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Okay, so town council has my full attention now with regard to how they are ‘running’ big issues through the system with limited public oversight. Yes they are our elected representatives given the authority to make decisions on our behalf. But let’s be sure these decisions are made in the light of day. Here’s a link to a post earlier today about what has me very concerned.

Good news, the heat in the BOCC seems to be operational although it will take time to balance the system. Less good news about the Kinsmen rink. The recent warm weather has made it impossible to establish the ice although the upcoming cold snap should take care of that problem.

The rest of last night’s council meeting was not contentious or controversial. Here is my take on the various items.

Meeting Highlights:

5.1 – the Downtown Business Association’s (DBA) deputation provided insight into the investments they are planning to enhance the appearance of the downtown for residents and visitors. My understanding is that they will be requesting town permission to rearrange some of the current parking spots to accommodate these changes.

9.1.1 – a resolution accepting a $7.9 million EMS budget for 2013, with the town’s portion of about $222,000, was approved.

9.2.2, 9.2.3 – resolutions to accept the various town business objectives for 2013 and the town’s strategic plan were carried. I’ll go over them in the next few days but have already noted a few interesting changes in the town operations.

9.4.1 – a  resolution to increase and add planning fees was carried. There was a bit of a misunderstanding in what was being presented and how it was to be approved that may need to be cleared up at the next council meeting. Bottom line – the fees are going up.

9.4.2 – council passed a resolution to accept an offer of $41,500 for the town property referred to as the ‘former waterworks standpipe property’ on Isabella Street. One councillor did raise the issue of whether the tender process was the most appropriate way to handle this sale. I thought the response from staff was too dismissive. There is an issue. All is not necessarily well that ends well. See my council preview notes item 9.4.2 for thoughts on the matter.

9.4.3 – this is the issue that is causing me concern. This particular item was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what was agreed. In the closed session of council the town discussed and tentatively reached agreement on approving a proposal to develop a 60 residence ‘Age in Place’ complex north of Canadore College. This was then voted upon and approved in the open session. Net/net – 60 residences, 6.45 acres sold for $250,000 and who knows what other considerations/concessions. We get more public information about the cost of the salt and sand the town buys than for a multi-million dollar complex. I have started to ask questions and will provide more information as it is made available.

9.4.4 – a resolution to approve the Canada Day budget was carried. The cost will be about $11,000 if a Celebrate Canada grant is received, $17,000 if it isn’t.

9.6.1 – council approved considering support of Festival of the Sound’s opening night performance for $5,000 as part of the 2013 budget. But this proposal still needs to get through the budget process that starts tonight.

9.6.2 – an agenda item to discuss the use of the Fitness Trail as a footpath and snowmobile trail was quite different than I thought. It concerns the trail north of the mall. Staff will look into options to accommodate the interests of snow machine operators and people who walk on the path.

10.4.1 – a by-law to allow the town to enter into an agreement with JJ Mackay Canada Limited to provide parking ticket management software was carried.

10.4.2 – a by-law to designate the Old Pump House as having cultural heritage value or interest was carried.

10.4.3 – council approved a by-law to enter into a 5-year agreement with the Chamber of Commerce to operate the Town Dock and Big Sound Marina. It seems a good deal for the town, residents and visitors. And this year the staff at the town dock will not be taking any S*%T from their customers. They will be sending them to local marinas for pump outs.

10.6.1 – a by-law to confirm the proceedings of Parry Sound Hydro Corporation board of directors meetings June 25, July 25 and August 31, 2012 was carried.

See you tonight at the budget meeting. It starts at 6:00. Stay tuned for more information on the new ‘Age in Place’ development approved by council. Please refer to the town’s website for a copy of the complete meeting’s minutes when they are published, probably Thursday or Friday.

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