Probus guest speaker highlights Town initiatives for 2023


On the first Tuesday of each month, the Saugeen Shores Men’s PROBUS club meets at the Port Elgin Legion where they have the opportunity to socialize and listen to a guest speaker.

At the April meeting of the club, guest speaker Saugeen Shores’ CAO, Kara Van Myall, highlighted several projects and initiatives of the municipality.

Van Myall has held the position since October, 2020. A Registered Landscape Architect and Professional Planner and prior to coming to Saugeen Shores, she worked at the County of Bruce office in Walkerton as Director of Planning and Development and served as Manager of Corporate Policy and Economic Development as well as Senior Planner.

Van Myall holds a Master’s Certificate in Public Management from York University, a Certificate in Managing and Leading in a Municipal Environment from Loyalist College and is also an Associate Member of the Ontario Municipal Administrators Association.

She explained that a Business Plan for 2023 has been completed by the five Departments of the town – Office of the CAO, Community Services and Operations, Corporate Services, Development Services, Fire Services and Emergency Management, in addition to Police Services that has its own Board that is independent of town management.

According to Van Myall, the municipal management structure is charged with managing the current municipality and planning for future growth, streamlining capacity and improving processes and setting benchmarks to monitor these initiatives.

She pointed out that Municipal housing requirements, healthcare support and environmental infrastructure are not only concerns for the town but are also provincial and  national problems.

“The municipality and the County of Bruce are working together to address these problems,” said Van Myall. “When it comes to health care, unfortunately, there are fewer Doctors going into family practice and some GP’s are not wanting to take on older patients. The municipality secured three new doctors in 2021, there is one additional coming in 2023 and another in 2024. The town also has on-going contributions to the CT Scanner program for our local hospital, operates two medical facilities and provides temporary accommodations for new and visiting Doctors.” She also added that those without a GP should register at Health Care Connect.

When it comes to community spaces, she said that parks planning and upgrades include Summerside, Jubilee and Helliwell Parks in addition to North Shore Park which suffered major storm damage last Fall (2022) and again in December.  “We are also reviewing a proposal for the return of the mini-steam train at that park.”

According to Van Myall, there are many projects currently underway including the Cedar Crescent Village (CCV) which is getting first Phase approval, Phase 1 opening of Lamont Sports Park and Phase 2 construction of the new Aquatic and Wellness Centre.

Van Myall stressed that planning for the future is being addressed by developing a Strategic Plan that will allow all residents an opportunity to be involved. “The municipality administration will keep work visible and transparent and has produced a 2022 Annual Report plus a 2023 Business Plan which is available to all residents.”