Report on Council
MUNICIPAL ELECTION: Of Tiny’s 19,491 electors, only 28.2% of non-residents and 42.5% of residents cast valid votes, 34% overall. 1,218 ballots were spoiled, primarily because voters failed to include a Voter Declaration Form. Fortunately the outcome of the election was not affected.
Here are the official results:
Peggy BRECKENRIDGE 4669
Anthony LANCIA 1857
Janet EVANS 2353
George LAWRENCE 4071
André CLAIRE 4530
George CORNELL 4633
Richard HINTON 2693
Nigel WARREN 4514
TIME AND PLACE OF MEETINGS: Council meets on the second and last Monday of each month, in the Council Chambers at the Township Offices, 130 Balm Beach Road West. Committee of the Whole Meetings begin at 9 am and continue for the morning and much of the afternoon. This is the best time to observe the members of Council at work as they discuss issues and reports and raise questions. The Regular Evening Meetings of Council, when Council votes on the issues discussed during the day, begin at 7 pm.
Agendas are posted on the Township website – http://tiny.ca – on the Friday before each Council meeting.
HOW IS COUNCIL DOING? While it is too soon to say anything conclusive about the performance of Council, we like what we have seen so far. Councillors have been quick to learn the history of various issues and gain an understanding of the role and resources of staff. Strategic planning sessions scheduled for June will focus on what they want to accomplish in their 4-year term of office.
Mayor Peggy Breckenridge has proved to be an effective chair: she sets a brisk pace, while making sure that everyone has ample chance to speak. She keeps in touch with her Council between meetings. At Simcoe County Council there is an uphill battle against entrenched attitudes. The Mayor sits on the Performance Management Committee, while Deputy Mayor George Lawrence serves on the important Corporate Services Committee, which is responsible for Site 41, among other items. Their reports on County activities give the other members of Council a good sense of the challenges our Township faces with our senior municipality.
The three Councillors prepare thoroughly for each meeting. Each of them makes points that help the group as a whole reach reasonable conclusions.
SITE 41 LANDFILL STILL PLANNED ON PRIME AGRICULTURAL LAND: Our representatives at County, Mayor Breckenridge and Deputy Mayor Lawrence are working hard to stop construction of a landfill at Site 41 on Concession 2. Among other moves, they have presented a motion to County Council that the Site 41 decision be deferred until the County and the Province come up with a waste management strategy. Passage of this motion would, they hope, buy time in which to encourage opinion to shift. But it is not clear that the motion will have sufficient support to be passed by County Council. Worse, the County’s bureaucracy continues to insist that a landfill be placed at Site 41 and shows no interest in considering other options. The County has the necessary environmental permissions in hand, so work could commence on the landfill at any time.
COUNCIL SAYS “NO” TO WIND TURBINES: In March, Council passed a resolution opposing the location of commercial wind turbines anywhere in Tiny Township on the ground that they do not conform to the general intent and purpose of the Township’s Official Plan. How they arrived at this decision is interesting.
At their first meeting in March, Council learned that in December the Township had received a draft Environmental Screening Report for the Robitaille Farm Wind Park Proposal! At this same meeting the wind farm developers asked to make a presentation in order to disabuse Council of “misinformation or misunderstood information disseminated by wind opposition groups.” Their request gave notice that “Ventus Energy intends to submit applications for amendments of the Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws of Tiny Township.” At the same meeting, Council received a letter from CORT (Coalition of Residents-Tiny, Preserving the tranquillity and rural character of Tiny Township) asking that Council “take action now to ensure that any such proposal meets proper provincial criteria.” It was clear that Council had to take a position on wind farms.
Council asked Ruth Coursey, CAO/Clerk, to prepare a report about the approval process for this proposal (up to six wind turbines, each with 40 metre blades on towers up to 100 metres tall and 3-4 metres in diameter at the base, producing 1.5 MW of power). With the assistance of Amos Environment + Planning, she had a report ready for their next meeting a week later. A map revealed that the turbines were no longer proposed for farmland near the 18th Concession Road West, but rather for the forested brow of the Nipissing Ridge in Concessions 20 and 21 West.
Ms Coursey reported that municipalities still had jurisdiction over energy projects, but that this could change at any moment. The new Planning Act (which removes energy projects from the control of municipalities) had been passed by the Province, but the enabling regulation regarding energy projects had not yet been put into effect. If the Province takes control of energy projects, the Township will have no say over whether a wind farm may take root in Tiny.
Since the municipality had power over energy projects at that point, Ms Coursey’s report recommended that Council consider whether such a project were “in compliance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan.” Her report argued that the turbine project violates the vision and objectives in Part A of the Official Plan, because the “construction and visual impact of the wind turbines of the scale proposed will be quite pronounced, therefore compromising the intent of the Official Plan to maintain a landscape dominated by open fields and wooded areas. There will also be some measurable impact on the environment, through the removal of trees and other construction operations.”
It was, her report says, important that the municipality state its view of the proposed project clearly and plainly at this stage.
And so, after some discussion, Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the location of wind power generation facilities (Category B, under Ontario Regulation 116/01) anywhere in the municipality. Council accordingly denied Ventus’s request to make an oral presentation, and declined to commission peer reviews of the Environmental Screening Report.
10-YEAR RECREATION MASTER PLAN A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT: During their discussion of the Master Recreation Plan in December, Council noted a number of deficiencies, among them the failure to:
• get input from Tiny’s seasonal residents,
• hold public meetings and prepare surveys,
• give any consideration to the Township’s trails and waterfront parks, and
• elicit questionnaire responses from half of the Parks and Rec Associations.
Council decided to authorize the hiring of a new Community Recreation Coordinator as this person could help guide the next phase of thinking about recreation in the Township. This position was filled in March by Bonita Desroches.
All interested residents should take the time to read and consider the Report, which is available on http://tiny.ca Click on Council Agenda / Committee of the Whole Agenda – 2006 / CWC 21 December 11, 2006 / Complete Committee of the Whole Agenda / D Reports of Consultants or Third Parties.
GOOSE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES: In presenting the North Simcoe Geese Management Strategies report to Council in January, Terry Breckenridge asked that Council
• adopt the report
• assign a staff member to co-ordinate geese management activities
• request a banding program
• put $5000 into the budget for goose management
• mount a public education program about the value of a No Feed policy and habitat modification in problem areas on the shore
• prohibit the feeding of geese and exempt trained dogs from the Leash By-Law through by-laws, and
• allow Sunday hunting.
Council adopted the Report (except for the last two recommendations), re-appointed Terry Breckenridge and Rodger Yeatman to the Committee, agreed to put aside $2,000 for public education, and designated the Community Recreation Coordinator (Bonita Desroches) as the staff resource person. (Information about goose management is available on http://tiny.ca under Community / Resident Information. Bonita Desroches can be reached at 705-526-4204, ext. 233.)
BLUEWATER DUNES PARK – TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK: Last summer, volunteers delivered flyers in shore communities from Concession Road 4W to Concession Road 6W, describing the erosion and degradation of native vegetation in the Bluewater Dunes Park just south of Concession Road 5W. A Park Master Plan has been developed to stop the decline and eventual loss of the park’s sand dunes by controlling access to areas where dune grass would be replanted. Explanatory signs have been placed at entry points and motorized vehicles forbidden to enter the park. Last fall, special sturdy snow fences were purchased and installed in the park to hold back the sand and encourage the dune grass to regrow.
This spring the Township was successful in getting a $69,000 grant to cover the cost of boardwalks to encourage park users to keep out of the dunes. More explanatory signs may be installed. Information about the Park is to be included in the next Township Newsletter and distributed at a number of community events. Fundraising is to be undertaken.
Unfortunately, some irresponsible riders of snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes have entered the park during the winter and spring, tearing over the fragile dunes and breaking fences. Neither By-law Officers nor the OPP have been able to control their vandalism (and it was not clear that they tried very hard). Council asked the By-law Department for a report about its responsibilities and resources, with a view to seeing whether more staff were needed, especially in the winter.
If this worthwhile environmental project is to succeed, the community must get behind it and control its less responsible members.
PROPOSAL FOR GRAVEL PIT IN CONCESSIONS 1 AND 2 EAST: Residents should be aware that the Serjeant Company has plans for an extensive gravel pit in the southeast corner of the Township. The Company has asked to make a presentation to Council, after which there will be a public meeting about its plans.
PAUZÉ DUMP SITE STILL LEAKING TOXIC CHEMICALS? The Ministry of the Environment (MoE)’s November 2006 Ground Water Quality Review in the vicinity of the Pauzé landfill site found evidence that a leachate plume continues to spread into ground water around the closed dump site. This site, which lies about a kilometre east of County Road 6 just north of Concession Road 9, operated from 1966 until it was closed in 1987. During the 1970s it accepted liquid industrial wastes that so polluted ground water and wells in nearby Perkinsfield that a water system had to be installed in the village.
Now, years after closing the dumpsite and monitoring the spread of leachate in groundwater, the MoE has issued a Director’s Order to the local company that owns the property, requiring it to retain a consultant and institute a plan to monitor ground water continuously in the immediate vicinity of the dumpsite. If this monitoring confirms that chemicals continue to migrate out from the landfill, the owners are to devise and institute measures to contain the chemicals.
The MoE takes the view that the site owner should pay, although the Ministry has itself been dilatory for more than 35 years in requiring action that provincial legislation requires the province to undertake. (According to The Mirror, the Ministry first “became aware that liquid industrial wastes were being deposited at the Site, and the adjacent 80 acres, in 1973.”)
We were relieved to learn that the Township and the Severn Sound Environmental Association (which acts as the Township’s Conservation Authority) have been apprised of the November 2006 Ground Water Quality Review and are to be made aware of the Director’s Order.
SEPTIC RE-INSPECTION UPDATE: During the first five years of the septic re-inspection program (2002-2006), C.C. Tatham and Associates inspected all the septic systems that were more than 10 years old, as far north as Concession Road 16.
This summer, they will inspect all the properties east and north of Methodist Point Road and Concession 16. This area includes Toanche, Coutnac Beach, Pinery Point, Clearwater Beach, Adams Point, Sawlog Bay, Georgian Bay Estates, Kettles Beach and Farlain Lake. Each property owner will be charged $71.95 and if problems are found they will have to be corrected at the property owner’s expense.
FIREWORKS TO BE PERMITTED ON TWO WEEKENDS ONLY: In response to various complaints about fireworks, Shawn Crawford, Tiny’s Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer, proposed changes to the Township’s Noise By-law. Council decided that a separate by-law was needed to deal with sale and use of fireworks. Key points in the proposed by-law are
• the restriction of consumer fireworks to the hours between dusk and 11:00 pm on Victoria Day and Canada Day weekends
• the banning of fireworks during fire bans
• a ban on firecrackers (fireworks which explode with little or no visual effect)
• the requirement for a valid certificate from the Explosive Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada before displaying or setting off Display Fireworks/Pyrotechnic Special Effects and also for a Township permit
PERKINSFIELD SCHOOL TO BE DEMOLISHED: Council decided to go ahead with purchasing and demolishing the disused Perkinsfield school. Acquisition of the property will allow boundary changes to eliminate the encroachment of the park onto the school grounds and of the school’s septic system onto the park. Council intends to discuss uses to which the land may be put during its strategic planning sessions in June.
TOWNSHIP BUDGET PASSED: Tiny’s assessment base has increased this year by 2.45% to $2.341 billion, of which 96.4% is residential.
Our property taxes are divided almost exactly in thirds, 33% to the County, 33.6% to the School Board, and 33.4% to the Township. This year, the County rate increased by 4.75%, the School Board held the line at 0, and the Municipality’s increase was 2%. The overall increase in the residential tax rate is 2.24%.
The major items in the Township’s budget are (in descending order):
Policing – $1,766,013,
Capital Expenditures on Roads – $1,739,219,
Operating Expenditures on Roads – $1,541,147,
Treasury – $743,247,
Fire – $629,385,
Administration – $475,741, and
Parks Maintenance – $458,412.
Water fees remain unchanged at $200 capital and $556 operating. The continued imposition of the $200 capital charge will pay for capital improvements of $581,117 and an increase in the Water Reserve Fund of $700,892.