Council Agenda Preview – January 19, 2021

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There are a couple of surprises in this week’s council meeting agenda. And of course, the water rate proposal ignores comments from members of the public because that would create too much extra work.

9.2.1 – Provincial State of Emergency – Bobby Orr Community Centre Ice Out.
Town Staff is suggesting that the ice surface be removed from the Bobby Orr Community Centre as a cost saving measure with the current restrictions prohibiting public use and the concern that the restrictions will continue through end of the usual season. The rink costs $3,250 per week in energy costs. This does not include staffing expenses, maintenance of the building, and capital costs. Some Staff might then be deployed to other Town activities.

10.1.2 – Water and Wastewater Rates.
I have already shared my comments in an earlier post. I will note that Mr. George Ashford provided a well-reasoned letter to the Town in response to the proposal. I know that he ran for Council at the last election and was not elected. I think he deserves your vote if he chooses to run again at the next election. He made the effort and took the time to comment. There is at least one not so pretty face on Council who seems to be asleep and perhaps should be given every second Tuesday evening off to catch a few winks.

10.4.1 – Donations to the West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation and Lakeland Long Term Care from the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Reserve Fund.
This concerns a $100,000 donation to these two facilities from a reserve fund that was formed in 2007. I think this is a very generous donation that was requested by Mr. Orr. As I wrote in an earlier post, I do not think that his earlier support for the current Republican administration should be held against him anymore than one’s religion or ethnicity should be held against them for the actions of some extremists.

Spelling Lesson:
The device that measures your water and electrical consumption is a meter, not a metre. A metre is a unit of measurement, which the Yankees spell meter.

Closed Session
d) labour relations or employee negotiations; (Collective Agreement Union Negotiations; and Employee impacts resulting from Provincial Declared Emergency Lock-Down);
k) 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, (Collective Agreement Union Negotiations).

 Presentations
1. 
2020 Order of Parry Sound
2. 2020 Year in Review
3. Coping with COVID

Correspondence
4.1 – Wayne Major

Concern regarding wait time & crowding at Town boat launches.

4.2 – Susan Heder
Appreciation for Rugged Trail.

4.3 – Lynne Atkinson
Request for Proclamation of Feb 6, 2020 as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.2.1 – Provincial State of Emergency – Bobby Orr Community Centre Ice Out.

Resolution
That Council approve the closure of the ice surface at the Bobby Orr Community Centre in response to the Provincial Emergency Order/Closure of non-essential services.

9.2.2 – Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Covid Stream – Local Government.
Resolution
That Council receive the report Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID Stream – Local Government for information purposes.

9.3.1 – Declaration of Second Provincial Emergency.
Resolution
That Council receive the report Declaration of Second Provincial Emergency for information purposes.

9.4.1 – Rural Economic Development Grant.
Resolution
Be it resolved that the Town of Parry Sound supports the DBA’s request to submit a grant application under the Rural Economic Development (RED) program; and
That the Town of Parry Sound provide 50% match funding up to $25,450.

9.5.1 Proclamation of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
Resolution
Whereas International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is observed around the world and provides an opportunity to honor 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 4.1 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 in more than 90 countries and on every continent except Antarctica, and that there are at least 200 million FGM survivors in the world, including more than 100,000 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 Female Genital Mutilation, 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, Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby proclaim February 6, 2021, as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in the Town of Parry Sound.

By-laws
10.1.1 – Temporary Borrowing Authorization.
By-law 2021 – 7096
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.

10.1.2 – Water and Wastewater Rates.
By-law 2021 – 7097
Being a By-law to establish water and wastewater rates in the Town of Parry Sound, starting with the consumption month of March 2021.
Resolution
That the Town of Parry Sound’s Ontario Regulation 453/07 Water Financial Plan prepared by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. dated January 15, 2021 be approved; and
That notice of availability of the Financial Plan be advertised; and
That the Financial Plan dated January 15, 2021 be submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. (O.Reg. 453/07, section 3 (1) 6); and further
That the resolution of Council approving the Financial Plan be submitted to the MECP, satisfying the requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act. (S.D.W.A. section 32 (5) 2.ii.).

10.3.1 – Agreements for the use of public property for Georgian Bay Airways/Tailwinds.
By-law 2021 – 7098
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of agreements with Georgian Bay Airways for the lease of a water lot; and maintenance of a Town parking lot.

10.4.1 – Donations to the West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation and Lakeland Long Term Care from the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Reserve Fund.
By-law 2021 – 7099
Being a By-law to Authorize Donations from the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Reserve Fund, transfer the balance, and close the Fund.

Town of Parry Sound Proposed Water Rates

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In this post I offer my analysis and comments concerning the proposed water rates for the Town of Parry Sound as presented in the November 8, 2020 report from Watson & Associates. I have separately been concerned with certain figures used in the report regarding customer numbers and water usage estimates. I have sent my concerns to the Town. A copy of my letter can be read through this link.

Top Line Numbers
The report presents the water and wastewater expense and revenue estimates for residential and non-residential water users. I have clipped and pasted the most relevant portions below.

The report, page 6-2, states (italicized for emphasis):

For water services, monthly base charges are forecast to increase by 5.0% annually for the period 2022-2028 and then by 3.9% in 2029. The consumptive rate is forecast to increase by 0.04% over the forecast period.

For wastewater services, monthly base charges are forecast to increase by 3.2% annually for the period 2022-2028 and then by 2.5% in 2029. No change in the consumptive rate is forecast over the period to 2029.

 The detailed calculations of the proposed water and wastewater rate calculations are contained in Appendices A and B to this report, respectively.

And on pages 6-4 and 6-5:

High volume non-residential users would either benefit (reduction in annual costs) or experience minimal increases in their annual water and wastewater bill. It is anticipated that the annual bill for a small residential customer would decrease slightly in 2021 (i.e. 1% decrease), while the bill for an average residential metered customer would increase by 9%. Greater bill impacts in 2021 would be seen for residential customers consuming greater than average annual water consumption (i.e. greater than 26,704 gallons). Bills for all customers would increase by approximately 2% each year for 2022-2029.

Comments

  1. The rates as presented use the forecast fixed and variable costs related to providing water and wastewater services. These forecast costs are then allocated over the expected number of customers (base rates) and volume used. An underestimate of either customers or usage will raise the recommended rates as presented in the report.
    I believe that the report is seriously underestimating the expected increase in water and wastewater usage. They are estimating an increase in customer number of 1.2% over the next ten years, all of them metered. Their estimate of billed water usage is expected to increase by less than 1% over the next decade, or 0.1% per year. This is despite the construction of some very obvious new multi-unit residences and the real possibility of an aquatic center, ‘da pool’.
    This underestimates the reasonable revenue that can be expected and increases the proposed rates represented in the report.
  2. The report suggests that billed water usage will essentially remain flat for ten years. That certainly is optimistic given the proposed rate structure. As proposed, the base (fixed) rate for metered residential customers will increase annually, but the consumptive rate is proposed to remain effectively unchanged over the next decade as presented in the report (below in italics).
    For water services, monthly base charges are forecast to increase by 5.0% annually for the period 2022-2028 and then by 3.9% in 2029. The consumptive rate is forecast to increase by 0.04% over the forecast period.
    For wastewater services, monthly base charges are forecast to increase by 3.2% annually for the period 2022-2028 and then by 2.5% in 2029. No change in the consumptive rate is forecast over the period to 2029.
    If the base cost increases annually but usage prices remain fixed there is little reason to conserve water, at least not to save money. Typically, organizations who wish to dissuade consumption increase the variable, or unit cost of an item. A good example is cigarette pricing. At $2 a pack there is little disincentive to buy a package of cigarettes. Raise the price to $13 and smokers either stop smoking or ration their usage. In the case of those water users who are not metered and enjoy an ‘all you can eat’ deal there is absolutely no reason to ration. Heck, you could get into the water business on a casual basis for our neighbours in the surrounding communities who are not sure their well water is really that safe. (Those water tests are such a pain.)

The Bottom Line
It really doesn’t matter what we say or point out, this report presents the Town of Parry Sound water rates for the next decade wrapped in a polished consultant veneer. I can afford the proposed increase but I worry about some of the folks in town who live on a fixed income.

As a consultant, I am more than annoyed with some of the assumptions underlying the conclusions and the lack of transparency. This includes, omitting historical customers and water usage, and not defining the terms underlying the forecast of customers and water use. It’s hard to comment on forecasts when the basic information and assumptions are missing. I suspect that the consultants expect the report will be received, not really understood, and accepted as written. These are competent folks and it would be hard to push back against their recommendations without some experience in the area. How often do you push back against your physician’s recommendations?

The net/net is that Council will accept the water rates as proposed in the report. Council unfortunately will not be able to claim that the rate structure encourages water conservation. The only way to accomplish conservation would be to require all residences to install water meters and make water incrementally more expensive with use above some sort of baseline. That is, as they say, a ‘third rail’ issue. They won’t touch it.

If you have particular comments, I encourage you to contact a member of Council. The formal commenting period has closed and the item is on this Tuesday’s agenda.

 

 

The Town of Parry Sound Water Report – WTF?

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I opened the Town’s recently issued water report prepared by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. to review it and take notes. It all started reasonably and then I hit page 2.1. (The report can be downloaded from the Town’s website through this link.) That’s where the WTF reaction arose.

The report states that there are currently 2,346 customers for water and 2,273 for wastewater services. Okay, that seems reasonable, the consultants have the Town’s account numbers. The report goes on to assume there will be a total of 30 new customers (three new accounts per year) for water and wastewater services over the period 2020 to 2030. I take this to mean from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2029, a ten-year period. This is an increase of 1.3% over ten years. Water consumption is expected to increase by 0.7%.

How do you assume only 30 total new water customers when house conversions to multiple units are ongoing, the Lighthouse development will be coming on line, as will Thunder Creek? These two developments will create dozens of new accounts. There is also the Acorn Ridge development on Louisa Street with potentially hundreds of new accounts that is on the back burner for now but is more than likely to arrive in the next decade given the demand for housing in the Town and the willingness of people to pay whatever it costs to get out of the Big Smoke and retain the luxury of high speed internet without worrying about wells and septic systems.

What about the new Recreation Centre? Will they be filling the pool with water pumped directly out of the Big Sound?

The report states that it is presenting a ‘conservative’ forecast. There is ‘conservative’ and there is ‘sandbagging’. Town staff are pretty experienced at sandbagging. I see it regularly in the annual budgets and largely ignore it as it is not too egregious and there is no ulterior motive. If you put a budget item in at a higher cost than you actually expect to pay you are a hero for the savings. At the same time these ‘extra’ funds are now available to pay for other items that Council was not willing to consider because of the expense, or the savings can cover other items where there was an error made by underestimating a cost. Sandbagging is not hard to identify if you know what you are looking for.

It seems that in the case of the Water Report the sandbagging is being done to rationalize higher water rates. The largest part of water and wastewater costs are not related to the cost of purifying and pumping water or processing wastewater before discharge, it is related to the cost of building and maintaining the supporting infrastructure. This includes things like upgrading and servicing pumping stations, replacing pipe, and installing new pipe. With no growth in customers and water use there is no need for additional water related infrastructure; you take a maintain and upgrade only when necessary approach.

I have put off reading the cost and revenue estimates provided in the report pending an answer from the Town about the growth rate presented in the report. Once I have an explanation, I will take another look at the report and provide you with an overview of the report, the conclusions, and the implications. That won’t be until the ‘holiday week’ is over and Staff is available.

Do we need an economic development officer to get a total of 1% growth over ten years? Do we need a fulltime Chief Building Officer if there is no significant construction expected? What about a Planner?

Come on folks, was Staff unable to identify the discrepancy or did they actually request it? The Town would have seen and commented on the report before it was issued. Consultants know what they are doing. Forecasting a smaller than realistic growth in water accounts has the net effect of raising the rates the Town charges each of us for water and wastewater. It’s only a few percent points difference but it is meaningful. Screwing around with your assumptions to get the number you want is deceitful and ruins your credibility. Keep your assumptions realistic and be direct with the cost that will be required. Don’t sandbag it. Or if you do want to really lowball the numbers then state that in the assumptions. Don’t call it ‘conservative’.

Oh, in case you were wondering, WTF means What the Forecast.

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – December 15, 2020

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There are no surprises but there are issues you need to understand and possibly follow up on:
9.4.1 – Water & Wastewater Rate Study
9.5.1 – West Parry Sound Recreation & Culture Centre

Abridged Minutes

Closed Session
(c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board (developer request to purchase land from the Town; MTO offer to sell land to the Town);
e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board, (claim against Town funds);
k) 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, (claim against Town funds);

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding a maintenance hole on Joseph St and the status of railing installation on Cascade St., Director of Public Works Mike Kearns responded that if temperatures moderate, a better patch work can be done for the rest of winter around the Joseph St. maintenance hole. With respect to the railing on Cascade Street, Mr. Kearns reported that although the railing was part of the contract installation, there was a decision made at some point not to re-install. Currently he is attempting to ensure design that will not impede snow removal and still allow for a 1.5 meter regulation width sidewalk.

3.2.2 – In response to Councillor Burden’s concerns on behalf of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) regarding garbage on James Street between Seguin and Mary, and their request for garbage containers mid-block, Mr. Kearns reported that the MOU between Town and DBA identifies that garbage receptacles are removed during winter conditions and a few remain. One of the challenges in wintertime is to place receptacles where they won’t impede snow removal.

2.3 – Councillor Backman commented that she would like the existing garbage receptacles in the downtownarea replaced by bins supporting recycling. In addition, Councillor Backman requested an update on the CIINO initiative to which CAO Clayton Harris responded per the following: The Regional Economic Development Collaborative is composed of all seven West Parry Sound area municipalities; the new EDO James Cox started December 7th with an office located in the Township of The Archipelago building; Chair Michelle Hendry and Mr. Harris met with him yesterday, and will set a meeting with Mr. Cox and the Town’s EDO Vlad Shehovtsov for Thursday.

3.2.4 – In response to Councillor Borneman’s inquiry as to potential for a rink at Kinsmen Park this winter, Mr. Kearns reported that the Health Unit has released guidelines on operating outdoor rinks, and that pending appropriate weather conditions, plans are in place to make an outdoor rink at Kinsmen Park.

3.2.5 – In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding winter solstice, Mr. Kearns reported that to his knowledge no celebratory plans were in place to recognize winter solstice this year.

Correspondence
4.1 – Rick Kerr

Request for amendment to Cemetery Regulations – for Council’s consideration.

4.2 – Ann MacDiarmid, Mayor, Seguin Township
Withdrawal from Boundary Adjustment Discussions.
Filed

4.3 – Aleesha Clark, Committee Chair, Absolutely Georgian Bay
Introduction of Absolutely Georgian Bay Tourism Cooperative Inc.
Filed

Deputations
5.1 – Tom Parks, OHE Consultants.

Request for exemption from Noise Regulations for Jail Demolition.
Mr. Park gave an explanation of the reason for the requested exemption from the noise regulations by-law and acknowledged that the Ontario Regulations 131/20 which prohibit municipalities from regulating construction noise between 6 AM and 10 PM may mean that his request is not necessary as contractors will be able to work from 6 AM to 9 AM prior to court, from 6 PM to 10 PM after court and on weekends and statutory holidays. In addition, Mr. Park responded to inquiries about how the work will be undertaken, including filling with uncompressible fill; and lighting during nighttime operations.

9.1.1 – Winter Control Level of Service Policy.
Resolution
That Council endorse and adopt the attached Winter Control Level of Service Policy for roads and sidewalks.
Carried

9.2.1 – Extension of Temporary Patio Permissions for Restaurants During COVID-19.
Resolution
Whereas on June 8, 2020 the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) permitted new patios or temporary additions to patios to provide more opportunities to local businesses while protecting health and safety, subject to municipal requirements, and provided an extension to these timelines on December 9, 2021; and
Whereas the Council for the Town of Parry Sound passed Resolution 2020-067 to permit temporary restaurant and bar patios and opted not to enforce the Zoning By-law or Site Plan Agreements as it related to parking infractions as a result of these patios until January 1, 2021; and
Whereas Covid-19 will be an issue affecting restaurants for the foreseeable future and the Town wishes to extend the timelines of this Resolution to be in tandem with the AGCO’s extension.
Now Therefore be it Resolved that the Council for the Town of Parry Sound supports an extension until January 1, 2022 to the terms noted in Resolution 2020-067.
Carried

9.2.2 – Consent Application B/45A&B/2020 – Macazer Holding.
Resolution
That Council of the Town of Parry Sound hereby supports Parry Sound Area Planning Board Application Number B45A&B/2020 – Macazer Holding.
Carried

9.3.1 – The 2019-2020 Annual Report.
Resolution

That Council receive the 2019-2020 Annual Report as attached, and direct staff to make copies of it available to the public and circulated to MP Scott Aitchison, MPP Norm Miller, the Downtown Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and other agencies and organizations as appropriate.
Carried

9.4.1 – Water & Wastewater Rate Study
Sean-Michael Stephen of Watson & Associates Economists addressed Council from a prepared presentation regarding a proposed ten-year sewer and water rate structure to address Council’s previous direction to move to a structure that includes a base charge and consumptive rate that is uniform across all customers. The proposed recommendation includes a differentiated rate based on meter size with no distinction between residential and non-residential customers, and consumptive component based on actual usage for metered customer with no minimum consumption charge. Built into the rate structure are increased annual charges for operating expenditures plus inflation estimated at 2% per year, and capital related expenditure based on the capital funding plan.
Resolution
WHEREAS Council approved a change from the current water and wastewater rate structure to a rate structure with a monthly fixed charge, based on meter size, and a consumptive rate (per gallon/per cubic metre) that is uniform for all customers; and
WHEREAS pricing structure changes were deferred to investigate additional options;
NOW THEREFORE Council hereby approves the posting of the Town of Parry Sound Water and Wastewater Rate Study for public circulation and comment; and
THAT the Water Financial Plan be prepared in the format required under O.Reg. 453/07 and submitted to the Province to maintain the Town’s Municipal Drinking Water Licence; and further
THAT the recommended rates be brought forward for consideration.
Carried

Other Business
9.5.1 – West Parry Sound Recreation & Culture Centre.

Spokesperson: Donald Sanderson, Chair, Wellness Centre & Pool Committee
Wellness Centre & Pool Committee Chair Donald Sanderson introduced himself and consultants present, and then proceeded to give a presentation from a series of slides on the proposed West Parry Sound Area Recreation Centre.
In addition, questions posed were responded to by Mr. Sanderson or other members of the team per the following:
– it is unknown whether funding is jeopardized if a municipality pulls out; the project and funding formula would need to be reworked for approval by remaining municipalities.
– although the objective of the proposal was to develop program for the facility using 5 acres, there is an additional 10 acres available as well as 9 acres owned by the Town abutting the property that could be used for additional programming.
– Soil samples have been taken in the parking lot and play field area, and on the existing developed area, and all is buildable.
– the building can be re-oriented or expanding upon once an architect has been selected to proceed with finalizing siting and design.
– The Municipal Joint Service Agreement requires 100% agreement of members to release a municipality from the Agreement, with the rationale that any municipality on its own deciding to undertake a recreation project of this magnitude would be committed for decades.
– 2% of annual operating budget is put into a reserve fund to address future capital expenditures – an industry standard.
– Terms of Reference for the Joint Municipal Service Board are essentially contained within the Agreement – a broad constitutional document to set up the Board.
– with respect to the receipt by other municipalities of the presentation, the Townships of McDougall and The Archipelago have both passed resolutions endorsing the recommendations; the Municipality of Whitestone received the presentation and will decide at a future meeting, which was their planned approach to the issue.
– the operating agent will be determined by the Joint Municipal Service Board; the hope is that an arrangement can be made with the YMCA.
– The YMCA owns the land and is agreeable to leasing it for a nominal amount per year for 100 years. If as a condition of funding the land must be owned by the grant recipient, the YMCA is agreeable to sell the land for a nominal amount.
– consider changing the word “burden” to something more positive in the Joint Municipal Service Board Agreement vis a bis “municipalities shall share the burden of the annual contribution.”
Mayor McGarvey thanked Chair Sanderson and other presenters.
Resolution 2020 – 147
Be it Resolved that subject to all area municipalities agreeing to participate as outlined in the attached report presented by the Wellness Centre & Pool Committee at the December 15, 2020 Meeting of Council, and subject to ICIP funding approval, The Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound approves the following recommendations:
1. That the YMCA property, as recommended by CS&P Architects be approved as the site;
2. That CS&P Architects Option A be approved for the purposes of designing and constructing the facility;
3. That the cost sharing formula be approved for the allocation of operating and capital costs;
4. That a Joint Municipal Service Board be used by the municipalities, for the purpose of acting as an agent on behalf of the Municipalities, in the constructing, maintaining, fundraising and operating of the West Parry Sound Area Recreation and Culture Centre; 5. That the Joint Municipal Service Board Agreement be approved, and the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to execute the agreement, substantially in the form attached;
6. That pending approval of the ICIP grant application the Steering Committee be directed to take the necessary steps to create the Joint Municipal Service Board;
7. That the Steering Committee be directed to enter into negotiations with the YMCA for the purposes of operating the facility; and
8. That the Steering Committee be directed to enter into negotiations with the YMCA to secure the approved site.
7-yes; 0-no – Carried Unanimously

9.5.2 – Request for Exemption from Noise Regulations By-law.
Resolution
Whereas Council has received a request per attached Schedule A for exemption from the Noise Regulations By-law 2009-5301; and
Whereas no concerns have been raised by Town staff with respect to the request for exemption, and
Whereas Ontario Regulation 131/20 filed April 7, 2020 and in effect for 18 months from date of filing, denies a municipality the power to prohibit and regulate noise with respect to construction activity in a municipality between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby grant the applicant all requested exemptions from the Noise Regulations By-law 2009- 5301 per application attached as Schedule A.
Carried

By-laws
10.1.1 – Curbside Collection Contract Extension.

By-law 2020 – 7094
Being a bylaw to authorize the extension of an agreement with Waste Connections of Canada Inc. for curbside waste and recycling collection for two years, ending December 31, 2022.
Passed, Signed & Sealed

10.4.1 – 2021 Interim Tax Levy.
By-law 2020 – 7093
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 2021 taxation year.
Passed, Signed & Sealed
Direction Approved for Staff Follow-up
That staff be directed to report back on the implications of waiving the 1-1/4% penalty under various options, i.e. over different number of months, etc.
Carried for staff follow-up.

Council Agenda Preview – December 15, 2020

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It’s a packed agenda in terms of content. The agenda with attachments is 58 MB to download if you are interested in any of the particular items and the supporting documentation.
Well, there has been a cessation of boundary discussions between the Town of Parry Sound and Sequin Township at the direction of the Seguin Council (4.2). That still leaves Israel-Palestine, China-India, India-Pakistan, Turkey-Syria, and many other border disputes/discussions unresolved.
Winter Control Level of Service Policy (9.1.1) has been provided. This policy summarizes the priorities of the various roads in Town with respect to snow management. It’s a little bit misleading in that a Class 6 street might well be cleared before a Class 3 road (the lower the class the higher the priority – get it). It all depends on the equipment required. The higher class, lower priority, streets are often short cul de sacs that require a relatively small truck and blade and are quickly cleared while the lower class streets, think Bowes Street, require the largest machines and multiple passes.
The The 2019-2020 Annual Report (9.3.1) is out and probably will soon be found in your mailbox. Download the full agenda for an early read. Lots of images and self-congratulatory text. (Note to the report designer – the images are unattractively over saturated. Less is More.)
The Water & Wastewater Rate Study (4.1.1) has been issued in draft form for public review and comment. It looks like you have some more holiday reading.
The West Parry Sound Recreation & Culture Centre (9.5.1) is on the agenda with a request for approval to enter into further negotiations. This approval has the condition that no agreement is finalized before certain conditions are met. These conditions seem to include the agreement of the other area municipalities and upper tier government funding approval.

Those are my key takeaways from the agenda. I wish everyone a safe holiday season and may you be on Santa’s nice list for a COVID-19 vaccination. (With the exception of medical and related personnel I suspect we are lower on the list, which is actually a good thing for a number of reasons.)

Closed Session
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board (developer request to purchase land from the Town; MTO offer to sell land to the Town)
e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board, (claim against Town funds)
k) 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, (claim against Town funds)

Correspondence
4.1 – Rick Kerr.

Request for amendment to Cemetery Regulations.

4.2 – Ann MacDiarmid, Mayor, Seguin Township.
Withdrawal from Boundary Adjustment Discussions.

4.3 – Aleesha Clark, Committee Chair, Absolutely Georgian Bay.
Introduction of Absolutely Georgian Bay Tourism Cooperative Inc.

Deputations
5.1 – Tom Parks, OHE Consultants.

Request for exemption from Noise Regulations for Jail Demolition [For Council’s determination by resolution].

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Winter Control Level of Service Policy.

Resolution
That Council endorse and adopt the attached Winter Control Level of Service Policy for roads and sidewalks.

9.2.1 – Extension of Temporary Patio Permissions for Restaurants During COVID-19.
Resolution
Whereas on June 8, 2020 the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) permitted new patios or temporary additions to patios to provide more opportunities to local businesses while protecting health and safety, subject to municipal requirements, and provided an extension to these timelines on December 9, 2021; and
Whereas the Council for the Town of Parry Sound passed Resolution 2020-067 to permit temporary restaurant and bar patios and opted not to enforce the Zoning By-law or Site Plan Agreements as it related to parking infractions as a result of these patios until January 1, 2021; and
Whereas Covid-19 will be an issue affecting restaurants for the foreseeable future and the Town wishes to extend the timelines of this Resolution to be in tandem with the AGCO’s extension.
Now Therefore be it Resolved that the Council for the Town of Parry Sound supports an extension until January 1, 2022 to the terms noted in Resolution 2020-067.

9.2.2 – Consent Application B/45A&B/2020 – Macazer Holding.
Resolution
That Council of the Town of Parry Sound hereby supports Parry Sound Area Planning Board Application Number B45A&B/2020 – Macazer Holding.

9.3.1 – The 2019-2020 Annual Report.
Resolution
That Council receive the 2019-2020 Annual Report as attached, and direct staff to make copies of it available to the public and circulated to MP Scott Aitchison, MPP Norm Miller, the Downtown Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce and other agencies and organizations as appropriate.

9.4.1 – Water & Wastewater Rate Study.
Resolution
WHEREAS Council approved a change from the current water and wastewater rate structure to a rate structure with a monthly fixed charge, based on meter size, and a consumptive rate (per gallon/per cubic metre) that is uniform for all customers; and
WHEREAS pricing structure changes were deferred to investigate additional options;
NOW THEREFORE Council hereby approves the posting of the Town of Parry Sound Water and Wastewater Rate Study for public circulation and comment; and
THAT the Water Financial Plan be prepared in the format required under O.Reg. 453/07 and submitted to the Province to maintain the Town’s Municipal Drinking Water Licence; and further
THAT the recommended rates be brought forward for consideration.

9.5.1 – West Parry Sound Recreation & Culture Centre.
Resolution
Be it Resolved that subject to all area municipalities agreeing to participate as outlined in the attached report presented by the Wellness Centre & Pool Committee at the December 15, 2020 Meeting of Council, and subject to ICIP funding approval, The Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound approves the following recommendations:
1. That the YMCA property, as recommended by CS&P Architects be approved as the site;
2. That CS&P Architects Option A be approved for the purposes of designing and constructing the facility;
3. That the cost sharing formula be approved for the allocation of operating and capital costs;
4. That a Joint Municipal Service Board be used by the municipalities, for the purpose of acting as an agent on behalf of the Municipalities, in the constructing, maintaining, fundraising and operating of the West Parry Sound Area Recreation and Culture Centre;
5. That the Joint Municipal Service Board Agreement be approved, and the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to execute the agreement, substantially in the form attached;
6. That pending approval of the ICIP grant application the Steering Committee be directed to take the necessary steps to create the Joint Municipal Service Board;
7. That the Steering Committee be directed to enter into negotiations with the YMCA for the purposes of operating the facility; and
8. That the Steering Committee be directed to enter into negotiations with the YMCA to secure the approved site.

By-laws
10.1.1 – Curbside Collection Contract Extension.

By-law 2020 – 7094
Being a bylaw to authorize the extension of an agreement with Waste Connections of Canada Inc. for curbside waste and recycling collection for two years, ending December 31, 2022.

10.4.1 – 2021 Interim Tax Levy.
By-law 2020 – 7093
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 2021 taxation year.

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – December 1, 2020

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There are a large number of items contained in this week’s Town of Parry Sound council meeting minutes. None are a surprise. It’s worth taking a quick scan of the items to keep yourself up-to-date and avoid any future surprises. I try and limit my comments to the agenda preview except where a new item of interest is introduced. Once Council makes a decision, Resolution or By-law, it will be a challenge to get it amended or reversed. That’s why attention should be paid to the agenda, rather than the minutes. It’s much easier to head off bad ideas than correct them later.

Abridged Minutes

Closed Meeting
i) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization, (EMS Human Resources issue)
k) 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, (EMS Contract)

Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and the General Nature Thereof
1.4.1 – Cllr. Horne declared Pecuniary Interest on item 9.2.22021 Land Ambulance Budget as his spouse who is CFO of the West Parry Sound Health Centre is directly involved in the 2021 Land Ambulance 2021 Budget process. During the item, Councillor Horne left the room, did not participate in discussion nor vote on the resolution.

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
In response to Mayor McGarvey’s inquiry regarding the Christmas and Toy Food Drive, Fire Chief Dave Thompson reported that the Fire Department’s food drive usually conducted door to door, will instead this year be done by soliciting donations at numerous locations in Town this Saturday. The EMS Toy Drive is also being modified this year; donors are encouraged to send cheques to the EMS Base at 99 Bowes Street, or submit e-transfer to e-mail address psemstoydrive@gmail.com
Financial donations are spent locally to purchase toys.

3.2.2 – In response to Councillor McCann’s inquiry regarding a ratepayer’s concern about a notice received regarding parking on the lawn, Mr. Thompson reported that one of the major complaints the By-law Enforcement Department receives deals with clean yards, particularly front yards, and vehicle parking thereon. The zoning by-law governs parking including that of licensed and unlicensed vehicles, recreational vehicles, etc. The By-law Enforcement Department’s approach is to contact people who are mis- parking to educate them on options and opportunities to come into compliance with the By-law. The By-law Enforcement Department enforces both the Property Standards and Clean Yards By-laws as set by Council from both a pro-active and reactive approach. Council can change the by-laws to address different issues if it wishes.

3.2.3 – In response to Councillor Backman’s inquiry on whether there has been an increase in parking violations on properties as a result of the zoning by-law amendment recently passed permitting additional units, Mr. Thompson reported that they have not seen a direct relationship. Generally parking issues are related to funny shaped lots, small driveways, small side yards, etc.

3.2.4 – In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding the response to snowfall today and the seasonal lights up on Town property, Director of Public Works Mike Kearns confirmed that plowing operations went well in today’s first major snow fall and that it was indeed Town staff who put up lights on the evergreen trees at the Town office and at Market Square Park.

Correspondence
4.1 – Nick Ryeland, Park to Park Trail.

2020 Funding Request
Referred to Director of Financial Services

4.2 – Beth Morton, Clerk-Administrator, Township of Perry.
Opposition to Closure of Drive Test Centre in Sundridge.
Filed

4.3 – Minister Cho, Ministry of Seniors & Accessibility.
Response to request for extension of Website compliance deadline.
Filed

4.4 – Hanif Datoo.
Request for winter maintenance Geewadin Road extension.
Referred to Director of Public Works for research and response

4.5 – Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation.
Support request for PSAHDC’s outreach to increase affordable housing.
Referred to item 9.3.1

Deputations
5.1 – David Bywater, Benjamin John, Georgian Bay Biosphere.

ICECAP (Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans) Progress Report.
From a prepared power point presentation, Mr. Bywater and Mr. John addressed Council with respect to progress that the ICECAP Regional partnership made in 2020 and plans for 2021, noting the following:
– The partnership is a regional approach with identified current members, potential members and community partners.
– Of the five milestones identified by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection program, the first milestone to establish a baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory and forecast has been completed for both the community and municipal operations.
– highlights of 2020 included launching the “carbon calculator”, conducting webinars, studies, writing articles, and within the community assessment – including recreational vehicle emissions – the first communities in Canada to be including this category which is getting attention from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and federal partners.
– Corporate (i.e. the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound) baseline GHG emissions data was collected for transportation, buildings, streetlights, solid waste and water & wastewater with three major areas of GHG emissions being buildings, fleet, and water/wastewater infrastructure.
– combined numbers produced a baseline at year 2016 upon which to compare in future; if operations continue “business as usual”, the GHG emissions are anticipated to rise 12% by 2030; financial costs associated can also be expected to rise.
– the next milestone in the ICECAP program includes setting a target reduction rate.
– although a more complex task, similar data analysis was done for the broader community which shows community transportation produces the most GHG emissions, specifically from vehicles on the road, followed by commercial, institutional and residential sectors with values typical of an urban-rural community like Parry Sound.
– Combined numbers for the community also produced a baseline at year 2016, with a business as usual forecast of 11.8% increase in year 2030.
– The proposed 2021 workplan includes three program areas: ICECAP Regional Activities; Milestones 2 & 3 of the Municipalities Partners for Climate Protection Program; and First Nations Climate Action. Milestones 2 and 3 represent a significant body of work in setting corporate and community reduction targets and establishing a climate change action plan.
– In order to undertake the 2021 workplan, $14,500 is requested per municipal member which for Parry Sound represents 13.5% of the 2021 budget, with other funding coming from other ICECAP members, Georgian Bay Biosphere and other funding sources.

5.2 – Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, Rob Wood, Board Chair Museum on Tower Hill.
2021 Funding Request and 2020 Annual Report .
Ms. Hammond addressed Council with respect to a review of last year’s operations, including the following:
– March sprinkler system froze and burst causing water damage in the hallway; the company who repaired it also donated materials and services to repair exterior siding, seal off the attic from rodents and replace insulation.
– COVID altered how the public was able to access the museum spaces which reduced revenues from admissions and gift shop sales.
– Over 15 groups to date have experienced a new exhibit – the Adam Brown adventure, sponsored by Team Marshall and Georgian Bay Software – which has received positive feedback.
– Genealogy group continues to meet monthly.
– “Giving Tuesday” today raised $6,000 well in excess of the $1,000 goal with Sobey’s matching donations up to $500.00.
– Next year plans including fixing ageing building, opening new train exhibit, Trappers Cabin, launching a docent program to provide tours of the exhibition and launching new digital content.
Mr. Wood addressed Council commending Ms. Hammond’s work, committing the Board to supporting her work in 2021, and inviting members of Council to experience the Adam Brown Adventure at the Museum.
In response to Council questions about the financial state of the Museum, Ms. Hammond reported that the museum was not able in 2020 to generate the funds it normally does, because of COVID restrictions; museums are typically underfunded federally and provincially; available funding is often specific to programming and the challenge the Museum is facing is to fund basic building maintenance shortfall.
Mayor McGarvey noted that the Museum’s funding request would be part of the Town’s budget process.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Waste Diversion and Transition Legislation Comments.
Resolution
That Council receive the Report attached as Schedule A regarding waste diversion and transition legislation and direct staff to provide comments consistent with the Report, on the proposed legislation as listed in the Environmental Registry as – ERO number 019- 2579 prior to the December 3, 2020 deadline.
Carried

9.2.1 – Building Permit Software.
Resolution
That Council accepts the proposal from Evolta Software Inc. for e-permitting (building permit) software (“Cloudpermit”) and authorizes staff to enter into an e-permit Service Agreement with Evolta Software Inc.
Carried

9.2.2 – 2021 Land Ambulance Budget.
Resolution
That upon the recommendation of the EMS Advisory Committee the 2021 Land Ambulance Operating Budget be approved with a 4.85% levy increase over the 2020 approved budget in a total amount of $9,986,873; and
That a Land Ambulance Capital Budget be approved in the amount of $460,000 to be funded from the EMS Capital Reserve Fund.
Carried

9.2.3 – Sign Variance – 1 Pine Drive – 2020.
Resolution
That Council authorizes and directs the Chief Building Official to issue a permit for 4 signs on the site of 1 Pine Drive pursuant to the variances and permissions attached as Schedule A.
Carried

9.3.1 – Support for Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation.
Resolution.
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation has submitted a letter and would appreciate support from the Town of Parry Sound in their efforts to increase the number of affordable housing units serving West Parry Sound; and
Whereas there is an ongoing demand for affordable housing units in Parry Sound and the surrounding area; and
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation works in partnership with many organizations to increase the number of affordable housing units to serve Parry Sound, and
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation commits that neither it nor its successor organization(s) will seek an exemption from property taxes under the Assessment Act,
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby support the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation’s efforts in search of opportunities to increase the number of affordable housing units to serve Parry Sound.
Carried

9.3.2 – Xplornet’s proposal to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program.
Resolution
Whereas Xplornet has requested support from the Town of Parry Sound for their submission to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program, and
Whereas the past months have demonstrated the importance of connectivity, especially for the more rural areas of Ontario, and
Whereas the post-pandemic recovery offers the opportunity to provide the necessary tools for rural Ontario’s success in the digital economy, including education through virtual learning, eHealth, economic development and by supporting residents working from home, and
Whereas Xplornet’s project will build 2,650 km of new fibre across the province, providing direct fibre connections in the rural areas of Parry Sound, including the connection of 1 new macro tower site and 1 new wireless microsite to fibre in Town,
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby support Xplornet’s proposal to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program.
Carried

9.4.1 – Financial Variance Report for Third Quarter of 2020.
Resolution
That Council hereby receives and accepts the variance report for the Third Quarter of 2020 (September 30, 2020); and
That Council hereby approves the expenses for Council members for the period from January 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.
Carried

9.4.2 – RFP – General Insurance and Risk Management Services.
Resolution
That Council accept and award the proposal for the Corporation’s general insurance and risk management services to BFL Canada, including Wharfingers/Terminal Operators insurance, at the premium cost of $451,169 plus sales tax for the one-year period ending December 15, 2021; and
That staff be authorized to negotiate and award other coverages up to a value of $16,295 plus sales tax.
Carried

By-laws
10.1.1 – Community Sharps Bin – Agreement North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit.

By-law 2020 – 7090
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with the North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit for a Community Sharps Bin Program.
Passed, Signed and Sealed

10.2.1 – Appoint a Chief Building Official and Amend other building official appointments.
By-law 2020 – 7085
Being a By-law to Appoint Mark Vandermeer as Chief Building Official and amend or revoke other related Building Official Appointment By-laws.
Passed, Signed and Sealed
Mayor McGarvey remarked upon just deputized John Este’s coming retirement and welcomed Mark Vandermeer to the role of CBO and employment with the Town.

10.2.2 – EMS Lease of a portion of the Humphrey Fire Hall.
By-law 2020 – 7086
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with the Township of Seguin for the lease of a portion of the Humphrey Fire Hall for an EMS Base.
Passed, Signed and Sealed

10.2.3 – Big Sound Marina Breakwater and Dock C contract execution.
By-law 2020 – 7087
Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a contract with Kropf Industrial Inc for the replacement of the Breakwater and Dock C at the Big Sound Marina.
Passed, Signed and Sealed

10.3.1 – Return of Financial Donation to Phil Morse for Outdoor Rink Project.
By-law 2020 – 7091
Being a By-law to Authorize the Return of a Donation to Phil Morse.
Passed, Signed and Sealed

10.4.1 – Commencement of Fees and Charges for Servicing Dennis & Macklaim Drive.
By-law 2020 – 7088
Being a By-law to impose fees/charges for the recovery of the cost of capital works within portions of Plan M405 (Servicing Dennis and Macklaim Drive).
Passed, Signed and Sealed

10.4.2 – Intermunicipal tax roll agreements with Whitestone, Magnetawan, Strong, and Armour.
By-Law 2020 – 7089
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of four intermunicipal tax roll agreements with: the Corporation of the Municipality of Whitestone; the Corporation of the Township of Magnetawan; the Corporation of the Township of Strong; and the Municipal Corporation of the Township of Armour, for the purposes of adding POA defaulted fines to the tax roll.
Passed, Signed and Sealed

Carling and COVID-19

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Oh boy, where to start?

A recent ParrySound.com article reviewed the discussion at a Carling Townhip council meeting concerning the municipalities concerns about COVID-19. Their concerns are understandable but unfortunately labeled folks who could not be immediately identified as Carling residents as ‘transients’. If like me, you don’t live in Carling you are a transient if you visit a friend or do business there. By that definition Carling residents who shop at Sobeys and NoFrills are also ‘transients’.

COVID-19 has everybody on edge. That’s no reason to point fingers and label people. It’s the type of response we abhor when there is a report of an African American being followed, and too often physically assaulted, by residents because he didn’t ‘look’ like he was ‘from there’. Or at least that is what they thought.

As home to one of the very largest Provincial Parks in Ontario I would have thought that at this point Carling Councilors would think of people ‘from away’ as visitors, tourists, or even guests.

As a resident of the Town of Parry Sound we are very used to sharing our town and our facilities with people from Carling, the other municipalities, and visitors/tourists/guests from the province, the country, and the world.

Do you want to launch a boat and leave your trailer there for the day? At Parry Sound you can do it. Want to enjoy Waubuno Beach? Please enjoy, be careful and be considerate.

There were recent rumblings in McDougall that folks wanted to limit beach use to residents. Both McDougall and Carling restrict, and in many cases prohibit, parking and by extension use of their municipal and federal boat launches unless you have a resident sticker. They will make arguments that there is limited space and residents should have first access. In many cases I see the parking spots empty. How about half reserved for residents and half for ‘visitors’? Or it just a ploy to keep the ‘transients’ out? It certainly keeps me out.

There is nothing like a threat to bring out the worst in people. And we wonder why the U.S. and Canadian large cities have problems with ‘profiling’. We have exactly the same instincts and flaws but are not put under typical urban stressors until something like COVID-19 brings our fears to the front.

Trust but confirm and be careful. People won’t infect you if you take the proper precautions. People camping on Crown Land are not a threat.

Council Agenda Preview – December 1, 2020

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There are lots of interesting items on the agenda in terms of topic and the supporting information. Here are a few points that folks might want to follow up on.

4.5 & 9.3.1 – Support for Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation.
After a series of interactions it seems the Affordable Housing Corporation (PSAHC) has finally accepted the reality that the Town will not support more affordable housing if PSAHC insists on seeking exemptions from property taxation. PSAHC has stated that it, and any successor organizations, will not seek exemptions. It’s worth noting that their taxation rates are still lower than for residential properties.

9.2.2 – 2021 Land Ambulance Budget.
Our neighbouring municipalities will be squawking about the almost 5% increase in EMS costs. Because the expense is based in part on an assessment basis it is one of their highest expenses and one they can’t ‘finesse’.

9.3.2 – Xplornet’s proposal to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program.
It seems that after being ignored by internet providers we will now have two groups, Xplornet and the Smart Community Network Hub (Vianet), providing additional infrastructure. Does this mean competition or cooperation? This will primarily benefit of our neighbours as the Town already has good, if not exceptional, internet connectivity. (How about fibre on Redwood Drive???)

9.4.1 – Financial Variance Report for Third Quarter of 2020.
There is lots of juicy financial information in this report for those of you who like to understand what things in the Town cost to operate.

9.4.2 – RFP – General Insurance and Risk Management Services.
Insurance costs are going up 30%. This was previously suggested by our current provider. Any ideas on why prices are up this much? COVID-19 doesn’t seem a reasonable culprit.

10.2.1 – Appoint a Chief Building Official and Amend other building official appointments.
John Este is stepping down as CBO. He is pretty much the last of a management team that did a great job for the Town. I wish him the best. He served the Town as a true professional without any ‘attitude’.

Abridged Agenda

Closed Session
i) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization, (EMS Human Resources issue)
k) 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, (EMS Contract)

Correspondence
4.1 – Nick Ryeland, Park to Park Trail

2020 Funding Request.

4.2 – Beth Morton, Clerk-Administrator, Township of Perry
Opposition to Closure of Drive Test Centre in Sundridge.

4.3 – Minister Cho, Ministry of Seniors & Accessibility
Response to request for extension of Website compliance deadline.

4.4 – Hanif Datoo
Request for winter maintenance Geewadin Road extension.

4.5 – Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation
Support request for PSAHDC’s outreach to increase affordable housing.

Deputations
5.1 – Becky Pollock, Benjamin John, Georgian Bay Biosphere

ICECAP (Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans) Progress Report.

5.2 – Nadine Hammond, Curator/Manager, Museum on Tower Hill
2021 Funding Request and 2020 Annual Report

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Waste Diversion and Transition Legislation Comments

Resolution
That Council receive the Report attached as Schedule A and direct staff to provide comments consistent with the Report, on the proposed legislation as listed in the Environmental Registry as – ERO number 019-2579 prior to the December 3, 2020 deadline.

9.2.1 – Building Permit Software
Resolution
That Council accepts the proposal from Evolta Software Inc. for e-permitting (building permit) software (“Cloudpermit”) and authorizes staff to enter into an e-permit Service Agreement with Evolta Software Inc.

9.2.2 – 2021 Land Ambulance Budget
Resolution
That upon the recommendation of the EMS Advisory Committee the 2021 Land Ambulance Operating Budget be approved with a 4.85% levy increase over the 2020 approved budget in a total amount of $9,986,873; and
That a Land Ambulance Capital Budget be approved in the amount of $460,000 to be funded from the EMS Capital Reserve Fund.

9.2.3 – Sign Variance – 1 Pine Drive
Resolution
That Council authorizes and directs the Chief Building Official to issue a permit for 4 signs on the site of 1 Pine Drive pursuant to the variances and permissions attached as Schedule A.

9.3.1 – Support for Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation
Resolution
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation has submitted a letter and would appreciate support from the Town of Parry Sound in their efforts to increase the number of affordable housing units serving West Parry Sound;
Whereas there is an ongoing demand for affordable housing units in Parry Sound and the surrounding area; and
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation works in partnership with many organizations to increase the number of affordable housing units to serve Parry Sound, and
Whereas the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation commits that neither it nor its successor organization(s) will seek an exemption from property taxes under the Assessment Act,
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby support the Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation’s efforts in search of opportunities to increase the number of affordable housing units to serve Parry Sound.

9.3.2 – Xplornet’s proposal to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program
Resolution
Whereas Xplornet has requested support from the Town of Parry Sound for their submission to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program, and
Whereas the past months have demonstrated the importance of connectivity, especially for the more rural areas of Ontario, and
Whereas the post-pandemic recovery offers the opportunity to provide the necessary tools for rural Ontario’s success in the digital economy, including education through virtual learning, eHealth, economic development and by supporting residents working from home, and
Whereas Xplornet’s project will build 2,650 km of new fibre across the province, providing direct fibre connections in the rural areas of Parry Sound, including the connection of 1 new macro tower site and 1 new wireless microsite to fibre in Town,
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby support Xplornet’s proposal to the Province under the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program.

9.4.1 – Financial Variance Report for Third Quarter of 2020
Resolution
That Council hereby receives and accepts the variance report for the Third Quarter of 2020 (September 30, 2020); and
That Council hereby approves the expenses for Council members for the period from January 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

9.4.2 – RFP – General Insurance and Risk Management Services
Resolution
That Council accept and award the proposal for the Corporation’s general insurance and risk management services to BFL Canada, including Wharfingers/Terminal Operators insurance, at the premium cost of $451,169 plus sales tax for the one-year period ending December 15, 2021; and
That staff be authorized to negotiate and award other coverages up to a value of $15,000.

By-laws
10.1.1 – Community Sharps Bin – Agreement North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit
By-law 2020 – 7090
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with the North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit for a Community Sharps Bin Program.

10.2.1 – Appoint a Chief Building Official and Amend other building official appointments
By-law 2020 – 7085
Being a By-law to Appoint Mark Vandermeer as Chief Building Official and amend or revoke other related Building Official Appointment By-laws.

10.2.2 – EMS Lease of a portion of the Humphrey Fire Hall
By-law 2020 – 7086
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with the Township of Seguin for the lease of a portion of the Humphrey Fire Hall for an EMS Base.

10.2.3 – Big Sound Marina Breakwater and Dock C contract execution
By-law 2020 – 7087
Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a contract with Kropf Industrial Inc for the replacement of the Breakwater and Dock C at the Big Sound Marina.

10.3.1 – Return of Financial Donation to Phil Morse for Outdoor Rink Project
By-law 2020 – 7091
Being a By-law to Authorize the Return of a Donation to Phil Morse.

10.4.1 – Commencement of Fees and Charges for Servicing Dennis & Macklaim Drive
By-law 2020 – 7088
Being a By-law to impose fees/charges for the recovery of the cost of capital works within portions of Plan M405 (Servicing Dennis and Macklaim Drive).

10.4.2 – Intermunicipal tax roll agreements with Whitestone, Magnetawan, Strong, and Armour
By-Law 2020 – 7089
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of four intermunicipal tax roll agreements with: the Corporation of the Municipality of Whitestone; the Corporation of the Township of Magnetawan; the Corporation of the Township of Strong; and the Municipal Corporation of the Township of Armour, for the purposes of adding POA defaulted fines to the tax roll.

 

 

Council Meeting Minutes (Abridged) – November 17, 2020

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Once again there are no real surprises with the exception perhaps of 7.1.1 which came out of the Closed Session (brief discussion follows). Those of you interested in the activity and plans for the Town of Parry Sound Downtown Business Association will appreciate the summary of their deputation, 5.1.

7.1.1 – Town Position on Parry Sound Public Library Building Ownership.
This is interesting because it suggests the Library Board had requested the Town to take over ownership and responsibility for the Library building. This is very understandable. There are a number of publicly funded services in Town that are only sufficiently resourced to support basic operational functions, not the care and maintenance of the associated building.
We have been reminded of the costs involved with the Town’s decision to spend more than $1 million on each of the Stockey Centre, the Bobby Orr Community Centre, and Big Sound Marina for only necessary infrastructure upgrades and repairs. This is in addition to about $400,000 annually in direct support for each of the Stockey Centre and Bobby Orr Community Centre to cover their losses on operations. In total this adds up to more than a million dollars annually to support these operations without the cost of facility maintenance and upgrades. And now the Town wants to build a new recreation facility, Da Pool, which will most likely add a half million dollars annually in additional operational expenses. And there will be carried expenses related to the construction.
This reminds me of a deadbeat father who supports his current family, is planning for his next family, and tells his ex and her children to support themselves.
Dear Town Leaders – You created it, you support it.

Closed Session
b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees, (staff member performance review).
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes, (request for Town to take ownership of a property).
e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board, (claim against Town funds).
n) educating or training council members and no member discusses or otherwise deals with any matter in a way that materially advances the business or decision-making of Council, (Site Locations for Parry Sound Area Recreation Centre)

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding the storm this past Sunday, Director of Public Works Mike Kearns reported that there were some issues due to downed trees and power outages, and Lakeland Power changed a pole at the north end of Town due to damage; however given the nature of the strong storm surge, damage was relatively minimal.

3.2.2 – In response to Councillor Keith’s inquiry regarding the status of the installation of the railing on Cascade St. hill east of the tracks, Mr. Kearns reported that this work should be completed soon.

3.2.3 In response to Councillor Borneman’s inquiry on an update on the usage, revenues and costs associated with the reopening of the Bobby Orr Community Centre and the Stockey Centre, Director of Finance Stephanie Phillips said that a report would be forthcoming to the next Council Meeting and that the finances are on track with projections. CAO Clayton Harris also reported that the Senior Leadership Team will be meeting tomorrow to discuss how to respond if the province does issue further lock- down directives.

Correspondence
4.1 – Mackenzie Taylor, Deputy Clerk, Township of Carling.

Carling Township opposition to EMS Surplus Levy

4.2 – Mackenzie Taylor, Deputy Clerk, Township of Carling.
Future Special Meeting to be held to hear recommendations from Wellness Centre & Pool Committee after the grant has been determined.

4.3 – Rita Orr, CEO, Parry Sound Public Library.
Budget request of $211,150.00 for 2021.

4.4 – Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation.
Copy of letter to Parry Sound District Social Services Administration Board requesting that it continue to pay property taxes for the Housing Dev. Corporation’s properties if MPAC grants a tax exemption; and e-mail to the Town regarding current and proposed initiatives related to a seniors housing complex and purchase of a local motel to provide housing.

(Note – no indication was offered as to the action taken with respect to these Correspondence items.)

Deputations
5.1 – April Denman, Executive Director, Downtown Business Association; Amy Black, Chair Events Committee; Seanan Megyesi, Chair Marketing Committee; and Brenda Ryan, Chair Beautification Committee.
2020 Year in Review
DBA Executive Director April Denman addressed Council noting that this year is the 50th anniversary of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) – a made in Ontario innovation, with 500 across Canada now, including 300 in Ontario. Ms. Denman expressed appreciation for the working relationship with the Town’s Public Works Director, Parks & Recreation Manager and their teams. The fundraising meter campaign raised $256.78 for each of RISE, The Salvation Army, Hope Pregnancy Centre, and the Mary St. Centre; and the recipients of the next parking meter fundraising campaign will be the Guides, Georgian Jumpers, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and Whispering River Orchestra. Ms. Denman introduced Committee Chairs and each spoke in turn.
Events Committee Chair and co-owner of Pardon My Garden Amy Black reported on two events held this year – Hallowe’en in the Downtown partnering with Parry Sound Public Library; and the Parry Sound Girlfriends weekend extended this year to a week- long event to accommodate spacing out of store visits, with 188 registrants so far, good feedback and a good base from which to build on again for next year.
Marketing Committee Chair and owner of Boston Pizza Seanan Meygesi reported that in light of the COVID pandemic, marketing was adjusted from a focus on events to highlighting local businesses, introducing the hashtag #localfirst and sharing members’ posts to expand local reach. Along with launch of a new website, the DBA created an instagram account making it easier to share news with 480 followers, and restructured twitter. “New Feature Fridays” are running on facebook telling background stories on new business owners and sharing members’ posts, with an increase of 25-30 followers a month since March. Going forward the DBA will work alongside the Events Committee to develop safe social distancing events that will continue to focus on shopping locally.
Chair of the Beautification Committee and owner of FAD Brenda Ryan reported that the Beautification Committee has almost completed its plan, implemented to meet the goal of creating an atmosphere that attracts more people to explore the downtown core. The following points were made by Ms. Ryan:
– The installation of 10 in-ground gardens – the biggest project is now complete. Logging 250 hours this year, 4 volunteers working Saturdays starting at 7 AM clean up the gardens, weed and dead-head. With the garden expansion program that also includes 2 “living room gardens” in the parking lot, the DBA is looking at having a more structured volunteer program assigning volunteers to certain gardens
– Continued with seasonal installation of the black planters in front of businesses.
– Removal of many of the overhanging metal signs, replaced by more quaint wooden carved blade signs projecting from businesses, making a more visually attractive and pedestrian-friendly feel. Businesses that didn’t get them this year are asking for them. 3- 4 signs are still to be installed at the Beatty building once their renovations have been completed.
– Trillium banners added to the collection, with the hope that banners will be installed all the way down Bay Street.
– Sidewalk cafes became more of a reality this year, with hopes that Council will support extending the patio season.
– Installed cigarette butt receptacles with good feedback received on these. – Plan to work over next years with building owners to improve facades.
– When veterans banners come down, Christmas decorations will go up, and a multi- year plan being developed for those.
– Lights installed in Jukes Lane.
– Appreciation extended to Town staff for helping, in particular April McNamara and Mike Kearns, as well as Mayor & Council for their support in transforming the downtown.

Ratification of Matters from Closed Agenda
7.1.1 – Town Position on Parry Sound Public Library Building Ownership.

Resolution
Be it resolved that Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound does hereby advise the Parry Sound Public Library Board, that the Town does not wish to own the Library Board’s building on Mary Street.
Carried

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Letter of support to Ministry of Energy regarding net-metering.

Resolution
That as measure of the Town’s commitment to energy management, grid resilience and moving toward being a net-zero community, Council hereby authorizes the Mayor to sign the attached letter of support to the Ministry of Energy regarding net-metering in the Town of Parry Sound.
Carried

9.2.1 – Respond to Council Direction Regarding Payment of Cash-in-Lieu of Parking
Resolution
That, as a result of staff’s review as documented in the attached report, no changes will be made to the cash-in-lieu of parking policy/By-law.
Carried

By-laws
10.1.1 – Funding Agreement for Installation of Access Controls (Fobbing).

By-law 2020 – 7082
Being a by-law to authorize ratification of the execution of an agreement with PMCN for a Business Technology Improvement Grant for access controls (fobbing).
Passed, Signed & Sealed

10.4.1 – 2020 Debenture Capital Works – Waubeek & Isabella Streets.
By-law 2020 – 7083
Being a By-law to approve the submission of an application to Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation (“OILC”) for the long-term financing of certain capital works (Isabella and Waubeek Streets) of The Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound (The “Municipality”); and to authorize the entering into of a rate offer letter agreement pursuant to which the municipality will issue debentures to OILC.

About Bobby Orr

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I do not share the political position that Mr. Orr put forward in an ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader. But I understand why he did and the politics he was supporting.

Politics is much like religion. You either actively search for what you believe to be most consistent with your interests and values, or you adopt the religion and politics of your family and community.

I believe Mr. Orr’s politics were learned and adopted from the community that he politically ‘came of age in’. Not his teens or twenties, but rather his thirties and beyond.

When Mr. Orr finished his hockey career, he was a legend and bankrupt. He probably had limited professional skills beyond his considerable hockey abilities. What he had developed was determination, a good heart, and a world-class reputation. This is what he needed to leverage to succeed in his post hockey years.

I suspect that Mr. Orr’s financial success depends in large part on people, particularly businessmen, who valued his company and his endorsement. Given the regional nature of hockey almost a half century ago this probably meant he was supported by businessmen in the U.S. northeast. Having a legendary hockey star on hand to shake hands at a car dealership, or to speak at a sales meeting, would have been a good business investment. Although I do not know the details of Mr. Orr’s business activities, we have seen how his presence at a Parry Sound event can bring out folks and open wallets for charitable causes. That ability can be leveraged for charity and business.

The politics of these northeast U.S. businessmen would have been conservative and Republican. Being adopted by this community, not as a shill, but as a legend who could connect to people, meant that he learned their style and their politics. It wasn’t a matter of not biting the hand that feeds you but rather a belief born out of experience that these are good people, and their politics make sense. Until some four years ago taking out an ad in support of a Republican president would not have been newsworthy or polarizing.

I worked in the U.S. for the better part of three decades. I would estimate that more than 80% of my American business friends vote Republican. These are good people with whom I don’t agree when it comes to politics. Some are mortified by the behaviour of the current president and just don’t want to discuss it. How they voted last month I don’t know, but I suspect most voted Republican down ballot and did not check the box for president. While they might not have been willing to support Trump, they certainly weren’t going to vote for a Democrat. They have a conscience but are still Republicans to the core.

I think Mr. Orr was encouraged by his ‘community’ to place the ad. If you benefit from having Republican connections, you sometimes have to prove you are ‘all-in’. It’s not unlike a religion where you are expected to demonstrate your commitment by going door to door to share the faith, or standing on a corner and asking for donations, or even going to war. Fortunately, it’s not like an inner-city gang where you prove your loyalty by ‘offing’ a member of an opposing gang.

Let’s cut Mr. Orr some slack and appreciate him for what he is and what he does. We shouldn’t judge people by their race, religion or politics. Let’s judge people by their actions, not their opinions.