November 23 was Alan Barfoot's final County Council meeting as the Warden of Grey County. Alan was acclaimed Warden for the 2016 year of council and served a second year in 2017. He will continue serving until the 2018 Warden is elected on December 5. Warden Barfoot's closing address is below.
To my fellow County Councilors, County Staff, and members of the press:
It has been an honour to work with all of you and to have been Grey County’s voice in 2017. As a group, we have worked hard over this past year to make decisions that will make Grey County a better place to work and live. There were many times that we did not all agree on certain matters, but all were allowed to voice their opinions, we made a decision, and moved onto the next item of business.
The past year has gone by very quickly, and has included many accomplishments; I would be remiss if I did not mention a few of them.
Council’s decision to move to a full day Committee of the Whole format from the standing committee structure, started out as a six month trial, but has now been adopted as the governance of choice; I look forward to making the necessary changes to better serve our constituents.
The recolor Grey Official Plan project has been exciting as the new format has involved members of the public as well as all our lower tier municipalities. We anticipate presenting this draft document to the provincial government, early in 2018.
We are improving Grey’s economy through investment readiness by supporting member municipalities with the municipal partnership fund, and making connections with the global investment community through our partnership with Think Canada.
The SWIFT project continues to attract new member municipalities in southwestern Ontario, and with the continued efforts of everyone involved, we look forward to high speed internet being available to everyone within the next few years.
We are updating our IT strategy to improve our current service delivery.
The final coat of asphalt was applied to the round a bout at Alvanley, completing that project.
The expansion of this building is nearing completion, and as we sit in these new council chambers, we look forward to most of our county services being under one roof, in the near future.
The decision of the provincial government to not expand the NEC boundary was welcome news, a sincere Thank You to everyone that participated in those meetings; it did renew our faith where the government listens when approached in a united voice.
The success of pilot projects, where Grey County has been involved, has led to changes in the Health Care field, specifically the Community Health Assessment Program, which is now applied province wide.
We are working with the LHIN to successfully re-establish the valuable community paramedicine program.
Working closely with our nine member municipalities, involving them in upcoming projects is essential to achieve success at the county level; I look forward to continued cooperation in the future.
The success of Ag 4.0 in 2016 made the decision easy to continue with this summit for 2017. Promoting agriculture within Grey County is essential as this is one of our core businesses.
We continue to develop our first local food and agriculture strategy.
The highlight of the year has to be the announcement where Grey County was named as one of the top seven Intelligent Communities of the world. Lou Zacharilla, one of the founding members of the Intelligent Communities Form summed it up by saying, “Grey County you can no longer hide and protect your lifestyle, and you are now on the world stage.” The contacts that we made, including representatives from a Foreign Direct Investment and Export Company, will enable our staff to pursue economic opportunities into the future, which will benefit all of Grey County. With the ongoing work that is going on within the economic development portfolio, I am confident that another application will be made within a few years.
There are many more successes; these are just a few of the highlights.
Everything that has been accomplished could not have been completed without the support of you, Grey County Council, our Directors, their staff, and under the leadership of our CAO, Kim Wingrove. Kim, thank you for all your help over these past two years.
To Penny Colton, thank you for arranging all my meetings and keeping my calendar up to date.
Remember, we live in the best county, in the best country, in the world.
THANK YOU again for the privilege of being Warden in 2017
Alan Barfoot, Warden