Council Briefs: Physician Recruitment Report

council briefs

Council has directed city staff to compile a detailed report on physician recruitment efforts.

A motion tabled by Ward 1 Councillor Sandra Hollingsworth and seconded by fellow Ward 1 Coun. Sonny Spina, calls for staff to provide up-to-date information on recruitment rates, the budget for the Physician Recruitment Committee and what the Manager of Physician Recruitment sees as challenges and opportunities in recruitment strategies for family medicine locally.

Hollingsworth said staff and council are clearly concerned about the lack of physicians, recruitment and retention.

“Councillor Spina and I did not bring this forward to basically say that staff are not doing enough work, (but) the exact opposite. We want the community to know that behind the scenes the staff and other community leaders, basically within Sault Ste. Marie are working very hard on recruiting and retaining physicians.”

The report, she added, will provide a benchmark on where things stand with recruitment.

“This is on our radar and will be for some time,” said Hollingsworth.

She hopes the report can be updated in the future and an on-going reference.

“I think everyone at this table has healthcare top of mind,” said Spina. “I’m happy to support this motion and happy she brought it forward. Recognizing this is not all a function of city council but we do have a voice.”

Staff will provide the report at a future meeting of council.

Stunt driving speeding

Automated Speed enforcement approved

School and community safety zones in Sault Ste. Marie will be monitored by automated speed enforcement cameras but the new tech is at least two years away.

Council approved a staff study recommending Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE), which is currently employed by about 20  communities in Ontario.

In the staff’s report, four mobile ASE’s were proposed. The City of Sudbury recently went live with the system, employing six mobile units.

The annual cost of the ASE’s is close to $1 million. There’s a one-time startup cost of $110,000.

The report projects about 20,000 tickets to be issued annually. Based on a protected average of $60 per ticket, the system is expected to return $1.2 million per year.

“It’s a lot of effort to enforce one part of the Highway Traffic Act,” said Mayor Matthew Shoemaker.

Ward 4 Councillor Marchy Bruni said speeding was a major issue in the ’22 local election and concerns have not waned.

Coun. Bruni and Ward 1 Coun. Sandra Hollingworth were members of a city task force established in ’22, chaired by Municipal Services and Design Engineer Dan Perri. The committee studied traffic speeds at 86 locations in the city.

At a Dec. 12, 2022 council meeting, ASE’s were one of the committee’s recommendations to address speeding concerns in the city.

Of those recommendations, Bruni told council Monday night, ASE’s were the most cost effective.

For more details on ASEs per city staff’s report, click here for First Local’s April 7 story.

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