Council Reports: August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:00 am – 6:43 p.m. 
Regular Evening Meeting: 7:10 p.m. – 7:50 p.m.
All Members of Council present.

CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 1:37 p.m. – 6:43 p.m. The subject of the closed session was “Education and training purposes”.

OPP QUARTERLY REPORT: Inspector Philbin reported that, where last year the Midland Detachment had fewer active officers than usual, this year it is well staffed; indeed it is a little above maximum strength. As a result the OPP are once more doing directed patrols. The statistics for May, June and July were presented with comparative figures from 2006 and 2005. In almost all categories, the hours served this year increased over those in 2006. However, the 2005 numbers were even higher. Surprisingly, when asked about this, Philbin said that he didn’t know why.

COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT TO BE INVITED TO MEET WITH COUNCIL: Councillor Nigel Warren expressed his frustration that some decisions of the Committee of Adjustment appear not to be minor and that some decisions reached seem to violate the Township’s Official Plan. Staff reminded Council that all but one member of the Committee of Adjustment has at least one term’s experience, and that the Committee considers variances from the established rules. Council decided to have a meeting with the Committee after its Strategic Planning Sessions.

COMMUNITY RECREATION COMMITTEE TOURS FACILITIES: Councillors George Cornell and André Claire reported that, because at least half of the Community Recreation Committee had not served on the old Parks and Rec Committee, the new group, along with Clerk/CAO Ruth Coursey and her assistant Anita Weatherell, and the Manager of Public Works Henk Blom, toured the Township’s major recreation facilities to familiarize themselves with Tiny’s resources.

HANDLING AND NATURE OF PUBLIC MEETINGS: Members of the public who attended the public meeting on fences apparently expressed frustration that members of Council did not respond to their questions. Several members of Council likewise felt uncomfortable about being unable to respond. There was some discussion about the difference between a public meeting (at which the public has its say on a subject) and a town hall meeting where there is a dialogue between individual members of the public and members of Council.

FIRE DEPARTMENT GIVES EVERY APPEARANCE OF BEING WELL-RUN: Once every month, Fire Chief Randy Smith reports on the previous month’s activities, and a summary of activity for the year to date. We note that there is twice monthly training at each of the five stations, a program of Building/Property Inspections and of regular public education presentations. In July the Fire Department responded to 32 emergency calls.
Asked about CUPE’s attempt to unionize the Township’s Fire Department, Chief Smith commented that CUPE backed off in frustration because there was no interest. We suspect that this is so because the volunteer fire fighters feel they are well managed, effective, and well-treated.