It was a packed meeting, almost three hours with one surprise and one ‘humorous’ moment.
The surprise was Council giving the local Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Coast Guard Base the figurative finger by turning down their request for a reduction of their waste water bill for a recent quarter because they weren’t processing the water through the Parry Sound sewage system. Rather they were dumping unused treated water directly into Georgian Bay because of a leak; several million liters of water costing a few thousand dollars. There are good arguments for providing a reduction in the bill – they paid for the water supply and didn’t use the waste water treatment facility. And there are good arguments for saying no. I just hope the DFO have a short memory when it comes to negotiating lease arrangements or repairs for the Town Dock and Big Sound Marina facility. I’m not sure I agree with the decision, but let’s see how it plays out.
The humorous portion came in the deputation by Ms. Griva concerning 2 Avenue Road. Obviously nervous, her English very good but not her native tongue, and hoping for a favourable outcome regarding an agenda item, she referred to the Mayor as “Your Majesty”. It’s pretty easy to see how “Your Worship” could be extended to “Your Majesty”. The whole “Your Worship” thing annoys me a little. It’s correct but reminds me of a bit of historical trivia. When the United States of America was first established and George Washington the President was offered the title of “Your Majesty” he rejected it. To this day the President of the United States is addressed not as your worship, your honor, your majesty, but simply Mr. President. And at some point in the future it will be Madame President. I will place the blame for Staff’s use of “Your Worship” on the Director of Public Works, Mr. Brown, who brought it with him when he joined the Parry Sound staff. It has caught on with all of the staff members. The Mayor certainly deserves respect, but “Your Worship” a dozen times or more per Council meeting?
Okay what about the outcomes?
Closed Session items
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes. (14 River St). CARRIED. There seemed to be an agreement to move forward on this item that is related to waste water management although I’m not sure what was decided. There is money being spent but are we acquiring the property and then disposing of it?
4.5 – Sewage drainage issues. Directed to Staff. An interesting request for the reimbursement of about $5,000 in out-of-pocket plumbing costs related to what the petitioner claims is a failure of Town infrastructure.
5.1 – Natalia Griva regarding 2 Avenue Road. The deputation outlined the circumstances that has led neighbour complaints regarding Item 10.1.1. (See below for more information.)
5.2 – Les Culp representing OPSEU Local 342, regarding the adjustments to ambulance service in the South River area. This was a short deputation that led to considerable discussion by Council as Item 9.2.2 (a new item) regarding the level of service required for the East Parry Sound District area. There seems to be a difference of opinion between the board supervising the EMS services and the Union. Council requested additional information be presented to them at a special meeting of Council to be held August 26th at 5:00 PM.
8.2 – 3rd Quarterly Financial and Key Performance Objectives Review. CARRIED. Scheduled for September 30th at 6:00 PM, and will include a first look at the 2015 budget.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Amendment to Site Plan approval Application – Hands the Family Help Network – 2 May Street. WITHDRAWN.
9.1.2 – Consent Application B12/2014(PS) – Healey – 47 Marion. Resolution. CARRIED. There was just a little bit of discussion to better understand the implications of the request to permit the right-of-way for a second driveway.
9.5.1 – Rotary Club Storage Facility. Resolution. CARRIED.
10.1.1 – Rezoning Application – Z14-05 – Griva – 2 Avenue Road. By-law. CARRIED. The deputation by Ms. Griva helped to explain what appears to be a tragicomedy of allegations, complaints and real issues. Council seemed to feel that they weren’t so sure about the facts leading up to the neighbourhood concerns but they were willing to approve the rezoning application, especially since they were likely to lose if it went to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). I note that Seguin Township in an August 15th article in the Beacon Star were similarly gun-shy about a rezoning application being taken to the OMB and ‘bent’ regulations to suit one of their resident’s applications.
10.1.3 – Disposal of Town Lands, (land and waterlot), abutting 11A Bay Street. By-law. CARRIED. There was little discussion. It’s probably the right thing to do, but it could come back to bite the Town given that there was no attempt made to establish a fair value for the property.
10.4.1 – Reserve and Reserve Fund Policy. By-law. CARRIED. The Town tidied up its Reserve Fund policies and reduced the number of funds for simpler and more transparent management.
10.4.2 – Establishment of a Capital Asset Legacy Reserve Fund. By-Law. CARRIED.
There was much more discussed and some interesting points arose in the Questions to Staff that are well covered in the official meeting minutes on the Town’s website. Hey – aren’t we supposed to be getting a new and more user-friendly website for the Town?.
Sometimes You Need to Bend a Little to Get Where You Want. (Parry Sound in Black & White)