The team has scored a touchdown – the charitable waste program has been approved by council. This is probably not the ideal solution but it moves things along in a positive way. I’m glad it see it is finally approved, the Salvation Army does more than their limited resources would suggest is possible.
The body count for the meeting was 6 councilors and mayor. Councilor Williams was absent. Town staff numbered 6. Moose-FM, Cogeco and the North Star were present. The audience numbered about a dozen of which 8 left after the Timbits deputation.
The councilors reports at times sound a bit like a report on ‘what I did this summer’ with the requirement that it be no less than 10 pages. I’d like to see some of the councilors post their reports on a blog of some sort so those who are interested could read through the details and the rest of us could just skim through the highlights. Which raises the question of when are we going to see a draft social media policy? It was suggested a few months ago that something would be proposed.
One point of particular interest in the councilor’s report was a reminder that the St. Charles crossing, Isabella Street, would be closed to all traffic on May 23rd from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM for rail maintenance. This means all traffic or pedestrians will not be able to cross.
Notable Decisions and Actions
Item 9.1 relating to the charitable waste issue was approved by council. All’s well that that ends well. Based on several comments from council I expect they will revisit the issue at some point in the future to see if there is an even better solution.
Item 9.1.2 concerning the use of town property for the development of additional assisted living facilities as recommended by the Regional Economic Development Advisory Committee was postponed to early September.
Item 9.4.1 concerning an investigation to pursue the possible disposal (sale) of the former water pumping station was approved by council. After understanding the town’s situation a little better it seems to be a reasonable course of action.
Item 9.4.2, a pending appeal by IKO Construction to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) concerning council’s rejection of a zoning by-law amendment for 9A Belvedere Street seemed to tie council up in knots. Council will need to put forward a cogent argument to the OMB about why the request was turned down. What appeared to have been a political decision will now need to be rationalized in planning and public interest terms. Going outside for private sector help with the appeal process could cost the town as much as $25,000.
Item 9.6.1, a discussion of the airport funding application ‘morphed’ into a discussion of whether Parry Sound was getting its fair share of the ‘profit’ associated with the airport. Council agreed to look into renegotiating the deal so that Parry Sound would share in the ‘profit’. A suggestion to council – be careful, very careful, be sure you have the moral if not legal right to make this request. Parry Sound can only ask for a share of the profit if it has in the past agreed to share in any losses associated with the airport. These losses might include the waiving of taxes or any direct funding that was provided by other municipalities to support the airport. You can’t ask to renegotiate a deal to get a piece of the action once it starts to make money and the losses seem to be an issue of the past. If you do, you need to pay your share of past losses, on a net present value basis, and agree to accept your share of any future losses. This seems to me to be a bit of ‘politicking’ to show the voters that at least one of their councilors is looking out for them and trying to uncover all sources of income for the town. Let’s hope it doesn’t waste too much staff time, cost too much money (there will need to be lawyers involved sooner or later), or ‘pisses’ off Seguin by wasting their time and money.
How about spending a little more time on the Power Gen project, a wholly owned town asset, and letting us know what is, or isn’t, happening.
Item 9.6.2, a direction to staff to prepare terms of reference for a committee to look at core services that can be privatized was withdrawn from the agenda because Councilor Williams, the spokesperson, was unable to attend.
Item 9.6.3 a resolution in support of an Ontario Mayor’s Coalition to become involved in a provincial task force examining provincial policing costs was approved.
Item 10.1.1 as suggested was an interesting topic of discussion. This concerned a Saturday night ‘movie/laser show/beach party/beer tent’ at Wabuno Beach every Saturday night from June 30th to September 1st. Council correctly decided that the local residents who would be impacted by the events should be heard. A good point was made that this event probably would be little different than the yearly Dragon Boat festival and ‘party’. The difference of course is that this would be every Saturday night for the whole summer season, and not a one-off. Council will have a public meeting on the matter prior to the next council meeting, June 5th. The June 5th council session promises to be quite busy with three public meetings preceding the actual council session.
Note to Parry Sound Staff – this meeting is not yet posted on the town website. I think it should be to ensure all town residents who may be impacted by the event(s) have their chance to understand more and then express their support or concerns. It would also be nice for town residents to see a mock up of the proposed event and what it actually will entail.
I’d like to point out that quick reports on council decisions are often available on Moose-FM, usually Wednesday morning. I pick up their summary of the previous night’s events through their Twitter feed. Final meeting minutes, with very limited details, are posted at the town’s website a couple of days following the meeting.