County of Renfrew Considering "One-Stop Shops" For Services

The County of Renfrew is looking into setting up "one-stop shops" for the services it looks after -- from Ontario works to social housing, and the health unit.

Right now the County leases multiple locations in various communities, and the idea is to consolidate within each community to be more efficient.

In the case of Pembroke, that idea could involve relocating services onto one site in or near the current county headquarters on International Drive.

County Warden Jennifer Murphy says it’s about being efficient.

"The province is looking for efficiencies, and we believe that a 'one-counter solution' will realize efficiencies even in things like our telephone systems and our computer servers".

County Council is just beginning a property study and is working with an architect to map out scenarios. 

“We are looking at different ideas about how we will move forward with the properties that we are leasing”, Murphy said.

"For our vulnerable, it would be nice to have one counter for them to come to", she added. 

The County's Chief Administrative Officer, Paul Moreau, stresses that nothing is a done deal yet.

"We will require committee and county council approval", Moreau told Star 96.7.

"With that said, this approach is not new and has been done successfully elsewhere."

Moreau added that in Renfrew, the discussion also involves the Ontario Disability Support Program counter; but again, nothing is a done deal.

"I want to emphasize that there have been preliminary discussions only with ODSP", Moreau said.

"We are currently awaiting documents from MCCSS." (Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services).

Council expects to go over secnarios in more detail in February.

The property studies come just as the County also plans for a new six-bay paramedic base in Pembroke's International Drive area.

The location is seen as ideal because it's close to both Highways 17 and 41, and near the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP station.

This year's county budget dedicates $1.4 million to the construction of that paramedic building, which should be finished by September 2020.