REPORT ON COUNCIL

December 9, 2002

Committee of the Whole 9:05 am - 3:17 pm
Evening Meeting 7:06 pm - 9:04 pm

All members of Council present during the day; Councillor Maurice absent in the evening attending a presentation on Nutrient Management at the Wye Marsh.

 

CONFIDENTIAL/CLOSED SESSION: 2:45 pm - 3:16 pm

 

FEDERATION DEPUTATION RE FAIRNESS AND VOTING METHODS: This was presented by Judith Grant, President of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations. The deputation supported the use of an alternative voting method in Tiny Township (either by Telephone or by Mail). However, it argued that there should be a level playing field, whatever method of voting is selected. If Vote By Mail is selected then EVERYONE should Vote By Mail. If Vote By Telephone is selected, then the script should be accessible, available in the major languages of Tiny, and there should be no “help” booths in the Township as those whose permanent homes are distant from Tiny cannot get to them. For the complete deputation, click HERE.

Note that Council has not yet made a decision about voting method or about the way that method will be administered, though a decision will be made soon.

                 

SHOULD THE GENERAL TAXPAYER PAY ANY OF THE RENOUF WATER SYSTEM COSTS? In January 2001, the Township was ordered to take over the operation of a defective private water system owned by the Renouf family in Balm Beach. Ever since, Council has emphasized that costs associated with this water system would be borne by users of the system. Now, under pressure from Deputy Mayor Gordon Salisbury, Council has decided to use substantial monies from the Capital Expenditure Reserve to cover legal and engineering costs incurred in preparing the case before the Environmental Review Tribunal. Had the appeal not been undertaken, the Renouf system users would have had to pay for an extremely expensive public water system. Just why Council feels it should give financial support to this one group of water users, in a Township that is otherwise user-pay, is mysterious. For the Township Treasurer's report on Costs of the Renouf System, click HERE. For the full Renouf story, see “Renouf (Balm Beach), on the Federation’s website – http://www.tinycottager.org

 

DISCUSSION OF DEPUTATION RE STORM SEWER AT SIESTA DRIVE: The concerns expressed in a deputation presented by Robert Owen of the Edmor-Georgian Heights Association were all rooted in worry about last summer’s adverse swimming water results at Siesta Drive. Council made no effort to understand Mr. Owen’s point – which was that, in an area that has experienced degraded swimming water, it was ill-advised to add storm water to the situation. There was no thought of halting work and reconsidering the way storm water from the new Perri subdivision in Woodland Beach is to be managed.

            The sewer was mandated in the Perri subdivision agreement and Council took the view – but did not check -- that it is impossible to make changes at this late date.

 

SEPTIC RE-INSPECTION PROGRAM: As noted earlier, the re-inspection of 312 systems in the Balm Beach area revealed that 74 needed work. Today's report provided a breakdown:

31 –vegetation on the leaching bed

17 –septic tank failure

11 –leaching bed failure

9 –structure or driveway over the leaching bed area

4 –grading or erosion problems

2 –exposed distribution pipes

Of these, 15 - 25 systems must be replaced; the balance must be repaired

            Note that the fee for septic re-inspections will be increased in 2003 to $67.10 (from $51.35), and that the Holding Provision Inspection Fee is $77.25.

 

NEW MUNICIPAL ACT IN EFFECT AT THE BEGINNING OF JANUARY: The Municipal Act has been entirely rethought and redrafted. The new Act is shorter, more readable, more flexible than the old one.

 

MEMBERSHIP ON TOWNSHIP COMMITTEES: The membership of Township committees was set at the beginning of Council's term and remains the same with minor adjustments. The Small Watercraft Committee has added Roger Neal of the "Sunport Beach Resort and Motel." Tiny Trails has added Malcolm Hachborn, a structural engineer, a useful resource in this period of bridge repair. History and Heritage has replaced its long serving chair, Scott Williams (who has moved to Collingwood) with T. Philip Adams. Parks and Rec includes representatives from the 6 recreation associations – representatives selected within each association, not by Council. An Off Road Motorized Vehicles Committee has been struck. It includes representatives from the Policing Committee, (John Leadley), Tiny Trails (Doug St. Amant), a beach association (Don Urquhart of Cawaja), the general public (Rick Burns), and Council (Frank Hughes).

 

LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR PARKS AND RECREATION ASSOCIATIONS: The Parks and Recreation Associations have been aware since June that the Township’s liability Insurance was not adequate to their needs. At this meeting, Council agreed to arrange for interim insurance, through to the end of January. Future insurance costs will be covered by increases in the 2003 grants to Parks and Rec.

 

FEE SCHEDULE AND PUBLIC NOTICE BY-LAWS: A new Fee By-Law detailing charges for everything from dog tags, to fire violations and Holding Provision Inspection Fees is now available on the Township website -- www.township.tiny.on.ca. A By-Law specifying the kind of notice the Township must give for various actions has also been posted on its website.

 

 

 

 

 

Deputation to Council on Fairness and Voting Methods

 

Given by Judith Grant, on behalf of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations

 

(Note that the Federation spoke for all its member associations except for Carusoe Bay, which felt it had been given too little time to reach a view on the matter.)

 

Mayor Klug, Deputy Mayor Salisbury, Councillors Buchkowsky, Hughes and Maurice, Staff and members of the audience.

 

I am here today to speak to you on behalf of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations. My subject is fairness and voting methods.

 

It seems to me that we are all in favour of fairness to every resident in Tiny and that we are all in favour of level playing fields, especially at election times. And yet there are questions that present themselves in relation to the coming election and to elections in the recent past.

 

In the Township newsletter that went out last month, there was a blue box on the back page headed "Vote By Mail". It raises the possibility that "Vote By Mail" may replace "Vote By Telephone" in the next election. You five members of our elected Council have not yet come to a decision about which voting method is to be used in the next election. What was in the blue box was the substance of a report prepared by the Township Clerk last March.

 

Here are the salient paragraphs:

 

"Prior to the election, each voter receives by mail a kit containing a ballot, instructions, and an envelope for mailing the ballot to the Township Office. A Voter Declaration Form must be signed and returned with the ballot. The ballots must be mailed 10 days before the election.

 

"One of the benefits of Vote By Mail is that voters have the option to visit the Township Office on Election Day to deposit their ballots. With telephone voting, there was no ballot to mark with an x and deposit in the ballot box."

 

Let me begin with the information in the second paragraph. It would appear that if ballots may be put into a ballot box in the Township Office on election day, then the election campaign can run in Tiny Township for 10 days past the time when those who live outside Tiny must mail their ballots. Does this not give permanent residents a longer time to be swayed and more time to make up their minds? Does this not give permanent residents a second chance at voting, if they happen to forget to get their ballot in the mail at the appropriate time? Does this not make it easier for permanent residents of Tiny to exercise their franchise, easier than it is, say, for someone whose primary residence is in Windsor?

 

Would you not agree that seasonal residents -- who are in the majority in Tiny -- are placed at a disadvantage by this ability of permanent residents to vote on election day? Seasonal residents do much to finance the running of Tiny through their taxes. Do you not think that they should be able to vote as easily as permanent residents and that they should have just as much time in which to make up their minds?

 

Granted, seasonal residents who fail to mail their ballots on time could drive to Tiny and cast their ballots, but the many who must work on the day of the election could not make the trip. Even those who are free to make the trip could not do so if a major snow or sleet storm happened to coincide with election day. And of course, such a trip would be an inconvenience and an expense.

 

I do not wish to create the impression that we are opposed to Vote By Mail. It has, in our view, much to recommend it. But, if we do change from telephone voting to Vote By Mail, I think you would agree that all voters in Tiny should be treated alike, and that there should be a level playing field for every one of Tiny's voters.

 

If we are to have Vote By Mail, then let us have Vote By Mail and ONLY Vote By Mail.

 

Would you not agree that everyone should exercise their franchise the same way – once the decision is taken to vote in a particular way -- and that no one should be confronted with additional difficulties by the voting method chosen?

 

I repeat – If we are to have Vote By Mail, then let us have Vote By Mail and ONLY Vote By Mail.

 

 

If, however, we stay with telephone voting, then I think you would all agree that it must be made easier than it was last election. I’m sure that electors whose primary residence is outside Tiny were not the only ones to find the script long and confusing. An additional problem with Vote by Telephone is that it is hard for people to vote when they are uncomfortable with both official languages. So would you members of this Council not agree, that it would be a good idea to make the script available in the major languages of Tiny besides English and French -- namely Italian and Polish and Ukrainian – and that those alternative scripts be available right at the beginning of the voting period?

 

I am sure that you would all agree that the matter of a level playing field pertains with this method of voting also. If people outside Tiny must cope with the script unaided, then people in Tiny should likewise vote unaided.

 

Obviously the usual method of voting -- casting ballots on election day or on one of a number of advance poll days -- is difficult for a significant portion of Tiny's voters. It is a good thing that there seems to be no thought of reverting to a standard sort of election. As you all know, Tiny is not an ordinary community: it is a community that embraces both permanent and seasonal residents, and I am glad to see that the members of this Council recognize the value of alternative voting methods.

 

I’ll conclude by observing that, when you reflect on the matter, I think you’ll agree that whatever voting method is selected should be equally accessible in all its details to every one of Tiny’s voters. It should be fair to all and there should be a level playing field.

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Report to Council

 

From: John Theriault, Manager of Administrative Services/Treasurer

Date: December 5th, 2002

Subject: Costs of Renouf System

 

Background:

 

At the beginning of 2001, the Province ordered the Township to take over the operation of the Renouf system and bring it up to provincial standards. After investigation, the Township realized that in order to bring the system up to provincial standards, it would have to replace it at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 per household. At that time it was decided to contest the Provincial Order.

 

Analysis:

 

The Township successfully argued their case. The system will be dismantled and replaced by private wells.

 

At this time the Township has spent the following on upgrading the Renouf system and arguing the case.

 

            Salaries and benefits                                        $ 5,129.65

            Legal fees                                                        128, 957.49

            Engineering fees                                              191,355.69

            Contracted services                                         83,991.24

            Materials                                                         8,290.13

            Total spent as of December, 2002                  $ 417,724.20

 

I have contacted our lawyers and after a quick evaluation they have confirmed that except for the first few bills that we received that were opinions for about $2,000, the rest of the legal fees charged were in some way related to the tribunal. Henk contacted our engineers who did a quick evaluation of the charges and are giving us the following breakdown based on a final bill of $264,000: approximately $86,000 tribunal related costs, $135,000 of costs that we would have had to do anyway and $43,000 for work done for each owner.

 

If we consider the total savings of the Township's decision to go to the tribunal we can look at it this way:

 

 

Therefore, if the Township was to apply the same criteria to the final cost of what was done for the Renouf system, the users should pay approximately $400,000 of the total cost and the Township $100,000.

 

As it is the Township is paying approximately $145,000 of the total cost with very little chance of getting any provincial or federal funding against this cost and the users are paying $355,000 with a very good chance of getting provincial and federal funding to offset their cost.

 

I believe that this is fair to both parties and I would recommend that the Township only pay for the legal fees of the total Renouf costs.