Correspondence and Deputations:
4.1, 4.2, 4.3 – three letters of correspondence were noted, and forwarded on to the appropriate department for follow up. See the council preview post for details and my initial comments.
There were no scheduled deputations this week.
Questions of Staff:
There was a question of staff regarding snow removal, particularly the snow banks lining the town streets. It was explained that the front end loader had been out of commission. It was now fixed so snow bank clearing could resume. As I walked home along Bowes Street after the council meeting I saw it in action with three dump trucks waiting to be filled.
There was also a question about the stability of the east side wall of the Bobby Orr Community Centre. Apparently some movement has been seen in the wall. The Public Works director said that the situation was being actively monitored by town staff and the engineering firm responsible for the design. There should be further information in a month or so.
Mayor and Councillor Reports (in order of presentation, and selected highlights only):
Bonnie Keith – reported on the Belvedere Heights board meeting and noted that the library is looking for additional funding.
Dan McCauley – my apologies to the councillor. My pen ran out during his report and I resorted to waving my pen around in hopes of forcing enough ink forward to make it through the end of the meeting. No luck, I was forced to take notes on my iPod Touch (not easy). Anyway, he reported that the federal boundaries will not be changed. We are still part of Northern Ontario. Also, the town’s infrastructure grant application to the province has passed the first hurdle, but there are additional reviews coming.
Paul Borneman – fuel sales are down at the airport, and there are some discussions about expanded use of the airport.
Jamie McGarvey – according to a review by McSweeney and Associates Parry Sound has the lowest tax rates, per dollar of assessed property, of the fifteen Northern Ontario towns surveyed. I think this report, or perhaps how it is interpreted, needs some explanation. I believe it’s not quite so simple to conclude we have the lowest tax rates. I’ll post my thoughts on this next week.
Resolutions and Directions to Staff
9.1.1 – a resolution to discontinue negotiations with Creative Outdoor Advertising was approved, but not after too much debate, in my opinion. A couple of the councillors seem to think that the time required to negotiate and manage this marketing program is worth the thousand bucks or so. It seems we only get about 10% of the revenue the company charges the advertisers. We really don’t need to junk up the town with these bench billboards. How about a billboard on the side the Municipal Office for a thousand bucks? Or as I mentioned in my last post how about signs during council meetings at each of the councillor’s seats with advertising. The same idea as what is being done at the Stockey Centre. A couple of the councillors should be able to secure premium fees given the amount of time they speak and the corresponding exposure an ad would receive on Cogeco. Enough said.
9.2.1 –a direction to develop a records retention policy was approved with limited discussion.
9.4.2 – Ribfest is back for 2013, from July 11th to 14th. The resolution to lift the noise restrictions for the duration of the event was carried. Town staff was tasked with identifying additional activities that could be run in parallel with Ribfest. Staff said they would need to speak with the organizers of Ribfest to get their agreement. There are contractual and logistical issues that need to be addressed.
9.5.1, 9.5.2 – the two resolutions to accept the annual water treatment and waste water reports were carried. The councillors were effusive in their praise for the way these two facilities are operated.
9.5.3 – a resolution to accept the proposed video surveillance policy was carried without any real discussion.
9.6.2 – a resolution to accept the IBI Report recommendation for the Argyle EMS station was approved.
10.2.1 – a by-law to increase the cemetery fees was carried.
10.4.1 – a by-law to renew, with revisions, the Now That’s Catering agreement for catering services at the Stockey Centre received considerable discussion before being approved. Council asked whether people renting the facility could specify their own caterer. The answer was no, all parties are required to use Now That’s Catering. The primary reason was to ensure consistent management of the Stockey Centre’s kitchen, an issue for food safety inspections, and this would limit the burden placed upon Stockey staff. However, non-profit organizations would be able to bring in their own food and refreshments so long as they did not require use of the Stockey Centre’s kitchen. So, some revisions were made to the agreement that seem to meet the greater needs of all parties involved. The Stockey Centre manager agreed to monitor, and report back to council, whether the limitation of a single caterer was negatively impacting rentals.
10.4.2 – a by-law to rezone town property for the proposed Age in Place development beside Canadore College was carried with limited discussion.
10.4.3 – a by-law to declare surplus and put up for sale the lots carved out of the William Street Park was carried. This is the next step in the process to capture value for the properties and to spur additional development. The town is proposing to put the proceeds into a reserve.
10.4.4 – a by-law to close up the Sarah and Clara Street road allowances was carried. As I discovered at the meeting these pieces of property can be put up for sale by the town regardless of whether or not the province agrees to lift the restricting covenant. These are small non-existent streets off George Street and are part of the larger property the town hopes to put up for sale if the province agrees.
There was more but this post tries to capture the more important points of the meeting.
Click on the link below and it will take you to http://www.parrysights.com, where I have combined the Bridge Art photos into two videos. This will link you to Part 2.