It’s back to business as usual, no bagpipes or swearing-in ceremonies. This week’s agenda has a number of interesting items on the agenda. I have noted below the items I feel are of the greatest interest to the Public. Check out the agenda package at the Town’s website for the full list of items and supporting documents.

4.1 – Letter. Water damage due to construction Wakefield St. I guess the Town will be receiving more ‘correspondence’ with residential ‘situations’ that arise as a result of the construction on Wakefield, Dufferin and Forest Streets. The issue here is water leakage into a basement that occurred after the snow-thaw-melt cycle we had a couple of weeks ago. The problem had never arisen before the construction, and blasting, but perhaps the ‘nasty’ combination of weather related events hadn’t stressed the system before. It’s a toughie that will challenge the Town to resolve fairly.

4.2 – Letter. High water levels on Lake Manitouwabing. Water levels that are too high are as big a problem for some people as water levels that are too low are for others. In this case a resident on Lake Manitouwabing has written the Town with concerns that the water in the lake is a foot above the high water level. The Town received the letter because the lake is part of the Seguin River watershed and I guess a former responsibility of Parry Sound Hydro, now part of Lakeland Power who have not acted to lower the level. Like the letter before it’s hard to know who is really responsible for what. Water levels in the whole district are high because of the unusually large amount of rain, snow and melt. I suppose you can’t just pull the plug like you can in a bathtub to lower water levels. If it was that easy we would never have flooding.

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 – Deputations. A series of deputations covering the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, a proposal for adaptive reuse of the Old Fire Station, an 8-80 Cities update and an active transportation link between the Town and Kinsmen Park. It’s worth attending the meeting to hear what these various groups have to say.

9.1.2 – Direction. Rezoning Application, Waltmar Inc., 2 Oastler Park Drive. No this is not Wal-Mart, it’s Waltmar. The application concerns a rezoning request for the property across from Sobeys on Old Highway 69 where docks and marine supplies were sold last summer. It seems the operation was in violation of local zoning regulations. This property has an interesting recent history. It was hurridly rezoned last year to commercial with a holding provision in the midst of the Official Plan preparation and review. The holding provision prohibited commercial use of the property pending the submission of satisfactory traffic and ecological impact reports to the Town, as well as a site plan. Town Staff is proposing that the Zoning By-law amendment be delayed until May to permit time for the reports to be completed and submitted. The applicants want to receive a two-year temporary lifting of the restriction. Town Departments are concerned about the traffic/safety impact of the operation as well as the aesthetics of container buildings and temporary steel fencing at the busiest ‘gateway’ into Parry Sound. Isn’t this type of ‘temporary’ operation better suited for one of our neighbouring municipalities that have more relaxed zoning and business regulations. Oh wait, the applicant wants to benefit from the ‘business’ that Parry Sound delivers but they don’t want to meet the Town’s by-law requirements. Have cake. Eat cake.

9.1.3 – Resolution. Report – Monitoring of Residential Construction. This is more interesting that it might seem at first read. The report is suggesting that there are no practical regulations that can be implemented to improve future issues regarding neighbourhood storm water and drainage issues related to new in-fill type construction. What is interesting to note is the recommendation that any existing water drainage arrangements remain in force, regardless of whether the property owner impacted by the drainage of water from other properties is happy with the arrangement. Hmm – this seems a very reactionary and punitive proposal. If my basement is wet because the property uphill directs their storm water from eaves trough and downspouts to my backyard I need to ‘suck it up’? Let’s see what Council decides on this rather ‘laissez faire’ report.

9.3.1 – Resolution. Lay Appointments to Boards, Committees and Commissions. Names are provided for proposed members who are to be formally approved by Council. Most are holdovers from the previous term of Council. Not all committees are listed so I suppose there were be additional announcements as members are recruited.

9.4.1 – Resolution. Revised 2015 Budget Schedule. There have been some date changes with respect to meetings regarding the 2015 budget preparation. I don’t see where the public is invited to comment on the budget, or at what point they will have an opportunity to receive and review the 2015 budget materials. I suppose you are always welcome to make a deputation at a regular open meeting of Council.

9.5.1 – Resolution. Energy Management Plan for the Town of Parry Sound. This plan proposes to “reduce corporate energy usage by 5% over the next 5 years”. It’s an interesting report and worth reviewing. One interesting ‘factoid’ is that he Bobby Orr Community Centre and Stockey Centre account for about 25% of the Town’s energy consumption. The full report is included in this week’s agenda package.

There are a number of interesting items on the agenda and it will be interesting to see how the new members of Council are getting along. I’ll see you there if you decide to attend.

Which Way Does the Wind Blow in Parry Sound? (Parry Sound in Black & White)