Township of Woolwich
|Record Creator||Township of Woolwich|
|Dates of Existence||1851-present|
|Function||The Township of Woolwich is responsible for the local road system, the delivery of services such as water and sewage and for the levying of municipal taxes and the collection of taxes. The township regulates land and local administration through by-laws.|
|Administrative History or Biography||
The Township of Woolwich, located in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, was incorporated January 1, 1850 under the terms of the Baldwin Act, Chapter 81, Canada Statues, 1849. The first township council and officers were established in 1851.
The Baldwin Act provided for the creation of municipal governments at the town, village and township levels and identified those to be granted municipal status. As an incorporated township, Woolwich, functions as a lower tier municipality. Initially, Woolwich council consisted of an elected reeve, deputy-reeve and councillors. Today, Woolwich council is directed by a mayor and area councillors.
In 1816, Woolwich formed part of the District of Gore, with Dundas chosen as the District Town. In the early 1800s local landowners met periodically at town meetings where they appointed a clerk, assessor and tax collector. At this time, although not officially a township, a structure was in place that enabled the town and its residents to facilitate access to goods and services around the area.
From 1838 to 1849 the township existed within Wellington District. The district stretched from Waterloo Township to Georgian Bay, with Guelph as the district centre. Woolwich sent John Meyer as its first councillor to Guelph. He held the seat until 1852 when the County of Waterloo was formed. In 1851 Woolwich formally established its municipal government by appointing John Meyer as its first Reeve. A deputy-reeve and councillors were also elected by the Woolwich council. The reeve and deputy-reeve of Woolwich sat on the County of Waterloo council in 1852, a practice that continued into the twentieth century.
When it was established, the Township of Woolwich provided local government for the rural communities within its boundaries including Winterbourne, West Montrose, St Jacobs, Conestoga, and Floradale. The Town of Elmira, although within is geographical boundary, remained separate and independent from the township, as its own administrative unit. With the establishment of regional government, the Town of Elmira was dissolved. Elmira now functions as the administrative center for the Township of Woolwich.
Effective January 1, 1973, Woolwich Township was amalgamated with part of the former Township of Waterloo to form a new area municipality, within the Region of Waterloo. (Regional Municipality of Waterloo Act, O.S. 1972, c. 105). The establishment of regional government had many effects on the nature and structure of local area government in Woolwich. Municipal departments were created including the Clerk's Office, Finance Department, Planning Department, Engineering and Public Works, and Recreation and Facilities Services Department.
A new chief administrative officer was appointed and the status of the reeve was elevated to mayor. The mayor continued to sit on regional council, much like its predecessors sat on county council. The local area government is still responsible for providing local services to its residents; however some services are now supplied by the regional government. The Local Board of Health as well as the offices of Medical and Sanitary Inspector were dissolved when the regional health department was established. Public utilities, previously a lower tier responsibility, are now organized at the regional level. The township was organized into a service area with Township of Wilmot and City of Waterloo to form Waterloo Hydro.
After dividing the township into departments, these departments remained relatively stable until the early 1990s. In 1996 the Clerk's office was combined with the Finance Department to form a Corporate Resources department. Corporate Resources was responsible for the regulation of municipal by-laws, legal services including enforcement as well as combined financial resources obligations including budgets, accounting and revenue in a manner consistent with federal and provincial legislation.
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