The event, which had been postponed one night due to weather, was well attended with a variety of community members coming out to hear updates about activities that are underway as well as provide their input.
The evening kicked off with opening comments from John Norton, General Manager of Community Development, and Councillor Aaron Hall, who introduced the project and its goal of identifying new opportunities for improving Community Development’s processes and allow for easier investment and growth across Chatham-Kent.
The session then proceeded with presentations from the departments within Community Development including, Building Development Services, Planning Services, Legal Services, and Economic Development Services. The presentations included activities being taken by each department to advance their specific continuous improvement activities. Members of the public and of the Community Development Advisory Committee were invited to provide comments, questions, and input following each presentation.
“It is very important that there was wholesome conversation from everyone who attended as it brought to light important points to consider as we move forward with developing our report,” said Norton. “There was certainly some passionate people in the room, with views that we wanted to hear.”
The event also included engagement opportunities to hear public deputations and a community conversation.
There was a variety of community members with different backgrounds and experiences including those from the development community, small business, and also non-profit groups.
“It was an honest conversation that included both the positive and also some real challenges that people have faced,” said Aaron Hall, Chatham-Kent Councillor and Chair of Community Development Advisory Committee. “We appreciate the positive feedback and hearing where there are bumps gives the municipality the chance to make informed change.”
“In terms of our next steps, we are closing the survey this Friday afternoon, will be wrapping up our one-on-one meetings by the start of March, and will produce a report to Council, ” said Norton. “Council can expect to see the report by late April or early May and we anticipate that it will identify barriers and provides solutions to remove and eliminate unnecessary red tape.”
To complete the online survey or for more information on the Continuous Improvement and “Red Tape” Reduction Project, visit www.letstalkchatham-kent.ca.
The Community Development public engagement session had over 50 people in attendance and heard from a variety of community members and also staff on opportunities to reduce red tape.
- Continuous Improvement Activities – Building Development Services:
- Website Re-design, to better assist clients with navigating through our forms and processes
- Inspection Staff have been centralized in Chatham. This provides for better consistency from the inspection staff through inspection and plans review. All permits are centrally located. Customers now have one number to call for inspections, building clerk then schedules for next available inspector.
- By-Law updates proposed for derelict vehicles and clean and clear to provide enforcement tools to address repeat offenders.
- Continuous Improvement Activities – Planning Services:
- Continue to evolve & improve Development Review process brought in-house in 2016
- Introduction of Development Standards Manual 2019
- More accessible and streamlined planning application forms and public notification
- Continuous Improvement Proposals – Legal Services:
- Reduction or amendment of insurance requirement for users of municipal facilities.
- Prepare and distribute information for property owners about municipal documents that may be registered on title to their property, and the process for requesting that those documents be removed.
- Introduction of an online claims reporting process with the ability to upload documents directly to the claims investigator.
- Continuous Improvement Proposals – Economic Development Services:
- Client Education: Often client is not satisfied with answers given by other municipal departments - making a conscious effort to gather information and then connect with our colleagues to gather more background details to gain better understanding before responding to client issue.
- Internal Communication: feeling comfortable connecting with other municipal colleagues to ask questions about issues and proposed investment/development
- Deployment of Staff: goal is to be a conduit between business and government. We want the client to know who they can call to work on their behalf. This involves the reallocation of staff resources by redirecting budget from Foreign Direct Investment initiatives towards more “Boots on the Streets” community based initiatives.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street
Chatham, ON N7M 5K8
Phone: 519.352.8401 x2039