Good work! A packed agenda was completed with seven minutes to spare. This post will cover the key decisions of last night’s meeting. It’s worth reviewing the agenda preview post to get an idea of what issues were before council. (Here’s a link to that post.)
9.2.1 – Resolution Carried: A request to secure bids for the decommissioned ambulances. This was a no-brainer and it was good to see council quickly get to a decision.
9.2.2 – Resolution – Carried: A request to accept the IBI report on the Argyle EMS volunteer station. This is one of the administrative duties that council is required to handle as part of their responsibilities for emergency health service delivery in the West Parry Sound District. Council really needed to lean on town staff for direction on these issues, and they did.
9.3.1 – Resolution – Carried: A request to offer the closed Fleck Street Road allowance to 905888 Ontario at no charge in exchange for building a triplex on the site was approved. There was good discussion of the benefits in transferring land to private company for affordable housing at no cost. In the end it was agreed that it represented a win-win for the town, the builder and the community.
9.3.2 – Direction – Carried: This is a recommendation that no further action be taken with respect to the issue of fences. There was no discussion on this matter, just a vote.
9.3.3 – Resolutions – Defeated, Shelved and Carried: This series of resolutions concerning taxi regulations were dealt with in a manner such that discussions with Parry Sound Taxi would continue on. The discussion revealed the issue largely revolves around the approval process and who is responsible for what. Parry Sound Taxi wants to be responsible for the approval of drivers and indemnify the town. The town has concerns about this shift of responsibilities. I would similarly have concerns with the offer of indemnification. Even a $1 million insurance policy would not go far if there was an avoidable personal tragedy that could be blamed on the driver approval process. The town would certainly be sued in this situation. Perhaps if indemnification were on the order of $5 million the risk to the town might be reduced. Regardless, it seems the town and Parry Sound Taxi are moving forward with constructive discussion that should provide for a workable process to grant temporary taxi driver permits. Council will have a chance to see the proposal at least once more if it is brought forward as a by-law or by-law amendment.
9.4.1 – Resolutions, Carried: This covers rules regarding the use of social media by town staff on the job and at home. Enough said. There was no discussion by council on this resolution.
9.4.2 – Resolution – Carried: Acceptance of the town’s 2011 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements.
10.3.1 – By-law – Carried: Rezoning of properties on Louisa Street to permit development of residential housing.
10.3.2 – By-laws – Defeated, Defeated: One and three year agreements for the town to lease the St. Andrews parking lot were defeated. But, the town is willing to enter into further discussions with St. Andrews for a profit sharing lease arrangement. The idea is that the town would take responsibility for the lot’s management and maintenance and split the resulting ‘profit’ 50/50 with the Church. Let’s see if it flies. It seems a reasonable arrangement for both parties. St. Andrews receives revenue for what would be an empty lot, and the town is able to provide more parking for the Provincial Offenses Court and downtown shoppers.
10.3.3 – By-laws – Defeated, Shelved, Carried: The feature match lived up to its billing. By a 4 to 1 vote council approved an increase to $0.75 per hour in the parking meter rates starting January 1st, 2013. Parking fines will also be increased once approved by the provincial bureaucrats. No commentary to provide. If you want to know how it went down you should have been there, or make sure you tune into the Cogeco taped replay.
10.5.2 – By-law – Carried: Pepsi it is for the Bobby Orr Community Centre and the Charles W. Stockey Centre.
I understood it being said, but may be wrong, that funding for public internet access at the library will be ending with the loss of a grant that has covered this cost. This is a blow to those who do not have home or work access to the internet. It also raises some concerns about an online/telephone only vote for council next year. I hope council can find a way to step in if necessary, even with the significant budget challenge they face.
The next council meeting is October 16th at 7:00 PM.
Bridge Art – Shine (Click image for larger version)