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Highlights from the Dec. 14 Council Meeting

Posted on Friday December 15, 2023

Woodstock – Thursday’s meeting was the final Council meeting of 2023 and it was a packed agenda. Details about the following 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

At tonight’s meeting, Council voted on several amendments to the preliminary budget to reflect their input on various items. Recognizing the financial pressures many people are currently facing, Council also voted in favour of removing the Downtown Revitalization project from the 2024 budget and 2025-2028 capital forecast until a clearer picture of what the tax levy increase might be. A decision on how to move forward with the project will come following the operating budget discussions scheduled for February and March. Council also directed staff to undertake community consultation to get feedback from the public.

With those amendments, the total capital budget for 2024 came in at $29,039,000, 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.

While Part VI.1 of the Municipal Act shifted authority for the budget to the head of council, Mayor Acchione indicated he intends to continue with the City’s usual process. The Mayor waived his right to veto the amendments proposed by Council meaning that the Capital budget is deemed adopted.    

Pre-budget approval

In advance of the upcoming operating budget discussions, Council approved the budget for Cowapolooza entertainment and the annual bedding plant purchase. Pre-budget approval of these items is necessary as final budget approval would happen too late in the season for these projects to be delivered successfully. Council also approved the 2024 Fee Assistance in Recreation (FAIR) program budget, which allows qualifying residents to start accessing the program in January in advance of summer camp registration.

The next step in the overall process is the operating budget. Staff will present an overview of the preliminary budget on Feb. 15, 2024, followed by a more detailed review of the operating budget on Feb. 20 and 22. The Police, Library and Art Gallery budgets will be presented to Council on March 7 and the final budget review and approval is scheduled for March 21.

Land Sales

Tonight, Council approved the sale of three sites within the City’s newest industrial park on Pattullo Avenue. 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 approximately 85 acres available for sale, Council also approved the sale of 29 acres earlier this fall. The City has invested approximately $20M to acquire and service the site. Proceeds from these sales will help fund the development of future business parks.

Agreements have been reached with:

  • Inno Foods Inc. for the purchase of 10 acres of land for $5,100,500. The Canadian manufacturer of high-quality snack foods intends to build new warehouse and manufacturing space.
  • Paper4U for the purchase of 4.9 acres of land for $2,199,750. Paper4U is a premium paper distributor that serves both Canadian and international clients and is planning to build a new production space.
  • Acier Stigterstaal Canada Inc. for the purchase of approximately 8.8 acres of land for $3,840,000. The site is intended to be used for the warehousing and distribution of heavy plate steel used primarily in marine and ship building. The parent company, Stigterstaal B.V. is headquartered in the Netherlands near Rotterdam. The company has been in business since 1956 and provides just-in-time delivery to marine industries in more than 30 countries around the world.

Housing Pledge

As part of their efforts to build 1.5 million new homes by 2031, the Province asked Ontario’s largest and fastest-growing municipalities to submit a housing pledge outlining the strategies, actions and initiatives they will take to achieve their housing targets. Council held a special meeting on Nov. 9, 2023 to explore gentle density strategies and brainstorm initiatives and barriers to creating more homes in Woodstock. Based on their feedback, staff prepared a draft housing pledge for their consideration. With Council’s approval of the pledge, the City will now submit it to the province and make it available the City’s website.

UNESCO Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities

In line with the updated priority action items in the City’s strategic plan, Council voted in favour of joining UNESCO’s Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. Joining the coalition allows Woodstock to access resources and a supportive network of other municipalities striving to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination so that all people feel safe and welcome in our community. Staff has also entered into discussions with the County about how Woodstock can collaborate on local initiatives through the Safe and Well Oxford Steering Committee. Staff will also continue to explore ways to promote equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the community (Strategic Action 1.6) and bring back information as appropriate in the new year.

Task Force Reserve Fund Allocation

Council approved the allocation of $30,000 from the Community and Social Well Being reserve fund to Operation Sharing. The funding will support the creation of a mobile warming centre to help support vulnerable populations over the upcoming winter months. As part of the 2023 budget process Council established the Mayor’s Task Force and reserve fund to support initiatives and address issues related to homelessness and community well-being.

Holiday Closures

As 2023 draws to a close, please note there are some schedule changes and facility closures to be aware of. City Hall and the Engineering and Public Works offices are closed from Dec. 23, 2023 through Jan. 1, 2024. There is no transit or para-transit service on Dec. 25, 26 or Jan. 1. The following table shows the curbside garbage and recycling collection changes:

If your collection day is

Your waste will be picked up

Dec. 22

Dec. 21

Dec. 25

Dec. 27

Dec. 26

Dec. 28

Jan. 1

Jan. 2

 

Please see the attached reference sheet for a complete list of closures and schedule changes.

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© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7

 

Phone: 519-539-1291
Email: General Information

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