REPORT ON COUNCIL
April 14, 2003
Committee of the Whole shortly 9:08 am - 5:19pm
Evening Meeting 7:02 pm 9:24 pm
All members of Council present
CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 3:40 pm - 5:18pm
CAO/CLERK ABSENT AGAIN: Earl Evans was absent once again from the Council meeting. Presumably the two-week paid leave of absence has been extended. In the course of the discussion about a deputation made at the last meeting of Council, Deputy Clerk John Theriault explained that all changes in personnel have been initiated by senior management, including the current administrative review. Senior Staff makes recommendations, Council then decides what to do.
DEPUTATION RE COMMUNICATION AND OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT: Judith Grant presented a deputation on behalf of the Federation of Tiny Township Associations asking
a) that all notices about vacancies on committees, zoning changes, road closures, job openings and so on be placed not only in local newspapers but on the Townships website and that additions to the website be noted under Whats New
b) that David Lambdens reports be made available, and
c) that real effort be put into communicating the contents and implications of the Zoning By-Law which will implement the new Official Plan, through mailings, meetings, and advertisements. (The Zoning By-Law will affect what can and cannot be done on every property in the Township.)
The deputation also urged that Council defeat the Official Plan Amendment proposed for the Peek-A-Boo Trail area. This Amendment allows four building lots in an area designated in the new Official Plan as Environment Protection One. For that part of the deputation, click HERE.
SPREADING OF SEPTAGE: New regulations say that there is to be a five-year phase-out of the spreading of septage [untreated sewage] on farm fields. Council decided to write a letter supporting the even longer phase-out period that is being sought by another municipality. In the discussion of the matter there was no reference to the potential impact of the practice on health or on the quality of water in the Bay.
DOG BY-LAW FINES: This summer there are more infractions that will result in fines to dog owners and the fines are steeper than in the past. Ten infractions carry a fine of $105 each
failure to license,
failure to attach the license to the dog,
use of a tag on the wrong dog,
failure of a kennel owner to obtain a license,
keeping more than 4 dogs over the age of 3 months,
permitting a dog to run at large,
failure to remove dog excrement,
keeping a dog in a building within two metres of the property line
keeping a dog in a structure within two metres of the property line
keeping a dog in a pen or run within two metres of the property line.
One infraction failure to comply with an order to muzzle results in a fine of $245.
WATER DEPARTMENT COMPLIES: The imposition of post Walkerton standards has kept Tinys water department busy, but upgrades of one sort or another are under way. Work has to be done in seven pump houses by June 15. Where service interruptions are to occur, flyers will to be dropped at affected households.
WYEVALE FIRE HALL: At the previous meeting of Council there were three deputations about various aspects of the proposed fire hall. In his, Ray Millar made various allegations about the way the site was selected; these were refuted in a letter from the consultant who had recommended the site. George Lawrence, of Tiny Residents Working Together, expressed concern that a training centre was being planned in addition to the fire hall: Council asserted that there was no thought of a training centre and none of a community hall either. Carole Withall was worried about the wisdom of siting a fire hall where departing and arriving fire trucks would have to cross the Tiny Trail. The Deputy Mayor said that the Tiny Trails Committee saw no problem with this (but said that the Committee would revisit the issue once again). He observed that that eight Concession Roads already cross the Trail.
DAVID LAMBDEN STILL WORKING FOR TOWNSHIP!: It was revealed at this meeting of Council that the passage of the By-Law to rescind David Lambdens appointment as Township Surveyor does not mean that his work for the Township has been concluded. Rather, it means that the Township no longer needs to go through Lambden to get surveying done. This aspect of his duties as Township Surveyor had been ignored, anyway. (We hope that staff and Council will check to see whether Lambden has already prepared any surveys they need so that duplication of effort and cost of the sort that occurred recently with regard to contour surveys for the major parks can be avoided in future.)
In Question Period, the Mayor said that David Lambden is very close to concluding a report that can be released to the public. It wont be long in coming, will be comprehensive, and it will be user-friendly.
COUNCIL AMENDS OFFICIAL PLAN TO PERMIT BUILDING LOTS IN ENVIRONMENTALLY PROTECTED AREA: Council passed the proposed amendment to the Official Plan to allow four building lots on Peek-A-Boo Trail in an area designated Environmental Protection One in the new Official Plan. The vote was 4 in favour, 1 (Councillor Hughes) against. When the matter was discussed, Roger Robitaille, Manager of Planning and Development, said that procedure had changed since the drafting of the previous Official Plan, and that the Ministry of Natural Resources would give its opinion about the boundary of the wetland after Simcoe County had considered the Amendment.
WEST NILE VIRUS PREPARATIONS: The Public Works staff has been preparing for West Nile with commendable thoroughness. Brochures listing preventative measures that should be taken by residents have been ordered from the Health Unit and will be included with the next tax bill. Lists are being made of all standing water on land in municipal ownership and, where possible, drainage will be improved. Staff has looked into mosquito-specific controls. When it was realized that there was not enough staff to undertake spraying, a licensed local contractor was contacted. HOWEVER, no larvicides can be purchased and no spraying can be done until the Health Unit identifies pools of infected mosquitoes in Tiny and issues a letter of permission for spraying. Once the Health Unit letter is in hand, then the Ministry of the Environment has to approve the spraying of specific areas of publicly owned land. In short, the Township is not permitted to take preventative action.
Excerpt from Deputation Given to the Council of the Township of Tiny on April 14, 2003 on behalf of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations by Judith Grant
We turn now to the proposed Official Plan Amendment at the property on Peek-A-Boo Trail. The report brought forward by Chris Jones of Meridian Planning Consultants Inc. at the last meeting of Council was satisfactory in its investigation of constraints that must be placed on building, well construction, septic arrangements, and lot size if this intrusion into an environmentally sensitive area is to proceed. However, it is our sense that it should not be allowed to proceed. The Planning Report on the application for an Official Plan Amendment emphasized that the application should be considered under the terms of the previous Official Plan. Yet the new Official Plan had been passed by the Council of this Township several months before this application was presented. It was the County's stamp of approval that was not granted until two weeks after the application was submitted. It is thus more than just prudent to review the application in the light of the current Official Plan. The applicant was well aware of its provisions and knew what was intended. The full weight of the current Official Plan should be acknowledged, and not merely glanced at, as was the case in the Planning Report.
And what does the current Official Plan say about land of the sort proposed for these new building lots? Right at the beginning where the "Vision" that underlies the plan is presented, we find: " all of the policies in this Plan are based on an environment first philosophy, which simply stated, means that the protection of the environment shall take precedence over development. " This point is repeated and amplified a few pages later as the first of the Official Plan Principles.
The most powerful environmental protection afforded by the current Official Plan is the "Environmental Protection One" designation which extends protection to key natural features four of which are specifically named. The second of these named features is "All other wetlands that were designated as such in the previous Official Plan and which have not been classified by the Ministry of Natural Resources." The way the importance of such wetlands is brushed aside in Chris Jones' report is deeply dismaying. The inclusion of such wetlands was something that the Environment Kitchen Table Committee a committee that embraced citizens from all major groups in the Township -- fought for long and hard. Councillor Bob Buchkowsky was a member of that committee.
A little further on in the Plan, we find that the "Permitted Uses on lands designated Environmental Protection One are limited to conservation and passive recreation uses. No buildings or structures are permitted nor is any site alteration permitted in this designation."
It is no wonder that this developer would like to be considered under the previous Official Plan. But should that be allowed when the Council of Tiny Township had already passed the current Official Plan? We argue that the protections of the current Official Plan should apply.
Let us now turn to the previous Plan. The report acknowledges that the wetlands in question are protected by the previous Official Plan. But no time is spent on this no weight assigned to Council's responsibility to protect such lands. Instead the report immediately turns to the fact that "Where the boundaries of the lands designated in the Wetlands designation are in question, a redesignation of these lands may occur by amendment to the Official Plan, providing an environmental assessment report is prepared by the proponent and approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources which substantiates the claim that the wetland designation is correct."
The applicant provided such an environmental assessment and the Township had it reviewed by a consultant. However, the Ministry of Natural Resources appears not to have substantiated the new boundaries assigned to the wetland, and that omission is important. The boundary of the wetland was set in spring last spring a time of year when wetlands are most extensive. However, last spring there was very little snow feeding wetlands anywhere in the Township as little had fallen the previous winter. A longer experience of conditions is required than just one spring at the dry end of a cycle and that, presumably, is something the MNR could bring to bear.
In sum, we urge you to invoke the full protection of the current Official Plan against this proposed Official Plan Amendment. The Planning Report avoids mentioning the point at which the current Plan was adopted by Council. It tilts everything toward the previous Plan, then deliberately supports a loophole in that plan. It does not even seem to have followed the letter of that Plan. The citizens of Tiny have made it clear that they want Environment First policies. You members of Council all campaigned as supporters of the current Official Plan. We urge you to support its objectives.