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City Approves Pilot to Share Building Services with Georgian Bluffs

Council has given the green light to a pilot project fostering collaboration between the City of Owen Sound and the Township of Georgian Bluffs, enabling us to jointly manage Building Services. This partnership marks a proactive step toward enhancing efficiency and resource sharing between the municipalities.

In 2024, Georgian Bluffs has faced challenges with staffing in their Building Department. To address this, Georgian Bluffs’ CAO and Owen Sound’s City Manager discussed opportunities to share services through an agreement that is mutually beneficial. 

A Memorandum of Understanding will guide this pilot project, and if successful, could lead to a longer-term shared services agreement. This shared service agreement builds upon the current collaboration between Owen Sound and Georgian Bluffs to share services regarding the Leaf and Yard Waste Site in Owen Sound and Fire Inspection and Education Services.

The City of Owen Sound has a very dependable and highly skilled building services team that will be providing support to Georgian Bluffs properties two days per week during the pilot period. 

In addition to building inspection, staff in the Building Division undertake plans review, building permit issuance, calculation and collection of development charges, 911 addressing, updates to policies, administration of the Sign By-law, final inspection, and reporting to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, records management, customer service, and are key participants in the City’s Development Team.

Teaming up and sharing services is an effective way to reduce costs and improve services for each municipality's citizens. It's also a way to deal with challenges, such as the ebb and flow of external economic factors that can impact user fees and staffing. In the province, qualified building staff are in short supply, and retaining well-qualified, professional staff is essential to facilitate the growth and development necessary to the community's economic well-being, ensuring that the growth is consistent with Ontario and local requirements. 

For the details of the shared service pilot, please see the report presented to Council.

For more information, please contact Tim Simmonds, City Manager at 519-376-4440 ext. 1210 or email


“I’m pleased to make this new agreement announcement and further grow our relationship with our neighbours in the Township of Georgian Bluffs. Being collaborative and working together on issues that face us all is valuable, and I look forward to the positive impacts that this agreement will have on our communities.”

-      Owen Sound City Manager Tim Simmonds

“Georgian Bluffs is delighted to further enhance our positive working relationship with Owen Sound. Efficient and effective government, where appropriate through shared services, has been a priority for Council. Our staff enjoys positive working relationships with our Owen Sound counterparts, and expanding this relationship through a formal agreement for Building Services is an evolution of this. We are excited to explore the benefits this relationship will bring over the coming months.”

-      Georgian Bluffs CAO Niall Lobley

Quick Facts:

  • A survey by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing found that 400 out of 444 (about 90 per cent) of Ontario's municipalities have some kind of shared service agreement.
  • Georgian Bluffs provides Building Services to its 11,000 residents, and issues between 300 and 400 permits a year. The shared services pilot will see Georgian Bluffs paying the City of Owen Sound to complement its own Building Department with City staff for two days a week.



Contact Us

808 2nd Avenue East,
Owen Sound, ON
N4K 2H4
Phone: 519-376-1440
Email us

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