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June 13, 2018
Council this Week: Highlights from the June 13 County Council agenda

Draft Zero Poverty Plan, a transportation strategy for freight railways, the 2019 budget process, and Princeton wastewater servicing

Draft Zero Poverty Plan and living wage report

Seven months after adopting its resolution to achieve zero poverty in Oxford County, Council will receive the Draft Zero Poverty Plan for consideration on June 13. Described in Council Report CAO 2018-14 as transformational work that will “challenge the status quo in all aspects of society and which will ultimately strengthen our economy, our community and our environment,” the Plan considers factors such as housing, income, political action, and societal attitudes, for instance, the social exclusion that people living in poverty experience, and the lack of understanding that exists about the factors that contribute to poverty. If the report is adopted by Council, the Zero Poverty Oxford committee will begin a period of community consultation; start to map out how the plan will be put into action; and prepare a budget for consideration during Oxford County’s budget process.

   Zero Poverty Oxford’s work on the Draft Zero Poverty Plan led the committee to identify a linchpin in the effort to eliminate poverty: the ability of all citizens to earn a living, versus minimum, wage. This forms a second report to Council, CAO 2018-17, which explains that just over 3% of Oxford County residents (2,620 people) are considered working poor, meaning their income is not adequate to meet their basic needs despite being employed. Earning a “living wage” allows families to cover reasonable living costs, cover child care and school fees, and take part in community activities. This in turn reduces stress for adults and children, supports healthy growth and development, and benefits the community at large. The report to Council asks for approval to begin the process of gathering community input, which will help form recommendations on how a living wage could be introduced to Oxford.

Read Council report CAO 2018-14–Leading Oxford County to a Zero Poverty Future and CAO 2018-17–A Living Wage in Oxford County


Transportation strategy for freight rail

Following a 2016 report on “new directions” for public transportation in southwestern Ontario and a 2017 report on the viability of short line railways, the County is bringing forward another transportation strategy report on June 13, this one focusing on freight railways. Authored by Greg Gormick of On Track Strategies, the “Steel Corridors of Opportunity” report argues that freight railways, which are vital components of southwestern Ontario’s multi-modal transportation system, are not being managed to their full potential to the detriment of the region’s economic and environmental competitiveness. The report to Council seeks approval to bring together a Southwestern Ontario Rail Corridor Coalition made up of government and rail industry stakeholders.

Read Council report CAO 2018-13–Steel Corridors of Opportunity


2019 Budget process

County Council will receive the proposed schedule of 2019 special budget meetings next week, a process that will unfold under the newly elected 2018-2022 County Council. Oxford County budget meetings, which are open to the public, will take place December 13 and 17 and January 9, when the budget will be presented to Council for final approval. For the third year in a row, Oxford County residents will be invited to submit feedback through a survey or submitted comments at Speak Up, Oxford! The survey opens on Monday, June 18.

Read Council report CS 2018-15 – 2019 Draft Budget Schedule


Princeton wastewater servicing

A recommendation will be before County Council on June 13 not to proceed with municipal wastewater servicing for the village of Princeton. The decision follows a comprehensive Environmental Assessment Study andsustainable community servicing review, which considers expert multidisciplinary opinions on water/wastewater, land use planning, public health and finance to assess whether proposed servicing is necessary, feasible, financially viable, environmentally and socially sustainable in a manner that complies with all regulatory requirements. Even after considering the option of a small modular MBR wastewater treatment system, as proposed in a delegation to Council in May 2017, the annual household wastewater fees (exceeding $1,200/year) and additional capital costs (between $32,000 and $36,000) for each homeowner were determined to be too high for servicing to be feasible. The report further indicates municipal wastewater servicing in Princeton is not required to accommodate the forecasted growth for the Township of Blandford-Blenheim and private septic systems in Princeton were not found to be contaminating runoff water in the area.

Read Council report PW 2018-28–Princeton Wastewater Servicing Class Environmental Assessment Study – Notice of Completion


Other reports and presentations

  • Delegation – Craig Van Wees and Bev Beaton re: Princeton Wastewater Servicing Solution
  • CS 2018-16 – 2017 Waste Management Year-end Financial Report
  • CS 2018-17 – Delegation Policy Amendments
  • CS 2018-18 – OILC Debenture Issues – Woodstock
  • CS 2018-19 – OILC Financing Application – Woodstock
  • PW 2018-24 – Excess Soil Management Regulatory Proposal, EBR Posting No. 013-2774
  • PW 2018-27 – Drumbo Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Class Environmental Assessment Study
  • PW 2018-29 - Grinding and Screening of Brush, Leaf and Yard Waste Contract Award
  • CP 2018-160 – Woodlands Conservation By-law Update


Questions or comments?

Council this Week highlights Council activities for the public, employees and community partners. Please send your questions and comments to