Smart Cities initiative work moves ahead

KENILWORTH – Smart Cities projects are moving ahead, said Wellington County Ward 4 councillor Steve O’Neill.

On Dec. 2, he brought Wellington North council up to date on a number of Smart Cities initiatives.

O’Neill noted the county received $845,000 for some projects – one of which was waste management.

Wellington County will work with the City of Guelph on a solid waste master plan – about $400,000.

The county is also working to improve rural internet connectivity which will be led by its IT and economic development teams – $150,000.

O’Neill noted that work is in addition to the SWIFT program.

The county is also working on a digital agriculture project – $270,000. A smaller $25,000 project is a food health feasibility study.

O’Neill said he suspected these projects will keep the IT and economic development departments busy in 2024.

Affordable housing

O’Neill noted a four-unit townhouse is currently under construction at 440 King Street.

He noted there was only one bidder for the project.

Other prospects had attended the mandatory site meeting, but only one company made a bid.

Municipal service review

O’Neill spoke briefly regarding the municipal review underway.

“Obviously each member municipality will be deciding on which opportunities they are going to proceed with … if any.”

Green bins

O’Neill noted green bins for organic waste pickup are now being purchased.

That purchase is being piggybacked on a purchase by the Region of Waterloo, which will save the county about $50,000, taking the cost of $850,000 down to $800,000.

He noted group purchasing was one of the top 20 ideas presented as part of the municipal service review.

New county works garage

Wellington North residents can expect a new county works garage in Arthur.

O’Neill said the $6.5-million cost is included in the county’s 2020 budget.

“All that is needed is a piece of land to build it on,” he said.

O’Neill added the Erin-Brucedale garage is scheduled for 2024 and the one for Harriston in 2027.

Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox said he appreciated the Wellington County reports by O’Neill and county councillor Campbell Cork.

Regular reports were not something done in the past, Lennox said.