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This week’s Parry Sound council meeting agenda is ‘meaty’ with a number of issues that will have a longer term impact on the Town, its businesses and residents. The biggest news is that the Town is now providing the whole agenda package on the Town’s website, not just the list of agenda items. This will significantly improve transparency and at the same time reduce the workload for Staff in responding to requests for the detailed agenda information.

There are two issues on the closed session that are concerning. The first is an issue related to the Integrity Commissioner. The second is a litigation issue. I’m not sure what’s up, but it ‘smells’ like trouble.

Item 2.1.1 provides more insight into what’s planned for the former William Beatty School. The plans seem to further solidify Parry Sound as the hub of the district. Is it time to seriously start discussing amalgamation? No, that won’t happen. The high-end cottagers (mansions on the water) don’t need more services, they just need low taxes. If they want services they’ll just head back home, except of course for the internet. Perhaps the Province should offer to subsidize internet infrastructure in exchange for amalgamation. It was a carrot like this that led to amalgamation and creation of a single Muskoka, another collection of mansion of the water municipalities.

Another topic worth highlighting is Item 9.3.6 – Downton Sustainability Report. There are no remarkable insights or surprises. Success will depend on investing the time and money to do the obvious, that has been ignored for too long. I offer some additional comments in the text accompanying 9.3.6 below. The report supports Free Parking in the Downtown area.

Closed Meeting

b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees. (Integrity Commissioner Appointment)

e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board. (Legal Matter, Local Board)

Public Meeting

2.1.1 – Council will hold a public meeting to consider a proposed Zoning By-law amendment under Section 34 of the Planning Act. The purpose of the proposed Zoning By-law amendment is to amend the Residential Second Density (R2) zone to a Special Provision Zoning on 82 Gibson Street, being the former William Beatty School, to develop up to 55 residential units in the former school. Additionally, the applicant seeks to permit the Parry Sound Friendship Centre (Club), Early Years (Day Nursery) and One Kid’s Place (Business and Professional Office) to relocate into the existing school. A new building is proposed which would contain 16 residential units. A reduced amount of parking spaces, reduced size of parking spaces (59% of spaces will be 2.5 metres by 6 metres) and no loading zone are also requested.

Resolutions and Directions to Staff

9.1.1 – Motorized Mobile Ice Cream Truck. Resolution. That Resolution 2016-045 be amended to remove the requirement for a “vulnerable sector check” from the list of conditions for permission to sell on municipally owned property.
This is a bit strange. I wonder if there is an issue with the vendor or their intention to use casual employees. It seems I heard comments from Council when the ice cream truck was first proposed that this very definitely was a service that would be serving a ‘vulnerable’ sector. I’m sure there will be an explanation.

9.2.1 Tenders – Fleet. Resolution. Basically the Town is ordering a total of 4 pickup trucks and one car.
The only surprising thing is the request for a fiberglass truck cap at a cost of $19,700 plus tax. This is more than the price of the 2016 Ford Focus they are requesting. What am I missing here?

9.2.2 – Salt Dock Boat Launch Repairs. Resolution. That Council directs staff to expedite repairs to the salt dock boat launch and that the cost of repairs estimated at $14,000 be funded by the emergency capital replacement reserve.
A boat is described by some as a hole in the water that you pour money into. This boat launch perhaps is more boat than launch.

9.3.6 – Downtown Sustainability Report. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of the Downtown Sustainability Task Team, Council adopts the Downtown Sustainability Report and recommendations, dated May 3, 2016 per Schedule ‘A’ attached, with the exception of the following recommendations which will be forwarded to the May 19th, 2016 Council priority-setting meeting for decision making considerations:
4.3.1e) That the Downtown Steering Committee develop a position description and budget for a downtown custodian; and That the Town and the DBA fund the position for a 2016 tourist season recruitment.
4.3.1i) That the Downtown Steering Committee develop a position description and budget for a 3-year contract position (position title yet to be determined), to implement the Downtown Sustainability Report recommendations, and that an application be made to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for funding. If approved, the position would be advertised for a 2016 hire. Council and the DBA be requested to contribute the 50% matching funding from reserves.
Well, it’s a start so that a great first step. I wonder about the Town and the Downtown Business Association applying for a Trillium Grant to hire someone to implement the Downtown sustainability Report. I thought Trillium Grants were used for purposes other than furthering municipal and business interests. There is lots of stuff worth reading in the proposal, more than I have time to write about. Yes, Free Parking will be adopted.

By-laws

10.1.1 – Business Improvement Area (BIA) Levy By-Law – Downtown Business Area. Being a By-law to Adopt the Estimates of the Board of Management of the Downtown Parry Sound Business Improvement Area and to Strike the Tax Rate Thereon for the Year 2016.

10.1.2 – Striking tax rates for fiscal year 2016. Being a bylaw to Strike the Tax Rates for Municipal Purposes for the Year 2016.

10.5.1 – Cellular phone contract renewal / refresh with Bell Mobility Inc. Being a by-law to authorize the execution of a contract with Bell Mobility Inc., for the purpose of updating / renewing / refreshing cellular the phone, voice and data contract for Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound.
It’s worth reviewing this section in the full agenda package to see what type of a premium you are paying for your mobile service. Are regular subscribers to Bell subsidizing the Town’s phone usage, or are we just adding to Bell’s profits?

The full agenda package is available online through this link. I’ll continue to host the packages at Parry Sounds for completeness and continuity. I don’t expect that the Town will post up past full agenda packages. See you Tuesday evening.

Heading North (Parry Sound – Spring 2016)

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(Click on the image for a better view.)