(Note: I have been advised that the Town of Parry Sound is the owner of the Imperial Wharf. I apologize for the incorrect assignment of ownership. Apparently the ownership was transferred to Parry Sound by the previous owners. I hope this isn’t one of those gifts that you can’t really afford to own. Sort of like being given a pet python perhaps?)

While council was meeting Tuesday night there was an election going on south of the border. And if you decided to attend the council meeting, rather than sit in front of the TV to watch the returns, you missed nothing. The meeting was over by 8:20, including the review of the strategic plan. My key observations from the meeting are summarized below.

Meeting Highlights:

4.3, 9.5.2, 10.3.2 – the old pump house was listed several times on the agenda. The items were related to getting the necessary approvals to put the property on the market. All three items were postponed until the December 4th council meeting. This delay is intended to provide the Waterfront Committee with time to present their recommendations regarding how this property might fit into a waterfront plan.

4.5 – a petition to keep Parry Sound transit on the road was referred to the Director of Public Works. Councilor Brad Horne reported that he had recently attended a public transportation meeting that provided some suggestions on how the town could implement a more efficient system. He noted that the town currently subsidizes each rider to the tune of $12 per ride for the regular transit system, and $48 per ride for the handicapped rider service. These numbers would go down with greater use, as the cost is largely fixed. It’s the number of riders that impacts the per ride cost. But the cost of the service is still the cost, regardless of how many people use the service. It is much easier to rationalize the $50,000 or so expense if the service is more heavily used and more residents benefit.

8.5 – Lis McWalter and Jon Anderson were added to the Citizen’s Finance Committee.

9.3.1 – council approved the site plan revision adding in the Belvedere Heights parking lot access gates. Apparently the use fee will not be $5.00 as initially reported, although the actual price is still to be defined. There was a good point made by one of the councilors that there needs to be a no left turn sign installed before the lot is formally opened. That may delay the opening a few more days, or not depending on how quickly Public Works can get the sign ordered and installed. The issue of turning Belvedere Avenue back into a two-way street (Item 4.4 – letter) was referred to staff for follow up.

9.3.2 – council denied an offer to purchase town property, which then led to a discussion of the issues concerning the sale of town property. The town has several pieces of property that are adjacent to, or surrounded by, residential and business properties. These lots, by themselves, have limited value. That is they really can’t be developed as separate pieces of real estate. Council and staff would like to sell these properties for a reasonable price to the neighbouring property owners. The challenge is that the value of these properties is hard to determine without an assessment (which has a cost). And where the value is known, property owners are offering a small percentage (<20%) of assessed value. So council is at a loss to support assessments for the property if they cannot be sold at a fair price, or even a price that covers the assessment. Well I’ll leave to council and staff to figure out their options and make a decision.

9.5.1 – council approved a resolution to budget money for an inspection of the condition of the piers at the Imperial Wharf. The expected cost is on the order of $3,000. This is your tax money at work. Note: Parry Sound does own the wharf, but I’m not sure what benefits it derives, or plans to derive, from it. I’d hate to think what it will cost to ‘decommission’ and remove it.

The review of the town’s strategic plan was also completed. There were more issues discussed but these are the bigger items as far as I’m concerned.

Bridge Art – Fly