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Woof! This week’s Parry Sound Council agenda is fuller than any I have seen in the past five years or so. You might want to arrive with your PJs under your clothes because it will be a 10:00 finish. There is so much to cover that I will only comment on the the ‘bigger picture’ issues that are of most interest to Parry Sound’s development.

It seems the Town now has an ‘official’ slush fund. It’s formally referred to as the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve. I personally have mixed feelings about it. On the positive side it allows Staff and Council to address opportunities and issues requiring unbudgeted funding immediately. No more of this, “it isn’t in the budget”, and defer the issue to next year’s budget discussion. On the flip side it means that Staff may get a little more ‘casual’ in anticipating the likely costs and investments for the upcoming year. Or they may find it easier to get funding at a time where there are funds in the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve, and there is less competition for approval as there is at budget time when everyone is looking to cut things out. On balance I support the strategy, but it needs to be closely watched to avoid sloppiness in planning and budgeting.

Rather than introduce the many items on the agenda in this introduction I offer comments (italicized) as part of the text below

Correspondence:

4.1 – Dave Thompson, Chair, Near North District School Board. Re: Beatty Street Improvements.
This relates to Item 9.2.2, and the Near North District School Board’s request for the Town of Parry Sound to fund about $200K in street improvements.

4.2 – Bill Park, Secretary, Parry Sound Snowmobile District/OFSC D10. Re: Both PSSD and Park to Park Trail Association are asking for a similar rental agreement for the 70 Church Street space as the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce had.

4.3 – Anne Bossart, Event Chair, Garden Days at Tower Hill. Re: Invitation to Council to attend their Garden Days on Tower Hill Event on Saturday June 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Deputations:

5.1 – Geoff West, former resident. Re: Vision for Parry Sound and suggestions for Affordable Housing.
This probably relates to the William Beatty School repurposing.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – 2015 Transfer from Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve – Per Surplus / Deficit Policy. Resolution. That Council hereby approves, per the Operating Surplus and Deficit Policy, a transfer from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve in the amount of $117,407.86, which represents the deficit in the Town’s General Surplus at the end of December 31, 2015 per Public Sector Accounting Board accounting standards.
The Town runs two sets of books. Neither of which I really understand. This is claimed to be a requirement to meet certain provincial reporting regulations, I believe it’s in support of the accountant employment program. (That last part was a joke!)

9.2.1 – Feasibility Study for Parry Sound Road Extension to Oastler Park Drive. Resolution. That Council direct staff to retain the services of an engineer to conduct a Feasibility Study for the Parry Sound Road and Oastler Park Drive extension project to identify potential opportunities and/or constraints, and to determine the scope of the entire project including estimated costs with respect to the proposed road construction and further; That Council approve using the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve to fund the Feasibility Study.
This was discussed at the open special meeting of council a couple of weeks ago. You were there to listen and provide input weren’t you? Of course you weren’t, there were only six people in the audience. No complaining about stuff being done behind your back.

9.2.2 – Parking and traffic mitigation proposal – Parry Sound Public School. Resolution. That Council direct staff to advise the Near North District School Board that the Town did not budget for Beatty Street improvements, estimated at a cost of $178,226, taxes extra, therefore the Board’s request for Council’s consideration to pay for the construction of improvements on Beatty Street, including widening the road at the student drop zone and creating a turn-around, be denied.
This was mentioned earlier in the Letter section (Item 4.1). The Town is not happy about the prospect of the expense, or encouraging more traffic around the new school. Let them walk. We all walked didn’t we? Actually I didn’t I had the pleasure of spending three hours a day being bused to and from high school. I would have preferred the option of walking or bicycling to school.

9.3.1 – ATV By-law. Resolution. In accordance with the Provision of Notice Policy, the Class 3 Notice Requirements be reduced for the proposed By-law from 21 days to 18 days.
By-law. Being a By-law to permit and regulate the operation of “Off Road Vehicles” on Town of Parry Sound Municipal Highways.
Direction (For Direct Staff Follow-Up): That this be considered as a one-year pilot and a report be brought back to Council November 2016, and March of 2017.

This is a two-parter. Council approves the reduction of the advice period to 18 days and then the by-law will be considered, and possibly passed. I know I’m nit-picking, but I am surprised that the by-law requires ATV riders to indicate a right turn by sticking out their right arm. While we all know that a right turn is usually indicated by using the left arm with a bend at the elbow, my issue has to do with safety. Most ATVs have the brake and accelerator on the right side handlebar. Does taking your right hand off the handlebar promote safety? It’s a head scratcher to understand how this specific requirement was explicitly defined in the by-law. The 20 kph speed limit also seems strange, it’s slower than the speed permitted e-bikes, and will only back up traffic. How about 30 kph? Ten klicks certainly doesn’t impact safety on the roads, it almost seems punative.

9.3.3 – Municipal Assistance Program Allocations for 2016. Resolution. That Council approve the 2016 Municipal Assistance Program allocations per Schedule “A”, as attached.

9.3.4 – Request for Proposal: Waubuno Beach Washrooms Renovation. Resolution. That Council accept the proposal from Incon Construction Ltd. for the Waubuno Beach Washroom Renovation project in the amount of $38, 314 plus H.S.T., this proposal being the lowest proposal of two (2) received, and; That Council finance the $13, 314 budget shortfall from the Parks Reserve.

9.4.1 – Report A – Traffic Bylaw amendments – Free Parking. Resolution.
That Council approves the removal of the parking meter posts in the downtown with the exception of the post required to support sign channels and fundraising opportunities.
1. That the estimated cost of $18,670.00 for: meter post removal, education campaign, signage and labour for erecting signage outlined in the MLEO’s June 7,2016 Report and Recommendation be finance from the Parking Reserves.
2. That the By-law Enforcement Department create an inventory of parking meter parts and supplies and proceed to dispose of the surplus inventory by “Intent to dispose of surplus inventory proposal”

Direction (For Direct Staff Follow-Up): Council directs staff to amend the Traffic By-law as follows:
1. To allow for the continuation of free parking -2 hours on-street and 4 hours in the municipal lot and to make it an offence if an individual re-parks their vehicle within a designated zone or street.
2 To create designated free long term parking: 7 parking spaces on Mary Street, 8 parking spaces on north Miller, 30 spaces on south Gibson Street.
3. To permit unlimited, free parking on Sundays in the municipal lots and on municipal streets.
4. The bylaw to come into effect on October 1, 2016.

Further, Council directs staff to commence disposing of the meter mechanism by:
i) Relocating two pay and display meters to the Public Works department to be used at their discretion – McFarlane and Champagne Street Boat Launch.
ii) Contacting and negotiate an offer with the West Parry Sound Health Centre for the sale of surplus parking meter mechanism inventory.

This is the free parking issue finally being formally approved. If not passed, Council will need to extend the interim period. It seems that the only place in Parry Sound where there will be paid parking is at the hospital. I guess the hospital is not trying to encourage business. (Kidding again, the hospital has their own budget issues and parking squatters to deal with.)

9.4.1 – Report B – Free Parking Financial and Enforcement Implications. Resolution. That in regard to By-law Enforcement, Council approves the implementation of the Departmental Model, Option A – Reduction of Hours, for January 1, 2017. And direct staff to commence the implementation process of Option A, by but not limited to:
1. Notify the public that commencing January 1, 2017 the By-law Enforcement Department hours of operation will change to Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30pm, only. There will no longer be weekend service or extended hours during the peak season.
2. Notify Carling Township that the Town will not be renewing their agreement to provide Bylaw Enforcement Services after December 31, 2016.
3. To research and negotiate private contractors to complete emergency after hours calls commencing January 1, 2017.

Direction (For Direct Staff Follow-up). That Council rescind the following Direction from November 17, 2015: “That Council direct staff to commence the process to hire a contract Parking Attendant on a one-year contract to complete enforcement of the time limit regulation. This process would include a job description and a review of said job description by the Hay Group with this position being implemented in January of 2016.”

More parking stuff. I’m glad to see that we won’t be hiring a person to police free parking. Rather Town Staff will do the enforcement on weekdays. To find the internal resources it appears that the Town will forgo the freelancing of by-law services to Carling Township.

9.4.2 – Fire Department Reorganization. Resolution. That the Council of the Town of Parry Sound approves the Fire Department Organization Chart attached as Schedule “A”.
With the resignation of the Platoon Chief a reorganization is proposed to create the position of Chief Training Officer.

9.5.1 – May, 2016 Key Performance Objectives Update. Resolution. That the May, 2016 Key Performance Objectives Update Report, attached as Schedule “A”, be approved.
I haven’t taken the time to review this yet. It probably deserves its very own post. Let’s see.

9.6.1 – Parry Sound High School. Resolution. Whereas it is Council of the Town of Parry Sound’s position that the existing site of the Parry Sound High School should be the preferred site for the proposed new JK – Grade 12 school, and Whereas Council recognizes that the existing high school site may not be selected as the site for the new school, and Whereas Council recognizes there is an ARC Committee in place to advise the Board in the site selection process, Now, therefore be it resolved that a letter under the Mayor’s signature be sent to the Near North Board of Education advising of Council’s preferred site location and that if the existing high school property is not selected as the site for the new school, the Board provide the Town with firm and absolute assurance that the existing building will not sit vacant for a period greater than two years from the date of opening of the new school.
We won’t get fooled again. Reading this resolution closely it basically is saying the Town of Parry Sound would prefer that any new school be built at the site of the existing high school, but if it isn’t, don’t leave the old building vacant for years. I believe this is in response to the experience with St. Joseph’s Hospital. It’s been almost two decades that it has stood empty and decaying.

9.6.2 – Parry Sound Road Business Park Official Plan Amendment. Direction. That the Principal Planner be directed to initiate the Official Plan Amendment process for the re-designation of Town-owned lands on Parry Sound Road for the development of a Town-owned business park. See 9.2.1 above for background. The Town ranked the development of the Parry Sound Road area as the top internal development opportunity. I think this has much more potential than the earlier agreement to develop it as a residential area. Check the full agenda package to see a map of the area being considered – (page 349.)

By-laws

10.1.1 – 2016 Tax Rates. Being a Bylaw to Strike the Tax Rates for Municipal Purposes for the Year 2016 and repeal By-law 2016-6624.

10.2.1 – Fowler Construction Company Limited Contract – William Street. Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a Contract Agreement between Fowler Construction Company Limited and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound for the reconstruction of William Street.

10.3.1 – License of Occupation for Parking and Anticipated Transfer Agreement. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a license of occupation agreement and eventual transfer between 82 Gibson Street (Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation) and Frances Street Road Allowance, Plan 22 (Town of Parry Sound).

10.3.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/16/2 – 82 Gibson Street – Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation. Being a By-law to amend By-law 2004-4653, the Zoning By-law, as amended, for 82 Gibson Street (Parry Sound Affordable Housing Development Corporation).
This is the William Beatty School redevelopment. It looks as though Council is prepared to allow the necessary changes in zoning. For those in opposition I suggest that you offer an alternative use of the facility, not just opposition to the current proposal. I suspect that Council would much prefer options to select from.

I wonder how much debate and discussion there will be regarding the various items of the agenda. Perhaps some of the issues have been pretty much debated to death, i.e., free parking, that the resolutions may be no more than formalities. We’ll see. I’ll be there with my jammies on, just in case.

Constructive Destruction Along the Seguin River (Parry Sound in B&W)

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