County petitions province over closing Service Ontario locations

In this February 18, 2016, file photo, SD&G Coun. Evonne Delegarde speaks to an issue during a county council meeting. Delegarde's council motion to save nine Service Ontario locations, including Morrisburg, has been endorsed by the county council. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – The United Counties has asked the provincial government to reconsider closing nine Service Ontario locations in the province.

The motion was authored by Coun. Evonne Delegarde – also the mayor of South Dundas where one of the offices affected is located.

The province is closing nine offices across the province in a bid to streamline operations.

“We do know that it hits every household in one way, shape or form. Whether it’s birth certificates or the driving licence or the plates or whatever, so, almost every household is hit in our municipality,” Delegade told Cornwall Newswatch.

She says people from Morrisburg would have to drive a half-hour to Prescott, Winchester or Cornwall for service.

“Plus they’re a tenant of ours so we would like to keep them in one of our buildings. We’ll try to fight it as much as we can,” she said.

South Dundas bought the Service Ontario building in Morrisburg from the county last fall and were expecting to negotiate the government’s lease before it expired at the end of this year.

“There are no negotiations going forward unless we can have this overturned.”

The letter of opposition will also be dealt with at tonight’s (Tuesday) South Dundas council meeting.

The letter will also be shared with the five other SD&G townships for their support as well as the rest of the Ontario municipalities.

Delegarde said she was surprised by the closures. “I was really blindsided with it (the government decision). I had no idea until I received that phone call (from the Cornwall manager) a week ago on a Friday. There was no rumblings, no heads-up, nothing,” the mayor said.