The meeting on Tuesday went longer than I initially expected, with a couple of twists. But in the end there were few surprises, except with respect to Parry Sound Hydro Corporation (see below). Here are my key takeaways from the meeting.
The town’s official plan was briefly reviewed prior to the council meeting. Only one comment was received, a statement in support of the plan from the Active Transportation Committee. The plan will return to to council for approval, and then a trip to Toronto for provincial review.
Councillors and Mayor Reports, Questions of Staff
The new, increasingly famous, 7 Ton snow plow truck has been received and is in operation. It has been getting a workout this week.
The town has received informal federal approval for the Cascade Street railway crossing arms. Installation is tentatively scheduled for this fall.
Parry Sound Hydro Corporation announced that it is entering into discussions with Lakeland Holding Ltd to collaborate on power generation and operations. Lakeland is a power generation company operating local facilities including Bracebridge, Huntsville and Sundridge. The discussion points include collaborating on an expansion of the Cascade Street generating facility. Here are links to the press release and backgrounder.
Correspondence and Deputations
5.1 – the deputation on the Mission Park rejuvenation, item 9.2.1 below, was very well received by council. This initiative is being championed by the town’s chief administrative officer, and seemed to develop real traction.
Resolutions and Directions to Staff
9.1.1 – the whole issue of Off Road Vehicle (ORV) use in Parry Sound was actively debated with a couple of councillors showing support for consideration of some sort of ATV approval in town. The resolution was defeated with council agreeing with staff that an ORV by-law not be drafted, at least for now. The key issues raised by those not in favour of a by-law were: the need for a new agreement with the OPP which would be much too costly, and the lack of ‘sponsorship’ by organized ATV groups. The access that snowmobiles enjoy in town is due in large part to the financial support and ‘policing’ provided by formal snowmobile clubs. There is nothing similar with ATV (ORV) riders who in general are loathe to pay for the privilege of operating their vehicles on what they consider to be publicly funded roads and trails. Council requested the by-law department pick up the topic again in the late summer when there is time to further investigate the logistics of some sort of local ORV access. Council sees challenges with permitting ORVs in town but is willing to consider reasonable options, which would need to include handling the policing costs.
9.2.1 – council approved a resolution to endorse a grant application to Canadian National Railways to rehabilitate Mission Park. They also kicked in another $4,000, for a total of $8,000 of ‘in kind’ support. Council was effusive in their support for more park and recreation facilities for the Mission Park area of town. Council also asked that $25,000 for park equipment, for all town parks, be included in the 2013 budget discussions. This won’t impact the 2013 levy as the funds would be taken from the well-funded parkland reserve fund.
9.4.1 – council rejected a variance in the current signage by-laws to permit a realtor’s sign next to a downtown mural.
9.4.2 – a request that council endorse in principle the Downtown Business Association’s downtown revitalization plan was carried.
9.4.3 – council approved issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) regarding use of the Old Fire Hall. This is similar to the RFP that was issued for the CP Station and resulted in a long term lease with Festival of the Sound.
9.5.1 – a resolution for approval of E.A. Shipman’s tender in the amount of $354,000 for the modification of Sewage Station #11 was carried. Note this station serves the east side of town (Bowes Street), not the downtown as reported in my council preview notes.
9.5.2 – a resolution to have the town accept the Bridge Inspections report was approved. In all the bridges need an estimated $1.2 million in repair work over the next ten years was accepted by council.
10.2.1 – council approved a by-law to provide a Schedule of Retention Periods for the records of the Town of Parry Sound and establish a Records Management Policy.
10.4.1 – a by-law to declare property surplus and identify a means of sale for Town owned property on MacFarlane Street was carried with an expectation that the property would be listed in mid-April.
10.4.2 – the town approved a by-law to permit ORVs on Parry Sound town streets for the annual ATV Spring Jam. The dates are April 26 & 27.
There was more. This post attempts to capture the more critical items in the eyes of the writer.
Bridge Philosopher and Critic’s Review