Despite a report recommending the closure of several municipal service centers in Chatham-Kent, the municipality will retain in-person services for the foreseeable future.
At its Monday evening meeting, Chatham-Kent council discussed the customer service review report which had recommended the closure of underutilized service centers in Dresden, Ridgetown and Tilbury. The report also suggested closing municipal information offices in Wheatley, Thamesville and Bothwell.
While council voted to move dozens of municipal services online, the majority of councilors agreed that in-person services should still be present, especially in Chatham-Kent’s smaller communities.
“It might change the way it’s delivered, but there will be face-to-face [services] in each community. Council spoke about the importance of this and everyone agreed,” Mayor Darrin Canniff said. “It’s extremely important to maintain that presence in every community in Chatham-Kent.”
Canniff added that it will likely take a full generation before everyone in the community becomes comfortable and accustomed to using online services.
The initial Customer Service Review report was presented to council on June 20 and received an overwhelming response from the community. A total of 105 deputations were filed against the closure of municipal centers, which took almost two hours to be read by municipal staff.