Council Reports: November 26, 2007

November 26, 2007
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:03 a.m. – 3:17 p.m.
Regular Evening Meeting: 7:00 p.m. 7:26 p.m.
All Members of Council present.

CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: 11:51 a.m. – 12:49 p.m. and 3:01 p.m. – 3:16 p.m.

NEW CAO/CLERK APPOINTED: Mayor Breckenridge announced that Doug Luker is to be Tiny’s CAO/Clerk, beginning December 1.

COUNCIL SETS GOALS FOR NEXT THREE YEARS: Mayor Breckenridge presented the results of Council’s and Senior Staff’s four days of Strategic Planning discussions (August 29 and 30 and September 11 and 20). A number of initiatives and goals were established for the areas of Sustainable Development, Community Culture and Community Stewardship, namely
1) Sustainable Development:
i) Conduct research and develop strategy regarding septage treatment capability by Oct. 2008
ii) Develop strategy to successfully lobby internet service providers by June 08 (with a goal of 100% coverage for affordable high speed internet access by Dec/09)
iii) Prepare a needs assessment and office functionality plan by Dec. 2008
iv) Prepare beach park master plans – Lafontaine in 2008; a beach park secondary master plan – Balm Beach in 2009; and a municipally-owned waterfront land use strategy (acquisition, development, protection, maintenance, remediation, promotion, DFO and MNR, parking strategy) by Dec. 2008
v) Undertake an Official Plan Review to align the Township with County growth study targets by June 2009
vi) Complete a Township asset inventory to assist in asset management by Sept. 2008; and create a long term asset management plan by Dec. 2008
vii) Undertake financial impact analysis on all strategic initiatives in order to maintain financial stability and a low to moderate MMAH risk rating
2) Community Culture
i) Arrive at an image plan and strategy in order to achieve a high quality, consistent image, both within and outside the Township, and establish a brand strategy by June 2009
ii) Establish a community culture map (lifestyle, character etc.) by December 2008.
iii) Create a communication plan to improve the quality of communication with all stakeholders by March 2008.
3) Community Stewardship
i) Institute a safety services inventory and review to ensure the safe enjoyment of our community (fire, ambulance etc) by April 2008.
ii) Arrive at a plan to resolve issues regarding key municipal properties by June 2009. Do an encroachments business case analysis. Prioritize and complete the first case by June 2008. Draft a land “issues” statement for the public by March 2008.

BEACH WATER QUALITY REPORT: Jerry Capko, of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, gave a report that raised many troubling questions.
He began by reminding Council that he had sent a letter on August 8 saying that a geometric mean of 100 or higher E. coli for samples taken at a particular beach would no longer automatically result in a recommendation that a warning be posted. Rather, “The decision to post will be based on a wider set of parameters assessing risk than before.” As a result, there would probably be fewer recommendations that beaches be posted.
Reducing the number of unnecessary postings, he explained, was the first stage of a three-phase initiative. Often in the past a beach was posted on a Wednesday or Thursday, on the basis of Monday sampling, when samples taken Wednesday proved to have acceptable E. coli counts. Stage two was to reach an understanding of factors at each beach that would indicate that a particular location should be posted immediately, before samples taken had even been analyzed. And Stage Three was to anticipate the arrival of such conditions so that anticipatory warnings could be issued.
This past summer, the Health Unit made only one recommendation that a beach be posted as being likely to be unsafe for swimming. According to the Health Unit’s beach-by-beach list of sample results for the summer, this occurred on August 15, at Conc 2 West Lawson Rd Beach, with the advisory lifted 2 days later on August 17.
Asked whether it was safe not to resample, not to check that the assumptions were correct, Capko observed that Ontario’s standard of 100 E. coli or less in swimming water is extremely conservative. Environment Canada’s standard is 200 or less and some areas have a standard of 1000 E. coli or less. He commented that most E. coli are safe. He also said that the 100 or less standard is not a regulation, and that there is no testing for pathogens.
(He did not say anything about E. coli as an organism indicating recent fecal contamination and thus useful as an measure of the likelihood of the presence of harmful pathogens.)
Following its new policy, the Health Unit did not recommend posting at four beaches because of high results for samples taken on 9 July, when Conc. 3 W had a geomean of 854.07, Conc 7 West Beach a geomean of 634.39, Jackson Park a geomean of 628.23 and Trew Ave a geomean of 256.82. Nor did the Health Unit retest to make sure its assumptions were correct. The decision, he said, was based on past experience for that time of year at those locations.
He could not explain why the Health Unit recommended posting at Conc 2 W Lawson Rd for a geomean of 521.54 for samples taken on August 13, but did NOT recommend posting Conc 16 West Beach which had a geomean of 587.99 on the same day. Nor could he explain why Conc. 16 was resampled on August 14 while resampling was not done at Conc 2 until August 16. He could not explain why resampling was done the following day at a number of locations that had high counts when results arrived only on the afternoon of that day. Nor could he explain why the Health Unit did not change its description of the area sampled near Jackson Park when its sample locations had changed.
Bruce Beauchamp who was directly in charge of sampling results and one of four who decided whether results warranted posting could have answered some of Council’s questions, but, even though he was in the audience and his presence had been mentioned, no one asked for his views.

DATES FOR COUNCIL MEETINGS IN 2008: In general, Council meets on the second and last Monday of each month. However, Council decided to cancel the second meeting in February (due to Council’s attendance at the ROMA/IGRA Conference) and to move the second meeting in June forward to the 23rd (because of Canada Day).

MAYOR’S PIG ROAST AND CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT: Next summer’s Mayor’s Pig Roast has been scheduled for Saturday, July 5 and the Mayor’s Golf Tournament for Saturday, August 16th.