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Busy little town with summer approaching and a busy council agenda this week. Now that the budget is out of the way staff and council can focus on the longer-term strategic and operational issues. A review of the agenda suggests it will be a longer meeting. From award presentations to deputations to staff presentations, multiple resolutions and by-laws, this meeting pretty much has it all.

As usual only the more ‘mission critical items will be covered in this council agenda preview. I suggest you head over to the town’s website to look at the full council agenda. The supporting materials are available at the town office and library.

Correspondence and Deputations

4.1 – a request from L and H Motors regarding a suggested transient license fee is on the face of it a little confusing. Reading the letter I wasn’t sure what it referred to. Reflecting on the issue I suspect that it refers to the habit of the Mac Lang dealership renting space at the Parry Sound Mall and setting up a car sale lot. They are here for a couple of weeks, sell a bunch of cars, and then leave. The transient license presumably would require them to pay some sort of fee on sales made while located in Parry Sound. The intent I suppose is to level the playing field in terms of the car dealers. The local dealers pay property taxes that are not incurred by transient dealers. As it is a letter and there is nothing about it on the agenda I expect there will be no discussion at council but will be referred to staff for follow up.

4.2 – the Parry Sound Canoe club is requesting approval and the necessary land access to build a storage facility and dock in the Williams Street or Yvonne Williams Parks. This is the logical next development step for an organization that provides canoe and kayak instruction to Parry Sound and area youth.

4.3 – a request to declare May 5-11 Hospice Palliative Care Week.

4.4 – the Parry Sound Dragon Boat Festival organizers are requesting considerations from the town in support of their annual dragon boat festival.

4.6 – the owner’s of the Dairy Queen are requesting reimbursement/credit for excessive water costs related to a malfunction of their equipment. This is on the agenda as item 9.2.1.

5.1 – Stop the Drop, a group concerned by dropping water levels in Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes will be making a deputation.

5.2 – Tammy Purdy, the town’s municipal by-law enforcement officer will be presenting an overview of the town’s draft 2013 accessibility plan.

Consent Agenda

There is nothing on the Consent Agenda.

Resolutions and Directions to Staff

9.2.1 – this item relates to the letter noted above, 4.6, where the owners of the local Dairy Queen are requesting a credit/reimbursement for equipment failure at their facility that caused them to incur excessive water usage. Town staff is recommending against any form of credit or reimbursement.

9.2.2 – this is similar to the previous item in that it involves the town’s water services. The property owner at 12 Belvedere only recently realized that they have been billed at commercial rates for water and sewer services for the past few years. Their monthly bill listed their service as residential but was billed at commercial rates. This has been going on since 2007. The town proposes to reimburse them only for the last two years of over payments, an amount of about $2,700, rather than for the full period. I think they should be reimbursed for the whole amount, but without any type of interest. Yes they should have asked why their bill was so high, but they at least paid their bill. The town recently wrote off charges for the deadbeats who walked away from their water and sewer bills. Let’s do the right thing and reimburse the overpayment or provide a credit against future water and sewer use.

9.3.2 – there was only one bid received for the town’s Old Pump House (Waterworks). It was for $130,000, well under the $275,000 assessed value for the property. Town staff is proposing that council reject this offer and list the property for sale by a realtor. This makes sense. The property is certainly worth more than $130,000, and the property is more likely to appeal to someone new to town who wants a property that is more than simple accommodation.

9.3.3 – this item relates to more property sales, in this case the three properties on William Street that were recently carved out of the existing William Street Park. One purchaser has made the high offer of $50,000 per lot if and only if they can purchase all three lots. It looks like someone has a plan. The proposed offer, $150,000, exceeds the sum of the highest offers for the three lots by about $20,000.

9.3.4 – this is in my opinion the most interesting item on the agenda and concerns a 168 unit condominium development on the property behind the homes on Emily Street. I had to look at the maps in the council package to really understand where it was. It’s a package of property behind the homes on Emily Street that are on top of the hill and accessed by Kate Street. This is basically a ‘landlocked’ piece of property with existing homes between the development area and Emily Street, and Imperial Oil property between it and the harbour.

The developers are requesting the town consider water delivery improvements to service the proposed new development. I believe this would involve replacing the water and sewer systems on Forest Street at a cost of more than $2-3 million. The town had previously applied for a provincial infrastructure grant to cover this expense for reasons unrelated to the proposed development and is awaiting a decision. The developers also want to have ‘access’ to the town’s property in and around the Imperial Wharf to construct a marina that would service the boats of the condominium owners.  They are also looking for the town to petition Imperial Oil to be permitted to use portions of their property for parking and parkland.

This seems to be a big project with lots of pieces that need to be put together before it can be realized. Town staff supports the development, especially as the developers suggest pricing would be on the order of $500,000 per unit.  That would mean a total of $80 million in condominium sales. Council is being asked to approve a resolution that grants in principle:

1) the use of part of the Town’s wharf property located at the end of Champaigne Street subject to terms and conditions yet to be determined and the execution of an agreement also be given approval in principle; and

2) the Town commit to approaching Imperial Oil with the objective of obtaining their approval for the use of Imperial property for passive parkland and parking uses; and

3) all efforts be undertaken to secure funding to allow infrastructure improvements that will increase water conveyance to the Harbour area to facilitate the proposed development.

9.3.5 – is a resolution to send to the Ministry of Natural Resources a letter objecting to their decision to assess certain properties in Parry Sound with respect to being provincially significant wetlands. This designation would severely restrict development. The town is suggesting that these properties are already offered significant protection that will be increased with the town’s proposed new Official Plan.

9.3.6 – Canadore College is proposing a new sign that has the support of town staff.

9.5.1 – is a resolution to accept the town’s 2013 Accessibility Plan. The outlines of the plan will be presented in the deputation portion of the meeting.

By-Laws

10.2.1 – this by-law completes the 2013 budget process with formal acceptance and approval of the budget and striking of the 2013 tax rates. Please see my earlier budget note post of April 24th for a topline overview of the budget. You will need to review the final budget to properly understand what is, and isn’t, included.

That’s pretty much it. See you Tuesday.

It’s That Time Again – Big Sky, Big Water and Big Colour. (May 2013)

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