Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – February 18, 2020

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The meeting provided no surprises. It’s worth looking at the deputation summaries to get a better idea of what was presented. It’s quicker than watching the streamed meeting live or on YouTube. Some comments:

  1. It seems that the Closed Session discussion about staffing had nothing to do with senior leadership but rather was approval for a full-time position at the Stockey Centre (Item 7.1).
  2. The Strategic Plan was approved (Item 9.4.1). If you draft a plan that no one bothers to read or follow and has no real accountability, does it really qualify as a plan? This plan could have been put together with a simple listing of the results of a SurveyMonkey poll. (It’s a bit of a shame that we apparently don’t have enough picturesque scenes of our own town and are required to ‘borrow’.)
  3. The Connor Industries rezoning was approved (Item 10.3.1).
  4. The rezoning required to allow the French School to move into the Mall was approved (Item 10.3.2). Let’s see if the Mall folks can get their act together. Development of the apartments seem to have stalled for the past couple of years. (These are the same folks who purchased and are currently renovating the Whitfield.)

Closed Session
d) labour relations or employee negotiations, (new staff position); Carried

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding issues affecting the quality of roads over the past few days, Director of Public Works Mike Kearns reported that the timing of the snowfall after the start of the business day today complicated the plowing process with the amount of traffic and parking already occurring. With respect to the past long weekend, staff were out on all days except one and stayed on top of the issues with the limited staff resources available.

Correspondence
4.1 –
Ken & Geraldine Cribbie. Concerns with base water charges applied on metered water. (Editor’s Note – no action noted in minutes)

4.2 – Danny Whalen, President FONOM. Invitation to attend May 13-15 2020 FONOM Conference in Timmins.
Direction. That staff be directed to apply to FONOM to host the conference in Parry Sound within the next couple of years. Carried

Deputations
5.1 –
Linda Taylor, Program Director, WPSD Community Support Services. Community Support Services and 2020 Budget Request.
Linda Taylor, Program Director of the West Parry Sound District Community Support Services (CSS) addressed Council regarding the services provided including Meals on Wheels supporting 240 clients and delivering 11,600 meals in 2019; Volunteer Transportation; Diners Club; Senior Safekeeping; Lunch and Learn; Friendly Visiting; Adopt-a-Senior and Seniors’ Exercise Program. Ms. Taylor noted that program funding is provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Northeast Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and user fees for some services. Ms. Taylor reported that services are at user fee capacity, with seniors on limited fixed incomes finding it difficult to cover all costs. Therefore Ms. Taylor noted that CSS is hoping to fundraise $20,000 this year; have raised $11,000 so far and is requesting $2,000 from the Town of Parry Sound.
Councillor McCann commended the work of CSS and initiated the following motion. That the $2,000 request from Community Support Services be added to the 2020 budget for consideration. Carried

5.2 – Zack Crafts & Emma Kitchen. Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety Concerns on Isabella St at Wood St.
Zack Crafts addressed Council regarding pedestrian and cyclist safety at Wood and Isabella Streets, illustrating his concerns with an example of the Isabella Street route a grade one student would take along the sidewalks and streets from Parry Sound Public School to Victoria Ave. Mr. Crafts noted that snow, lack of light, and tandem salt trucks, especially when travelling during busy morning traffic periods heighten the safety concerns. Mr. Crafts requested Council consider means to make travel safe in that area, emphasizing that in our modern society active transportation is key, and that “we have to be able to get around in this town, without using a motor vehicle.”
Mayor McGarvey said that a good portion of property in that vicinity is owned by CN and CP with their own infrastructure in place, making it challenging for the Town to unilaterally make changes, and he requested that Director of Public Works Mike Kearns first investigate and find out where we are at with the two railway companies.
Councillor Horne said that he lives on Salt Dock Road and sees that with the growth in condos in that area and increasing foot and bicycle traffic, there needs to be an evaluation done all the way down Salt Dock Road with respect to bike lanes and sidewalks.
Councillor McCann queried whether there might be an arched pedestrian and cycle bridge built over the double tracks to which Councillor Borneman responded that there was a similar investigation done some years ago with a cost estimate at about $1 million with the remaining problem that the needed property for installation is privately owned.
The Mayor proposed direction to which all members of Council raised their hands in support, that the Director of Public Works provide Council with a report on the whole area (Isabella at the tracks through to the Salt Docks) with respect to improving road safety. Added to the approved direction was a request that a cost estimate be provided.

5.3 – Lis McWalter. West Parry Sound Smart.
Liz McWalter addressed Council from a prepared powerpoint presentation with respect to the background and current projects of West Parry Sound SMART. Ms. McWalter noted that the organization originated from the Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee (REDAC), formed as a not-for-profit in 2015, is made up of volunteers with a membership of 24 and 50% of membership according to Corporation by-laws are employed in the public sector. Ms. McWalter noted that the mandate is to focus on building high speed internet capacity, fundraising and advocacy.
Ms. McWalter noted that the Town is well served with high speed internet; however once outside the Town, problems exist as a result of physical barriers such as rocks, trees, lakes and wetlands, old copper telephone connectivity, no fibre trunk access, and distance to sparsely populated communities. As an example. Ms. McWalter reported that to get optical fiber 20 kms to the Industrial Park, a cost quote provided a couple of years ago was $2.5 to 4 million.
Ms. McWalter reported that last spring CENGN (Centre for Excellence in Next Generation Networks) issued Expression of Interest calls for two streams – community and technology; i.e. an ISP or communication equipment manufacturer. The West Parry Sound Area was selected as the community, and of five technology vendors who submitted, Vianet was selected. Outside of the CENGN initiative, SMART had acquired access to an existing 200′ tower near the old MNR Forest Fire Watch Tower in Parry Sound, now owned by the Township of the Archipelago. This provided the point of presence (POP) for WPS SMART who was working with Vianet to do something with the tower – now called the SMART Tower.
Ms. McWalter reported that Bayview Subdivision in Carling, a community of 250 homes was then selected as the community to be served by fiber from a secondary tower that would be built in Carling and served by the SMART Tower. CENGN is looking at this as a pilot project that if successful can be replicated throughout rural Ontario.
Ms. McWalter reported that this proposal of multiple micro-wave links seems a viable approach to reach many underserved; and that the Carling location opens up possibilities to feed other communities with fiber, install fiber to the home and fixed wireless. Benefits include a lower cost at approximately $500,000 per 1 tower project, accelerated plan and build plans, builds on skills of experienced rural ISP, investments can be made incrementally and enables fiber to the home for some. Ms. McWalter noted that the secondary tower in Carling makes it possible to get to the Industrial Park, and from there to Pointe au Baril and from the Industrial Park to McKellar and then to Whitestone. The SMART Tower can also access Seguin.
With respect to the tower builds, they are subject to Industry Canada rules with respect to structure and notification, and Transport Canada with respect to tower lighting and painting.
Ms. McWalter noted that WPS SMART is interested in municipal assistance with respect to acquiring suitable public land, supporting the public notification process, providing permits, funding support, and to help address dependencies.
Ms. McWalter responded to an inquiry regarding whether tower costs might be subsidized by contracts with tenants on each tower, saying that it is viable, but can depend on what the owner of the Tower wants.

Ratification of Matters from Closed Agenda
7.1 –
Resolution. That Council direct staff to eliminate the contract position and establish a full-time complement position of Technical Director at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts. Carried

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.4.1 –
2020-2030 Strategic Plan.
Resolution (as brought forward from the February 4, 2020 meeting: The Council for the Town of Parry Sound approve the 2020 – 2030 Strategic Plan substantially in the form attached as Schedule A. The following amendment to the revised version of the Plan circulated with the agenda was made:
That the Quality of Life Strategic Goal be revised to include the word ‘play’; i.e. Parry Sound is a great place to live, work, play, invest and grow. Carried
That the revised Strategic Plan as circulated with the agenda and amended with the word ‘play’ replace the Strategic Plan attached as Schedule A to the postponed resolution under consideration. Carried
To approve the 2020 – 2030 Strategic Plan substantially in the form attached as Schedule A as amended. Carried as amended

9.4.2 – 2019 Economic Development Report.
Economic Development Officer Vladimir Shehovtsov addressed Council from a prepared powerpoint presentation outlining key economic development initiatives and events undertaken in 2019 including familiarization tours, tradeshows and events, investment attraction, cruise industry, film industry and community building events as well as 2020 investment attraction projects.
Resolution. That the 2019 Economic Development Report be received for information purposes. Carried

By-laws
10.3.1 – Site Plan Application S19/07 – 81 North Tudhope (Connor Industries)
By-Law 2020 – 7016. Being a By-law to authorize a Site Plan / Development Agreement with 2282722 Ontario Ltd. – Connor Industries (81 North Tudhope Street). Passed, Signed & Sealed

10.3.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/17 – 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario/Parry Sound Mall Inc.).
By-law 2020 – 7017. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario/Parry Sound Mall Inc.). Passed, Signed & Sealed

Council Agenda Preview – February 18, 2020

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This coming week’s council meeting sees an even shorter list of agenda items. The key items are:

  1. New staff position (Closed Session d). My sense is that the Town is starting to recognize that it is getting a bit ‘thin’ at the management level and which is also  becoming obvious to the public.
  2. The Strategic Plan is up for formal acceptance (Item 9.4.1). The agenda package includes a response to the comments received regarding the strategic plan. The strategic plan can be summarized as follows. More of the same with higher taxes and an environmental emoticon for good measure. Sigh! Strategic plans are hard to do and require lots of work. I guess it’s “good enough”. The Town intends to do tomorrow what it did yesterday but happy to realize that that the results will at best be no better than yesterday, with a risk of being worse.
  3. The economic development officer on 2019 accomplishments and plans for 2020. (Item 9.4.2). For the most part his activities have been focused on light industrial investment which is more appropriate for regional (Business Park – Carling) rather than urban development. That’s okay, I guess. He needs strategic direction from Council on Town objectives and timelines. The biggest economic development opportunities for the Town proper are related to services (housing, medical, dental, legal, social, food, business to business, and craft type services). These don’t seem to be the focus of the economic development officer’s activities as per his report
  4. Connor industries is planning a major expansion to their manufacturing facility that requires site plan approval (Item 10.3.1). This is one of the only light industrial businesses in Town and the expansion represents a positive step. Council will approved this.
  5. Rezoning to permit the French School to move into the mall for the 2020/21 school year (Item 10.3.2). The recommendation is that Council approve the requested rezoning and it will be approved. In the end there was no reason for Council to have taken the aggressive posture they adopted in August, except perhaps to curry favour with the coalition who were against the school for a variety of reasons.

Closed Session
d) labour relations or employee negotiations, (new staff position);

Correspondence
4.1 – Ken & Geraldine Cribbie. Concerns with base water charges applied on metered water.

4.2 – Danny Whalen, President FONOM. Invitation to attend May 15-18, 2020 FONOM Conference in Timmins

Deputations
5.1 – Linda Taylor, Program Director, WPSD Community Support Services. Community Support Services and 2020 Budget Request.

5.2 – Zack Crafts & Emma Kitchen. Pedestrian/Cyclist Safety Concerns on Isabella St at Wood St.

5.3 – Lis McWalter. West Parry Sound Smart.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.4.1
– 2020-2030 Strategic Plan. Resolution. The Council for the Town of Parry Sound approve the 2020 – 2030 Strategic Plan substantially in the form as attached as Schedule A.

9.4.2 – 2019 Economic Development Report . Resolution. That the 2019 Economic Development Report be received for information purposes.

By-laws
10.3.1
– Site Plan Application S19/07 – 81 North Tudhope (Connor Industries).
By-Law 2020 – 7016. Being a By-law to authorize a Site Plan / Development Agreement with 2282722 Ontario Ltd. – Connor Industries (81 North Tudhope Street)

10.3.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/17 – 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario/Parry Sound Mall Inc.).
By-law 2020 – 7017. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario/Parry Sound Mall Inc.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic Plan Comments – Town of Parry Sound

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The Town requested comments to their recently issued strategic plan draft. Pasted below are the comments I sent to the Town. Here is a link to the actual email/letter.

I’m not sure many people really understand what strategy is. I’ll be offering a couple more posts on strategy in the next couple of weeks as it relates to the Town of Parry Sound and companies with a clear strategy.

Mr. Harris:

Re. Town of Parry Sound 2020-2030 Strategic Plan (v2020-02-04) – Comments

I think that involved Town of Parry Sound council members and staff would be helped by reading the article “The Big Lie of Strategic Planning” by Roger L. Martin, former Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, published in the January-February 2014 Issue of the Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2014/01/the-big-lie-of-strategic-planning). A number of my concerns regarding the Town of Parry Sound 2020-2030 Strategic plan align with his comments. While his article focuses on for profit companies rather than municipalities, the issues and the concerns are remarkably consistent. Companies increasingly need to integrate environmental and social issues into their strategic plans to ensure long term profitability and sustainability. At the same time, municipalities are increasingly being pressed to better manage their bottom lines as higher level government support drops and taxpayers rebel against ever increasing taxation without clear enhancements or improvement in quality of life. Both types of organizations face change.

I believe that the Strategic plan should be clearer on the strategic goal(s) of the Town of Parry Sound. I feel the plan as presented is a summary of the major concerns of each and every interest group in the Town without clear prioritization, timelines or hard objectives. Much of the plan is aspirational.

Key Points

Timeline
A good plan should have timelines that provide for some sense of accountability. The 2020-2030 timeline suggests a plan and performance that can only be judged in a decade. That is, in my opinion, too long. At most a five-year timeline should have been adopted with perhaps a mention of a decade long view.

Hard Objectives and Focus
The plan seems to summarize the most important concerns and interests of the individuals who participated in the plan. By my count there are more than 40 ‘soft objectives’ listed in the plan. These are all reasonable actions but do not rise to the level of objectives, aren’t strategic, and have no associated accountability. These soft objectives for the most part represent tactical actions. A listing of objectives as actions does not represent strategy.

I cannot argue with any of these ‘soft objectives’. They are all reasonable actions for the Town to undertake. Focus is not achieved by heading in 40 different directions even if there are multiple departments involved. Many of these soft objectives should not even be listed, and rather be part of the culture of the organization or an operational plan. Examples would be:

  • Conduct annual tracking and reporting of energy usage
  • Develop and implement a plan with regional partners to reduce the area’s carbon footprint
  • In conjunction with our partners drive towards becoming a Net Zero community

As listed, these points, among many others, represent the ‘culture’ of an organization much as honesty and kindness represents the culture of an individual. If they are to be listed, they should be accompanied by hard targets and timelines. For example: Achieve Net Zero community status by year 202X. The intermediate milestone is to achieve 80% of Net Zero by 202X-3 years.

A Strategic Plan for the Town of Parry Sound
It is easier to tear things down that it is to conceive, design, and build things. What might I have suggested?

A Town of Parry Sound Strategic Plan (2020 to 2025, with suggestions through 2030)

Vision
The Town of Parry Sound is the economic, commercial and services hub of the West Parry Sound District. The role and goals of the Town will align with enhancing the Town’s sustainability – economically, environmentally and quality of life, while enhancing the human and commercial experience of the larger area.

Strategic Overview
Develop greater critical mass that will attract additional human and financial capital and allow for additional services and opportunity. (This would include increasing population density to provide more profitable business and service opportunities while attracting private and governmental investment.)

Strategic Objectives

  1. Review, revise, and update development policies to incorporate best practices that will incent outside investment in more higher density housing that leverage the Town’s existing infrastructure investments, provide more diverse housing options to spur population and economic growth that will provide a larger tax base to support additional infrastructure investments. (2021) A virtuous cycle.
  2. Negotiate and finalize agreements with area municipalities for land transfer that fit with Town infrastructure resources and which provide opportunities for housing development that will support additional services with a benefit for collaborating municipalities. (2021-2023) Win-win in providing more and better services for all area municipal residents.
  3. And so on to a maximum of five strategic objectives.

This is a sense of what a Strategic plan might include with some suggestion of the direction I think it might take. Reminder – I am not a municipal strategic planner.

Additional Thoughts
I return to a development model I have raised in previous posts at ParrySounds (parrysounds.com) that might provide some sense of direction for the Town – Singapore and Hong Kong.

Don’t reject the suggestion without thinking about it a little. While these cities differ from the Town of Parry Sound in terms of populations, they share three important similarities.

  1. These communities are severely restricted in the land available for development.
  2. They are bordered by jurisdictions that are generally apathetic to the interests and needs of these cities.
  3. They serve as an economic hub for the larger region.

There are lessons these communities can offer in terms of what they offer, what they don’t, and how they focused their strategy to achieve their current success. Like these metropolises the Town needs to forego any illusions about becoming a quaint little community. There is nothing quaint about two railways running dozens of miles-long trains through the middle of the town, or downtown businesses that struggle to survive. The Town needs to understand that it occupies a very natural position in the area that it needs to embrace.

On key element missing from the Strategic plan was a frank statement of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats/Challenges. Understanding the limitations and opportunities that exist can make it much easier to define a focused strategy.

An example would be geography. At one point the Town, at the mouth of the Seguin River, had geographical strength as a location for the collection, processing and shipping of timber products that it recognized as an opportunity. Now though, the distance of the Town from major markets suggests that the local manufacturing of goods requiring provincial, national or international distribution will not be economically attractive except for high value products (custom boats, specialty products that leverage Town assets or image). It’s not clear that the Town and area has any real competitive capabilities that would support this type of manufacturing. On the other hand, with existing access to high speed telecommunications the Town can be competitive with any other community for supplying online services while providing the much sought after quality of life benefits of outdoor access. This is not necessarily a competitive advantage, but it is a competitive consideration. The ability to provide quick access to the 30,000 Islands also represents a Strength as does the excellent access afforded by Highway 400. Defining and understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of the Town is an important step in developing a meaningful strategic plan.

Final Thoughts
The Strategic Plan as presented is a recipe for basic survival. The same old, same old, but more of it with comforting images. The plan does not provide a vision or hope for a different and/or better tomorrow. I guess that is okay. I have been advised by others to chill, that the unofficial Town motto is the “town of good enough”. I suppose the proposed strategic plan is good enough.

Personal Experience
I have been involved with strategy on the business side for most of my professional life. An experience in participating in the development of a strategic plan with a local non-profit organization may provide a sense of what developing a meaningful strategic plan actually takes.

I was a board member of an organization providing social services with a multimillion-dollar annual budget, multiple facilities, and a couple hundred employees. I was one of two board members who volunteered to participate in developing the strategic plan. This involved:

  1. Two board members, about five members of senior management, and a rotating cast of manager level employees who provided additional perspective.
  2. Two strategic planning consultants who provided a structure to the process and who pushed and prodded the team to continuously move forward.
  3. Previously completed surveys of clients and employees.
  4. About 6 or 8 meetings of the team, each of which lasted about 4 hours. In all the process took between 20-30 hours of face-to-face senior management and board member time. This did not include meeting preparation and follow up of the team and the consultants.

The most important learning of the process was that the crystallization of a strategic goal only came in meeting number four or five, or after about 20 hours of engaged discussion. Town of Parry Sound Staff has perhaps invested that amount of time in working on the strategic plan, but has Council? Much like a board member, Council on occasion times needs to invest the time to get into the details of the business and a strategic plan.

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – February 4, 2020

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The more important notes from last week’s meeting of Town of Parry Sound Council included:

  1. It seems that the French school will be moving into the Mall on the north end for a couple of years starting next fall. There was no spoken or written opposition to the proposed zoning amendment required to permit the relocation. This should permit Canadore to return to operations as usual. I wonder what that will mean. (Public Meeting)
  2. The draft budget was light on details but there was a suggestion that the rate increase would be less than the rate of inflation. I’ll wait to see the actual budget document before offering additional comments. (Item 9.1.1)
  3. The Strategic Plan was briefly discussed and was left open pending comments from the Public. I remain unimpressed by the document in the way it seems to offer everything and nothing; a typical political statement. Prioritization seems to be an unknown concept. Public input has been requested. I will doubtless get myself into trouble by appearing to lecture Staff and Council about strategic plans with my written comments. Remember – they are playing with our tax dollars. It’s much easier to get up in the morning and see what the day brings rather than plan what you will do the night before. (Item 9.4.1)

Public Meeting
2.1
Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment – Z/19/17 – 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario) to amend the C5 zone to permit a School.

Manager of Planning & Building Services Taylor Elgie advised that the proposed Zoning By-Law amendment would amend the C5 zone to permit a School. An elementary school is proposed to be located in the south western corner of a vacant unit in the Parry Sound Mall at 70 Joseph Street.

Mr. Simon Fecteau, Director of Education for the Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario responded to the Mayor’s invitation to speak in favour of the proposed Zoning By-law amendment. Mr. Fecteau noted that the request for a French Public School came through two years ago from parents in the Parry Sound community. Currently there are about 40 registered students from J-K to Grade 7, and 8 full-time staff members at the temporary accommodations located at Canadore College. Mr. Fecteau noted that the number of students is anticipated to grow in the coming years and that until a permanent solution is provided by the Ministry of Education, the Board is looking at other temporary accommodations. Mr. Fecteau reported that the Board believes the southwest section of Parry Sound Mall where Harvest Church has been located is suitable, with separate girls’ and boys’ washrooms, and at 9,000 square feet has sufficient space to support 5 classrooms, a small gym, and office and administrative space. The school will have its own separate entrance at the back with a fenced-in play area outside also at the back.
Mr. Fecteau noted that the Board has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education for funds to build a more permanent location in the future, and that they are looking at the Mall option for 2-3 years, signing a 3-year lease with the possibility of shortening it. Mr. Fecteau said that the Board has heard that some members of the community may be concerned with students at the mall, but he reiterated that there the school section has a separate entrance door; there is a locked door that exits into the mall used for emergency evacuation only.
No one spoke in opposition to the proposed Zoning By-law amendment. Mr. Elgie advised that he had received no correspondence with regards to this matter.

The Mayor advised that Council, at its discretion may approve the proposed Zoning By- law amendment and if so, must either circulate notice of passing of the by-law or give notice in the local press. Objections to the passing of the by-law will be received by the Clerk within 20 days from the date such notice is given, which objections will be forwarded to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. If an appeal is submitted and the appellant has not provided Council with an oral or written submission before the passing of the by-law, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal may choose to dismiss the appeal.

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 – In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding snow clearing, Public Works Director Mike Kearns reported that as he has just started in his new position, he expects that the snow removal is status quo; he has made general inquiries as to how things are prioritized and the process used regarding snow removal and he’ll be looking at what works best.
3.2.2 – In response to Councillor McCann’s inquiry regarding what one does to get additional street lighting in an area such as Queen Street where when one of the street- lights burns out, it is quite dark, Mr. Kearns reported that he would start by looking at what is available, and whether there are alternative ways to illuminate the area. Depending upon what in-ground infrastructure is available and whether there are agreements with utility owners to use the poles, Mr. Kearns noted that a single streetlight can result in a lot of work and expense.
3.2.3 – In response to Councillor Backman’s inquiry regarding an upcoming Film Festival at the Stockey Centre, Marketing Coordinator Kelsey Norris reported that Stockey Centre staff is working with Leslie Mapstone of Mapstone Media to put together a 3-day Film Festival, seeking submissions throughout Canada and internationally. While the process is in early development, the Stockey Centre has put out information to “save the date” and will follow-up with more information as it becomes available.
3.2.4 – In response to Councillor Backman’s inquiry as to whether the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame (BOHF) Gift Shop renovation has had an impact on sales, BOHF Curator Caitlin Dyer reported that as the renovation was done in 2019, it is difficult to determine the impact without a full year cycle to compare to. Ms. Dyer suggested that a review done after the completion of 2020 sales would provide a better measure of comparison of one full year after the renovation. Ms. Dyer did note that there have been many positive comments from the community and returning patrons on how much more inviting the space is.

Correspondence
4.1a –
Minister Todd Smith, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services. Public consultations regarding new five-year strategy on poverty reduction.
4.1b – Minister Todd Smith, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services. On-line survey available at Ontario.ca/povertysurvey until March 30, 2020 regarding new five-year strategy on poverty reduction.
Both items circulated to Mayor & Council and filed.
4.2 – Zach Crafts, Emma Kitchen. Request for road widening and inclusion of sidewalk and a bicycle lane on Isabella Street at Wood Street to address safety concerns.
Circulated to Mayor & Council, and Director of Public Works for response.
4.3 – Joe Beleskey. Water drainage issues at 7 Edward Street. Referred to Director of Public Works.
Circulated to Mayor & Council, and Director of Public Works for response.
4.4 – Dan DiNicolo, President, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Summary of 2019 Activities as background to the Chamber of Commerce’s request for 2020 funding.
Circulated to Mayor & Council, and Director of Finance to bring forward for 2020 budget.

Deputations
5.1 –
Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, The Museum on Tower Hill. The Museum on Tower Hill 2020 funding request.
Ms. Hammond addressed Council with appreciation for funding in 2019, noting the exhibitions and programs that it supported. Ms. Hammond reported that the most notable achievement in 2019 was the installation of the model Ottawa Arnprior & Parry Sound Railway, scheduled for completion this year. Ms. Hammond reported on other anticipated exhibits such as a year-long logging exhibition and short run exhibitions.
Ms. Hammond played a short video showing the locations where visitors to the Museum in 2019 came from, illustrating that museums are an important part of tourism. Ms. Hammond noted that in 2020 the museum would be looking at its sustainability through repairs, upgrades, and maintaining or increasing resources.
In response to Councillor inquiries, Ms. Hammond reported that provincial and federal funding is dependent upon what they apply for, noting that every year they receive a CMOG (Community Museum Operating Grant). They’ve applied for a Trillium Grant for capital work last year, have applied and received a Seed Grant this year, receive NOHFC funding, and will be applying to Cultural Spaces funds to complete a feasibility study on the building. Ms. Hammond reported that some of the funding is project based, so it can depend on what projects are being worked on.
Ms. Hammond noted that the train installation is taking as long as this year, since the model is 10′ longer than anticipated from the detailed drawings, there is additional electrical work needed to meet fire safety codes, and because the track itself is electrified, protective glass needs to be installed to protect the artifact and viewers. In addition, the rest of the exhibit space needs to be restored to standard.
Ms. Hammond noted that due to a lack of storage space as a result of renovations to the Gallery, and with a new approach called “selective collecting”, the museum is selective in accepting donations at this time.
With respect to 2020 exhibits, Ms. Hammond reported that the “What’s New” exhibit is on and will be shut down soon, with the Avro Arrow exhibit opening on February 20th. At the beginning of March will be a logging exhibition set to run for the rest of the year; a train exhibit with images from across Canada will run for the rest of the year; starting in the summer will be an exhibit highlighting “the seedy underbelly of Parry Sound”, followed by “Christmas during the war” exhibit.
With respect to charitable status, Ms. Hammond reported that the Museum is a registered charity and that people can donate by cheque sent or given in person and made out to the West Parry Sound District Museum; donations over $25.00 are eligible for a tax receipt.
5.2 – Laurie Del Net, Executive Director, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce 2020 Funding request – to be rescheduled.
5.3 – Dave Brunton, Linda West, President, Rotary Club of Parry Sound. Rotary 3-pitch Strikes Against Cancer.
Dave Brunton, past President of the Rotary Club and Linda West, current President, addressed Council from a prepared power point presentation with respect to the funds raised and various projects undertaken by the Rotary Club. Mr. Brunton noted that, in acknowledging the service provided by the Club in the West Parry Sound Area, and the support given the Club within the West Parry Sound Area, the membership has renamed the Club as the Rotary Club of West Parry Sound.
Mr. Brunton offered thanks for past support, and in particular acknowledged Manager of Parks & Recreation April McNamara and staff for assistance last year in Rotary’s first year operating the Annual Rotary Strikes Against Cancer 3-Pitch Tournament. Mr. Brunton provided an overview of last year’s event.
Ms. West and Mr. Brunton reported on other Rotary donations which received matching grants from Rotary International, including a total of $6,000 each towards the Museum’s model train installation, and the shade structure at the Parry Sound Public School. in 2019 Rotary donated: $2,500 to Strings Across the Sky; $3,000 towards the international End Polio Now program (multiplied to a total of $9,000 by Bill Gates); Christmas hampers for 100 Families, (in partnership with the Salvation Army); $40,000 towards Inspired Filmmaking, a project which will tell the stories of World War II vets and retain $22,000 worth of equipment; and $25,000 towards the Salvation Army’s emergency response vehicle.
Ms. West also reported that the need for mobility devices is increasing, and Rotary Club works with social services and other agencies to help fund the 25% cost required privately.
Ms. West noted that in 2019, Rotary donated $20,000 towards cancer care equipment, and that the Rotary 3-Pitch Tournament helps fund this donation. Ms. West and Mr. Brunton provided information on the sponsorship opportunities and features of the June 19-20 event this year, including the entertainment, fish dinner, and silent auction. Registration opens on February 13th at 9 AM at ps3pitch.com, and the first 31 teams to register with fee will secure a spot. In response to a Councillor inquiry, Ms. West confirmed that donations can be made at ps3pitch.com, or given to any Rotary member, and are eligible for a tax receipt.
Councillor McCann requested of Council that the donation request be referred to the budget process, and Mayor McGarvey responded that it would be, and as has been provided in the past, likely considered in the context of services-in-kind.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 –
Draft 2020 Operating Budget. Resolution.
That the staff report, 2020 Draft Budget Package and presentation be received for information purposes. Carried
9.4.1 – Accessibility Advisory Committee Establishment & Terms of Reference. Resolution.
That Council authorizes the establishment of an Accessibility Advisory Committee according to the Terms of Reference attached as Schedule A and directs staff to advertise for members. Carried
9.4.2 –
2020-2030 Strategic Plan. Resolution.
The Council for the Town of Parry Sound approve the 2020 – 2030 Strategic Plan substantially in the form as attached as Schedule A. (see later resolution to postpone consideration of approving the Strategic Plan)
Prior to voting on the resolution, Redbrick Consultant Andrea Montgomery addressed Council from a prepared Powerpoint presentation outlining the process that was undertaken and highlights of the Strategic Plan document that is attached as Schedule A to the proposed resolution.
Individually, members of Council provided the following feedback for consideration in amendments:
– Re-write Vision as: “The jewel of Georgian Bay, a sustainable community focused on opportunity, growth and healthy living.”
– Add to Mission: the word “sustainable” before “and healthy future”
– encourage elaboration of the values of “collaboration, honesty, accountability, respect and transparency” as they are rolled out in the organization.
– Consider whether there is a way of tying in adult education housing/student residences with the first bullet point under section #4 of Economic Growth on page 7 which currently reads “Support more housing options for new and existing employees as part of business attraction and retention.”
– Suggested subtitle rewrite to “Quality of Life” on page 9: “Parry Sound is a great place to live, work, visit, invest and grow year-round.”
– Suggested rewrite of first bullet point under “Quality of Life” on page 9: “Develop a Master Recreation, Culture and Parks Plan that will assess and look …”
– Suggested tie-in of last bullet point under “Quality of Life” on page 9 with housing as previously mentioned under Economic Growth and which currently reads: “Advocate retaining post-secondary education in Parry Sound”.
– Suggested posting of values not only on website, but at all municipal centres such as the BOCC, and Stockey Centre.
– with respect to building in accountability of the Plan, it was noted that tangible short- term, mid-term, and long-term actionable items are developed as result of the Plan through separate staff Key Performance Objectives (KPOs) which are reviewed and approved.
The following motion to postpone the resolution was made. That the resolution to approve the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan be postponed to the next council meeting in order that the public has an opportunity to view and comment on it. Carried – to Postpone to February 18, 2020 Council Meeting

By-laws
10.4.1 – Department of Canadian Heritage – Canadian Arts Presentation Amendment to the Grant Agreement. By-law 2020 – 7014.
Being a by-law to authorize the execution of the amendment to the funding agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage – Canadian Arts Presentation Fund – for Stockey Centre programming for the fiscal years 2018-2021. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

Council Agenda Preview – February 4, 2020

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This week’s agenda has a limited number of agenda items and seems to be a bit of a tease. There is a presentation of the Draft 2020 Budget (Item 9.1.1) but no attachments. I think it is always helpful to provide the outlines of a presentation for people who are interested. I have asked for a copy of the draft budget. It’s hard to make sense of a presentation when there is no material to prepare with. The budget is perhaps the most important strategic document for the municipality. While the Strategic Plan is on this week’s agenda, it’s the budget that provides clarity on the Town’s actual strategic objectives.

On the subject of the Strategic Plan (Item 9.4.2) I am underwhelmed. It looks more like an expanded Mission Statement, with too many points and too many words. If you make it long enough and obtuse enough there is very little you can be criticized for, or held accountable for. It would have been helpful to have had the strategic priorities ranked. What is must have, and will get the necessary resources to be accomplished, versus what is nice and will be resourced as budgets and time permit. If everything is important then nothing is. Well played Staff and Council.

You may detect a little bit of frustration in the last few comments. It’s so much easier and satisfying to get into the doing rather than the thinking. It’s a common fault of governments and businesses. An hour of thinking and planning can save a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime of wasted effort.

Here is a link to the strategic plan in case you don’t want to go to Town’s website to download the full agenda package.

If you want an idea of what constitutes a strategic plan, I refer you to Leonard Cohen’s song – First We Take Manhattan. “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.” Short, simple, to the point, and accountable. Here’s a link to Leonard’s version, here is a link to Jennifer Warnes’ version.

Let’s not overlook closed Session (Item c)) that mentions boundary adjustment and a cryptic mention of a request to purchase Town lands. The former might be related to boundary adjustment discussions with Seguin that restarted more than a year ago.

The Public Meeting seems to be related to the French School moving to the Mall. That can only be a boost for a developer (Mall) who seem to have lost their way with proposed condo/apartment repurposing. It also means that Canadore can get back their full resources for adult education. Expect to see some surprises in that area. I don’t think the folks in North Bay have any idea on what to do in Parry Sound except retreat. I will be pleasantly surprised if they have a well thought out ‘Strategic Plan’ that can make full use of the facility in the near or at least midterm.

Closed Session
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes; (potential boundary adjustment; request to purchase Town lands)

Public Meeting
2.1
Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment – Z/19/17 – 70 Joseph Street (Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario) to amend the C5 zone to permit a School.

Correspondence
4.1a – Minister Todd Smith, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services. Public consultations regarding new five-year strategy on poverty reduction.
4.1b – Minister Todd Smith, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services. On-line survey available regarding new five-year strategy on poverty reduction
4.2 – Zach Crafts, Emma Kitchen. Request for road widening and inclusion of sidewalk and a bicycle lane on Isabella Street at Wood Street to address safety concerns.
4.3 – Joe Beleskey. Drainage issues at residence.
4.4 – Dan DiNicolo, President, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce Summary of 2019 Activities.

Deputations
5.1 –
Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, The Museum on Tower Hill. The Museum on Tower Hill 2020 funding request.
5.2 – Laurie Del Net, Executive Director, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber of Commerce 2020 Funding request.
5.3 – Dave Brunton, Linda West, President, Rotary Club of Parry Sound. Rotary 3-pitch Strikes Against Cancer

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Draft 2020 Operating Budget.
Resolution. That the staff report, 2020 Draft Budget Package and presentation be received for information purposes.
9.4.1 – Accessibility Advisory Committee Establishment & Terms of Reference. Resolution . That Council authorizes the establishment of an Accessibility Advisory Committee according to the Terms of Reference attached as Schedule A and directs staff to advertise for members.
9.4.2 – 2020-2030 Strategic Plan.
Resolution 2020 . The Council for the Town of Parry Sound approve the 2020 -2030 Strategic Plan substantially in the form as attached as Appendix A.

By-laws
10.4.1
Department of Canadian Heritage – Canadian Arts Presentation Amendment to the Grant Agreement.
By-law 2020 – 7014. Being a by-law to authorize the execution of the amendment to the funding agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage – Canadian Arts Presentation Fund – for Stockey Centre programming for the fiscal years 2018-2021.

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – January 21, 2020

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There is little to comment on. The parking issue (10.3.2) was resolved and parking requirements were waived without additional payment. It seems that the required parking requirement was met but not within the exact terms defined in the existing regulations. Council chose to wave their wand and exempt the property owner from all requirements. I have no issue with their decision given the circumstances.

Closed Session
b) personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (Director of Finance 6 Month Review; Director of Public Works Employment Agreement)
d) labour relations or employee negotiations; (Director of Public Works Employment Agreement)

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding fire response rates in 2019, Director of Development & Protective Services Dave Thompson reported that at approximately 150 responses, the overall rate in 2019 was in line with responses in 2016 and prior years until more were experienced in 2017 and 2018. Mr. Thompson reported that EMS calls were also down across the district in 2019 by about 4-5%
With respect to the reason for the reduction, Mr. Thompson suggested that while there is a strong fire prevention program in place, the summer season has a large effect on brush fire activity, and last year wasn’t as conducive to brush fires.

Correspondence
4.1 –
West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary. Request for Tag Day – July 10, 2020 Covered under item 8.1.
4.2 – Lynne Atkinson. Request for Proclamation Feb 6 Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. Covered under item 8.2.
4.3 Susan Hrycyna, Executive Director, PS Downtown Business Association. Resignation of Board member Amy Black. Covered under item 8.4.
4.4 – Lori West, Clerk, Township of McDougall Resolution rejecting Parry Sound District-wide Ontario Health Team. Circulated to Mayor & Council; filed.
4.5 – Karen Gerard, Deputy Clerk, Township of McKellar. Copy of letter to DSSAB rejecting Parry Sound District-wide Ontario Health Team. Circulated to Mayor & Council; filed.
4.6 – Erica Kellogg, Secretary, Almaguin Highlands Health Centre Committee. Res. 2020-03 requesting more information of DSSAB re: District-wide Ontario Health Team. Circulated to Mayor & Council; filed.
4.7 – Rita Orr, CEO; Tom Lundy, Chair, Parry Sound Public Library. 2020 Budget Request. Circulated to Mayor & Council and Director of Finance; filed.

Deputations
5.1 –
Hartley Duncan, CEO Rita Orr, Chair Tom Lundy, Parry Sound Public Library. 2019 Annual Report and 2020 Funding request.
Prior to the showing of a 5-minute video commercial giving an overview of Parry Sound Public Library statistics and programs in 2019, Mr. Lundy thanked Council members on the Library Board for their support, thanked Library Staff for their work in expanding the work of the Library in 2019, and expressed the expectation of continued growth in 2020.
After the viewing of the commercial, https://youtu.be/4KNNyfo_KOo, the deponents responded to questions of members of Council.
(Resolution/Direction?) That the Parry Sound Public Library’s 2020 budget request letter be referred to the 2020 budget for Council’s deliberation. Carried

5.2 – Bill Mardimae, Gardens Retirement Developments Inc. Gardens Retirement proposed development.
The applicant Mr. Bill Mardimae reported that a 40 to 60-unit apartment building is being proposed next to the Gardens Retirement residence, with the only issue seemingly outstanding being parking. Mr. Mardimae indicated that he is in agreement to double the ratio of parking spots from 0.5 per unit to 1.0 per unit, and to increase the ratio of accessible parking spots from 1/30 to 2/30.
In response to Councillors’ inquiries, Mr. Mardimae reported that he hopes the development to be completed in one or two years, and that he is in discussions with Canadore College due to its proximity, about the potential for intergenerational housing accommodating both seniors and students.

5.3 Keith Smith. Handicapped parking spaces at The Gardens proposed new building.
Mr. Keith Smith addressed Council with background on his efforts at ensuring there are accessible parking spots dedicated to residents of The Gardens and advocated for an increased accessible parking ratio and dedication of those accessible spots to residents with respect to the new development proposed.
Mr. Smith reported that he wanted to see 10 complimentary reserved accessible parking spots at the proposed development. In addition, Mr. Smith suggested that with the number of seniors in the area, future retirement homes should have underground or covered parking to reduce incidents of slips, trips and falls on ice.

Ratification of Matters from Closed Agenda
7.1. – Employment Agreement Director of Public Works.
By-law 2020-7012. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an Employment Agreement for the position of Director of Public Works. Passed, Signed & Sealed.

Consent Agenda
8.1 – West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary Tag Day.
Resolution 2020 – 002. THAT Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound authorizes the West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary to hold a tag day on July 10, 2020 for the purposes of fundraising. Carried

8.2 – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation – Feb 6.
Resolution. Whereas International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is observed around the world and provides an opportunity to honour those women, girls, boys and men who are actively and courageously working towards an end to this harmful practice.
Whereas this day invites us to reflect on the fact that 3.9 million girls are still at risk of mutilation each year, including girls in Canada.
Whereas on this day, we acknowledge that female genital mutilation is an issue on every continent except Antarctica, and that there are 200 million FGM survivors in the world, including thousands in Canada.
Whereas we acknowledge that FGM has no basis in any religious text and is recognized by the United Nations and other world bodies as child abuse and an abuse of a girl’s fundamental human rights.
Whereas we acknowledge that FGM has no benefits and causes only harm, including death, difficulties with urination, menstruation, sexual intimacy, post-traumatic stress disorder and increased maternal and child mortality.
Whereas on this International Day of Zero Tolerance For FGM, we acknowledge and celebrate all national and international efforts being made, especially at the grass roots level, to achieve United Nations Sustainable Millennium Development Goal #5, which calls for the elimination of FGM and other harmful traditional practices by 2030.
Whereas on this Day of Zero Tolerance, we call for increased, concerted global and Canadian action to end female genital mutilation, and ask all governments-international, national, and local- to fully uphold the human rights of women and girls so they can live a life free from the violence that is female genital mutilation.
NOW THEREFORE the Town of Parry Sound Council does hereby proclaim February 6, 2020, as International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Town of Parry Sound. Carried

8.3 – Declaration of Snowfest as event of Municipal Significance.
Resolution. THAT for purposes of obtaining a Special Occasions Permit, Council declares that the day-long Parry Sound Snowfest 2020 event scheduled on Sunday, February 16th, at 9 Bay Street Parry Sound is an Event of Municipal Significance. Carried

8.4 – Accept Resignations from DBA and Amend Appointing Resolution.
Resolution. That Council accepts the resignations from the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Board of Dan DiNicolo (September 13, 2019) and Amy Black (January 13, 2020), and amends Resolution 2019 – 012 by removing their appointments to the Board. Carried

By-laws
10.3.1 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/14 – College Drive (M2 Developments Inc.).
By-Law 2019 – 6999 (for second and third reading). Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Z/19/14 – 12 College Drive (M2 Developments Inc./Gardens of Parry Sound).
The following amendment was proposed:
That on page 3 of the By-law, the first paragraph be replaced with the following text:
“Despite Section 4.30 (n), 10% of all required parking spaces for any Retirement Resident or Retirement Residence – Special shall be accessible/barrier-free on the subject lands.” Amendment Defeated
The by-law as originally drafted was Passed Signed and Sealed.

10.1.1 – Tax Policies – Capping and New to Class/New Construction.
By-law 2020 – 7003. Being a bylaw to specify Tax Policies including: claw back percentage; capping threshold parameters; minimum tax level for new-to-class / new construction and to exclude certain properties from the capping program for the year 2020. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.1.2 – Tax Ratios for 2020.
By-Law 2020 – 7004. Being a by-law to set Tax Ratios for Municipal purposes for the year 2020. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.1.3 – Temporary Borrowing Authorization.
By-law 2020 – 7005. Being a by-law to authorize temporary borrowing to meet the current expenditures of the Town of Parry Sound until taxes are collected and other revenues are received. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.2.1 – Adopt Memorandum of Understanding for the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (ICECAP) collaborative.
Bylaw 2020 – 7006. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with area municipalities and First Nations located in the Georgian Bay Biosphere region for the purpose of a collaborative, more cost-effective approach to energy management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Passed, Signed and Sealed.
Resolution 2020 – 006.
THAT Council for the Town of Parry Sound appoints Councillor Paul Borneman to participate in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities / ICLEI – Partners for Climate Protection program as well as the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans (ICECAP) partnership. Carried

10.3.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/12 – 11 Miller Street (John Jackson Planner Inc. on behalf of Brian Moore).
By-Law 2020 – 7008. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 11 Miller Street (John Jackson Planner Inc. on behalf of Brian Moore). Defeated.
A new by-law was presented for Council’s consideration, that removed Section 2 (d) of By-law 2020-7008 which required cash-in-lieu of parking for any parking spaces for any residential development in excess of 10 dwelling units.
By-law 2020 – 7013. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 11 Miller Street (John Jackson Planner Inc. on behalf of Brian Moore). Passed, Signed and Sealed.
Resolution
That the owner of 11 Miller Street be advised that cash-in-lieu of parking shall be required for the additional unit at a 2020 rate of $5,551 (per space) and that the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to execute any necessary cash-in-lieu of parking agreement for the subject property. Withdrawn.

10.3.3 – Pre-Consultation By-law for Planning Applications – Require applicants to discuss proposal with staff prior to an application.
By-Law 2020 – 7009. Being a By-law to require Pre-Consultation for certain Planning Applications and to delegate authority to determine certain application procedures. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.3.4 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/16 – Macklaim and Dennis Avenue (Town of Parry Sound).
By-Law 2020 – 7010. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Macklaim Drive and Dennis Drive (Town of Parry Sound). Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.4.1 – Appointment of Deputy Clerk Clayton Harris.
By-law 2020 – 7007. Being a By-law to appoint Clayton Harris as Deputy Clerk in addition to his appointment as the Chief Administrative Officer and the Alternate Head under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

Council Agenda Preview – January 21, 2020

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I’d like to send this song (link) out to Dan as he resigns once again from the DBA (Item 8.4). How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

Item 10.3.2 is interesting and another parking issue (it’s a bit long and nuanced). This item underlines the slippery slope you put yourself on when you exempt one ‘property’ from the parking regulations for questionable reasons and then try to enforce these rules on another ‘property’. Staff can only tell Council what the current regulations specify and then do as they are told. You don’t argue with Town Hall. Council decides what is ‘right’. I think that downtown parking, whether metered or property based, has been the biggest failing of Council in the past decade. It all started with residents and business owners showing up at a council meeting with metaphorical ‘pitchforks’ to oppose the proposed installation of meters on Bay Street. The Town has since lost significant revenue, downtown workers are taking prime parking spots (“it’s too far to walk from the Bobby Orr Community Centre”), and retail customers/visitors complain about getting tickets when there is enforcement. I don’t think it ‘rehabilited’ the downtown. The only positive take is that at least they didn’t screw up anything that would have been more costly. I can recall the wide-eyed look on the face of the Mayor at the Bay Street meter meeting where he quickly reversed Council’s direction on the meters and offered to look at removing all metered parking in Town.

This week’s meeting is remarkable in that there are no Resolutions and Direction to Staff except those arising from the by-laws.

Closed Session
b) personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (Director of Finance 6 Month Review; Director of Public Works Employment Agreement)
d) labour relations or employee negotiations; (Director of Public Works Employment Agreement)

Correspondence
4.1-
West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary Request for Tag Day – July 10, 2020.

4.2 – Lynne Atkinson. Request for Proclamation Feb 6 Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

4.3 – Susan Hrycyna, Executive Director, PS Downtown Business Association. Resignation of Board member Amy Black.

4.4 – Lori West, Clerk, Township of McDougall. Resolution rejecting Parry Sound District-wide Ontario Health Team.

4.5 – Karen Gerard, Deputy Clerk, Township of McKellar. Copy of letter to DSSAB rejecting Parry Sound District-wide Ontario Health Team.

4.6 – Erica Kellogg, Secretary, Almaguin Highlands Health Centre Committee. Res. 2020-03 requesting more information of DSSAB re: District-wide Ontario Health Team.

4.7 – Rita Orr, CEO; Tom Lundy, Chair, Parry Sound Public Library. 2020 Budget Request.

Deputations
5.1 –
Rita Orr, CEO, Parry Sound Public Library. 2019 Annual Report and 2020 Funding request.
5.2 – Bill Mardimae, Gardens Retirement Developments Inc. Gardens Retirement proposed development.
5.3 – Keith Smith. Handicapped parking spaces at The Gardens proposed new building.

Consent Agenda
8.1 –
West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary Tag Day. Resolution. THAT Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound authorizes the West Parry Sound Health Centre Auxiliary to hold a tag day on July 10, 2020 for the purposes of fundraising.

8.2 – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation – Feb 6. Resolution. Whereas International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is observed around the world and provides an opportunity to honour those women, girls, boys and men who are actively and courageously working towards an end to this harmful practice.
Whereas this day invites us to reflect on the fact that 3.9 million girls are still at risk of mutilation each year, including girls in Canada.
Whereas on this day, we acknowledge that female genital mutilation is an issue on every continent except Antarctica, and that there are 200 million FGM survivors in the world, including thousands in Canada.
Whereas we acknowledge that FGM has no basis in any religious text and is recognized by the United Nations and other world bodies as child abuse and an abuse of a girl’s fundamental human rights.
Whereas we acknowledge that FGM has no benefits and causes only harm, including death, difficulties with urination, menstruation, sexual intimacy, post-traumatic stress disorder and increased maternal and child mortality.
Whereas on this International Day of Zero Tolerance For FGM, we acknowledge and celebrate all national and international efforts being made, especially at the grass roots level, to achieve United Nations Sustainable Millennium Development Goal #5, which calls for the elimination of FGM and other harmful traditional practices by 2030.
Whereas on this Day of Zero Tolerance, we call for increased, concerted global and Canadian action to end female genital mutilation, and ask all governments-international, national, and local- to fully uphold the human rights of women and girls so they can live a life free from the violence that is female genital mutilation.
NOW THEREFORE the Town of Parry Sound Council does hereby proclaim February 6, 2020, as International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in the Town of Parry Sound.

8.3 – Declaration of Snowfest as event of Municipal Significance. Resolution. THAT for purposes of obtaining a Special Occasions Permit, Council declares that the day-long Parry Sound Snowfest 2020 event scheduled on Sunday, February 16th, at 9 Bay Street Parry Sound is an Event of Municipal Significance.

8.4 – Accept Resignations from DBA and Amend Appointing Resolution. That Council accepts the resignations from the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Board of Dan DiNicolo (September 13, 2019) and Amy Black (January 13, 2020), and amends Resolution 2019 – 012 by removing their appointments to the Board.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
None

By-laws
10.1.1 –
Tax Policies – Capping and New to Class/New Construction.
By-law 2020 – 7003. Being a bylaw to specify Tax Policies including: claw back percentage; capping threshold parameters; minimum tax level for new-to-class / new construction and to exclude certain properties from the capping program for the year 2020.

10.1.2 – Tax Ratios for 2020.
By-Law 2020 – 7004. Being a by-law to set Tax Ratios for Municipal purposes for the year 2020.

10.1.3 – Temporary Borrowing Authorization.
By-law 2020 – 7005. Being a by-law to authorize temporary borrowing to meet the current expenditures of the Town of Parry Sound until taxes are collected and other revenues are received.

10.2.1 – Adopt Memorandum of Understanding for the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (ICECAP) collaborative.
Bylaw 2020 – 7006. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with area municipalities and First Nations located in the Georgian Bay Biosphere region for the purpose of a collaborative, more cost-effective approach to energy management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Resolution. THAT Council for the Town of Parry Sound appoints ______ to participate in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities / ICLEI – Partners for Climate Protection program as well as the Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans (ICECAP) partnership.

10.3.1 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/14 – College Drive (M2 Developments Inc.).
By-Law 2019 – 6999. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Z/19/14 – 12 College Drive (M2 Developments Inc./Gardens of Parry Sound)

10.3.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/12 – 11 Miller Street (John Jackson Planner Inc. on behalf of Brian Moore).
Resolution. That the owner of 11 Miller Street be advised that cash-in-lieu of parking shall be required for the additional unit at a 2020 rate of $5,551 (per space) and that the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to execute any necessary cash-in-lieu of parking agreement for the subject property.
By-Law 2020 – 7008. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 11 Miller Street (John Jackson Planner Inc. on behalf of Brian Moore).

10.3.3 – Pre-Consultation By-law for Planning Applications – Require applicants to discuss proposal with staff prior to an application.
By-Law 2020 – 7009. Being a By-law to require Pre-Consultation for certain Planning Applications and to delegate authority to determine certain application procedures.

10.3.4 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/16 – Macklaim and Dennis Avenue (Town of Parry Sound).
By-Law 2020 – 7010. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Macklaim Drive and Dennis Drive (Town of Parry Sound).

10.4.1 – Appointment of Deputy Clerk Clayton Harris.
By-law 2020 – 7007. Being a By-law to appoint Clayton Harris as Deputy Clerk in addition to his appointment as the Chief Administrative Officer and the Alternate Head under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound.

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – December 17, 2019

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These minutes showed up in my mailbox earlier this week, so I take some responsibility for posting them here a bit late. The council meeting agenda for the January 21st meeting will follow this weekend.

The only thing really worth noting in these minutes is Council’s input to the Strategic Plan (10.5.1). I’m sure that they are offering their best input based on personal experience and discussions with the public. I do object to their decision to direct Redbrick Communications to take the various inputs and create the Strategic Plan for their approval at the next council meeting. It may be a question of semantics, but the Strategic Plan is one of the few direct deliverables that Council has. Perhaps it would have been better stated that ‘Redbrick is directed to produce a draft Strategic plan for Council review and, as appropriate revision, and finalization’. I hope this is the case. Council needs to ‘own’ the Strategic Plan, not delegate it to consultants.

Closed Session

b) personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (Director of Public Works Selection and Employment Agreement);

c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes, (Wellness Centre & Pool Cost Sharing Negotiations);

d) labour relations or employee negotiations, (Director of Public Works Selection and Employment Agreement);

n) a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board, (Wellness Centre & Pool Cost Sharing Negotiations).

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 – In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding traffic signal work being done at the Isabella and Joseph/Church Street intersection, Director of Public Works Peter Brown reported that electronic infrastructure is being replaced, and that there was enough money in the budget to install an audible traffic signal. Mr. Brown said that the signal is being tested now and hopefully by the end of the year will be up and running similar to that installed at the intersection of James and Seguin Streets.

3.2.2 – Councillor Keith recommended that the public go up to the Museum and view the outdoor decorations and Christmas light installation there.

3.2.3 – In response to Councillor McCann’s suggestion that signage indicating “please watch, our children are at play” might be preferable to speed limit signs on Riverdale Road, Mr. Brown cautioned that many municipalities are getting rid of those types of signs since it implies that children are allowed to play on the street and this may create a liability for the municipality. Mr. Brown recommended instead the purchase of a solar powered speed limit flashing sign in the 2020 budget which can be moved to different locations. Mr. Brown also reported that the Town’s traffic counter identifies the speed of vehicles and this information is immediately sent to the OPP.
Upon receiving this information, the following motion was made:
That staff be directed to include for consideration in the 2020 budget, purchase of a solar powered speed limit flashing sign. Carried

3.2.4 – In response to Councillor Borneman’s inquiry regarding Kinsmen Park and BOCC public skating through the upcoming holiday season, Manager of Parks & Recreation April McNamara reported that more cold days are necessary in order to make ice at the outdoor rink and when the rink is ready, notice will be posted on the Town website. Ms. McNamara reported that a full schedule of public skating at the BOCC sponsored by Tim Horton’s and the Town is posted on the Town website.

3.2.5 – In response to Mayor McGarvey’s inquiry as to whether staff is looking at lowering the speed limit in any other area of Town, including Waubeek Street which was the subject of a previous deputation, Mr. Brown reported that the 50 km speed limit signs have been re-installed on Waubeek Street after being taken down during road construction.
That staff be directed to include for consideration in the 2020 budget, review of Waubeek and Riverdale Streets for purposes of considering speed reduction. Carried

Correspondence
4.1 –
Linda Taylor, Program Director, West Parry Sound Community Support Services. 2020 Funding Request. Circulated to Mayor, Council and Director of Finance for consideration in 2020 budget.

4.2 – Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, West Parry Sound District Museum. Update and 2020 Funding Request. Circulated to Mayor, Council and Director of Finance for consideration in 2020 budget.

4.3 – Reeve Bert Liverance, Township of the Archipelago. Copy of letter and resolution to Minister of Long-Term Care, Merrilee Fullerton, re support for an Ontario Health Team to cover Parry Sound District. Circulated to Mayor and Council.

Deputations
5.1 –
Bill Mardimae, Gardens Retirement Developments Inc.- withdrawn. Gardens Retirement proposed development.

5.2 – Keith Smith – withdrawn. Handicapped parking spaces at The Gardens proposed new building.

5.3 – Chris Pettinger, Chair of 2019-2020 Parry Sound Area Founders Circle; & Dan DiNicolo, Chair of Marketing Committee of the Founders Circle. Parry Sound Area Founders Circle. Chris Pettinger and Dan DiNicolo addressed Council with an overview of the Parry Sound Area Founders Circle noting that it was established in October 2019 by a group of business and community leaders “who share the belief that entrepreneurism and innovation are essential to meaningful local growth and sustainable development; they move that belief into action by providing up-and-coming ventures with direct financial support through a competitive award program, and opportunities to network with established mentors.” Each Founder contributes $1000 to the Circle and funds are used to provide no-strings-attached prizes to start-ups and existing businesses selected by the Founders according to criteria that they establish.
Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network (in turn supported by FedNor) supports the meetings of the Founders and covers costs of an annual gala event known as the Impact Awards, at which the entrepreneurship prizes are announced. Membership is open to all individuals and businesses living and/or operating in the Parry Sound Area.
Mr. Pettinger listed the 32 current Founders including: the Town of Parry Sound, RBC Foundation, Paul Schoefield, Lakeland Holdings, Ritchie Insurance, Parry Sound Insurance, Trestle Brewing Company, 18 James Street, Claudette Boyd, Scotia Bank Parry Sound, Boston Pizza Parry Sound, Parry Sound Area Community Business Development Centre, Rotary Club of Parry Sound, InXpress Canada, Parry Sound Fuels, Crofters Foods Ltd., Orr’s Fine Meats, William Beatty Company, Tamarack North, Torrance Funeral Homes, Georgian Bay Whole Foods, Oldham Law Firm, Ted Scott, Bayshore Financial, Air Rider Hovercraft International, Hall Construction, Adams Bros. Construction, Connor Industries, CIBC Parry Sound, Peter Istvan Photography.
Mr. DiNicolo reported that applications will be open January 1 to March 1, 2020 and winners will be decided upon after the application deadline and awarded at the April 23, 2020 Impact Awards at the JW Marriott. Awards will include: 1) a Parry Sound High School Award sponsored by RBC Financial (amount not yet confirmed); 2) $5,000 second place prize and 3) $10,000 grand prize, with the remainder of the money held in reserve for the next year. Mr. Pettinger reported that the Circle is still accepting Founders until December 31st this year, with the hope that existing founders will continue to participate in subsequent years.
Mr. Pettinger requested that the Town support the project by posting relevant information on the Town website and otherwise broadcasting and promoting the program.
In response to an inquiry as to the geographic catchment area of Founders and eligible applicants, Mr. Pettinger noted that it is not entirely firmed as the Founders want to tend to the inclusive as opposed to exclusive. There are members from the east side of the District, but most are concentrated in the West Parry Sound Area.
Council members congratulated and thanked the deputation for their achievement in getting the Founders Circle started.

5.4 – Ron Jenkins. Sidewalks – repairs and accessibility. Mr. Jenkin inquired as to whether there was any action on the development of a committee to address the accessible sidewalk issue that he raised in a previous deputation.
At the invitation by Mayor McGarvey to respond, CAO Clayton Harris reported that there have been discussions at the staff level with the Human Resources Coordinator taking the lead, currently researching Terms of Reference for such a Committee, with a recommendation scheduled to come back to Council in early 2020.
Mr. Jenkins inquired as to when the sidewalks would be fixed and noted that he recently broke a wheel on his wheelchair.
Mayor McGarvey responded that sidewalk construction, repair, etc. would be considered within the 2020 budget deliberations.
Mr. Jenkins reported that two years ago he fell down stairs located at 49-51 William Street, and that the Director of Public Works was called and viewed the situation. Mr. Jenkins said that nothing has been done. Mayor McGarvey responded that his concerns have now been noted.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Low Pressure Forcemain Parry Sound Drive. Resolution. That the report updating Council on the low pressure forcemain on Parry Sound Drive and concerns raised by Bayside Family Church be received for information purposes. Carried

9.3.1 – BOCC: Emergency Floor Scrubber Replacement. Resolution. That Council authorize the emergency purchase of a new mechanical floor scrubber for the Bobby Orr Community Centre at a cost not to exceed $10,000 including HST; and
That the mechanical floor scrubber be funded with the reallocation of unspent capital funds as follows: $5,000 from the BOCC LED Light conversion project and $5,000 from the BOCC Olympia Laser Level. Carried

9.4.1 – General Insurance Renewal. Resolution. That Council hereby approves the renewal of the Corporation’s general insurance policy with BFL Canada at the premium of $350,914 plus tax for the one-year period ending December 15, 2020. Carried

By-laws

10.2.1 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/14 – College Drive (M2 Developments Inc.). By-Law 2019 – 6999. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Z/19/14 – 12 College Drive (M2 Developments Inc./Gardens of Parry Sound). At the request of the developer who was not able to be in attendance, Council agreed to postpone the by-law to the January 21, 2020 meeting.

10.4.1 – 2020 Interim Tax Levy. By-law 2019 – 7001. Being a By-Law to provide for an interim tax levy, for the payment of taxes, and for penalty and interest at 1 1/4 percent per month for the 2020 taxation year. Passed, Signed and Sealed.

10.5.1 – Strategic Plan Public Consultation Feedback; Council Input/Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Andrea Montgomery, Redbrick Communications
Agenda for Strategic Plan – Council Input/Workshop attached:
CAO Clayton Harris introduced the evening’s Strategic Plan (SP) exercise identifying the SP purpose as helping to guide the Town’s decision making well into the future. Mr. Harris reported that Redbrick Communications was hired to do community consultation done through on-line survey, focus groups – including with high school students, and open house forums. Mr. Harris introduced Ms. Andrea Montgomery and Mr. Steph Loch to provide the results of the community consultation and lead the exercise in soliciting Council’s feedback prior to a proposed final report back to Council in January, 2020.
Ms. Montgomery addressed Council from a prepared power point presentation circulated with the meeting agenda. Ms. Montgomery suggested that the Strategic Plan Focus for 2020-2022 was to set a common vision for the future, set a framework for decision making and to support a more efficient organization. The consultation process included meetings with senior leaders, on-line survey, focus groups, youth session, open house and now this evening’s Council session. If captured in the feedback forum, Ms. Montgomery provided a breakdown of participants/respondents by municipal residence, age, time lived in Parry Sound, education, income, and employment. Ms. Montgomery identified the key themes and highest priorities for each feedback forum and put together reported that the following three priority areas emerged: Growth, Development and Housing; Partnerships and Quality of Life; and Organizational Excellence.
Ms. Montgomery set members of Council into two pairs and a triad to review in small groups and provide their feedback on the three priority areas keeping in mind the following: setting priorities that are fiscally sustainable; thinking long-term – beyond 3 years; determining where it is possible to align with public feedback; and considering promises kept and reported back on. After approximately 30 minutes involved in this exercise, Ms. Montgomery took feedback from each small group in turn.

Table 1 – Mayor McGarvey, Councillors Borneman and McCann
Table 2 – Councillors Burden and Horne
Table 3 – Councillors Backman and Keith

Growth, Development and Housing

Table 1
– Recreational Complex – partnerships with Area Municipalities, First Nations, Provincial and Federal governments; opportunity for private sector investment; extends recreational opportunities for all ages; provides incentives for new growth and housing, i.e. people (employers, employees) want to locate here because of amenities.
– Housing – support housing across the housing spectrum; the working population whether rental, attainable rental, attainable home ownership – lobby province to support attainable housing.
– Waterfront – support development of brownfields property; redevelopment of MNR/OPP property; make sure Official Plan and zoning flexibility; upgrades to infrastructure or new development takes into account climate change.
– Facilitate business retention strategies.
Table 2
– Be development ready with infrastructure; reduce red tape; reduce duplicated services i.e. with Area Planning Board, slows down processes and doesn’t necessarily attract development;
– infrastructure services; i.e. swing bridge as an economic driver
– development and utilization of Town owned industrial park, and EDO working on that piece of land.
Table 3
– advocate for a financial sustainability plan with respect to economic development in order to know how Parry Sound can economically grow, with objectives which can be measured on an annual basis; useful for budgeting and as information to the public.
– Infrastructure development – targeted investments in specific technology, revitalization and waterfront plans all built into the Strategic Plan, in order that one can look at the Plan and see progress on the various plan initiatives.
– Recommend longer term Strategic Plan, such as at least 10 years.
– Variety of housing options and look at what can be done with zoning by-law changes to accommodate a mix of population in neighbourhoods.
-Town act as broker for development; facilitate development; Town facilitate connection and realignment of business with economic development organizations in increasing business retention and expansion strategies.

Partnerships and Quality of Life

Table 2
– Maintain and improve ongoing partnerships that exist with service clubs, business community, environmental groups, non-profit agencies; e.g. current municipal and First Nations commitment towards pool & rec centre as well as a number of economic development partnerships which enhance quality of life and increase employment opportunities; look for shared services opportunities which save money for all municipalities.
Table 3
– Need for Recreation Plan and a Mobility Plan, (which takes into account infrastructure, accessibility) and which considers seniors and youth who want to be involved in activities.
Table 1
– Events such as winter light up the Town (bigger than light up park); support private sector events; e.g. women’s weekend; downtown events. As Town can’t afford to do and run every event, there are ways we can support other events. E.g. used to support dragon boat event, now because Rotary supports Rach, we can support event in a particular way that makes it easier for service organizations to run the events.
– Partnership with Lakeland Power re: the Net Zero Community, i.e. a system being designed through the Town to use solar and water generating stations to produce enough power with battery back-up that outside power isn’t needed. This will green up the community, make the community locally sustainable and save money. This project the first in Canada, to be realized within 5 years.
– Opportunities with other municipalities to purchase supplies and equipment.
– Opportunities with area municipalities and other organizations for marketing, tourism opportunities and recreation.

Organizational Excellence
Table 3
– Clear communication to public regarding sustainability and how we are meeting goals. – Interconnection and increased efficiency in administration and shared services.
– Better recognition (i.e. showcasing) of employees’ attributes (e.g. someone who is really good at volunteering), and goals at all levels of organization as it results in increased morale, more employee pride in the organization and community, and good marketing for the Town and community as a good place to work and live.

Table 2
– Defined by employee engagement and the value they see in working for the Town of Parry Sound; this comes with training and educational opportunities, leadership development.
– Value of why we’re here; i.e. for residents and taxpayers of the Town of Parry Sound what is the value of the services that are rendered.
– Defined succession planning for employees.

Table 1
– Look at all aspects of communication with the public; and determine what is working and what is not; consider getting one person to pull all this information together and communicate with the public;
– Fiscal responsibility
– Design of future infrastructure to consider Town’s population; i.e. prepare for growth, physical abilities, age.
– Staff training and employee pride

Ms. Montgomery reported pursuant to direction approved by Council this evening, that all this feedback would be taken into account within the three identified priorities and reported back to Council.

Direction for follow-up
That upon receipt of feedback from the public consultation process and with the input provided by Council at its December 17th meeting, that Redbrick Communications be directed to produce the Strategic Plan 2020-2022 for the January 21st, 2020 Council Meeting for approval. Carried

Lotions, Potions and Placebos

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Lotions, Potions and Placebos

I have been active in the pharmaceutical sector for more than 40 years now. Following a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Chemistry from Carleton University and a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, my professional career has been spent at the interface of research, development, and commercialization. This has provided me the opportunity to observe and understand the dynamics of ‘drugs’ medically, pharmacologically, commercially, and sociologically, be they pharmaceuticals, botanicals, or street drugs, in general all things people medicate with, licit, illicit and counterfeit.

One of the more interesting classes of ‘drugs’ I have looked into are placebos. These are commonly thought of as little white sugar pills. They contain no active pharmaceutical ingredient, at least not active in the common understanding of the word. Actually, placebos come in many more dosage forms than just pills. The medical profession prescribes them in all sorts of dosage forms; pills, capsules, ointments, creams, drops, suppositories, liquids, injectables and more. In a clinical research setting they are used to measure the relative activity, and safety, of what is suspected to be an active pharmaceutical. Often, researchers are surprised to discover that what was hoped to be an active drug is no more effective than the placebo. Well, that makes sense, if the hoped-for drug is not active then why would it be more effective than the placebo? The surprising finding is that while a potential drug is no more effective than the placebo, both the placebo and the inactive drug still show surprising effectiveness in a number of patients.

There have been a large number of scientific studies looking at placebos; how they work, why they work and when they work. Placebos show no effectiveness in treating patients with serious infectious diseases little Hepatitis C, HIV or Pneumonia. Placebos do however show significant effectiveness in treating diseases like depression, pain, and anxiety. Surprisingly, placebos can also cause side effects. There are also ‘nocebos’, the evil twin of placebos. These are products that contain no active but because of expectations actually cause a reduced response to validated treatments and/or significant side effects.

In general, patients who think they are getting a newer more expensive drug, in this case a placebo, have a better clinical response than patients who are told they are getting a generic drug, also a placebo. In pill form, some colors of placebos do better than others for different indications. This shouldn’t be surprising. In any number of reported blinded taste tests of wines and liquors even experts couldn’t consistently tell the difference between expensive and cheap wines and liquors. But put a label and a price on the samples and people, including experts, consistently find the more expensive products to be better, even when labels are switched.

At the end of this post I have included links to articles you may find interesting if you want to dig a little deeper into understanding placebos.

The Local Scene

Why then this post on Parry Sounds? I have been noticing that we are starting to get more and more lotion and potion stores popping up in the area. These are generally boutique type operations offering proprietary products that can provide ‘relief’ from any number of annoying health issues using ‘natural’ ingredients. In almost all cases the ingredients and their amounts are not clearly specified, and I would speculate none of them have been subject to any type of rigorous testing in terms of quality control, stability, or safety, much less effectiveness. Personally, I am less concerned about the effectiveness of these products if used for non-life-threatening conditions than I am about their safety. If they are not effective the only thing being hurt is the purchaser’s bank account.

If these products don’t work then shouldn’t these companies go out of business? No! Since placebos can show effectiveness in 30% to 60% of patients, depending on the particular condition being treated, a successful business can be built selling placebos, as long as there is a good ‘story’ about why the products are especially effective, the business can provide relatable testimonials, and the products are a little bit pricey. If it’s expensive it must work, mustn’t it? Even better is securing the endorsement of a celebrity.

The Business of Lotions and Potions

Here is a bit of a checklist to be successful selling lotions and potions.

  1. Target conditions that are largely subject to subjective opinion. A thermometer may be able to tell if you have a fever, or a blood test can determine if you do or don’t have a venereal disease or anemia, but only you can tell if your pain or anxiety is severe, moderate, or mild and whether it is getting better or worse. Although these lotion and potion folks should stay away from serious conditions like diabetes and HIV, they often can’t help targeting desperate people, through an impersonal media like the internet. If you never meet your customers in person, it’s a bit easier to ignore the real world consequences of what you are selling.
  2. Put together an interesting story of why your lotion, potion or pill is ‘special’. Perhaps it has an ingredient from a unique plant, or perhaps it has a special blend of hard to find ingredients. A story associated with ancient or foreign cultures can also be a winning strategy.
  3. Understand that not all your customers will have a favourable response. You just need 30% of the folks to be ‘satisfied’ with the results of using your product. Once they have some success they will be sure to come back again and again.
  4. Be sure that the lotion, potion or pill doesn’t unintentionally cause serious side effects. That’s a no-no, because not only will customers be unlikely to buy from you again, they are likely to tell others about their bad experience. (In some cases, very mild side effects are a desirable feature of lotions and potions, it gives folks a sense that your product is ‘working’.)
  5. Budget for a 30% placebo response rate but hope for something more like 50%. Because the people trying your product already have some belief or hope that your product will be effective based on your story and/or a personal recommendation it is likely that they will be ‘primed’ to have a positive experience.
  6. Price for profit. Typically, pharmaceuticals have a profit margins (selling price less cost of production) in the range of 90-95%. In the ethical pharmaceutical industry this profit is used to provide executives with outsized salaries, support sales and marketing efforts and, of course, research and development activities. Since you have no R&D to support beyond your imagination, you need to invest in advertising, preferably social media advertising that offers significant reach to very specific audiences with very little governmental scrutiny. If social media is a go-to platform for politicians, you can feel comfortable that it will work for lotions and potions.

If half the people who buy your product return, and you have priced it for profit, you have a winner. There are more than enough folks looking for that little bit of ‘extra help’ with a troubling condition that their physician is unable, or unwilling, to help manage.

CBD Placebos

One of everybody’s favourite placebo lately is CBD, cannabidiol, extracted from the hemp plant. The problem with CBD is not that it isn’t a powerful placebo for almost all of the promoted uses, it is, but rather that everyone is selling it in any number of presentations; capsules, solutions, lotions, tinctures, suppositories, nasal sprays and more. It’s hard to build a story of why your product should be better than the competition if you are all selling the same ‘story’ and dosage forms. The CBD placebo market is suffering from issues of price erosion, it has become a matter of who can sell it for less. (Note: CBD is approved by the regulatory authorities for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy. The doses used for these indications exceed by a factor of 10-100x what is recommended for the lotions and potions crowd. At those doses even CBD lotions and potions would costs thousands of dollars per year.)

I have noticed one local lotion and potion shop is prominently promoting their product as not containing CBD and offering their product as a clear alternative. Smart marketing in my opinion, don’t sell into a buyer’s market like CBD where it is difficult, if not impossible, to create a unique story.

Mind Safety

I just hope these lotion and potion companies are paying attention to the quality and safety of the products they are offering. Many of these herbal ingredients are being sourced from Asian suppliers who have a very poor record of quality control and have been associated with significant safety issues. Even pharmaceutical companies who source many of their raw materials from Asia, and have significant quality control operations, have run into unexpected safety issues.

If these lotions and potions are in fact ‘active’, they will have certainly desirable and undesirable effects. Even if they are not active for the intended applications they may still an have undesirable impact when used in combination with prescription products or other lotions and potions. Prescription products generally have a long list of possible drug-drug interactions in their prescribing information. The pharmaceutical industry cannot be expected to test their products for interactions with the lotions and potions ‘eye of newt’ or ‘toe of frog’ offerings and none of the lotions and potions folks are going to invest in testing how their products interact with prescription medications. The lotion and potion folks can only hope their products have no actual pharmacological activity and then pray for a significant placebo effect.

Final Thoughts

As a business consultant, I will be interested in seeing how these local Parry Sound area companies do. I wish them no ill so long as they are careful enough to not hurt their customers by compounding potentially dangerous ingredients or not paying enough attention to their raw material suppliers.

I can empathize with folks who are experiencing pain, depression, anxiety, IBS, arthritis and any other number of conditions who are not getting relief working within the formal medical system. If it works, go for it. Just be sure to let your medical care provider (physician and pharmacist) know what you are taking. Even if the lotion and potion is safe it may still have a dangerous interaction with prescription pharmaceuticals you are taking.

Selected Readings (the links below will open in a new tab):

  1. Placebo (Wikipedia).
  2. Nocebo (Wikipedia).
  3. Is the placebo effect real?
  4. The Power of Drug Color.
  5. The weird power of the placebo effect, explained.
  6. Notes from the Field: Methylmercury Toxicity from a Skin Lightening Cream Obtained from Mexico — California, 2019.

Council Agenda Preview – December 17, 2019

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There are a number of items on the agenda that are worth noting:

Closed Session Items
b) personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (Director of Public Works Selection and Employment Agreement).
It looks as though the Town may be close to hiring a new Director of Public Works.
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes, (Wellness Centre & Pool Cost Sharing Negotiations);
It’s not clear if the plans are to dispose of the property already purchased for the Pool, or to acquire a separate piece of property adjacent to the current YMCA complex. It looks as though if built the pool will be situated on either of the two locations. This item tends to suggest the Pool project is either ‘hotting up’ or the Town is cutting its losses.

Besides an accessible parking issue for The Gardens (10.2.1) the only other notable item on the agenda is the Strategic Plan presentation (10.5.1). I am not optimistic. It has been said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I think the input process and the comments received represent an important step in the process of developing a strategic plan. In the end any good plan needs to distill input and then proceed with vision that embraces reality. A strategic plan is not a shopping list of reasonable and unreasonable objectives. Focus, focus, focus. I am a little discouraged by the fact that the cover photo of the presentation includes a ‘historical’ photo. Not a good omen. Not at all a good omen.

Closed Session

b) personal matter about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (Director of Public Works Selection and Employment Agreement);
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes, (Wellness Centre & Pool Cost Sharing Negotiations);
d) labour relations or employee negotiations, (Director of Public Works Selection and Employment Agreement);
n) a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board, (Wellness Centre & Pool Cost Sharing Negotiations).

Correspondence
4.1 –
Linda Taylor, Program Director, West Parry Sound Community Support Services. 2020 Funding Request
4.2 – Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, West Parry Sound District Museum. Update and 2020 Funding Request

 Deputations
5.1 –
Bill Mardimae, Gardens Retirement Developments Inc. Gardens Retirement proposed development.
5.2 – Keith Smith. Handicapped parking spaces at The Gardens proposed new building.
5.3 – Chris Pettinger, Dan DiNicolo. Founders Circle.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Low Pressure Forcemain Parry Sound Drive.
Resolution. That the report updating Council on the low pressure forcemain on Parry Sound Drive and concerns raised by Bayside Family Church be received for information purposes.

9.3.1 – BOCC: Emergency Floor Scrubber Replacement.
Resolution. That Council authorize the emergency purchase of a new mechanical floor scrubber for the Bobby Orr Community Centre at a cost not to exceed $10,000 including HST; and
That the mechanical floor scrubber be funded with the reallocation of unspent capital funds as follows: $5,000 from the BOCC LED Light conversion project and $5,000 from the BOCC Olympia Laser Level.

9.4.1 – General Insurance Renewal and Cyber Insurance.
Resolution. That Council hereby approves the renewal of the Corporation’s general insurance policy with BFL Canada at the premium of $350,914 plus tax for the one-year period ending December 15, 2020.

By-laws
10.2.1 – Rezoning Application – Z/19/14 – College Drive (M2 Developments Inc.).

By-Law 2019 – 6999. Being a By-law to amend By-law No. 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for Z/19/14 – 12 College Drive (M2 Developments Inc./Gardens of Parry Sound).

10.4.1 – 2020 Interim Tax Levy.
By-law 2019 – 7001. Being a By-Law to provide for an interim tax levy, for the payment of taxes, and for penalty and interest at 1 1/4 percent per month for the 2020 taxation year.

10.5.1 – Strategic Plan Public Consultation Feedback; Council Input/Workshop Presenter/Facilitator: Andrea Montgomery, Redbrick Communications Agenda for Strategic Plan – Council Input/Workshop attached.
Direction (proposed for adoption following Council’s workshop). That upon receipt of feedback from the public consultation process and with the input provided by Council at its December 17th meeting, that Redbrick Communications be directed to produce the Strategic Plan 2020-2022 for the January 21st, 2020 Council Meeting for approval.