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Last night’s meeting covered considerable ground without missing a beat. It’s worth noting that Parry Sound Council will not continue to lie down and take abuse and neglect from the railways. Last night Council agreed to draft and send a letter to the Province requesting legislation concerning the taxation of railway assets be updated and revised. If the railways feel they have the moral and legal right to do whatever they want,they should be required to pay for the privilege. And it is a privilege. Let’s see how far this goes and whether it’s the start of something much, much bigger. Perhaps we can channel Rosa Parks.

There were no surprises, except perhaps that the request for a Beerfest noise exemption was withdrawn. The meeting’s decisions with limited comments are provided in the text below. For more information and background check out the full Parry Sound Council Agenda Package available here, or my Council Preview available here.

Correspondence

4.3 – Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Re: Request for tax relief – 4th 1/4 2014 & 2015 (on this evening’s agenda Item 9.4.4). Noted and acted upon later in the meeting.

4.6 – Z. Crafts, N. Collins & G. Mason. Re: 2.3 acres of land adjacent to new Parry Sound Public School (on this evening’s agenda Item 9.4.7). A deputation was made and the issue was addressed later in the meeting.

4.7 – Minister of Transportation. Re: Highway winter maintenance. Noted.

Resolutions and Direction To Staff

9.2.2 – Taxation of Railway Properties. Resolution. CARRIED. This is the railway issue noted earlier. Council also decided to send a copy of the resolution to our Member of Parliament – Tony Clement and the railways. It was estimated that taxing the railways at the usual commercial rate could provide the Town with an additional $500,000 per year in revenue. The railways currently leverage their monopolies, and they are monopolies, to report billions of dollars annually in profits. It’s also worth noting that any taxation of the railways would also benefit our neigbouring municipalities who also ‘host’ railway tracks, trestles and building structures.

9.4.1 – Bill 73 – Town of Parry Sound Comments. Resolution. CARRIED.

9.4.3 – Parry Sound Beerfest: Noise By-law relief. Resolution. WITHDRAWN. Beerfest will not be part of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, but should be back next year.

9.4.4 – Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Resolution. CARRIED.

9.4.5 – 2015 Municipal Assistance Program Allocations. Resolution. CARRIED. The figures were not presented at the meeting, but should be available today through the Town office.

9.4.6 – Rezoning Application – Z15-01 – General Amendment to Parking Requirements. By-law and Resolution. CARRIED (both).

9.4.7 – Request Council’s Approval in Principle for a Naturalized Park Space. Resolution. CARRIED. This proposal was well received by Council who also asked that information be supplied concerning the care and maintenance of the facility for the long term. They noted that many projects started by enthusiastic volunteers often lose community support and fall into disrepair and neglect. The group will return in the fall with a more expansive proposal following this initial show of support by Parry Sound Council.

9.4.8 – Response to Proposed MNRF Wetland Assessment for Louisa Street. Resolution. CARRIED.

9.4.9 – 2015 Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. Resolution. CARRIED.

9.5.3 – Railway Blockages. Resolution. CARRIED.

By-laws

10.5.1 – No Smoking By-law. CARRIED. Council approved a second by-law proposal that would limit smoking on Town property and facilities to designated smoking areas rather than defining a perimeter area where smoking would not be permitted. Defining a perimeter, be it 9 or 20 metres is hard for most people to understand and comply with. Permitted smoking areas are much easier to understand and enforce. An interesting aside arose during a question from Council concerning e-cigarettes and restrictions. The Town currently does not regulate e-cigarettes, nor do the surrounding communities. Does this mean you can ‘vape’ in the Bobby Orr Community Centre or the Stockey Centre? Or in the Town office? ‘Vaping’, the use of e-cigarettes is being much more popular among the younger generation because they provide nicotine, are flavoured, and make it easy to do ‘tricks’. Tricks include things like blowing smoke rings. I understand there are competitions to see who can do the best tricks with e-cigarettes. You apparently just dial-up the temperature and it makes for a heavy ‘cloud’ of ‘smoke’.

The next time Council meets, it will be free parking in Parry Sound. Free, free, free! Oh, by the way, there is no free lunch, nor is there any free parking. Somebody pays!

The North Star does a good job of carrying more detailed information on these items, including quotes and follow-up discussions with the people involved in the issue. Typically you can expect the story will be in the following Wednesday’s issue of the North Star, perhaps earlier online. So, last night’s stories will be in the May 27th issue of the North Star.

Preparing for the Dragon Boat Festival. (Parry Sound in Full Colour)

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