The agenda this week is not that full, but there are some interesting themes developing, including a letter from the Municipality of McDougall concerning the invitation to participate in the West Parry Sound Recreation Advisory Committee. Mayor Robinson doesn’t beat around the bush but refers to it as a West Parry Sound Pool Complex committee. On behalf of McDougall he declines to participate in the process as outlined but proposes an alternate committee structure that he suggests would be smaller and more effective. His letter puts forward a couple of figures regarding the cost of the complex; $10 million to construct and $500,000 per year to operate. I believe the operations cost, based on other municipalities, would be closer to $750,000. Regardless of the actual costs his letter removes some of the obfuscation regarding the purpose of the proposed West Parry Sound Recreation Advisory Committee. So the surrounding communities are asking the Province and the Feds for some $20+ million for high speed internet and then an additional few million for a pool. Well, if you don’t ask you won’t get anything.
The issue of fluoridation is back on the agenda in terms of letters and deputations. Where were they when the discussion was open? One letter asks Councillors to reveal what personal research they conducted into the pros and cons of fluoridation. That’s not very reasonable in my opinion. We recently purchased a new fire truck for about $1 million, should Council have done research on fire trucks, or should they have relied on the Fire Chief and his team? What about major road contracts worth millions? Should they go over the engineering plans before issuing a contract? Should they supervise the construction? In the case of fluoridation Council relied on the recommendation of the District Health Officer who is trained, qualified and employed to make these types of recommendations. It drives me a little bit crazy to sit at Council meetings and listen to Council from time to time opine on any number of issues for which they have no particular expertise or training. It is their responsibility to ensure they are receiving the best recommendation possible from the experts, not to suggest they have a better solution when it comes to technical matters. Our Councillors are well qualified and capable, but in the same manner that we would not want a very bright astrophysicist to perform abdominal surgery on a family member, I think Councillors need to depend on experts and not pretend to be experts themselves.
The other interesting nugget on the agenda is a staff reorganization. That’s always a red flag in my experience. Something comes to mind about big ships and deck chairs. (But I’m not an organizational expert, so I will defer to Staff.)
4.1 – Dale Robinson, Mayor of McDougall Township. Re: Letter regarding the formation of the West Parry Sound Pool Complex Committee. As noted in the introduction, it’s a pool committee and we need to be careful that we don’t get soaked.
4.2 – Wayne and Mary Anne Gilbert, residents. Re: Letter regarding previous letter with questions regarding fluoridation of the Town’s drinking water system.
5.2 – Karen Birch, representing Parry Sound for Progressive Water Management. Re: Provision of information about the group’s objectives and goals to prevent the addition of fluoride into Parry Sound’s water system.
5.3 – Dr. Hardy Lineback and Dr. Brian McLean Re: Research regarding the effects of fluoride in municipal water systems.
8.2 – Human Resources Restructuring. As mentioned in my introductory remarks there are a number of changes in titles and chairs, see the full agenda for the changes.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.2.1 – Update of Procedural By-law, a by-law to govern the proceedings of Council and Committee Meetings. Direction. That staff be directed to bring back the amended Procedural By-law for disposition by Council after the 21 day public notice period. There are a number of changes, the most notable from my perspective being the elimination of the Questions of Staff portion and a limitation on the Deputations session to thirty minutes. It seems that things are getting trimmed to keep the meetings from going on too late. See the full agenda with the reports and correspondence for a list of all the changes.
9.4.1 – Tender – Hillcrest Ave Storm Sewer Replacement. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of Triton Engineering Services Limited, Council award the tender to Weeks Construction Inc. in the amount of $164,409.00, excluding HST, for Hillcrest Avenue Storm Sewer Replacement, this tender being the lowest tender of three (3) tenders received. So do we expect Council to do their own ‘research’ on the engineering recommendations to make a decision? Nah, let’s just trust Staff and the experts. That’s what they are paid to do know and do.
10.5.1 – Olympia Ice Resurfacer Advertising: Canadian Tire Parry Sound. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with Canadian Tire Parry Sound, for advertising on the entire Olympia Ice Resurfacer Unit for a term of four (4) years. It’s worth about $2,500 per year.
10.5.2 – Exclusive Beverage Agreement – Pepsi Cola Canada. Being a by-law to authorize the execution of an agreement with Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages for exclusive rights of beverage sales at the Bobby Orr Community Centre and the Charles W. Stockey Centre. It’s worth about $4,000 per year.
And there is more. Read the full agenda and dive into the details with the full package that is available by contacting the Town, or from the link at the top of this page.
I have a busy week with a number of volunteer obligations and won’t be able to make Tuesday’s meeting. It should be a ‘show’. Council will need to decide on how to respond to the fluoridation activists. Correction, anti-fluoridation activists. Council seems to have two choices: open the issue for further discussion, or defer it until the next elected council is seated. It’s a challenge, are you responding to a reasoned concern that is shared by the majority of the population or are you handing over decision making to a very vocal unelected group of residents and non-residents? I’ll share my thoughts on the whole issue of fluoridation in a couple of days.
On the dock. (Parry Sound in Colour)