Council Reports: December 2 & 8, 2003

December 2, 2003
1:00 p.m.
All Members of Council Present: Mayor Robert Klug, Deputy Mayor Pierre Paul Maurice, and Councillors Peggy Breckenridge, Ray Millar and Rob Panasiuk

At this ceremonial meeting, the five members of Council for Tiny Township for 2003-2006 took the oath of allegiance. The Council Chambers were packed with guests and observers for the occasion.


December 8, 2003
Committee of the Whole: 11:05 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Evening Meeting: 7:05 p.m. – 7:47 p.m.
All Members of Council present

FIRST WORKING MEETING OF THE NEW COUNCIL: At the end of the evening session, Mayor Robert Klug observed that the new members of Council [Councillors Peggy Breckenridge, Ray Millar and Rob Panasiuk] had questioned how best to approach virtually everything on the agenda. They did not automatically accept current structures. He observed that this fresh approach was a useful reminder to old hands of the principles that should be guiding the actions of Council and Staff.

5:05 p.m. – 5:29 p.m.
Late in the afternoon, Mayor Robert Klug stated that one item – the sale of a piece of Township-owned property – was to be discussed “in camera”. (The specificity of this statement was a welcome change from vague phrases used in the last three years when Council went “in camera”.) As we left, a discussion was under way concerning the principles on which Council should discuss an item in camera, the intent being to reduce in camera sessions to an absolute minimum.

In the evening, it was announced that the old Wyevale fire hall property had been sold for $140,000.
Fire Chief Sawkins assured Council that the new Fire Hall would be completed before the new owner took possession of the old one, and that if it were not, he had a contingency plan for housing the fire trucks.

DRAFT ZONING BY-LAW: Nick McDonald of Meridian Planning outlined problematic areas of the proposed Zoning By-Law for the new members of Council.
The previous Council had passed a resolution urging the incoming Council to pass the draft Zoning By-Law at its first meeting. The concern was that proposed amendments to the Planning Act might limit the way Council could interpret Provincial Policies, most notably those concerning the 178 metre line and setbacks. When asked how urgent it was that Council act immediately, McDonald felt that there were several months to address outstanding issues while amendments to the Planning Act go through the necessary readings in the Provincial Legislature.
As there is time and as there has been a change of provincial government, it was decided to seek a meeting with MNR, one that would involve Nick McDonald and Ian Bender, Planner for the County of Simcoe. The meeting would be to discuss problems with the 178 metre level and setbacks for Tiny Township, particularly the 45 metre setback for dynamic beaches.

RENOUF AND LAFONTAINE WATER SYSTEM COSTS: John Theriault, the Township’s treasurer, presented a report concerning capital costs incurred for the 92 Renouf and the 40 Lafontaine Water System users. The costs were incurred for the Renouf users in the process of finding a solution for them that would be less expensive than the new communal water system the Ministry of the Environment wanted and for the Lafontaine users to bring their water system up to standard. Theriault’s carefully thought through report began with the premise that the loans be interest free (as the last Council had never said anything about interest payments) and went on to suggest that the amounts be repaid in a series of annual payments. It also suggested that assistance be sought from OSTAR.
Councillor Panasiuk asked whether granting interest free loans to one set of taxpayers was fair to other taxpayers? Would such a move set a precedent? Were other taxpayers given interest-free loans, and if so which groups? (Only, on occasion, Parks and Rec. Associations, apparently.)
Theriault was asked to propose a method of dealing with the loans that does not treat them as “interest free”.

DEPUTATION BY VENTERS ENERGY INC: Venters Energy Inc. is interested in the possibility of establishing wind farms in Tiny Township, as there are a couple of areas that appear to have consistent wind for much of the year. The group would like to install meteorological towers to ascertain whether there is enough wind to make installation of windmills worthwhile.
Deputy Mayor Paul Maurice observed that the idea of a renewable energy resource is of great interest and that farmers would welcome a new steady source of income. Councillor Peggy Breckenridge noted that the power produced would be fed into the grid and would not serve Tiny specifically.
No decision could be taken, even about monitoring towers, until various regulations were checked.

TREASURER PROPOSES CHANGE IN BANK USED BY TOWNSHIP: John Theriault presented a report recommending that the Township change from the CIBC to the TD Bank, as the latter had offered terms that would result in savings of $48,000 over three years.
Councillor Panasiuk asked several questions about the terms of cancellation in the proposed new arrangement. Were there time constraints or penalties if the Township wanted to move to a different bank?)
Councillor Ray Millar asked that the Financial Procedures By-Law (which requires that any substantial Township business be automatically put out to tender) be followed.
Theriault was instructed to tender the Township’s banking contract.

TOWNSHIP COMMITTEES: It was decided to delay advertising for citizens to serve on Township committees for the next three years until the new members of Council gain a better grasp of their functions and a sense of whether all the committees are needed. The chairs of the committees are to make presentations about the work and objectives of each committee during one of Council’s orientation sessions.

WATER SYSTEMS COSTS: New, short term staff appointments costing $38,000 were made so that the remaining mandatory manuals for the township’s various water systems can be prepared. The cost of these appointments was assigned to the Township’s water users. To date, 7 manuals have been completed.
Mandatory upgrades of water systems have cost $2.61 millions to date. In all, it is anticipated that upgrades will cost $4.8 millions. Upgrades were completed for 7 systems by October of 2003; 7 more are to be completed by March of 2004, and the remaining 4 by July of 2005. OSTAR monies have covered a significant part of the monies spent so far.
A letter is to be sent to all water system users explaining why the $400 operating and $200 capital fees are necessary and how they are being spent.

ORIENTATION SESSIONS: All members of Council are to have long sessions to bring everyone up to speed on all aspects of Township governance on December 15, January 19 and January 23. Subsequent sessions are to be scheduled later.