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New month, and it’s the start of a new format for these Council previews. The intent is to highlight items that I feel are worth the community’s time to understand and, as appropriate, investigate.

The key items on the agenda are:

2.1.1 and 2.1.2 – rezoning requests related to a veterinary pharmaceuticals compounding facility off of Emily Street (2.1.1) and a new professional services building on Bowes Street (2.1.2). Both requests point to an increasing interest in development within Parry Sound.

4.3 – a letter to Council raising some very important considerations with regards to the Town’s Official Plan. It’s detailed and worth reading. I hope, but really don’t have much hope, that Council will take into consideration the suggestions that are offered.

9.1.1 – the Province has returned with suggested changes to the Town’s Official Plan. The Province seems to be paying attention. The net/net as I read it is that the Province wants to limit the amount of rural and wetlands related property in Parry Sound that is turned into residential and industrial property. They seem to suggest infill is the way to handle population increase. Given that much of the undeveloped parts of Town are wetlands and rural designated areas there is concern that future development in town will be limited. It’s worth a read. Apparently there are new, more restrictive provincial regulations coming into effect in the next few weeks, and if the Town and Province don’t agree on the suggested changes to the plan there will need to be a whole new round of reviews taking into account the revised regulations.

9.5.2 – a bit of a Catch-22. The Province’s approval of funding for much needed Forest Street infrastructure improvements was dependent on the inclusion of a bicycle lane. This bicycle lane will require the Town making use of its right-of-way along the east side of the street. But many residents on Forest Street have made personal use of the Town’s right-of-way and don’t want to lose use of that land. We’ll see what Council decides. I notice that the plan for forest Street eliminates any ‘boulevards’ which reduces the Town’s obligations for grass cutting; good thinking.

10.4.1 and 10.4.2 – the 2014 taxes are not as simple as a zero percent increase in the tax rate. It seems commercial/industrial properties have been carrying a larger than provincially allowable portion of taxes as determined by the “Tax Ratios”. They pay about 51% more in taxes per assessed dollar value. To rectify this would mean that residential property taxes would need to go up. Staff is suggesting we stay with it the way it was in 2013.

Open for Business. (Parry Sound in Black & White)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClic on the Pic’ for a closer view.

That’s pretty much it. I expect to attend at least the rezoning presentations to get a better idea of what’s going on with these properties.