In the Niagara Region Township of Wainfleet, the municipal building department is a two-member team – Chief Building Official Dave Methot and his administrative assistant Tara. Dave completes all offsite building inspections himself across the expansive rural community. When the Town Hall moved to remote work, he decided that an online e-permitting system would give them the efficiency they needed to save precious time and serve the municipality better.
Wainfleet is a largely rural township on the north shore of Lake Erie with just over 6,000 year-round residents and numerous summer cottages. Many seasonal contractors come to Wainfleet to work on construction projects, especially on vacation and agricultural properties.
The Township of Wainfleet was considering e-permitting to better serve their community before the pandemic came, because applicants would be able to submit and track the status of their application online without a trip to the Town Hall. Dave had recently attended a presentation by Cloudpermit at a neighbouring municipality. Several other Ontario municipalities recommended the service and features of the cloud-based platform.
“With our substantial land mass, it can be an hour round trip for people who live in the area,” said Dave. “We also have a lot of out-of-town contractors who have to drop by the office. Cloudpermit makes it much easier for them. Of course, they can also apply outside of business hours.”
When the pandemic first came, Wainfleet had not yet implemented Cloudpermit. The team had to adapt quickly to storing and sending all documents online. This was time-consuming and challenging to maintain. It was clear e-permitting would not only be convenient for contractors and the public to apply online directly, but also save staff time as they worked hard to adjust to a busy new reality.
“We were trying to transition to remote work by scanning documents and using email to send them back and forth,” Dave explained. “This was much less efficient than keeping all our documents in Cloudpermit where we can access them in real time from anywhere.”
The Cloudpermit team implemented the system and offered training remotely with no onsite visit required. Although COVID-19 made the implementation a priority sooner than it might have been, Dave is pleased that the Township will have this advanced e-permitting system well beyond the pandemic, both for the sake of his small, hardworking team and the public. “It is important to me that we are always improving our customer service,” he said.