REPORT ON COUNCIL
April 13, 2004
Committee of the Whole: 9:03 a.m. 6:47 p.m.
Evening Meeting: 7:05 p.m. - 9:35 p.m.
All Members of Council present.
CONFIDENTIAL / CLOSED SESSION: None.
PRESENTATION BY COUNCILLOR ROB PANASIUK: Speaking on his own behalf, Councillor Rob Panasiuk addressed the principle of fairness. In my view [he said] fairness can be ensured, and trust can be built, through open transparent government and through consistent application of clear policies. Secrecy, brought about by confidential agreements, is the root cause of much of the recent complaint, concern and request for information from this Council. He went on to observe that fairness and trust are a two way street. The public too has a role to play in this For the complete text of his remarks, click HERE.
PRESENTATION BY COUNTY OF SIMCOE ABOUT GARBAGE: Tilna Nautras from the County of Simcoe recommended that Tiny Township impose a bag limit for garbage. This might be done (as was suggested in the ensuing discussion) by issuing each household with a set number of bag tags for use during the year. Nautras also argued that the annual heavy pickup no longer be unlimited.
DEPUTATIONS BY RESIDENTS: Concerned that Council members might not have a full grasp of the situation that moved the Small Watercraft Committee to seek a boating restriction, Dorene Trunk, a regular attendee at Council meetings, supplied them with a history of the Personal Watercraft Committee and explained how that history was linked to the planning of Jackson Park and to the decision to seek a boating restriction. For her deputation, click HERE.
Janet Evans, wife of former CAO/Clerk Earl Evans, presented another deputation (her third in four meetings) questioning a) financial records from 2003, b) the role of one of the Townships consultants during the last Councils term and c) procedures around the time her husband was dismissed.
Former Deputy Mayor Patricia ODriscoll provided Council with background on the 178 metre geodetic elevation line and setbacks from it that are standards imposed by Tinys proposed Zoning By-Law. She quoted a planner with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as saying that the Provincial Natural Hazards Policy (basis of the required elevation and setbacks) was brought in to protect the Government of Ontario which had paid out millions and millions and millions of dollars in claims made for damages caused by natural hazards. She produced a letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing saying that it has no records since 1986 of money paid out by the Province under the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program for claims of damage caused by natural hazards in shoreline areas in the Township of Tiny. She quoted a passage from the Ministry of Natural Resources Natural Hazards Training Manual which emphasizes the variability of local conditions and the need to do planning in the context of actual local conditions and urged that Tiny Township employ experts to find a sensible approach to setbacks from Georgian Bay.
Vern Owen, President of the Bluewater Georgina Wendake Beaches Association, spoke to Council about speeding on Tiny Beaches Road and the need for a hand-held radar gun and also about unsafe parking arrangements on Wendake Road.
QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE NEW WYEVALE FIREHALL: In the course of a presentation by the managers who oversaw the construction of the new fire hall in Wyevale, it emerged that the Fire Department had moved into the new Fire Hall on January 12 before it had an occupancy permit. (Yet, when questioned in January, the then Clerk/CAO, Earl Evans and Fire Chief Jim Sawkins indicated to Council that an occupancy permit had been issued.) The issuing of an occupancy permit concerned Councillor Ray Millar as tenders for the job had set the completion date (after which penalty fines would be levied) as the date an occupancy permit was issued. The wording in the ACTUAL contract with the chosen construction firm made no reference to an occupancy permit date, but rather to substantial completion of the work. Those who submitted tenders under the original wording should have been told about the change of wording and have been allowed to re-tender.
Councillor Panasiuk had a different concern about the lack of occupancy permit. Had staff made him aware that a permit had not been issued, he would have checked that the Township had insurance coverage. Because he was misled, the question remained unasked, and there may have been serious liability exposure.
DRAFT PROCEDURAL BYLAW: Council spent long hours considering changes to the Procedural Bylaw. A few of these will bring the Bylaw into conformity with the new Municipal Act. Other changes concern Deputations to Council. At the moment, the heading Deputations introduces reports given by Township consultants, presentations by individuals speaking on their own behalf, and presentations by individuals deputed to speak by a group. A new category is to be created for reports by consultants, and a second category is to be called Oral Presentations. There has been no mechanism whereby the Townships Procedures Bylaw concerning deputations could be followed. According to the Bylaw, Deputations are to be heard by leave of Council. Yet Council had no say in the matter. Decisions about whether deputations were to be heard were being made by the Clerk in consultation with the Mayor, in private. Council wants discussion about proposed oral presentations to occur in public, in the course of Committee of the Whole. When the revisions are in final form, well publish them.
COUNCIL CONSTRAINED BY PREVIOUS COUNCIL: There was no open discussion of deputations made on March 29 by former Mayor Anthony Lancia, Janet Evans wife of former Clerk / CAO Earl Evans, and former Mayor Patricia ODriscoll, as confidential matters were entwined with things that could have been discussed in public. Judging by statements made by Councillor Panasiuk in his presentation at the beginning of the meeting (see below), this Council is bound by agreements made by the previous Council.
BYLAW CONCERNING THE RENTAL OF SEA-DOOS IN BALM BEACH:
Theres no final decision here yet about a new public meeting on the issue.
With regard to the changes in procedure requested by the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations, the Planning Department has been asked to include the street address in Planning Items in Council Agendas and in Public Planning Meeting Agendas and also to try to define the issues at stake. During the discussion, it was noted that the Townships Official Plan could be used to require that broader notice than usual be given for zoning changes that might affect a large number of properties. At the moment, only properties within 120 metres need be notified of a zoning change (See Section 34, Subsection 14 of the Planning Act).
MEDIATION: Those involved in Mediation and Council is one of the stakeholders received a cryptic message from the Mediators on April 8, 2004, which read: Recent events have brought the mediation process to a critical point. We have determined that it is in the best interest of the process to adjourn the mediation and have so advised the Attorney General. During the adjournment, we will be preparing a report on the progress made to date and addressing the challenges that remain. We expect to deliver our report to the Attorney General by May 7, 2004. Council voted to confirm its support of mediation.
NO NEED FOR FIREARMS BYLAW: Shawn Crawford, Municipal Law Enforcement Officer, reported that there are adequate rules already in effect.
SEPTIC RE-INSPECTION PROGRAM: Last year, all shore area lots from the Townships southern boundary to the 3rd Concession Road were done, except for Plan 943. This year all occupied lots in Plan 943 are to be re-inspected, and then re-inspections will continue north through Plans 842, 1335, 582, 894, 1399 and so on. It looks as though re-inspections will be done as far north as Pine Forest and Deanlea.
Presentation by Councillor Rob Panasiuk
Members of Council, ladies and gentlemen. I wish to take the opportunity this evening to comment on a number of matters, but before I do I should preface my remarks by noting that I am speaking on my own behalf and not on behalf of Council.
To begin, I wish to speak to you tonight about principles and values. In particular I wish to speak to you about a principle or value so core to the human condition that it is easily understood by even the very young, and I might add, they understand it particularly well.
This concept is perhaps best described by way of example. Many, if not all of you, may recall an early childhood problem solving experience you and a sibling, or perhaps a friend, first encountered when you were required to share a single chocolate bar or a last can of pop.
By what method could it be ensured that the division of the treat would result in equal parts? What would happen if the division resulted in unequal parts? This conundrum was magically solved, usually by a wiser and older individual, often a parent, when it was suggested that one child would divide the treat and the other would get first pick between the divided parts.
This early childhood experience is, for many of us, a memorable example of the concept of fairness and how to ensure it. Many parents in this room may still resort to this solution when required to divide, the not easily divisible, between two children.
Many of us would have difficulty defining fairness, but all of us readily know when weve been denied it.
Now why do I bring up this concept or principle of fairness here tonight? Well, it seems to me that many of the problems in Tiny are rooted in the notion of fairness.
I have given considerable thought to the many deputations that this Council has heard since beginning its term and I observe that much of what is complained about is lack of perceived or substantive fairness. The concept of fairness is a common thread weaving its way throughout almost every deputation.
Lets take a moment to examine this together.
In no particular order, without being exhaustive, and by no means in any attempt to reduce the many thoughtful deputations to a single point, I offer you the following examples.
Carey Moran says: Be fair, make sure that the winter roads are safe for those of us who must navigate them in the middle of the night.
Alfred Mullie says: Be fair, if the Township is going to give us a bill it should be in enough detail and provide enough explanation for us to determine that its the right amount.
Janet Evans says: Be fair, reinstate Earl Evans to his position, hes done nothing wrong.
Anthony Lancia says: Be fair, put money back into the water users account that shouldnt have been charged to it.
Pat ODriscoll says: Be fair, follow procedures and provide the taxpayers with the information they are entitled to.
Nick Leblovic says: Be fair, make sure that before decisions are made that have an effect on our lives we have the opportunity to provide input.
Judith Grant says: Be fair, provide sufficient detail about planning matters so as to ensure that those affected are on notice and have the opportunity to comment.
Turning back now to my childhood example. Have you ever noticed how children splitting that last can of pop go about it? The more thoughtful ones dont immediately pour what they believe to be half the can of pop into one glass and then pour the remains into another. Children are much too smart for that.
If you watch them, they will, with great care and precision pour a little bit of pop into one glass and then a little into the other. They will repeat this process going back and forth making small adjustments each time until finally they arrive at two glasses that are imperceptibly equal. A seemingly fair result.
In my view, our community would be well served by a Council and an administration that approaches decision making with such care and precision. Pursuing a fair outcome by delicately balancing the interests of all between the many glasses that must be filled from the single can of pop.
When I ran in the past election I had no particular vision or mission in mind for Tiny, I just wanted to be of service to my community. In the short time I have been on this Council however a necessary mission has emerged.
My vision for Tiny is built on values. Before we can ever effectively deal with complex and critical issues such as Site 41 and beach access, we must first ensure that our communitys values are in check.
This Council must lead by ensuring fairness and building trust within the community. Trust that in my view was lost a very long time ago.
There is much work to be done here.
In my view fairness can be ensured, and trust can be built, through open transparent government and through consistent application of clear policies. Secrecy, brought about by confidential agreements, is the root cause of much of the recent complaint, concern and request for information from this Council.
Confidential agreements, in the context of public spending, are by their very nature, a bad thing. I believe that the individuals right to privacy with respect to employment termination payments is outweighed by the publics interest in accountability for how its money is spent.
Some are asking this Council to provide certain information that in my view should be public, however, if this Council were to provide such information to the public it would be doing so in breach of confidentiality agreements authorized by a prior Council and committed to by the administration. Doing so would expose the township to potential legal damages. Such action would be unfair to the other parties to the confidential agreements and would unwisely expose the taxpayer to indirect adverse financial consequences.
I can however think of two ways by which much of this requested information can be made public. Successful application under the relevant privacy legislation could result in the lawful release of information; alternatively a waiver of the confidentiality clause could be sought from the appropriate parties to certain agreements.
Turning now to the issue of trust. In my view trust begins with open and frank dialogue. Municipal government is the grassroots of democracy: if the little guy cant be heard by his local government then he has no voice at all. No harm can come from listening to someone elses point of view.
Recently this Council has been accused of trying to restrict the right of the individual to make presentations at Council meetings. Lets examine the facts on this, shall we?
Since the term of this new Council began, not one single person has been denied the opportunity to make a presentation to Council. Councils recent deliberations in connection with the procedural bylaw were triggered when it came to light that Mr. Lancia had been informed that he would not be scheduled to speak at a particular Council meeting, as he had requested. I understand that the Mayor had made this decision.
Mr. Lancia has this Councillor to thank, among others, for ensuring that he did indeed have his opportunity to speak. Close examination of the procedural bylaw revealed that presentations could be made with leave of Council. This language made it clear that the authority to grant or deny requests to be heard by Council resides with Council itself and not the Mayor or anyone else.
Suggested changes to the procedural bylaw provide the mechanism whereby Council can grant leave to be heard. This determination will be made by Council in full public view, as it should, and not behind closed doors as I understand it has been for years.
Constructive presentations to Council are a good thing. Public critique is an important part of the process as it provides important and ongoing feedback for consideration. Some however abuse the opportunity to speak to Council when they cross the line and deliberately mislead. Such actions have an adverse effect on trust within our community.
To conclude, fairness and trust are a two way street. The public too has a role to play in this community.
Is it fair to expect a brand new Council to be perfect in its judgments and in its process from its very first day?
Is it fair to ask a Council to account for the alleged actions of a previous Council?
Is it fair to ask a Council to breach a confidentiality agreement that was authorized by a previous Council?
Is it fair to ask a Council to deal with employment matters in public?
You all have a choice here. Do you want to assist and enable this Council to pursue fairness and build trust by providing it with constructive, honest and genuine input, or would you prefer the choice others have made when they continue to harass this Council for the alleged actions of a previous Council?
Its your community. Its your choice.
On a final note I would ask that you judge this Council by what it actually does not by what you think its going to do.
Thank you for your attention.
April 13, 2004
Presented by: Rob Panasiuk at the Regular Meeting of Council
Deputation by Dorene Trunk
To: Township of Tiny Council.
Subject: Re: Safety at DAoust Bay (Jackson Park) and Boating Restrictions.
From: Dorene Trunk.
Date: Monday, April 05, 2004.
Having attended the budget meeting, I have some concerns about the discussion regarding the possible costs of instigating a boating restriction; e.g. bylaw, police, literature, signs and insurance. There seems to be some question as to whether the Township should be involved in waters that do not belong to them due to liability issues. It is my opinion that it is difficult to make a decision if you dont have the past history. It is only by looking at the past that you can plan for the future.
The Personal Watercraft (PWC) Committee was formed in January 1999 as a result of numerous deputations by individuals and Associations, and phone calls to bylaw, works department and Councillors regarding the dangerous usage of PWCs, along with noise and environmental pollution. These complaints were often accompanied by documents, pictures and video.
The Committee was to identify the problem and suggest solutions (see attached). I am enclosing a separate sheet documenting some of the more important dates in the committees work. It is not complete and is formed out of my own files. The PWC Committee members met on an average of twice a month. The Council was represented by Deputy Mayor Pat ODriscoll and Councillor Gord Salisbury. The other members of Council were kept well informed at all times. The Committee worked well together and represented various abilities, i.e. lawyer, environmental consultant, fisherman, boat owner, along with both rear and waterfront owners. I was a member and representative of an active boating and water toy family who is also in a position to observe DAoust Bay water activity on a daily basis.
The Committee had the full cooperation of the Council. A solution to the PWC problem tied into a successful Master Plan for Jackson Park.
The following professionals were involved:
Nick McDonald - The Planning Partnership.
Ian Rowe Legal.
David Lambden Surveyor for charts of the water.
Rick Thomas Canadian Coast Guard.
Ken Brant Supervisor, Navigation.
OPP Protection program.
W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers Ltd.
These were expenditures that came from the taxpayers pocket (see information attached).
There were also inquiries to other professionals and other Townships. There were numerous open meetings with the required notification. All parties were notified and had input, including PWC rental businesses from other areas, as well as the Hunters and Anglers.
It soon became clear that the one thing in Tiny that everyone agreed upon was the boating restrictions. The commercial firms that rented PWCs recognized the geography of the Bay and the depth of the water meant that the present rule of boating at least 30 metres off-shore was totally unsafe and they themselves did not wish to be saddled with a lawsuit.
The findings of the Committee and the expert professionals involved were that a boating restriction was a necessity and until the restrictions were put into place, it was prudent to put in marker buoys to separate the boating and the swimming areas and at the same time install signage that would direct the boaters to stay out beyond the buoys except during egress and ingress. Permission to put in buoys was granted by Fisheries & Oceans (see attached). This in itself was not sufficient and the Council increased the bylaw and police presence in Jackson Park. This greatly improved the situation. There will always be irresponsible people, but the majority worked hard to make a bad situation better and satisfy everyones needs.
I say bad situation because it was always a concern of the Committees, Council and Nick McDonald that swimmers and a boat launch were not a good mix. In the case of the boat launch there does not seem to be a viable alternative. When the Council shut down the boat launch due to low water creating the inability to launch anything but very small boats, there was a huge and nasty public outcry. The Council responded by reversing its decision and posting a use at your own risk sign.
The unsafe conditions have not gone away; in fact they are worse. The water is lower than in 1999, and we now have only one functioning boat launch in Tiny Township the one at Jackson Park (the launches at Woodland Beach and Balm Beach are both closed). The Jackson Park improvements have made the park more popular and it is now attracting large organized groups, which means more people in the water. The present law of a maximum speed of 10 kilometres per hour, within 30 metres of shore is totally unsafe. This law puts the speeding PWC in the middle of swimmers. The swimmers have to be way beyond the 30 metre mark in order to swim.
Based on all of the studies and public input, along with two boating Committees, a boating restriction should be pursued. The buoys should be installed, caution and instruction signs should be in place and budget should allow for any expense necessary to protect the public.
Surely the Council wishes to protect the public from a dangerous situation. The Township may not be legally bound to do so, but surely it is morally bound to do so. Tiny Township provided, in Jackson Park, a new washroom with change room facilities for swimmers, so they could go into the water. Tiny Township created, also in Jackson Park, a boat launch so boats could also go into the water. The water may not be Tinys responsibility, but we certainly lead them to the water. Once we lead them to the water is it not prudent to provide as much protection from accidents as possible?
I hope this information will be of value.