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Highlights from the Nov. 16 Council Meeting

Posted on Thursday November 16, 2023

Woodstock – The following are the notable highlights coming out of the Nov. 16 Council Meeting which got underway at 7 p.m. Details about these items, or any of the other topics discussed during the council meeting, can be found at www.cityofwoodstock.ca/agendasandminutes. Council meetings are live streamed on the City’s YouTube channel and recordings of the meetings are also posted online following the meetings.

Capital Budget Overview

Staff provided Council with an overview of the proposed Capital Budget for 2024. Staff also shared a list of projects on the horizon for 2025 through 2028. The total proposed Capital Budget for 2024 is $37,799,000, including the sewer and water work done in conjunction with City road reconstruction projects and financed by Oxford County through sewer and water rates. Approximately 72 per cent of the proposed budget is allocated for maintenance or replacement of existing capital assets and 28 per cent will go towards new or growth-related capital projects. Significant projects included in the 2024 budget are the downtown streetscape revitalization project, public works office expansion and several park development projects.

Council will spend more time learning about proposed projects and spending on Tuesday, Nov. 21 during the Capital Budget Review Meeting starting at 5 p.m. Based on the information they learn, they may suggest changes to the proposed budget. The Capital Budget is scheduled for approval during the Dec. 14, 2023 Council meeting.

Extended Holiday Parking

Council approved a request from the Downtown Woodstock BIA to once again offer free three-hour parking for the holiday season. Typically, visitors can park for free for two-hours on the street and in the City’s free short-term lots in Downtown Woodstock. Council’s approval will extend that time to three hours from Dec. 1 to Dec 31, 2023. Visitors will still need to pay for parking in the pay-and-display lots. Participating businesses will also be open extended hours on Thursday, Nov. 23 and Thursday, Dec. 21 as part of the Downtown Woodstock BIA’s Downtown Shopping Nights initiative. You can find a list of participating retailers at www.downtownwoodstock.ca

Tour of Lights

Council approved the return of the Christmas Tour of Lights, run by the Woodstock Transit. The event was put on hold in 2020 due to COVID restrictions. Staff will compile a list of festively decorated homes across Woodstock and plan a route to showcase the sparkling lights. Tours will run Sunday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. and last approximately 50 minutes. Seating is limited to 30 spaces per bus and the public can reserve a seat for $3, with all proceeds going to the United Way. Donations will also be collected on the buses for the Salvation Army. Information will be available at www.cityofwoodstock.ca/touroflights once details are finalized.

Woodstock Art Gallery 4th Floor Renovation

Council approved a funding contribution agreement with the Government of Canada for the renovation of the Woodstock Art Gallery’s fourth floor. The federal government is investing $940,740 in the project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GCIB) program. The City will also contribute more than $235,000 from the Reserve for Capital Projects. The fourth floor of the Woodstock Art Gallery is currently vacant. The funding will be used to create a flexible multi-purpose space that will support additional revenue generating opportunities including educational programming, community events and facility rentals. For more information, please see the announcement from Infrastructure Canada.

2024 Council Meeting Schedule

Staff brought forward a report proposing Council meeting dates for 2024. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of the month except during January, July, August and December, where only one meeting is held. The schedule, which was approved by Council, aligns the meeting dates for those months with Oxford County meetings. Staff will now update the calendar on the City’s website with the approved dates. The public can also subscribe to the calendar to keep up to date.

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