Highlights from the Jan. 18 Council Meeting

Posted on Friday January 19, 2024

Woodstock – Thursday’s meeting was the first Council meeting of 2024. There was a full house, as residents filled the chambers to hear from a delegation seeking changes to the planning process to enable greater public input. In response to the concerns expressed by the delegation, Council directed staff to bring back a report outlining other options on how the planning process could be managed.

Details about the following items, or any of the other topics discussed during the council meeting, can be found at Council meetings are live streamed on the City’s YouTube channel and recordings of the meetings are posted online following the meetings.

EV Charging Stations

Council authorized staff to proceed with applying for provincial grants that if approved would fund the installation of six public electric vehicle charging stations in Woodstock. The charging stations would be available to the public 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Staff will also continue to explore additional funding opportunities and try to secure a third-party operator interested in taking over ownership and maintenance of the charging stations.

Land Sales

Council approved the sale of two additional parcels of industrial land at Thursday’s meeting. The first is a nearly five-acre property on Jack Ross Avenue to VALO BioMedia Inc. The company is looking to construct a new 42,166 sq. ft. facility that will serve as its Canadian Headquarters and expand its vaccine industry operations. Recognizing the potential opportunities for the site, the City had only recently repurchased the land in the summer of 2023 due to changing real estate needs of the previous owner.

The second site is an approximately 14-acre parcel on Alyea Street within the City’s newest industrial park. High Noon Investment Corporation is intending to construct a nearly 113,000 sq. ft. facility supporting the food processing and local agricultural sector which could see an additional 300 new jobs created once fully operational.

In 2016, the City purchased the former George Alyea farm and has since invested in the property to ready it for industrial development. Of the 85 acres that were initially available, Council has already approved the sale of approximately 67 acres since the land was put on the market through a public tendering process in 2023. Proceeds from these sales will help fund the development of future business parks.

Implementation of Housing Pledge Actions

Staff will begin the process of updating the City’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to allow for incentives that support the construction of new housing as well as physician recruitment on a community-wide basis.

Community Improvement Plans are a tool under the planning act to support redevelopment activities. Currently, the CIP focuses on strategies specific to supporting improvements in the downtown. Expanding the scope of the CIP to include physician recruitment will help enhance the City’s physician recruitment efforts.

While not directly a tool to increase housing, Council identified in Woodstock’s housing pledge the importance of access to services and amenities, including health care, as a necessary component to support residents and maintain a desirable quality of life.

Further, staff will investigate new grant and incentive programs to support the development of a range of new housing options across Woodstock including affordable housing and rental housing. Examples of programs staff will explore include brownfield programs, grant-back programs related to municipal fees or taxes and exemptions for parkland fees for affordable housing developments.

Updates to the City’s CIP must follow the process outlined in the Planning Act. All proposed changes to the CIP will be presented at a future public planning meeting before returning to Council for approval.

New Acting Mayor Named

Councillor Leatherbarrow will serve as the Acting Mayor starting Jan. 19, 2024 for a one-year term. Under Chapter 11 of the Municipal Code, Council must elect an Acting Mayor to serve in place of the Mayor if they are unable or unwilling to fulfill the Mayor’s duties. Councillor Leatherbarrow takes over from Councillor Lauder, who previously served as Acting Mayor.

Accessibility Plan Status Report

Council approved this year’s Status Report for the 2023 Accessibility Plan which outlines the activities undertaken to remove barriers for people living with disabilities and make Woodstock more accessible. Some of the initiatives are being carried over into 2024 including renovations to the Woodstock Art Gallery’s fourth floor, a new splash pad at Reeves Community Complex and accessible washroom renovations at Cowan Park Sportsplex. In 2023, the City also implemented additional tools to improve the accessibility of information on the website and Woodstock Transit continues to improve accessibility of its bus stops. The City’s Accessibility Plan and Status Reports can be found at


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