Thankfully the COVID-19 lockdown will be slowly lifted in Parry Sound on Monday. It would be nice if part of the lifting of the recreational restrictions included opening the tower on Tower Hill. It’s been a year folks! The Tower was a major resource for folks trying to get in a little bit of cardiovascular exercise. Do it right and you have the perfect H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) ‘machine’.

3.2.2 is not good news for the Town. There was a possibility that the Town would receive some level of reimbursement for the services consumed by the numerous public housing units in the Town of Parry Sound. But, it was shot down by the Board of DSSAB that includes municipal representatives, who understood reimbursing the Town of Parry Sound would mean their DSSAB payments would increase. I have a sense that the area municipalities are getting a little bit ‘nasty’ when it comes to taking on any additional expenses, or even paying for what they had previously committed themselves to. They are quite happy for the Town of Parry Sound taxpayers to carry most of the ‘overheard’ expenses for social services that are provided to their residents. It’s a great deal if you can get away with it. Note to our neighbours – chipping in a little more now is much cheaper than giving the Province a good reason to force amalgamation. I have estimated the property tax implications; it works for me.

Letters 4.7. & 4.8 seem to have triggered a bit of conscience on the part of Council who have included consideration of a $20,000 expense in the 2021 Budget for repair of the Sunset Trail section of the Rotary Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail. There is of course no guarantee that the amount will be approved. I will remind folks that this has been a problem for more than five years, the same period in which the Town has spent almost $200,000 to repair boat launches primarily for the benefit of visitors.

Council Minutes (Abridged)

Closed Session
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board, (Proposed property exchange);
d) labour relations or employee negotiations (Director level salaries). Carried

Prior to the Agenda, Mayor McGarvey addressed Council and the public with concerns about the recent decision by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to continue the COVID-19 lock-down designation and Stay at Home order. Mayor McGarvey expressed concerns over the lock-down designation of such a large area, and the lack of advance communication to local leadership to help prepare them for implementation. Mayor McGarvey concluded with notice that two resolutions have been drafted for consideration at this meeting: requesting the Health Unit provide more pro-active communication regarding announcements; and that statistics on confirmed cases be provided for the West Parry Sound Area, distinct from the east side of the District. Mayor McGarvey then introduced Jim Hanna, Public Relations and Communications Officer of the West Parry Sound Health Centre.
Mr. Hanna read from a statement issued today by the Health Centre which expressed support for the Ontario Hospital Association’s calls for “discipline and ruthlessness” in the shared fight against COVID-19 and asked that individuals continue to practice COVID-19 transmission prevention measures.
Mr. Hanna commented that Health Centre leadership was taken by surprise by the continued lock-down announcement; that the local Health District was the only one lumped into the grey lockdown category along with the GTA after all others were lifted from lockdown to some other less restrictive category. Mr. Hanna noted that a patchwork approach won’t benefit the province and that if people don’t understand the reason for a health zone being categorized as it is, they don’t buy into it.
Upon conclusion of Mr. Hanna’s comments, Mayor McGarvey introduced two resolutions under items 9.5.2 and 9.5.3 of the minutes. Upon carriage of those two resolutions, Clerk Rebecca Johnson read from a press release provided just prior to the meeting from the Parry Sound Rotary Club advising that Rotary Club is providing disposable masks free of charge to businesses that would like them.

Questions of Staff
3.2.1 –
Councillor Borneman inquired as to the impact on Town staffing, operations and recreation programs if the current COVID-19 lock-down order is extended or shifted to any other designation but “green”. Director of Public Works Mike Kearns responded that a red zone designation, which might be the next transition out of lock-down, affects programming, as the Ontario Minor Hockey Association will permit training practices limited to 10 people on-ice but does not permit play. Mr. Kearns noted that ice typically comes out the end of March, and that proposals to extend the season would also impact other issues as staff then transition to outdoor maintenance activities. Mr. Kearns listed area municipalities which either did not install ice this season or have now removed it. Mr. Kearns also noted that the building is energy intensive with energy costs based on peak 24-hour demand.

3.2.2 – Councillor Borneman reported on his understanding of the past process of tax billing and payment for non-profit housing units which have subsequently been declared tax exempt. Non-profit housing passed on the bills to District Social Services Administration Board which secured funding from senior levels to pay the Town. Since declaration of the tax-exempt status, and DSSAB’s defeat of a resolution requesting that they continue to pay the taxes, Councillor Borneman suggested there should be an accounting of the funding secured from senior levels of government and the following motion was made:
That the Town send a letter to Chair of DSSAB to ask for an accounting of funding sources through senior levels of government designated for non-profit housing taxes with a reply provided as soon as possible due to spring budget preparations.

3.2.3 – In response to Councillor Backman’s inquiry regarding plowed snow preventing access to Big Sound Marine, Mr. Kearns responded that this is normal practice, and that it may be helpful to prevent people from accessing the area which is not maintained in winter.

4.1 – Lynne Atkinson, Executive Director, West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation.

Appreciation for $50,000 donation from BOHF Reserve Fund towards x-ray system.

4.2 – Lynne Atkinson, Executive Director, West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation.
Appreciation for $50,000 donation from BOHF Reserve Fund towards renewing dining room area of Lakeland Long Term Care.
4.3 – Mackenzie Taylor, Deputy Clerk, Township of Carling.
Approval of Parry Sound’s request for removal from Planning Board contingent upon Carling receiving same approval.

4.4 – Nicole Dimond, Project Coordinator, Georgian Bay Forever.
Follow-up to questions asked following February 2, 2021 deputation to Council.
4.5 – Craig Jeffery, Clerk, Township of Seguin.
Notice of Public Meeting for proposed Zoning By-law Amendment to permit cannabis grow operations in industrial zones.

4.6 – Jane Wang, Communication Officer, Census Communications.
Promotion of May 2021 Census.
See item 9.5.1

4.7 – Jo Bossart.
Concerns with erosion on the Rotary & The Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail.

4.8 – Larry Woolner, Vice President, Sail Parry Sound.
Current projects and funding request.

Items 4.7 and 4.8 were circulated to Council, and Directors of Public Works, and Finance for follow-up. Upon confirming no objection from Council, Mayor McGarvey directed that the $20,000 request in the Sail Parry Sound letter for Sunset Trail remediation be referred to Council’s 2021 budget considerations.

5.1 – Christy Cafovski, Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber of Commerce Year in Review, new Strategic Plan.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.4.1 – Non-Union Compensation Grid.

That Council authorize a pre-budget expenditure related to the procurement of professional services of a compensation consulting firm for non-union job evaluation.

9.4.2 – Update – Key Performance Objectives in Support of the Strategic Plan.
That Council approve the progress report on the Town’s Key Performance Objectives (KPOs) as set out in Schedule A.
In response to a Councillor request, CAO Clayton Harris confirmed that they would publish the KPOs on the Town website.

9.5.1 – Promotion of May 2021 Census.

Whereas accurate and complete census data support programs and services that benefit our community;
Now Therefore the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound supports the 2021 Census and encourages all residents to complete their census questionnaire online. Link

9.5.2 – Request that Health Unit be Proactive in Communication on COVID-19. Resolution
Whereas there is a willingness in the community to support directives from the Province and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit; and
Whereas the North Bay Parry Sound Health District was a Green Zone prior to the Stay- at-Home Order; and
Whereas the more restrictive the directives, the greater the financial burden on businesses and individuals in the community; and
Whereas the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has taken a more restrictive approach than many District Health Units in Ontario by extending the Stay-at-Home Order until at least February 22, 2021; and
Whereas the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has also taken a very restrictive approach by ordering all public ice rinks, tobogganing hills, skating trails, and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ (OFSC) trails and trails utilizing Crown Land in the health unit district to be closed; and
Whereas community understanding and support is critical to achieving the objective of the directives – slowing the spread of the virus; and
Whereas the conditions in the North Bay Parry Sound Health District do not appear to be dissimilar to the conditions in many other Ontario health districts; and
Whereas variants of the virus have been confirmed in other Ontario Health Districts and the Stay-at-Home Order has been lifted; and
Whereas a greater community awareness generates greater community support; and
Whereas the Parry Sound Town Council has no authority with respect to Provincial and Health Unit directives;
NOW THEREFORE the Council of the Town of Parry Sound requests that the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit take a more pro-active approach to community outreach and communication through a range of communication techniques; and
That increased communication include greater dialogue with municipal and healthcare leaders across the health district in advance of announcements; and
That this resolution be forwarded to the Mayors and healthcare leaders within the health district, Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and the Honourable Victor Fedeli, MPP Nipissing.

9.5.3 – Request that Health Unit Publish COVID-19 Statistics for West Parry Sound.
Whereas in order to fight the COVID-19 virus in a community it is important to understand the status of confirmed cases in that community; and
Whereas the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit represents a very large geographic area; and
Whereas the catchment area of West Parry Sound is only a portion of the area served by North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit; and
Whereas the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit publishes and provides opioid overdose statistics to the municipal level which demonstrates the Health Unit’s ability to provide health related information without breaking confidentiality issues; and
Whereas the flow of individuals and commerce tends to follow a north/south pattern, rather than an east/west pattern;
Now therefore the Council of the Town of Parry Sound requests that the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit publish statistics that provide the number of confirmed cases and other appropriate information for West Parry Sound; and
Further That this resolution be sent to municipalities in the West Parry Sound Area; the West Parry Sound Health Centre; the Honourable Minister Christine Elliott, Minister of Health; and MPP Norm Miller.

10.1.1 – Approval of Funding Agreement – Provincial Gas Tax for Public Transportation.

By-law 2021 – 7106
Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a Letter of Agreement with the Ontario Minister of Transportation regarding funding under the Dedicated Gas Tax Funds for Public Transportation Program.
Passed, Signed & Sealed

10.3.1 – Appoint Plans Examiner/Building Inspector.
By-law 2021 – 7105
Being a by-law to appoint Nicholas Deroy as a Plans Examiner/Building Inspector.
Passed, Signed & Sealed