PORT HOPE, ON – At their meeting this evening, Port Hope Committee of the Whole recommended that Council adopt a By-law to establish a full complement of tools that will allow Municipal Staff to expedite the permit and approvals process in support of the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) Legal Agreement between Canada and Port Hope and PHAI Project-related activities moving forward. The By-law will go before Council on July 15, 2014 for potential approval.
The PHAI remediation of Port Hope properties will involve simultaneous large and small-scale construction activities across the Municipality. The majority of the work will require similar review, inspections and approvals and/or require variations to effectively and efficiently meet the intent of the Municipality’s obligations under the Legal Agreement. In an effort to expedite or “fast-track” typical internal processes for PHAI contractors, the new By-law gives Municipal Staff, subject to Council approved policies and standards, special dispensation to undertake or delegate activities traditionally requiring individual Council approval. It also grants certain special provisions regarding PHAI contractors including permitting requirements, routine processes and regulations such as the Municipal Fill By-law, Committee of Adjustment review, Tree Removal Permits, and Street Occupation Permits and exemption from Municipal fees and charges. The streamlined approval process will facilitate PHAI contractor processes, reducing the time and expense of project-related activities and moving the Project forward to remove this legacy as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The new By-law also includes the adoption of Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs), a consolidation of typical Municipal requirements, procedures and best practices, as well as legislated regulations developed specifically to give special consideration to PHAI project requirements. By centralizing typical Municipal procedures that apply to the project, the SOPs/SOGs will assist PHAI Staff and contractors in navigating the requirements for their individual contracts and allow the Municipality to quickly and effectively advance project-related activities while meeting its obligations as prescribed by federal, provincial and other agencies. Municipal Staff will also have some scope to adjust the SOPs/SOGs as may be required to support the evolving needs of the project.
The By-law recognizes the Municipal Project Staff (MPS) approach to proactively facilitate and support PHAI contractors in meeting their responsibilities for statutory construction permissions, approvals and processes and ensure that any unforeseeable project challenges and Municipal concerns are resolved in a timely manner. The MPS model is flexible to allow the Municipality to proactively support varying levels of Project activity over the coming years and could involve current Municipal Staff providing assistance at the start of the project and additionally, contract staff exclusively dedicated to PHAI activities as the Project escalates. The MPS will support the administration of our internal review and approval processes and allow the Municipality to maintain our community due diligence without additional impact on existing Municipal staff and resources.
Mayor Linda Thompson stated, “The Municipality continues to prioritize regular and meaningful communication, consultation and cooperation with the PHAI. The new delegation By-law includes a number of tools unique to the PHAI project requirements, that will allow us to maintain our due diligence and proactively support Project activities by assisting Municipal Staff in expediting routine approvals and processes. Ultimately this approach will save both time and money and expedite the completion of the Project to the benefit of all parties involved.”
The Legal Agreement which established the PHAI in 2001 requires that all Parties shall cooperate and ‘…take appropriate action necessary to expedite the completion of the Project.’ Further, the Agreement recognizes that the administration and logistics for a project of this scope could put undue strain on Municipal staff and typical processes, and that the Municipality may require programs to mitigate the impact and expense of Project activities. In accordance with the Agreement, all eligible Municipal costs associated with PHAI activities will be reimbursed by the Government of Canada.
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For more information contact
R. Carl Cannon, CAO