organizers are already planning for the next...
- Advertisement -