Oxford County Politics

Oxford County Council, February 23rd

Thursday, 23 February 2017 07:25 JW
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By Brian Donlevy,
 
 
Concern about the long term sustainability of farm lands is one of the leading criteria for the awarding of the Oxford Sustainability Award, which was presented at County Council.  Mike Eckert of Zorra Township has been awarded the prize.  He has worked his land to preserve the woodlots and recover parts that had been used for sand and gravel extraction. In his acceptance speech Eckert made special note of the long term vision of Zorra Township Council who went against the County’s official plan 9 years ago to allow him to make the appropriate changes to his property.
 
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The Oxford County Federation of Agriculture is not pleased with the notion that the farms sector should be picking up a bigger share of property taxes. According to the latest assessments by the Municipal Property Tax Assessment Corporation the share paid by agricultural lands will rise from 6% of the total taxation last year to 9 percent by 2020.  Those increases will offset reductions on the residential and multi residential sectors. The farm sector is asking for smaller adjustments which would mean they continue to pay 6 percent of the total tax burden.
 
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Another 305 apartment units will be coming to Woodstock.  Oxford County Council have approved a zoning change that will allow for the construction of 2-12 story apartment buildings on the northwest corner of Clarke and James Street on the site of the old St. Rita’s school.  The project plans to keep the auditorium part of the school and convert it into an indoor pool. The zoning change involved a move from highway commercial to special residential to allow the appropriate population densities on the land.
 
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Problems were rare in any of the more than 11 billion cubic litres of water delivered in Oxford County.  Council received a copy of the annual inspection reports that have to be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.  One item showed the diligence of the provincial body.  The County was supposed to send in source water samples every 48 hours, but in one case the samples were taken 47 hours and 35 minutes apart and was rejected by the Ministry. Overall there were only small bacterial problems in point 3 percent of the water.  Council credited the tenacity of staff in keeping the County’s water supply clean and says anyone should have confidence any time they open a tap.
 
 
 

SWOX Council, February 21st

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 08:13 JW
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photo of current council
 
 
By Brian Donlevy,
 
 
South-West Oxford Council wants to take a detailed look at the recently negotiated land annexation deal between the City of Brantford and Brant County to see if there is any information that will help the township in their negotiations with Woodstock and Ingersoll. One item that the Township wants clarified is the number of residential units that will be constructed per acre in the new areas of Brantford.  The numbers seem far lower than what SWOX is demanding from Woodstock.
 
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Canada Post wants all residents of Mount Elgin to start using their street addresses.  Before the local post office closed some folks had their mail addressed to PO boxes.  Now that it is shut and the community is moving to the so called super mailboxes street addresses are needed so the mail can be delivered.
 
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A celebration of sacrifice by troops at Vimy Ridge will be celebrated at the Beachville Legion on Sunday April 2nd.  The service will get underway at 11 o’clock in the morning followed by ceremony at the cenotaph, weather permitting.  A light lunch will be provided following the ceremonies. The battle of Vimy Ridge occurred April 9-12 during World War I in 1917
 

Norwich township council, February 21st

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 08:11 JW
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By Brian Donlevy,
 
 
Boundary adjustment talks are continuing between the City of Woodstock and the Township of Norwich.  Although they have met a couple of times they are still in the preliminary stages, identifying which lands could be involved in the annexation.  Areas that are being considered are the land locked triangle of Norwich Township near the Toyota plant and areas along the south side of Patullo Road.  Mayor Larry Martin says both sides are aware of the needs of the other. Woodstock needs lands and Norwich needs to replace the income that the lands would provide in taxation.  They are scheduled to meet again in March. The only timeline for the talks would be the end of this year because municipalities cannot make land deals in an election year and voters go to the polls in 2018.
 
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Friendly competition and Canada’s 150th birthday celebration could mean an extended Canada Day celebration in Norwich Township.  The municipality rotates its July first party every year and Mayor Larry Martin says it creates a sense of this year’s group trying to outdo last year’s group.  Because of the sesquicentennial, Martin says the party could span 3 days instead of the usual one day affair.
 
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Despite a couple of Oxford County moving away from more traditional voting systems, Norwich Township is going to stay with the tried and true paper ballots, with tabulators.  It was the system that was used successfully in the last municipal election.  South-West Oxford and East Zorra Tavistock have moved away from the paper, mail in ballots to a system of telephone and internet balloting.  No one has decided to use the ranked ballot system, where voters can list their 1st, 2nd and third choices.  The municipal election is scheduled for October 22nd of 2018.
 
 
 

Tillsonburg Council, February 13th

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 06:51 JW
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By Brian Donlevy,
 
 
The new look Tillsonburg logo is an award winner.  Mayor Stephen Molnar announced that the branding exercise was honoured at the recent Economic Developers Council of Ontario awards gala.  The new look took top prize in the Branding category for municipalities between 10,000 and 50,000 residents. The new brand has the town name in script with a green maple leaf and the words connected, enriched, inspired.
 
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There will be traffic delays in the south end of Tillsonburg this fall.  Council has been told that major structural work is needed on the Highway 3 Bridge over Big Otter Creek.  One option was to close the bridge entirely for one construction season, but that would have forced all of the traffic off the highway through town.  Instead, MTO has decided to keep one lane of the bridge open controlled by traffic lights.  The estimated delay time for motorists will be two minutes.  The bridge will also be totally closed 8 evenings from 7 until 5 in the morning.
 
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Tiillsonburg Council has decided to delay a non-profit housing project proposed by Tillsonburg Community Housing. Council was dealing with a request to change zoning from low residential density to medium residential density to allow for a sixteen unit senior’s building on Hardy Avenue.  Council heard concerns about property values, parking and esthetics from local residents.  Most of the concerns of the potential neighbours could be handled during the site plan process, not at this stage, but council decided to delay the entire project.  The matter will come back in March.
 
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If Tillsonburg Town Council does not provide fiscal support to the T:GO transportation plan, the system will either be severely cut back or cease to exist. The service started with a 2 year grant from the province which ends in March.  In order to replace those funds, $40,000 is being requested from the Town and almost $38,000 from gas tax Tillsonburg receives from the province. Council will make a decision when a staff report comes back.
 
 

Norwich Council, February 7th

Thursday, 09 February 2017 10:23 JW
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By Brian Donlevy,
 
 
A sharp rise in the number of calls received by the Norwich Township Fire Department is making budgeting for the service difficult.  Fire calls have jumped 67% in the past three years.  Mayor Larry Martin says all they can do at budget time is average the past five years and hope the figures are close.  If not they have to dip into reserves or find other areas to save money.
 
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Mayor Larry Martin is asking for patience when people deal with the Norwich Township building department.  After coming off a record year last year, 2017 has started off with a bang.  There were 25 permits issued in January of this year compared to 5 a year ago.  Martin says staff is working as diligently as they can and processing paperwork as quickly as possible.  He is also asking that people do not wait until the last minute to get the necessary documents filed.
 
 

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