It is hard to believe that it has already been over 100 days since I took office as your Mayor and our council was sworn in. When we look at government it generally moves very slowly. Progress is normally measured in months and years vs days. That is why I am so happy to see that we moved so many things forward in such a short period of time.
Some of the highlights of the first 100 days include the approval of many key initiatives and policies. We voted to move back to the Ontario Ombudsman as our closed meeting investigator and we also approved the Videotaping of Council meetings which should be up and going very soon. We were required to review our Procedural bylaw and we modified our meeting schedules to allow more time between Committee of the Whole and Council Meetings. We maintained the practice of public input during Committee of the Whole and we also added email discussions to the definition of meetings in our Township. This means that you will have much more public input and access to information than ever before.
Our staff has been very proactive when it comes to policies and is undertaking a comprehensive analysis of areas where we simply don't have any type of policy. This was the case with snow removal where we approved the recommendation of staff for a snow removal policy for the villages. Our Director of Public Works also brought forward and we approved a policy that deals with a flooding issue that has existed for decades. This bylaw gives the Township the necessary jurisdiction to remove blockages such as beaver dams on public property that is causing flooding on municipal roads and is a major step forward. We continue to look at other ways to mitigate the risks of flooding and to look at proactive measures that can be put in place.
We were able to have our Capital and Operating budgets approved earlier than any other time in our history. What this allowed our staff to do was to get out ahead of the pack when it comes to getting projects underway. One of the key initiatives will be our Strategic Plan and the process will begin in the next 2 weeks which is very exciting. The committee will have the first meeting on March 23rd. In addition there were many other master plan initiatives which will allow us to make more sound decision making with taxpayer money. We need to understand what we have in order to plan for what we want in the future.
We also approved several foundations for growth in the Township which included the new Park Revitalization in Lansdowne at Jerry Park and the approval of 40 new residential units adjacent to the park. Staff also brought forward rezoning for the lands north of the casino which will allow us to begin our Commercial growth initiatives. The fact that the casino is staying here in our region means we can now make sure it is the centre piece for future development.
At the County level we have almost finalized our budget and continued public meetings are occurring on the Official Plan. The process to amend the official plan has been ongoing since March of 2014 and has involved many public meetings, input and modifications to bring us to where we are today. It is still unclear however, based on recent announcements about further proposed modifications to the Planning Act in Ontario as to whether the County plan will be adopted prior to those changes being finalized. The next public meeting is this week where the final draft will be presented. Our Township will also be required to update our own plan in the very near future.
I am very proud of our staff and our council for being able to move so many things forward in such a short period of time. The hard work is just beginning as we enter the Strategic Planning process. Looking forward to working with our Community to build our future!