Council Agenda Preview – June 20, 2017

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It’s a very, very light agenda this week. The points of interest include:

  • Formation of the Belvedere Avenue Parking Ad-Hoc Committee (1.2).
  • Goal Plan Update (4.1).
  • 2016 Annual Investment Report (5.1)
  • Wasauksing Bridge Restriction (6.1)
  • Claw Back Percentages (5.1)

Depending on the weather I’ll either be at the meeting or out on a trail. It’s that time of the year where you had better have a good reason to attend a council meeting. Getting paid to attend qualifies as a good enough reason.

Correspondence

4.1 – Harry Kleinhuis, Rosseau resident. Concerns about the lack of sidewalks on Pine Drive. Response provided was that the property is private.

4.3/8.1 – Susan Hrycyna, ED, Parry Sound Downtown Business Association. Re: Request to add a member to the Board of Directors for the DBA

Deputations

5.1 – Vanessa Backman, Parry Sound Tourism. Update on Parry Sound Tourism for 2017

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.2 – Belvedere Avenue Parking Ad-Hoc Committee. Resolution. That Council approve the Belvedere Avenue Parking Ad-hoc Committee Terms of Reference, attached as Schedule “A”, and further; That Council appoint the following members to sit on the committee:

  1. Marsha Rivers, CEO, Belvedere Heights Home for the Aged
    2. Mario Buszynski, Board Member, Belvedere Heights Home for the Aged
  2. Kathleen McGill, Home owner, Belvedere Avenue
  3. John Patterson, Home owner, Belvedere Avenue
  4. Representative, DSSAB
  5. Representative, DSAAB

9.2.1 – Council Approved Sign Application – Georgian Bay Airways – Bay St. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue a permit for a sign on the Bay Street road allowance pursuant to the following conditions and variances:
a) The appearance of the sign shall be substantially according to the application,
b) The location of the sign shall be to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official,
c) The Town reserves the right to remove or relocate the sign on occasion should the lands be required for municipal purposes,
d) A permit may be issued pursuant to this resolution, for the summer of 2018, 2019, and 2020 upon payment of a fee of $50 per season,
e) The 2017 permit pursuant to this resolution shall expire on October 31, and
f) All other regulations in the sign by-law continue to apply except for those revised by this resolution.

9.2.2 – Permit minor variances within two years of a zoning by-law amendment. Resolution. That in accordance with Section 45 (1.4) of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, minor variance applications are permitted before the second anniversary of the day of a zoning by-law amendment.

9.4.1 – Goal Plan Update – 2nd Quarter. Resolution. That Council approves the June, 2017 Second Quarter Goal Plan update, attached as Schedule “A”.

9.5.1 – 2016 Annual Investment Report. Resolution. That Council accepts the 2016 Annual Investment Report, attached as Schedule “A”, in accordance with the Town’s Investment Policy.

9.6.1 – Wasauksing Swing Bridge Restrictions. Direction. That a follow-up letter be sent to the Ministry of Transportation regarding the planned restrictions to the operation of the Wasauksing swing bridge.

By-laws

10.5.1 – By-law to specify claw back percentages for 2017 property taxes. By-law 2017 – 6749. Being a by-law to Specify the “Claw-back Percentages” in Respect of Properties in the Commercial Class for the 2017 Taxation Year.
I don’t get it, but the amount is too small, $824, to worry about. I’ll need to ask for a tutorial on the whole claw-back process.

Honeysuckle Blooming along the Rotary Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail (June 2017)

 

 

Trestle Logic

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When entering a parking structure in the Big Smoke have you noticed how there is generally a bar of some sort hanging from a couple of chains that you are required to drive under? There is also a sign that advises you the maximum vehicle height that can safely park in the structure. But, because people don’t like to read signs, or they don’t have a good sense of heights and numbers, the hanging bar acts as a check. If there is a bump as you pass under the bar you know that you have bigger problems ahead. Time to back up and park somewhere else.

So what do you think would happen if a parking garage posted the correct maximum height sign but set the bar a foot higher? Do you think people would look at the sign and think that the bar is set too high? Or would they simply ignore the sign and see if they fit under? If they are driving a vehicle that is a bit higher, perhaps a pickup truck with a camper unit on the back, they would probably inch forward cautiously, and once they passed under the hanging bar, assume they are okay and drive into the garage. Surprise!

This is basically the situation on William Street in Parry Sound and the CN trestle where there have been three ‘decapitations’ complete and partial in the past year. As you approach the trestle there is a frame structure about 15 feet in front of either side of the trestle. The sign on the trestle says that the maximum height is 10’6”. That seems like enough information to warn the truck driver with an 11’ height to take another route. What would you think if I told you that the clearance of the trestle, where the trucks hit the trestle, is greater than 11’, offering drivers a considerable margin of error. But perhaps 10’6” is actually more reasonable. As you look at the photo below you realize that there is a drop down as the truck travels under the trestle but the box of the truck would still be at the higher road level. That would lead to an angle which might actually make it an effective 10’6”, even if it’s actually three-quarters of a foot higher directly under the trestle.

The problem is not just professional drivers not knowing the height of their rig, or not paying attention, it’s also the support frame about 15 feet in front of the trestle. This structure has a clearance of 13’. I can well imagine that a truck driver might cautiously approach this 13’ frame and, discovering that they are able to get under it, assume they can fit under the trestle. It’s a bit of an optical illusion the way the road dips down, suggesting there is more clearance than there is.

The answer it seems is pretty simple. Suspend a bar on chains under the two support frames at 10’6”, much as you see in parking garages. A truck would pretty quickly figure out that they weren’t going to fit if they heard a thump well before they ventured forward and tore the top off their trailer.

We have had three such incidents just this year. You would think that CN would have figured it out by now that something needs to be done.

Has the Town received a formal report from CN attesting to the integrity of the trestle? Three dings in the past year and many more over the past few decades could mean there is unrecognized structural damage. But, it seems the railways always find it cheaper to apologize and make repairs after the fact than practice prevention.

 

Council Agenda Preview – June 6, 2017

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This week’s meeting of Council is light on ‘meaty’ issues, but sets the path for some  important future initiatives. I have listed a few of the more interesting items in the sections below, with comments as appropriate.

But first, a few comments on this past week’s Special Meeting of Council to Review Strategic Priorities. From my perspective, it seemed much like a made for show production. The meeting lasted about 35 minutes and was for the most part very formalized. This followed a 60 minute closed session where I imagine all of the relevant discussion was held and general agreements were reached. The ‘Dotmocracy’ process was conducted with little surprise, and even less prioritization. A suggestion to the organizers, if there are five topics for review, provide the users with only three green stickers. That will help folks to make some decisions in terms of what really is a priority. It has been noted that the enemy of the best is the good. Obviously, none of the projects, which included last year’s priorities and this year’s new ones, were likely to be outright rejected, especially if there was previous discussion in Closed Session. So which of the 5 strategic priorities were both important and urgent? I couldn’t tell from the voting or the discussion. One of the best ways to find yourself in debt is to decide that a new car, a new snow machine, braces for the nine-year old, and a nice winter vacation are all 6 Green priority items. Sometimes you need to decide what is really, really the most important, and most urgent.

Here are the Dotmocracy results from Tuesday night:
Great North Road Infrastructure – 6 Green
Parry Sound Road Extension – 6 Green
Closed Item A – 6 Green
Innovation Park – 4 Green, 2 Yellow
Tourism – 3 Green, 3 Yellow

So what is Closed Item A? It seems to be something new, and an initiative that requires Town infrastructure investment. I have an idea of what it might be, but I may be totally wrong. What do others think it might be? Here are some clues:

  1. It ranked among the top of strategic priorities. So it is ‘important’, at least for now.
  2. It’s something new, or at least something that has once again become a priority.
  3. It’s unlikely to be the casino project. That would largely be addressed with the Great North and Parry Sound Road priorities.
  4. The Town recently spent about $1 million on the boathouse properties on the waterfront.
  5. The Town also spent about a quarter million dollars on property across Oastler Park Drive from the Canadian Tire.
  6. The Town last year entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding access and future servicing with the folks at Beatty Big Sound Property. This relates to the property north of the Smelter Wharf.

If you have any ideas you can provide a comment to this blog post or, if you prefer privacy, send me an email at parrysounds@gmail.com. I will share your thoughts but keep your name confidential. Let’s use the “wisdom of the crowd” to see if we can figure this one out.

If you want to skip forward to the more interesting agenda items here is what I suggest: 8.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2, 9.6.1 and 9.6.2.

Closed Session

b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees (Licensing Appeal, Appointment)
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board; (Request to Transfer Lease)
d) labour relations or employee negotiations. (Performance Review, Director of Emergency and Protective Services)

Correspondence

4.1 – Debbie White, Co-founder World Oceans Day. Raising awareness of World Oceans Day June 8, 2017 asking Parry Sound to recognize and support the need to protect our water, waterways and oceans for the life they give us and offering ways to educate the public on ways to protect our waters.

4.2a&b – Cheryl Gallant, MP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. Removal of the tax-exempt portion of remuneration paid to local officials and the Municipality of East Ferris’ resolution. East Ferris Resolution in support of Ms. Gallant.
See 8.1 below for comments.

4.3a&b – Marlene Bisson. Questions about the Service Line warranty program, water and wastewater and tax concerns with responses from J. Boggs & T. Pinn

4.4 – Parry Sound Friendship Centre. Invitation to Mayor & Council to attend their 50th Anniversary celebration June 17th.

Deputations

5.1 – Vanessa Backman, Parry Sound Tourism. Providing an update on Parry Sound Tourism for 2017

5.2 – Margaret Walton. Regarding Habitat for Humanity.

Consent Agenda

8.1 – Removal of the tax-exempt portion of remuneration paid to local officials. Resolution. That Council for the Town of Parry Sound supports the letter from Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew, Nipissing, Pembroke and the resolution from East Ferris, attached as Schedules “A” and “B” which are against the removal of the tax- exempt portion of remuneration paid to local officials as stipulated in the 2017 Federal Budget; And further that copies of this resolution be forwarded to Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, Local MP Tony Clement, Local MPP Norm Miller and the West Parry Sound Area municipalities.
This tax-exempt issue concerns the current situation that about 1/3 of the remuneration received by members of Council is not subject to tax. This is intended to compensate these individuals for their out-of-pocket expenses related to discharging their duties as a Councillor or Mayor. Since most councillors serve in addition to their regular jobs, the tax on this 1/3 of their council remuneration would be rather significant. I believe that members of Council currently are reimbursed for any significant travel expenses, and in some cases receive honoraria for serving on certain boards, so it may be time for this little perk to disappear. If they want to avoid the additional tax burden they should just tuck this amount into their RRSP.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.2.1 – Revised Organization Chart for Development and Leisure Services Resolution. That Council approve the revised Organization Chart for the Department of Development and Leisure Services, per Schedule “A” attached; and That Resolution No: 2013-207 be rescinded.
The actual change here is a matter of tidying up the organogram for Development and Leisure Services. But the organogram is interesting, especially the large number of staff, full and part-time associated with the Stockey Centre. That certainly helps explain why the Town wants to keep it non-union. Click on the image below to see the ‘big picture’.

9.2.2 – 2017 Municipal Assistance Program. Resolution. That Council approve the 2017 Municipal Assistance Program allocations per Schedule “A” attached.
The numbers will be decided in closed session and announced in open session.

9.4.1 – Booth Street Park Water. Resolution. That a water service be installed to the Booth St. Community Park to be funded from the Parks Reserve.

9.6.1 – Train Whistle Cessation. Direction. That the Director of Public Works be directed to bring forward a report and recommendation for the July 4, 2017 Council meeting regarding train whistle cessation.
This is an interesting new initiative. Can they perhaps also look into having the railways better service their ‘greasers’ to reduce the amount of squealing as the trains round corners? We have a few curves in Parry Sound if you haven’t noticed.

9.6.2 – Potential Hotel Tax. Direction. That the Director of Finance be directed to bring forward to the September 5, 2017 Council meeting, pending release of regulations, a report and recommendation regarding a potential hotel tax.
Another interesting initiative. The Town almost totally depends on property taxation for revenue. If more tourists come to Parry Sound and spend more money it doesn’t translate into more revenue for the Town. That may explain why the Town has invested little in the Downtown with the exception of free parking. The bulk of new revenue will come from new construction like the Breakers project at the Smelter Wharf. Adding a hotel or hospitality tax would deliver a new and additional source of revenue. Better to get it in place now before any additional investment is made in capacity. Eventually a restaurant tax?

By-laws

10.2.1 – Bobby Orr Community Centre: Pro Shop Lease Agreement. By-law 2017-6743. Being a by-law to authorize the Mayor and Deputy Clerk/CAO to execute an agreement with 4 Sports Inc., for the purpose of Pro-Shop operation at the Bobby Orr Community Centre for a one (1) year period.

10.3.1 – On Call Municipal Law Enforcement Officer. By-law 2017-6744. Being a By-law to authorize the Mayor and Deputy Clerk/CAO to execute a service contract with Cameron Marshall for the provision of On Call Municipal Law Enforcement Services.

10.3.2 – Appointment Bylaw – Chris Everitt, Earl Smallwood, Tom Evans, Cameron Marshall, Municipal Law Enforcement Officers. By-law 2017-6745. Being a bylaw to appoint Chris Everitt, Earl Smallwood, Tom Evans, Cameron Marshall as Municipal Law Enforcement Officers.

10.5.1 – Business Improvement (BIA) Levy by-law – Downtown business area. By-law 2017-6736. Being a bylaw to Adopt the Estimates of the Board of Management of the Downtown Parry Sound Business Improvement Area and to Strike the Tax Rate Thereon for the Year 2017.

Columbine on the North Shore Rugged Trail (May 2017)

 

 

 

Darlington Boathouse Purchase Clarification

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In my original Council Agenda Preview – May 16, 2017 post I suggested that the Town of Parry Sound had purchased additional property adjacent to the Waterfront. Based on additional information, and the appearance today on the Town’s website of an earlier press release, it seems that By-law 2017-6724 refers to the Darlington Boathouse purchase, and not an additional property purchase. The Darlington Boathouse is referred to as 3 Bay Street in the by-law but not in the press release or the original council meeting minutes.

The Council Agenda Preview – May 16, 2017 has been revised to reflect the new information. I apologize for any confusion.

Our Parry Sound – A Familiar Sight During the Golden Hour

Council Agenda Preview – May 16, 2017 (Revised)

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2017-05-15 9:00 PM: The original post has been edited to correct and expand certain points based on additional information received in the past 24-hours related to the purchase of property at 3 Bay Street. The original text remains with a strikethrough. The new text is underlined.

This week’s council meeting has a few items that caught my attention. There is correspondence (4.1) as well as deputations (5.1 & 5.2) directed to the activities of the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association. This is consistent with Council’s recent request for an update on the DBA’s plans and actions.

I have made a few comments on the south end Park to Park Trail agenda item (9.1.2). In a related matter, there was a short mention in the Staff R&R that the extension of Parry Sound Road to Oastler Park Drive feasibility study was “put on temporary hold”. The issue of deprioritizing the Parry Sound Road extension was discussed at the last meeting of Council, but no background was provided for the delay beyond that it was a closed session topic. This road extension would be a necessary improvement to support a casino in Parry Sound, so one would wonder if the casino is on the back burner. Some information may be revealed at the Town’s Review and Prioritization of the Town’s Strategic Plan on May 30 starting at 6:00 (Town Office).

I also offer some comments on the Town’s Park Management and Maintenance Plan that might be worth a look if you are interested in the Stockey Centre (9.2.3).

The Town continues to buy up property along the harbour waterfront, in this case the property between the OPP/Service Ontario building and Big Sound Marina (9.5.1). This is the same property as was originally labeld as the Darlington Boathouse. The price being paid is $862,000 which is consistent with the value as assessed by MPAC. An interesting clause in the resolution states that the funds for the purchase, which are taken from the Legacy Fund, will be repaid to the fund should the property be resold. Taken together with the recent purchase of the Darlington boathouse property, and the With the Feds divesting Big Sound Marina, it appears that there may be some near term commercial development planned for this section of the waterfront. When I asked the Town for additional information on the purchase of the Darlington property my request was shot down with the statement that the documents are confidential and would not be provided to me. Something’s going on and it’s a secret. Shhhh! The Town has released to the Public and posted to Town’s website today a copy of the announcement of the Darlington Boathouse purchase that was released to media outlets last month, but not to the Public. Here’s a link to the press release at the Town’s website.

Correspondence

4.1 – Dan DiNicolo, Business Owner. Suggestions regarding the operation of the Downtown Business Association

4.4 – Phillis M. Drury, resident. Questions about naming an island on Georgian Bay.

Deputations

5.1 – Daryl McMurray, President, Susan Hyrcyna, Executive Administrator, Parry Sound Downtown Business Association. Update on DBA’s activities regarding the Downtown Sustainability Report

5.2 – Dan DiNicolo, Business Owner. Suggestions regarding the operation of the Downtown Business Association

5.3 – Bill Parks, President of the South Seguin Snow Mobile Club and Vice-President of the Board for the Park to Park Trail Association. Park to Park Trail south end blockage.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – CN Station Sale. Resolution. That Council accepts the offer from Umair Ahmed Sharif for the purchase of the C.N. Station and property located at 1 Station Road, Parry Sound, in the amount of $100,500.00, this purchase offer being the highest offer of three offers received through Royal Lepage; and Further, that Council directs staff to retain the services of a solicitor to prepare the final Agreement of Purchase and Sale; and Further, that the net proceeds from the sale be placed in the Capital Asset Legacy Reserve fund.
We knew this was in the works. Lets hope the property gets the attention and investment that it deserves. It’s worth noting that the property had an MPAC assessed value of $277,000, and that number was the basis of the Chamber of Commerce’s rental agreement. It seems someone was paying too much.

9.1.2 – Park to Park Trail South End Blockage. Resolution. That in response to concerns from the Park to Park Trail Association and OFSCA regarding potential encroachment (allegedly created by Rona in Parry Sound) of municipal property known as the Parry Sound Colonization Road, and specifically the road allowance on or next to Lot 147, Concession A, West Parry Sound District, staff undertake to have a survey completed of where the most southerly points of the RONA property meet the Town’s road allowance; and Further, that staff take appropriate action to ensure free and clear occupancy of the property.
A note to Staff – black and white map of 09.1.2-ATT#1 sure is confusing. What is labeled as Highway 69 is now Bowes Street.  Are you sure that the original trail, the old colonization road, shouldn’t actually follow the dotted lines to what is now Oastler Park Drive, rather than head in from Bowes Street through what is now Rona?

9.2.3 – Parks Management and Maintenance Plan. Resolution. That Council approve the Parks Management and Maintenance Plan, per Schedule “A” attached.
This is a very comprehensive plan of action that is to be commended. There is one very obvious oversight – the Stockey Centre is not included on any of the plans. And it shows when you visit the Stockey Centre. The inside of the concert hall is first class while the grounds look like a former oil tanker field. The reason for why Waubuno Beach looks so much better is that the Stockey Centre is a non-union facility, and as a result Town Staff will not work on the property. That means the Town is required to hire a private contractor to maintain the property. And because the Stockey Centre operates at a loss there is little interest in paying for anything more than the bare minimum. As the current leader of the free world would Tweet: “Sad”.

9.4.1 – Service Line Warranty of Canada Program – Privacy Statement. Resolution. That Council for the Town of Parry Sound approve the Water & Sewer Account Privacy Statement and Notice of Collection, attached as Schedule “A”.
The cost is $73/year sewer, $64/year water, indoor plumbing $73/year. You can apparently choose one or more of the services. You may also want to check with local plumbers, or your insurance company, to see if they are able to offer similar warranty coverage. It’s better to buy local, but it may not be an option.

9.5.1 – Funding Land Purchases – Capital Asset Legacy Reserve Fund. Resolution. That Council hereby approves the use of $862,000 from the Capital Asset Legacy Reserve Fund for the purchase of properties located at 3 Bay Street; and Further, that any proceeds recognized on the disposal of said property up to $862,000 shall first be used to replenish the Capital Asset Legacy Reserve Fund.
This is the property between the OPP Station and the Big Sound Marina. It’s currently being used by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. This is the Darlington Boathouse property that was previously approved for purchase by Council and is also referred to as 3 Bay Street.

9.5.2 – Provincial Offences Act (POA) Write-offs. Resolution. That Council for the Town of Parry Sound, hereby approves the write-offs for the Provincial Offences Act Court outlined in Schedule “A” attached.
The amount in question is about $220,000 and it is from the 1991-1995 era. See, it pays to ignore those fines. Going forward the Town may be able to apply a little more pressure on those who refuse to pay their Provincial Offense Act fines by denying these folks the ability to renew their vehicle license plate registration.

By-laws

10.2.1 – Request for Deeming by-law – 22 Victoria Avenue and Lot 12 of Plan 123. By-law 2017 – 6739. Being a by-law to deem certain lots in the Town of Parry Sound not to be part of a registered Plan of Subdivision (MacDonald – 22 Victoria Avenue).

10.2.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/17/3 – 24 Addie Street (Habitat for Humanity). Consent Application – B/5/2017 (Habitat for Humanity). By-law 2017 – 6740. Being a by-law to amend by-law 2004-4653 (The Zoning by-law), as amendment, for 24 Addie Street (Habitat for Humanity).
Resolution. That Consent Application No. B/5/2017(PS) – Habitat for Humanity, be supported subject to conditions of consent which require:

  1. The payment of $2,677.00 for cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication.
  2. That the applicant enter into a site plan agreement with the Town of Parry Sound which requires wooden privacy fence and the driveway construction as per Attachment #3. The Mayor and Clerk will be authorized to execute the agreement. That the property be successfully rezoned to ensure compliance with the Zoning bylaw; and
  3. That the applicant be advised that each proposed lot requires individual water and sewer connections.

10.5.1 – Striking tax rates for fiscal year 2017. By-law 2017 – 6742. Being a bylaw to Strike the Tax Rates for Municipal Purposes for the Year 2017.

10.5.2 – Business Improvement (BIA) Levy by-law – Downtown Business Area. By-law 2017 – 6736. Being a by-law to Adopt the Estimates of the Board of Management of the Downtown Parry Sound Business Improvement Area and to Strike the Tax Rate Thereon for the Year 2017.

I was out of town for the last meeting of Council and watched it later on YouTube. That was great and I offer my thanks to Staff and Council for making the meeting proceedings available online. I do have a couple of suggestions:

  1. Increase the volume of the audio on the feed. It’s too low.
  2. Councillor Borneman needs to speak a little closer to the microphone. The same goes for Ms. Middaugh. The other councillors came through loud and clear.

No need to improve the video, it isn’t great, but it’s more than adequate. What is important is the audio, and it needs some fine tuning.

I’m going to catch this week’s meeting in person. The deputations should be interesting.

Our Parry Sound

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council Agenda Preview – May 2, 2017

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It’s the Town of Parry Sound sign and tax levy special edition. For the most part there is little to note about the meeting that requires much public reflection. The Tax Rates for 2017 will be formally approved (10.5.1), I offer a few comments in that section of this post. The Downtown Business Association levy is also being approved (10.5.2). The Town is tidying up sign permits (9.2.1, 9.2.2, 9.2.3) and re-establishing a Façade Improvement Committee (9.2.4, 9.2.5).

I do note that there is not a closed meeting of Council this week, which is a bit of a surprise. Note that there are plans for a Strategic Plan review on May 30th(8.3). I suggest you be there to understand what Council is planning, and ask questions. It’s my sense that Council has a number of things they are working on that they are not sharing with the public. My request for information on the purpose of the purchase of two pieces of property by the Town were refused on the basis of confidentiality. It’s our money they are working with. Perhaps they are taking some cues from what has been going on south of the border. Why bother to be transparent when there is nothing the public can do beyond complain. Or can they?

Public Meeting

2.1.1 – Council will hold a public meeting to consider two proposed Zoning By-law amendments under Section 34 of the Planning Act.The purpose of the first proposed Zoning By-law amendment is with respect to a vacant lot known as 24 Addie Street, or Lot 12, north side of Addie Street, Plan 89 in the Town of Parry Sound. The applicant has requested relief from the Residential Second Density Zone to reduce the minimum lot area from 300 square metres to 253 square metres for each semi-detached unit, reduce the required rear yard setback from 10.5 metres to 5.5 metres, permit an additional 0.5 metre projection for the front staircase and increase the maximum lot coverage from 30% to 35.9%.

2.1.2 – The purpose of the second proposed Zoning By-law amendment is with respect to 11 Salt Dock Road, or as part of Lot 20, Concession A and part of the original road allowance between Concession A and 2, formerly Township of McDougall, now in the Town of Parry Sound, and Part of Parcel J, Registered Plan 137, more particularly described as part of Parts 1, 2 and 3, Plan 42R-19106 located on the north side of Salt Dock Road. The applicant has requested to amend the Special Provision 26.73 zone which would have the effect of permitting an additional eight units on the entirety of the property (previously permitted 84 units between three buildings, now requesting 92 units between three buildings). The existing height restriction of 16.5 metres and all other requirements of the R3 zone shall continue to apply as per the current Special Provision zone restrictions.

Deputations

5.1 – Brad Weiler. Canada 150 – Update

Consent Agenda

8.3 – Notice of Special Meeting of Council. That Council call a Special Council Meeting for May 30th at 6:00 p.m. to review and prioritize the Strategic Plan.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.2.1 – Council Approved Sign Application – Bowes Street – Homelife – Al Boucher. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue a permit for a sign on the Bowes Street road allowance in front of number 70 Bowes pursuant to the following conditions and variances:
a) Sign shall not be displayed between October 1 and March 30 of the following year,
b) The permit will be valid from 2017 through 2021,
c) The Town reserves the right to revoke a permit related to this resolution and remove the sign if it finds it necessary to use the lands appurtenant to the sign for municipal purposes,
d) Distances from property lines shall be to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official, and
e) All other regulations in the sign by-law continue to apply except for those revised by this resolution.

9.2.2 – Council Approved Sign Application – Hurd Richard`s Pine Drive. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue a permit for a sign on the Pine Drive road allowance in front of number 119 Bowes pursuant to the following conditions and variances:
a) The first permit will be valid until October of 2017,
b) The permit may be renewed for a six-month period in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 upon payment of the fee for a temporary read-o-graph sign,
c) The Town reserves the right to revoke a permit related to this resolution and remove the sign if it finds it necessary to use the lands appurtenant to the sign for municipal purposes,
d) The sign may be displayed May until October of a year where a valid permit has been issued,
e) Distances from property lines shall be to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official,
f) The permit holder shall trim the grass in the area occupied by the sign and 0.3m beyond it, no less frequently than every two weeks, and
g) All other regulations in the sign by-law continue to apply except for those revised by this resolution.

9.2.3 – Council Approved Sign Application – Remy Group – 64 Parry Sound Drive. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue a permit for a sign on the Parry Sound Drive road allowance in front of number 64 pursuant to the following conditions and variances:
a) The permit will be valid for five years,
b) The permit may be renewed according to the signs over road allowances section of the sign by-law provided the sign will not be altered,
c) The Town reserves the right to revoke a permit related to this resolution and remove the sign if it finds it necessary to use the lands appurtenant to the sign for municipal purposes,
d) A new resolution and permit will be required if the sign is altered,
e) Distances from property lines shall be to the satisfaction of the Chief Building Official,
f) The applicant shall submit an accurate drawing of the sign, which will form part of this resolution, and
g) All other regulations in the sign by-law continue to apply except for those revised by this resolution.

9.2.4 – Façade Improvement Program Committee – Terms of Reference. Resolution. That Council adopt the Façade Improvement Program Committee – Terms of Reference per the attached Schedule “A”.

9.2.5 – Appointments to the Façade Improvement Committee. Resolution. That Council appoint Anne Bossart, Alex Distler and Kathy Dyer to the Façade Improvement Program Committee.

9.3.1 – EMS Power Cot purchase. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of the EMS Advisory Committee the Town of Parry Sound authorizes the expenditure of 56,748.00 +HST to Stryker EMS for the supply of three Power Stretchers.

By-laws

10.3.1 – Renewal of lease for the Seguin EMS base. By-law 2017 – 6734. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with The Corporation of The Township of Seguin for the leasing of a portion of Foley Fire Stn. #2 located at 18 McKaig Road.

10.5.1 – Striking tax rates for fiscal year 2017. By-law 2017 – 6735. Being a bylaw to Strike the Tax Rates for Municipal Purposes for the Year 2017.
Here are the tax rates and tax levies for 2017 including the Education Rate. Be nice to our local businesses, especially Commercial, they are carrying a proportionately much heavier portion of the education costs. I’ll provide a quick comparison of Town of Parry Sound and The Township of Seguin 2017 Tax Rates in a separate post.

10.5.2 – Business Improvement (BIA) Levy By-law – Downtown Business Area. By-law 2017 – 6736. Being a By-law to Adopt the Estimates of the Board of Management of the Downtown Parry Sound Business Improvement Area and to Strike the Tax Rate Thereon for the Year 2017.
The levy for 2017 is the same as 2016, $67,000. Despite this the DBA assessment tax rate is going up by 4.9% to account for the drop in the 2016 MPAC Commercial Property reassessment. The net/net should be about the same for Downtown businesses in terms of their out of pocket cost to support the DBA.

10.5.3 – Refinancing Smelter Wharf Loan. By-law 2017 – 6737. Being a By-law to authorize the borrowing of funds between the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound for the Smelter Wharf Port.
The Town purchased the Smelter Wharf in 2007 from the Canadian Government with a loan from the CIBC. It’s time to refinance the loan and i/staff is recommending a five-year loan from the Scotia Bank for an amount of about $350,000 at a 2.67% interest rate.

I have business out of town this coming week and won’t be able to attend. But I should be able to catch up on the meeting with the newly introduced online streaming of Town of Parry Sound council meetings. We’ll see, literally and figuratively.

April in Parry Sound (When it’s not Overcast)

Science is Not Magic

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But Magic may, in certain circumstances, involve science.

I attended the Town of Parry Sound volunteer appreciation night at the Stockey Centre a couple of weeks ago. The evening featured the magician Vitaly Beckman. His performance was remarkable. His biggest illusion, at least in the first half of the show, involved having members of the audience mark an oversized playing card by signing and ripping the card. This started with members of the audience signing and ripping the card, followed by a member of the audience signing the marked and ripped card onstage. The card was then placed into an oversized pack of cards on the stage. Following a little activity onstage, with the pack of cards seeming to stay right on the stage, the marked card appeared in the audience. Was it teleported? How was it done?

The whole performance was very well executed leaving the audience and me to wonder how this was done. I defaulted to the thought that this was magic, the art of illusion. I was impressed but not convinced that Vitaly was actually able to teleport the card. If he could teleport items, if we as a society could teleport, it would mean that we had reached the future imagined by Star Trek. There would be no need for cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and ships to transport people and freight, they could just be teleported.

As less than a rank amateur when it comes to magic I had no idea how the trick was performed, but I was convinced that there was no ’teleporting’ of cards going on. My sense is that a professional magician in the audience would have been able to view the same scene and quickly figure out how the illusion was performed. I couldn’t, and defaulted to my belief that magic is performance art based on illusion. It is not what it seems.

The same thought process is used by many people when it comes to science and the product of science, including climate science. Because they don’t understand how science ‘works’, and they do not have the technical knowledge and training related to any particular science, be it climate, oceanography, astrophysics or vaccines, they default to the comforting thought that this is not real, it’s an illusion. This is particularly the case when an idea raised by science is at odds with their faith, interests or economic interests. It’s the same as my response to magic; I don’t understand it so it can’t be real.

The greatest difference between magic and science relates to transparency. The first rule of entry to the world of magic is that you agree not to publicly share how illusions are performed. You not only don’t tell people how you perform your illusions, you also don’t tell people how other magicians perform their illusions. Science by contrast is the exact opposite. You are not just encouraged to share your results, you are required to fully explain your methods and how you reached your conclusions. The results and conclusions are subject to review by other scientists to ensure there were no obvious errors in methods or analysis. In many cases other experts will repeat the same experiments to ensure the results are real and can be repeated. This represents a foundation of science, full disclosure and peer review. When science seems unbelievable, it is often found to be just that, unbelievable. This can be the result of sloppy science, confounding results, or dishonesty.

Science is a process, not an outcome. It requires time for the process to work. It took a couple of years for the concept of cold fusion to be firmly debunked. Decades were required for the medical community to accept that simple disinfection could lead to significantly fewer deaths in hospitals, most notably healthy young women in the maternity ward. More recently we saw how long it took for medical opinion to firmly accept the harm of smoking. You can go back to the 1950s and find advertisements featuring physicians promoting the health benefits of smoking. While the dangers of smoking were recognized half a century ago it took decades to provide confirming evidence and overcome the resistance of those who had a personal and economic interest in promoting smoking.

Science is not magic, it is a process that has evolved with a set of checks and balances that help validate its conclusions. Sometimes what you don’t understand can be true. Rejecting science because it conflicts with your beliefs or interests is understandable. But in the end that doesn’t justify defaulting to the belief that science is an illusion just because you don’t understand it.

Science is not magic – it abhors illusions and secrecy. Science is also not a religion – it encourages heresy.

Magic at the Stockey Centre

(Note: I had this post in draft form for a couple of weeks following the performance at the Stockey Centre. Today seemed an appropriate day to edit and post it up.)

Council Agenda Preview – April 18, 2017

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There is nothing particularly controversial on the agenda. There is one item, 10.1.2 – Property Purchase – Oastler Park Drive that could use a bit of explanation on the part of Council. This purchase, about a quarter million dollars, concerns property across Oastler Park Drive from the Canadian Tire. It would be interesting to understand how this fits in with the Town’s Strategic Plan.

Item 4.4 – Kathy Morris, Manager, Navigation Protection Program, Transport Canada, is a little disappointing if you are looking for a quick answer. It seems the process of deciding the future of the Wasauksing Swing Bridge is ongoing and there is no interest on the part of the Ministry of Transport to have a ‘meet and greet’ type discussion with Council. If you had a statement to make about the situation I hope you filed it prior to March 15, 2017 when the period for public comment closed.

The more interesting items are noted below with comments as appropriate. Check out the full agenda at the Town’s website for complete information on agenda items and the supporting documents.

Closed Session

c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes. (Property Purchase)

Correspondence

4.4 – Kathy Morris, Manager, Navigation Protection Program, Transport Canada. Declined the invitation by The Archipelago, Seguin and Parry Sound to have a Town Hall meeting to discuss the new operational restrictions with respect to the use of the Swing Bridge.

4.9 – Susan Hrycyna, Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Administrator Re: Provision of Busking Policy and request to delegate authority to approve Buskers to the PS DBA.

4.10 – Susan Hrycyna, Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Administrator. Lack of public washrooms during the construction stage of the new public washrooms on Seguin Street. Requesting to have either a porta pottie installed by the Information Kiosk or for the public washrooms at the town dock to be open with a sign directing people there.

4.11 – Susan Hrycyna, Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Administrator. Requesting approval for Kathryn Nemcsok to busk in the downtown area during the upcoming summer months.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF) – Parry Sound Drive Paving and Trail Extension. Resolution. That Council approves utilizing the Town’s annual OCIF to fund the cost of paving Parry Sound Drive between Bay Area Electric and north Smith Crescent including paving a wide shoulder section which will link the Town’s trail with McDougall’s trail.

9.2.1 – Council Approved Sign Application – Downing – x2. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue permits for 2017 for two portable signs on Town Property (Bowes / Louisa W and Bowes / Louisa E) , and subject to the following conditions:
a) the signs are displayed only on Saturday and/or Sunday,
b) the signs shall not be installed unless a sale event is being carried out at the auction premise,
c) Town staff may give other users of road allowances priority over these signs and remove them temporarily,
d) The Chief Building Official is authorized to renew these permits upon payment of the sandwich board sign permit fee in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021,
e) except as authorized by this resolution, the rules for sandwich board signs shall apply.

9.2.2 – Council Approved Sign Application – Barker. Resolution. That pursuant to section 3.(4) of the Sign By-law, the Chief Building Official is authorized to issue a single permit for five flag/ground signs and one sandwich board sign, as shown in the application, to serve the business known as Kate’s Kart located on the premises known an 30 Pine Drive, subject to the following conditions:
a) Display not permitted after the Thanksgiving weekend of any year and March 31 of the year following,
b) The permit is to expire after Thanksgiving weekend of 2021,
c) except as authorized by this resolution, the general rules in the sign by-law continue to apply, and,
d) the signs shall be essentially as represented in the application.

9.2.3 – Consent Application – B 7/2017 (PS) (Fuller/Bush). Resolution. That Consent Application No. B 7/2017 (PS) (Fuller/Bush) 30 Hanna Road, be supported.
This seems to be a ‘tidy up’ application for a triplex in the Isabella and Beatty Streets area that currently is improperly accessed through an empty lot.

9.5.1 – Motorized Mobile Ice Cream Truck. Resolution. That Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound hereby grants permission for Mr. J Athanasiou to operate one motorized mobile ice cream truck for the time period of May 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017 on municipally owned roads and lands of the Town of Parry Sound subject to the following conditions:
1. No parking/stopping or selling of products on any Class 3 road (Bowes, Seguin, Church, Joseph).
2. No parking/stopping or selling of products along any Class 4, Class 5 or Class 6 roadway without a shoulder or marked parking spaces.
3. No parking/stopping or selling of products in any municipally owned parking lot.
4. The operator will take necessary steps to ensure that public sidewalks are not obstructed.
5. No parking/stopping or selling within the prescribed distance (23 metres) of any eating establishment or seller of foodstuffs.
6. $3,000,000 public liability coverage for a refreshment vehicle is required as this is a motorized mobile vehicle.
7. The hours of operation will be from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm from Monday to Sunday.
8. Selling from any one location will be limited to 20 minutes.
9. Must receive owners written consent to park and sell on private property and a copy of the letter submitted to the Town’ s Licensing Officer.
10.That every employee who operates or works out of the motorized mobile ice cream truck must submit to a criminal record check.
That all other requirements under By-law 2006-49 Schedule I be met.
Ding-Ding, it’s the ice cream truck.

9.5.2 – Elimination of Vacant Unit Tax Rebate Program. Resolution. Whereas, Section 364 of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires a municipality to have a Vacant Unit Tax Rebate for commercial and industrial tax classes; And Whereas, this program provides a tax rebate to commercial and industrial properties only; And Whereas, these properties are privately owned by individuals or corporations and for an investment for these parties; And Whereas, the Province of Ontario has provided flexibility for the municipality to tailor the program to reflect community needs and circumstances, while considering the interests of local businesses; And Whereas, the Town of Parry Sound engaged the public to seek feedback on the potential elimination of the rebate program; And Whereas, the majority of feedback received supports the elimination of the program; And Whereas, Council for the Town of Parry Sound feels that the economic interests of the Town are best served through the elimination of the program; Now hereby be it resolved that the Town of Parry Sound asks the Minister of Finance for the Province of Ontario to pass the required regulations to eliminate the Vacant Unit Tax Rebate Program for the Town of Parry Sound.
This resolution follows up a public meeting that was held to gauge the interest of Parry Sound residents and businesses to continue providing a tax break for empty buildings who were claiming a vacant unit tax rebate. It appears that after consultation the Town has decided there is no significant interest in maintaining the rebate. This will result is somewhat greater revenue for the Town and act as a deterrent to property owners to sit on properties and not solicit lessees or a sale of the property for development. Property owners can still continue to do so, but they will not be able to benefit from lower property taxes because the property is vacant. Removing this rebate program will provide additional funds to the Town, the Downtown Business Association, and the local school boards.

By-laws

10.1.1 – Request for Deeming By-law – 22 Victoria Avenue and Lot 12 of Plan 123. By-law 2017 – 6729. Being a By-law to deem certain lots in the Town of Parry Sound not to be part of a registered Plan of Subdivision (MacDonald – 22 Victoria Avenue).
This is a simple consolidation of two lots, owned by a single party.

10.1.2 – Property Purchase – Oastler Park Drive. By-law 2017 – 6730. Being a By-law authorize the execution of an Offer to Purchase agreement with Ministry of Transportation Ontario.
This is a $245,000 purchase of property, about 3.5 acres based on the stated price of $75,000 per acre. I believe it is property across Oastler Park Drive from the Canadian Tire that extends from the Town Line to the unnamed pond/lake and along Oastler Park Drive for about 50 metres north to Bowes Street. I hope that the details will be provided at the meeting. Perhaps the Town will explain why they chose to purchase this unserviced plot of land for what seems to be a very high price. It is assessed by MPAC at $89,900. Perhaps there was a competitive bid for the property.

10.4.1 – Delegation of Authority for Permission to Busk Downtown. By-law 2017 – 6731. Being a by-law to delegate Council authority to approve busking in the Parry Sound downtown area to the Director of Public Works.

10.6.1 – Memorandum of Understanding – Town and Downtown Business Association (DBA). By-law 2017 – 6732. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Town and the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association.

Does The Internet Know Something We Don’t? Can They See the Future?

This is not a Photoshop trick on my part. I clipped it from the bottom of a webpage that I was reading. Yes, the internet not only seems to be able see into the future, but it also knows where you are located. No I didn’t click the link. Time for a VPN!

 

 

 

 

Parry Sound Town Dock – Summer Closure Schedule

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The Town announced yesterday the days that the Parry Sound Town Dock will be closed to residents and visitors. This is to accommodate the cruise ships.

I am at a loss to understand why people are not permitted to use the Town Dock while these cruise ships are tied up in Parry Sound. I can understand that there might be an hour of so when access is restricted while the vessel ties up and people disembark. Yes, there may be an issue of customs and immigration to deal with on arrival, but once this is settled there shouldn’t be an issue with opening access to the public. The vessel itself has security measures in place, and it’s not as though anyone can just jump aboard from the Town Dock.

I guess we should just shut up and be honoured that these cruise lines have chosen to grace Parry Sound with their presence. I have no issue with their arrivals and vists, and even a brief period where the dock is off limits when there are procedures to be followed, but all day, for eleven days? Perhaps they will be rainy days and there will be no net loss to the hoi poloi.

Or the Town could look into finding a procedure by which access to the Town Dock would be permitted when these vessels are tied up. If no one asks or complains, it’s easier to keep doing what they have been doing than it is to figure out a workable option of sharing the Town Dock. And of course there is always the stock answer of, “oh, but that’s out of our control – sorry”. Nah, not really sorry.

From the Town’s website.

2017 Cruise Ship Visits

This summer the Pearl Mist and the Victory 1 will return to Parry Sound and be in port at the Town Dock on the following dates:

Pearl Mist:
Monday June 5 – 8:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday June 14 – 8:30am – 7:00pm
Sunday June 25 – 8:30am – 6:30pm
Thursday July 6 – 8:00am – 7:00pm
Monday July 17 – 8:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday July 26 – 8:30am – 7:00pm
Sunday August 6 – 8:30am – 6:30pm
Thursday August 17 – 8:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday August 19 – 9:00pm to Sunday August 20 – 6:30pm
Thursday August 31 – 8:00am – 7:00pm

Victory 1:
Sunday June 4 – 5:00am – 6:30pm
Friday August 25 – 7:00am – 11:00pm

Don’t Let the Wake Slap You on Your Stern on the Way Out

Walking the Talk – An Appeal to Common Sense

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MetrolandMedia, in their North Star publication and at their parrysound.com website, published an article on an appeal I have filed with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) regarding two by-laws passed by Town of Parry Sound Council on December 20th of last year. The article provides background on the appeal that I won’t bother to repeat. Here’s a link to the online article in case you don’t subscribe to the paper version (I do).

It’s an interesting situation that if left as is has the potential to negatively impact the Downtown and Parry Sound as a whole, and by extension all of the Town’s residents and businesses. Parry Sound Council by a 4 to 3 vote approved rezoning and Official Plan amendments, against the recommendation of Staff, and against the stated opposition of businesses and individuals who constituted the majority of opinions filed with the Town. In the end a bare majority of Council chose to support the interests of two parties and ignore the interests of the Town as expressed by the Official Plan, the studied opinion of Town Staff, and the interests of dozens of Downtown businesses. It left me scratching my head. Who exactly is Council interested in serving? Do they know something that they haven’t shared? Are there bigger things afoot?

After determining that no other parties were in a position to file the appeal I chose to do so. I appreciate the support that the appeal has received.

As a Town we really don’t spend much time keeping an eye on what goes on at Council. Strange things happen, more often that you think. Almost always by a 4 to 3 vote.

The OMB appeal process is designed to address this type of situation. A set of independent experts, the OMB panel, is tasked with reviewing the facts and making a decision on whether or not the decision by a council is consistent with best planning practices, the existing Official Plan, and the interests of the community. They represent a second set of eyes. Parry Sound is rather remarkable in the very limited number of appeals that are filed with the OMB. This could be a positive statement on the measured decisions made by Parry Sound Council. Or, it could be a general sense of community apathy, and hesitance to ‘rock the boat’. Or, it could be that people in Town don’t understand their options when it comes to Parry Sound Council. We need to remember that they are elected to serve the Town’s best interests. Sometimes they misread the public interest and make mistakes.

And sometimes as an individual, you have to do what you have to do. Walk the talk.

That’s all you will hear from me about this appeal until there is a final decision. I wasn’t planning on discussing it at all, but yesterday’s article deserved some sort of acknowledgment.

Yesterday’s GapingVoid ‘Toon of the Day. Timely.