REPORT ON COUNCIL
May 25, 2015
Committee of the Whole Meeting: 9:00 a.m. – 2:38 p.m.
Regular Meeting of Council: 6:00 p.m. – 6:29 p.m.
All Members of Council Present: Mayor George Cornell, Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma, and Councillors Cindy Hastings, Richard Hinton and Gibb Wishart
DATAFIX VOTER LIST MANAGEMENT SERVICE CONTRACT: In anticipation of the 2018 municipal election, the township has entered into a contract with DataFix for a list management service called VoterView. The service provides an electronic view of electoral information, and allows election officials to maintain and amend the Voters’ List as changes are received. This $7,000 service is to be paid in four annual installments of $1750 plus taxes.
STREET LIGHTING CONVERSION TO LED: Since conversion to LED streetlights was last considered early in 2014, costs have declined and rebates and projected savings have increased dramatically. The rebate offer from the Ontario Power Authority of $36,790 for lighting purchases and installations, which is available only until the end of December this year, would go a long way to offsetting the $151,000 cost of implementation. Council decided to go ahead and convert the township’s streetlights to LED. Funding is to come from the Capital Expenditure Reserve. Council also accepted the treasurer’s recommendation that the “actual savings” be funnelled “into a ‘Climate Action and Energy Plan Reserve’ . . . for future environmental and energy conservation projects.” The treasurer’s report on this project, sensitive as it is to environmental issues and the possibility of withdrawal at any stage, makes interesting reading. It’s available in the Committee of the Whole Agenda for May 25, under Staff Reports to Council, as item (g) under Administration and Finance.
WATER DEPARTMENT 2015-2020 FINANCIAL PLAN APPROVED: The Township has successfully completed all five criteria required by the Municipal Drinking Water Licensing Program for obtaining and maintaining a Municipal Drinking Water License for the next five years. By approving the Water Department’s Financial Plan (the last of the five criteria), Council is committing to the long term financial viability of the township’s 16 water systems. The report noted that “while the forecast capital expenditures for Water Department appear to be very modest between 2015 and 2020, there are significant scheduled capital requirements within the next planning cycle (2021-2026). These future capital requirements are related to the longer-term issue of nitrate concentrations for the Georgian Sands/Lafontaine water systems. It is for this reason that staff is not recommending any changes to the current Water fees within the current planning cycle.”
COUNTY COUNCIL BURSARY PROGRAM: County Council passed Deputy Mayor Walma’s motion to expand the County’s current scholarship program from $1000 to $3000 and match County municipal bursary programs up to $1000.
FIRE DEPARTMENT ACCESS FOR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS: Fire Chief Tony Mintoff’s report about the roads from County Road 6 to the western shore that pose the greatest safety concern from a firefighting operations perspective prompted Council to pass a resolution that the identified roads be considered for no parking, and that staff report back on a comprehensive implementation plan. Instead of selecting the 20 most dangerous roads as he had been asked to do in March, Mintoff submitted the full list (close to 80) that had been identified in R.J. Burnside and Associates Report of July 14, 2014.
Before this resolution was reached, discussion went round and around. Councillor Hinton declared: “The problem has been left and left and left since forever . . . A lot of people want a conclusion to this . . . We need to do something sooner rather than later. . . Let’s deal with the roads in front of us and move forward from there through the Strategic Plan Process.” Manager of Public Works Henk Blom noted that the vast majority of the roads under discussion are 20-30 foot roads with no room for parking. Worse there’s so little space that only a few roads could be widened. He feels that only 4 or 5 roads can safely be parked on at all.
NEW SIGNAGE APPROVED FOR WOODLAND BEACH: In response to a letter from the Woodland Beach Property Owners Association, asking for permission to replace existing “Welcome to Woodland Beach” signs with new ones, the association to pay for the signs, and the township to manage installation. The signs are on Township property. Council approved the proposal and directed staff to work with the Association on design, location, and installation.
CLEAN UP REQUEST FOR BELLE-EAU-CLAIRE BEACH: In response to a request from Ms. Elise Robitailled that a group of Concession 14 volunteers be organized to clean up the brush at Belle-Eau-Claire Beach and that the Township look at options for the creek that takes up a large portion of the road allowance, Councillor Wishart advised that he would refer the creek to Public Works and the brush clean up to the Recreation Department.
TINY MARSH BIOBLITZ EVENT: In response to a letter from Ms. Kate Harries of the MTM Conservation Association asking that the township sponsor the BioBlitz event at Tiny Marsh on Saturday, June 27 Council agreed to do so in the amount of $100. For more information about the BioBlitz, see the notice on the front page of the Spring/Summer 2015 Tiny Cottager, available on tinycottager.org under Issue Archives.