I Want My Council Agenda

To the tune of Dire Straits “I Want My MTV”.

I’m on the distribution list for Parry Sound council agenda meetings and didn’t receive an email link today. Oh well I thought, I’ll head over to the Town’s website and download a copy. It isn’t there. The meeting is listed and it states “No Agenda”.

We don’t need agenda surprises. Friday is late enough to receive an agenda for a Tuesday meeting, so let’s make it available on Friday, not Monday or Tuesday.

I’ll check again tomorrow in hopes that someone’s conscience kicks in and the agenda pops up on the Town’s website.

Council Agenda Preview – May 15, 2018

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A reasonably light agenda this coming week. Noted below are the topics of greater possible interest. A lengthier abridged list of agenda items follows. Refer to the full agenda available at the Town’s website for additional items and the supporting documents.

9.2.1 & Closed Session c) – It looks as though things are starting to ramp up in discussions regarding a municipal pool complex. The closed session item refers to the acquisition or disposition of municipally owned land for a Wellness Centre. While details are not available as it is a closed session item, it probably refers to a municipal pool complex. The complex might well be affordable if all area municipalities chip in for construction and operation. I wonder though how the Town of Parry Sound will be compensated for the future loss of assessment revenue. I would imagine a recreational complex will require significant space that will not be available for commercial development and become a source of tax revenue. The Town already is home to many non-profit and tax exempt organizations that still require full services. With a very limited footprint the Town needs to capture as much revenue as possible from every square metre if we are to support the many resources shared with our municipal neighbours. (Note: there is a reference to the Township of the Archipelago in 9.2.1 that needs to be corrected.)

10.1.1 – Funding for the Stockey Centre in the amount of $30K per year has been approved by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

10.1.2 – This concerns the agreement to have the Town finance the installation of water and sewer services to Macklaim and Dennis Drives from the Water and Wastewater Stabilization Reserves. It is expected that the costs will be recouped from tax revenues related to the future development of empty lots.

Closed Session

c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes; (Disposition of municipally-owned land) (Potential Wellness Centre Location)

d) Labour relations or employee negotiations. (Performance Review, Dave Thompson), (Personnel Matters) (Update on CAO Candidates)

Correspondence

4.1 – Mark Ideson. Thank you card for supporting him and his family at the PyeonChang Paralympic Games.

4.2 – Al & Lorna Kinnear on behalf of Avery Court residents and the parkette. Letter sent on behalf of 18 residents of Avery Court requesting repair of the severe winter damage caused by snow removal efforts.

Deputations

5.1 – Daryl McMurray, PS Downtown Business Association. Newly adopted Strategic Plan for the Downtown

5.2 – Jeremy Newton, resident. Concerns regarding discarded needles and the needle drop off boxes.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.2.1 – Recreational Complex/Pool. Direction. Whereas an interest in the development of a recreational complex, including a swimming pool, exists in West Parry Sound; And Whereas a recreational complex will meet the needs and interests of all West Parry Sound communities by encouraging healthy lifestyles, social interactions and physical well-being through education, recreation, wellness and athletic activities and will also support the Area’s economic development objectives; And Whereas the West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Committee has conducted background research on the development of a recreational complex and convened a meeting with West Parry Sound Municipalities and First Nations to present their findings;
And Whereas the West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Committee, at their meeting of April 24th 2018 passed a resolution requesting that Councils direct their staff/CAO to collectively meet and finalize a common package for future deliberation by Councils, including: (1) preferred governance/operation model of Shareholders Corporation, (2)Terms of Reference, and (3) a funding model;
Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Council for the Township of The Archipelago hereby directs the CAO to meet with the CAO’s of the surrounding interested Municipalities and First Nations to work towards the preparation of a common development proposal package for future deliberation by all of the Councils which shall include but not be limited to: 1) a preferred governance/operational model for a Shareholders Corporation; 2) a Terms of Reference for the West Parry Sound Pool and Wellness Committee to advance the project; and 3) a funding model for the project.

9.3.1 – Motorized Mobile Ice Cream Truck. Resolution. That Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound hereby grants permission for Mr. J Athanasiou to operate one motorized mobile ice cream truck for the time period of May 15th, 2018 to September 30, 2018 on municipally owned roads and lands of the Town of Parry Sound subject to the following conditions:
(Editorial note: See the official Town of Parry Sound agenda for a full list of the conditions.)

9.4.1 – Tender – Sidewalk Plow. Resolution. That Council accept the tender from Cubex Ltd for a new model year articulating sidewalk plow in the amount of $187,649.30, including taxes and delivery.

9.5.1 – Discarded Needles. Direction. That the CAO be directed to prepare a report and recommendation on the issue of discarded needles.

By-laws

10.1.1 – Canada Arts Presentation Fund. By-law 2018 – 6829. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a funding agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage – Canada Arts Presentation Fund (CAPF) – for Stockey Centre programming.

10.1.2 – Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Macklaim Drive and Dennis Drive Municipal Services Installation. By-law 2018 – 6830. Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between property owners along Macklaim Drive and Dennis Drive and the Town of Parry Sound.

10.2.1 – Election Sign By-law. By-law 2018 – 6831. Being a by-law to regulate Election Signs in the Town of Parry Sound in federal, provincial and municipal elections.

10.3.1 – Strike the Tax Rates. By-Law 2018 – 6832. Being a bylaw to Strike the Tax Rates for Municipal Purposes for the Year 2018.

 

An A Gravel Experience (Lessons in Life)

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This started out with a very simple need, A Gravel for new steps to our house. The answer was similarly simple; head over to RONA in Parry Sound and pick up a yard of A Gravel to start. We live about a kilometre from RONA so this was not a big deal. Checking on the internet I discovered that a yard of gravel weighs about 2500 pounds, or about 1200 kilograms. The trailer we have is rated for 1100 kg, close enough I figured since it was downhill to our house.

So, on Wednesday we headed to RONA for the A Gravel; one yard please. It took a little while to get service; they were a bit short staffed with summer students just getting up to speed. An older gentleman helped us. He grabbed a Bobcat with a scoop and proceeded to put two scoops into our trailer. While he was doing that another yard person came over to help and watch. He confirmed that it was a yard of A Gravel. The cost? $59.99, plus HST for a total of $67.79.

We unloaded that yard of A Gravel. It’s heavy stuff and it took 10 wheelbarrow loads to empty the trailer.

We needed more. I decided to head over to Adams on Williams Street for the second yard because it had been suggested by a knowledgeable person that I should have used them instead. It’s about the same distance away, so I thought – why not. Service was slow at RONA so I figured it would be faster at Adams. That’s when it got interesting.

I headed in to the office at Adams and ordered one yard of A Gravel. The price was $30, and with HST it came up to $33.90. I was thinking that I had scored a big savings at this point, but that was only half the surprise.

When I pulled up with the trailer to get filled up the yard man told me he couldn’t give me a full yard in the trailer. He said the trailer didn’t have brakes and that they were liable for accidents. Safety came first. I explained that I had bought a yard from RONA without an issue. He saw I was confused and brought out a safety officer who shared the same information. He explained that he would give me a half yard and I could come back for the other half yard. He then went over and hopped in a front end loader and picked up his half yard bucket. He said that Adams had it custom ordered for a half yard. When he filled it into the trailer it looked exactly the same as the full yard I receive from RONA. I was getting suspicious, very suspicious.

Getting the load home it was wheelbarrowed to the project. It took 10 wheelbarrow loads. I went back for the other half yard, it didn’t seem to be quite as much. It turned out to be 8 wheelbarrow loads.

So, a yard from Adams is 18 wheelbarrow loads and a yard from RONA is 10 wheelbarrow loads. Something is wrong here and I have my suspicions and concerns.

A little bit of arithmetic for those so inclined. Our trailer is a galvanized Hyland you see running around every so often. The inside is 99” x 50” x 14”. That amounts to 1.37 yards filled to the ‘gunnels’. A full yard would have completely filled the trailer, corner to corner, to within 3.5” from the top edge of the trailer. The yard sold by RONA was a pile in the middle of the trailer that tailed off into the corners. I was nowhere close to filling up the trailer. The half yard from Adams filled up the trailer about the same amount as the “yard” from RONA.

Net/Net

I’m pissed, and it’s not about the price difference. Companies can sell their products for whatever price they want to and customers have the right, and seemingly the need, to shop around. If RONA wants to charge twice as much as Adams, good for them. Shame on me for not shopping around.

But, a yard of material is supposed to be a yard of material regardless of the price. I feel cheated. The project will probably take about 2.5 to 3 yards of A Gravel. The total cost for 3 ‘yards’ of A Gravel from RONA would be $324 (not including HST). The same 3 yards from Adams would be $90. About half the difference is related to what Adams and RONA considers to be a “yard” of material. Imagine if you went to get gas and one station decided that a half litre was close enough to a full litre. You would figure it out pretty quickly. I’m also sure that a contractor showing up with a trailer would quickly tell if what was being sold as a yard wasn’t a yard. As a ‘civilian’ I can’t, at least not until I decided to do a little bit of arithmetic.

All I can do is tell you my story and how I ended up reaching the conclusion I have. You may come up with a different conclusion and that’s okay with me. I know where I will be doing my business.

If I feel cheated in one area I will assume that I’m being cheated in all the other parts of the business. You know the rule of thumb. If you do a good job, that information will be shared with a couple of people. Do a bad job and it will be passed on to twenty. We have worked with many suppliers in Parry Sound and have generally been pleased. When we weren’t we passed on our thoughts to the supplier and moved on to another, sometimes sharing the experience with others.

Errata:

Why didn’t I just order up the 3 yards and have it delivered. It’s not just about the delivery cost. There are two reasons. When you start a project like this you really don’t know how much you need. I don’t need more, and I certainly don’t need less. But the real reason has to do with moving the A Gravel. It’s much easier shoveling gravel from a trailer bed that is 20” off the ground than a pile dumped in the driveway.

We have bought yards of material in the past from RONA, and upon reflection the amount in the trailer was always about the same as was the case as this past Wednesday. That brings to mind the song by Ace, “How Long Has This Been Going On”. Here’s a link to the You Tube video. Enjoy!

Follow Up:

A copy of the draft of this email was sent to the RONA folks before posting with a request for comments and corrections. They responded promptly and courteously. In the response they apologized for the delay and the price and offered to refund the difference. Neither of these points really were an issue for me. I was understanding of the delay, it’s only the start of delays in Parry Sound, especially if you shop at Sobeys. The pricing wasn’t an issue. I learned my lesson and while $30 isn’t chump change it was my error, not theirs.

On the issue of what constitutes a ‘yard’ the response was to suggest that Adams was “very generous”. My little bit of arithmetic suggests otherwise, but I leave to you to make your own decision. I have made mine.

Have you ever noticed the inspection stickers at the gas pumps? There is a reason they are there. Unless you have a 5-litre container to fill and can check what was delivered against what the pump reads you have to trust the pump.

Royal Bank Free to Move to South End

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At a hearing two weeks ago the Ontario Municipal Board, now called the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, decided to dismiss the appeal of the Parry Sound Mall regarding the relocation of the RBC to the south end. This means all appeals have been exhausted and the RBC can move to the Oastler Park development beside the Walmart.

I understand that the Parry Sound Mall’s presentation was less than compelling. I sat in for the first twenty minutes of the appeal and realizing that it was game over headed back to work. I hope the Downtown is prepared to deal with the consequences of this decision and what is likely to follow.

Parry Sound Council Compensation for 2017

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The Town sent out an email this afternoon with the missing Attachment #1 from this week’s council meeting agenda. Here is a link to the full attachment. The key tables are presented below.

Having covered the activities of Council for more than two terms I have no issue with the remuneration our councillors receive. It’s lots of hours and lots of complaints. If you disagree, this is your chance to put forward your name for Council. I expect there will be a couple of openings. It’s a much tougher job than anyone really expects. It can be very rewarding in terms of contributing to the community, but it’s a grind. The compensation is just a way of saying thank you for the service.

Council Agenda Preview – April 17, 2018

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This is a more interesting upcoming meeting of Parry Sound Council with a number of important issues on the agenda for review and approval. Here are the items that caught my attention:

4.3 – Boundary adjustment discussion with Seguin. See the full agenda for additional information on the resolution. The net/net is that Seguin is willing to discuss an adjustment of the Parry Sound / Seguin boundary to allow for the construction of a road from the back of the hospital to Oastler Park Drive. It’s easier to think about it as going behind the Canadian Tire and RONA and connecting up with the road behind the hospital. The Seguin resolution lists the benefits and considerations. It’s notable that they clearly state that they have no interest in assuming any costs for the road extension. That’s okay if the Town of Parry Sound can make a case to the taxpayers of Parry Sound that it is a good investment of tax dollars. I know this is a pet project of the Town and I think it’s time for the taxpayer to better understand the ‘dollars and sense’ of the project. Too little information has been shared with the Public to date.

9.1.1 – OMG. I read through the whole Downtown Business Association Strategic Plan and it is consistent with other documents I have seen in the past. I refer everyone to the story we all heard when we were children – The Emperor’s Clothes. You can only change what you can see and are willing to accept. In particular I think that the downtown retail businesses have not wrapped their heads around the reality of doing business here. With Amazon delivering in two days or less, and Barrie 75 minutes away, the consistent year-round active retail economy is pretty much limited to gas, groceries and alcohol. What does enjoy a rosy 12 month a year economy is services – medical, dental, auto repair, legal, financial, social services and the like where it takes weeks to get an appointment. Somehow the DBA hasn’t fully wrapped its head around that, and I’m not sure that there is an answer if/when they do. Retail was much simpler when it was a two-hour drive to Barrie down Highway 69, and you had to drive the Aspdin Road to get to Huntsville, and there wasn’t a Wal-Mart in town. Those times are long gone. The plan proposed by, and for, the DBA doesn’t seem to acknowledge these realities. Enhancing the Waterfront would be great, but it doesn’t change the retail environment. And even if we were to attract twice as many tourists in the summer with a beautiful waterfront what would they do? Where would they stay? Where would they eat? And can any business rationalize investing to build additional hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions if the tourist season is three months long? I suppose with a new strategic plan in hand the Town and the DBA can feel that they have done their work and they can move on to other priorities. After fifty years it seems the Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to win once again. Was that fifty-year drought a matter of back luck or was it a case of refusing to acknowledge reality and develop an effective winning strategy in the context of that reality? The business issue in Parry Sound is bigger than poor strategy and tactics. Until local businesses decide to engage and contribute, Parry Sound will continue to experience the same old, same old. I am not criticizing the people who were responsible for the new strategic plan, they showed up and did their best. A great plan depends on the involvement and commitment of the many, not the few, and a willingness to look in the mirror and acknowledge what they see, not what they want to see. The retail businesses in the DBA would like others to make things better but not change themselves, or contribute to the change. They need to stop acting like victims.

9.1.3 – The rink rebuild at the Bobby Orr Community Centre is pushed back a year.

9.2.1 – This is a more administrative point, but important. The Town it seems is a bit closer to gaining the ability to approve its own Official Plan amendments. This means shorter timelines for these approvals as the Province’s review and approval will no longer be required. It’s not clear if these Official Plan Amendments are still subject to appeal, but the documentation provided by the Town suggests that they will be.

9.4.1 – 2017 Statement of Remuneration Paid to Council and Appointed Board Members. Interesting but the information on what Council and Board members received, as indicated being summarized in Schedule A 1, is not included in the council meeting package. Actually the whole 9.4.1 section is not included. Hmmm! I’ll put in a request for the information and make it available in a separate post

10.2.1 – The Town is approving the installation of a septic system for a proposed triplex. The Town really wants more development and the resulting tax revenue. As per the CAO’s comments, “Requiring 120 meters of sanitary lines from the main to the property line would in all likelihood not result in the property being developed.”

Abridged Agenda Item List

Correspondence

4.3 – Andrea Spinney, Deputy Clerk, Seguin Township. Resolution enclosed for discussions with Parry Sound for proposed boundary adjustment.

Deputations

5.1 – Donald Sanderson and Jim Hanna, West Parry Sound Health Centre. Update on activities over the past year.

Consent Agenda

8.3 – Change of Dates for December 2018 Council Meetings. Resolution. Whereas Parry Sound’s Procedural By-law 2018-6814, stipulates that the Inaugural Meeting of Council shall be held no later than the second Tuesday in December at 8:00 p.m.; and Whereas Council’s current set of 2018 meeting dates has scheduled a Regular Council Meeting December 4, 2018; Therefore, Be It Resolved that Council for the Town of Parry Sound cancels the Regular scheduled meeting for December 4, 2018 and sets the date for the Inaugural Meeting of the 2019-2022 Council-Elect for December 11th, 2018; and Further that the scheduled Regular Meeting of December 18th shall remain unchanged.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Downtown Business Association Strategic Plan. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of the Downtown Steering Committee, Council receive the Downtown Business Association Strategic Plan, attached to Schedule “A”.

9.1.2 – Downtown Steering Committee. Resolution. Whereas the Downtown Steering Committee was appointed with the mandate to provide stewardship to the Downtown Sustainability Plan ensuring the long-term viability of the downtown; and Whereas a number of the recommendations have been implemented including the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Downtown Business Association and the Town and the development of a Downtown Strategic Plan; and Whereas the Downtown Strategic Plan recommends a number of strategic initiatives and further recommends that ad hoc/working committees be established to implement the initiatives: Now Therefore upon the recommendation of the Downtown Steering Committee, Council rescind Resolution No: 2016-207 being the Resolution approving the Downtown Steering Committee Terms of Reference and member appointments.

9.1.3 – Bobby Orr Community Centre Ice Surface Rebuild. Resolution. That Council proceed with the investigation, assessment and design phase for the Bobby Orr Community Centre (BOCC) Ice Surface Rebuild in 2018 and the actual construction in 2019; and That the 2018 capital budget for construction of the ice surface rebuild, which would be financed through a debenture, be deferred to 2019 budget.

9.2.1 – Town of Parry Sound/Parry Sound Area Planning Board. Resolution. Whereas the Town of Parry Sound has had ongoing conversations with the Minister and staff of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as it relates to being exempted from Official The Corporation of The Town of Parry Sound Plan Amendment Approval and being released from the Parry Sound Area Planning Board; and Whereas the Province recently announced that it is proposing to expand its municipal empowerment strategy to exempt Parry Sound from Provincial Official Plan Amendment approvals.
Now Therefore be it resolved that the Town of Parry Sound supports this initiative and appreciates the Province’s proposal; And Further That a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to Minister Bill Mauro and the Northern Region of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

9.2.2 – Consent Application – B 10/2018 (PS) (Marynissen) – Macfarlane Street. Resolution. That Consent Application No. B 10/2018 (PS) (Marynissen) – 18 and 20 Macfarlane Street, be supported subject to the following conditions:
1. Payment for cash-in-lieu of parkland dedication for one new lot.
2. That the applicant be advised that each of the severed and retained lots have separate and individual water and sewer services.
3. That the severed and retained lots obtain relief from the Zoning By-law to ensure the newly created lots are compliant (frontage).

9.4.1 – 2017 Statement of Remuneration Paid to Council and Appointed Board Members. Resolution. That the 2017 Statement of Remuneration Paid to Council and Appointed Board Members, attached as Schedule “A”, be accepted.

By-laws

10.1.1 – Big Sound Marina/Town Dock – Lease Agreement – Department Fisheries. By-law 2018 – 6826. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a lease agreement between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Town of Parry Sound for Big Sound Marina and Town Dock.

10.2.1 – Rezoning Application – Z/18/3 – Hanna Road (Fuller). By-law 2018 – 6827. Being a By-law to amend By-law 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for a property on Hanna Road (Fuller).

Council Agenda Preview – April 3, 2018

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Things are again light this coming week. A few points worth noting:

Closed Session a) – I wonder what’s up with this Oastler Park Drive property. The Town purchased this property for several hundred thousand dollars last year. I was refused information on why the Town purchased the property and its future plans. It’s our money and their secret.

4.1 – Letter / Splash Pad discussion. I agree with the writer’s question about the timing for the start of serious splash pad discussions. The concept of connecting discussions for a splash pad with a municipal pool complex seems strange for all sorts of reasons, unless of course there are thoughts about a pool complex in the vicinity of Waubuno Beach. Then it all makes sense, but I don’t think so.

10.3.1 – Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative Transfer Payment. This is a very nice $43K present from the Province that is intended for use to ‘spruce up’ the Town.

The more material items on the agenda are listed below.

Closed Session

a) the security of property of the municipality or local board (property on Oastler Park Drive, Various Economic Initiatives)
b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees (Licensing Appeal, Recruitment)

Correspondence

4.1 – Chris Cardy, resident. Letter regarding both the proposed splash pad and the pool complex. Is asking why they cannot be dealt with separately.

4.3 – BDO Planning Report. Audit Plan for the consolidated financial statements of The Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound for the year ending December 31, 2017

Deputations

5.1 – Dianna Allen, Rick Harrington and Delaina Arnold, Parry Sound Area Food Collaborative. Raising of Backyard Chickens

5.2 – Anne Bossart. Update on Tower Hill Activities

5.3 – Stuart Morley of PSM Community Net. Graham Porter of Network Space. Town Crier WiFi Project for downtown Parry Sound.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 Commencement of Fees and Charges By-law for the Installation of Water, Sewer and Storm Services. Resolution. Whereas Lots 7-15, 37-41, and 43-48 of Plan M405 are zoned with a Holding Provision which precludes development until municipal water and sewer services are delivered to the subject properties; and Whereas the majority of property owners and Town of Parry Sound Council wish to see the lots serviced to facilitate residential development. Now therefore be it resolved that Town Council:
1. Directs staff to initiate the tender process to provide water, sewer and storm sewer services to the properties;
2. Authorizes that the project will initially be paid for by the Town of Parry Sound through the General Working Reserve;
3. Directs staff to prepare a Fees and Charges By-law that will recover the costs of the infrastructure from the benefitting property owners;
4. Agrees to pay for the engineering report and legal costs of the project; and
5. Directs staff to remove the “h” symbol for all eligible lots.

9.2.1 – Election Sign By-law – Draft #2 Direction. That staff be directed to bring back the draft Election Sign By-law to the May1st, 2018 Council Meeting, for disposition by Council after the 14-day public notice period so the public may have the opportunity to provide comments.

9.4.1 – Georgian Bay Forever Request for Town assistance with a Pilot Project. Resolution. That upon the review of the documentation provided by Georgian Bay Forever, the Town of Parry Sound support, in principle, their pilot project to identify the amount of microplastics/fibres that enter the waterways from washing synthetic materials used in clothing; and That the Town of Parry Sound allow limited, guided access to the Town Wastewater Treatment Plant at times convenient to staff to take collections and samples; and That any promotion for the project be the responsibility of Georgian Bay Forever; and That Georgian Bay Forever take full responsibility for any involvement with the public related to the installation and any ongoing maintenance of any filters on private property.

9.4.1 – Tender for Grass Seed. Resolution. That Council accept the quotation from Speare Seeds for 2030 kgs of grass seed in the amount of $9,706 including HST, this quotation being the lowest quotation of five (5) received.

By-laws

10.3.1 – Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative Transfer Payment Agreement. By-law 2018 – 6822. A By-law to authorize the execution of a Transfer Payment Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Province of Ontario (as represented by the Association of the Municipalities of Ontario) and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound on the Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative.

10.3.2 – Extension of Time to Pay Tax Arrears with the owner of 107.5 Church Street in Parry Sound. By-law 2018 – 6823. Being a by-law to authorize an agreement for an extension of time to pay tax arrears for property roll number 4932 050 003 15210 0000.

10.4.1 – Weeks Construction Inc. Contract – Waubeek Street. By-law 2018 – 6824. Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a Contract Agreement between Weeks Construction Inc. and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound for the reconstruction of Waubeek Street.

 

Moving on Out?

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Out of the downtown that is.

I have heard the same rumour from a couple of people that the LCBO is looking to move into the recently empty Rexall Pharmacy building at the south end of Parry Sound beside Sobeys. That’s all it is, a rumour.

But, it’s not a new suggestion, and it makes complete sense for the LCBO. A nice new building that is probably the right size, and a lease on their current location that expires later this year. Lots of parking, close to shopping, and I would imagine, within a year, a bank in the area. One stop shopping for groceries, cash, liquor, beer, fast food, and a pharmacy and the Canadian Tire for everything else. There is even a drive through window. Why bother going downtown?

As a taxpayer, it doesn’t bother me at all, well at least not for the near-term. The property taxes the LCBO pays as part of its rent for a downtown location are probably the same as it would be for a south end location. It would mean less congestion in the downtown, but then again there never is that much congestion anyway.

In the longer term I do have concerns. You may not have noticed, but the 2016 MPAC property assessment reduced the valuation of business properties in the downtown. The lost business taxation revenue was picked up by residential properties. If an LCBO move were to induce more businesses to relocate to the south end because of the loss of shopping traffic, or businesses in the downtown decided things were too tough and simply closed down, it might create a situation where the downtown was labeled ‘depressed’, and assessments would be further reduced, possibly considerably reduced. That would shift even more of the tax burden to residential property owners, or result in a cut in municipal services.

Of course, lower assessments on business properties, and lower taxes, might allow landlords in the downtown to lower their rental rates. That in turn could spur a renaissance of sorts where businesses attracted by lower rental costs would move to the downtown, which would in turn attract more traffic; a virtuous cycle would be created that would in time lead to increased assessments and more tax revenue. But that is unlikely to happen. One consistent story I have heard is that the downtown landlords overprice commercial property rents, which in turn makes operating a business in the downtown expensive, which dissuades businesses moving downtown. I can’t verify this story, but if the LCBO were to leave there will be more vacant storefronts, leading to a vicious cycle where landlords need to squeeze more out of the businesses that stay in the downtown that compels them to leave.

As an aside, it is my firm opinion that the RBC will be moving the to the south end in 2018 or no later than the first half of 2019. They have already made the move to a mobile facility beside Dunn’s Storage indicating their intention to be gone from the Parry Sound Mall. I initially filed an appeal to the by-law that approved the RBC move in hopes that it would give the Downtown Business Association a chance to marshal their resources and mount an opposition to the move. But after speaking to the DBA and a few merchants it became apparent that they either felt there was no threat, or they preferred to ignore it because it was too much effort. In the end I dropped the appeal after spending a thousand dollars and the prospect of spending an additional twenty or thirty thousand to have any hope of success. One can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

Perhaps the downtown businesses understand the situation better than I do, and the RBC move was not a figurative dying canary signaling the eventual relocation of banks, booze retailers and bars away from the downtown. That belief has some support. The Mayor explicitly stated that he would not approve any move of these businesses from the downtown, and he was the deciding vote on approving the RBC move. Making it even more interesting is the fact that this is an election year. If the LCBO doesn’t feel they have the support from the current Council to approve the move, they may just wait until there is a new council. I expect that there will be a least two seats open, so there could be a change in the appetite of Council to weaken the downtown. Town Staff and Council have to seriously consider the possibility that denying the LCBO a move to the south end might push them to move out of Parry Sound, across the Town Line just a little down Oastler Park Drive. Oh, and paying about one-third in property taxes in Seguin would be a bonus. The LCBO leaving Parry Sound would mean two, not one, empty buildings and another loss of tax revenue. Hmmm! The LCBO is a retail site, nothing more. Does the LCBO outlet in Dunchurch have town water and sewer services?

There still is an active appeal against the RBC move which explains why the RBC is in a temporary location. It concerns the Province’s approval of the Town’s Official Plan amendment to permit the RBC move. A hearing will be held next month before the Ontario Municipal Board. I have nothing to do with this appeal, it is not being made by the Downtown Business Association or one of the downtown businesses, but rather the Parry Sound Mall. I wish them luck, but I fear their appeal will fail. The Province has already indicated that they wish to delegate the responsibility for this type of Official Plan amendment to the local communities.

With all of this new, fluid, and unconfirmed information the community will need to decide what outcome it prefers.

  1. Allow an LCBO move if that is what they want and let the chips fall where they may. Perhaps it’s the start of a precipitous decline in the Parry Sound Downtown and the banks and Beer Store follow the move. Perhaps it will be the spark that gets the landlords, businesses and the Town to work together and build a real downtown plan that can succeed. We have a new Economic Development Officer being hired; this should be their number one job. Better to find solutions for a collapsing downtown than dream about an innovation park.
  2. Deny the move and hope the LCBO decides to renew their lease at their current location. That implies no change in the status quo for probably five years and things continue on their current path, for better or worse.
  3. Deny the move and discover that the LCBO has decided to build a new facility just across the town line. The Town loses the tax revenue (I’m sure the current property owner would get tax relief of some sort sooner or later) and the property sits empty with the implications of Outcome 1 above.

You have to care, but you can’t care too much. The people who are most likely to bear the near-term brunt of any movement of businesses to the south end are those businesses and landlords who can’t just get up and move. If they don’t care should we? What about removing restrictions concerning what businesses are restricted to the downtown and letting the market decide?

Council Agenda Preview – March 20, 2018

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There are a large number of agenda items. I have ‘slimmed down’ the items to those that I think are most relevant in terms of the Correspondence and Resolutions and Directions to Staff. There has been no abridging of the Deputations and By-Laws. A few items stick out and are worth clarification or a short comment.

2.1.1 – This relates to a property that is in “Town” but doesn’t have clear access to municipal sewer services, or will be burdened with considerable expense to connect to the town system. I’m not sure I would like to have a neighbouring property, possibly a multi-residence rental property, operating a septic system behind my backyard.

9.4.2 – Weeks Construction is getting the contract for a significant portion of the Waubeek Street reconstruction. Given Fowler Construction’s performance on Emily Street it seems they were not gong to get this contract despite winning the past few.

9.5.1 – It looks as though the Splash Pad, if it goes forward, will be situated at Waubuno Beach. That makes sense to me.

10.5.1 – This concerns lease of waterfront property adjacent to the OPP facility that the Town purchased last year, presumably in anticipation of eventual waterfront development. The proposed lease is for three years so nothing is happening anytime soon.

Check out the full agenda at the Town’s website if you want to see all agenda items and details along with the supporting Staff reports.

Closed Session

(e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals affecting the municipality or local board (Official Plan Amendment No. 1 Appeal)

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, as amended. The subject property is a vacant lot on Hanna Road, known as southern part of Lot 57 on RCP 338, or more particularly described as Parts 2 and 3 of 42R20780, in the Town of Parry Sound. The property proposed for rezoning is shown on the attached Location Map. The applicant has requested relief from the Residential Second Density Zone to permit residential development that is not on municipal sewer services.

Correspondence

4.1 – Parry Sound Recreation Complex Committee. Providing an update on appointed members and 1st meeting will be in April 2018

4.2 – Splash Pad Committee. Thanking Council for contribution and requesting a designated spot for the splashpad.

4.3 – Georgian Bay Forever. Diversion of microplastics/fibres from the waters of Georgian Bay through a pilot project

Deputations

5.1 – Georgian Bay Forever. Requesting the participation of Parry Sound in 2 pilot projects, diversion and measurement of change in quantity of microplastics in wastewater.

Consent Agenda

8.1 – 2017 Integrity Commissioners Report. Resolution. Whereas the Council, Boards and Committees Code of Conduct stipulates that the Integrity Commissioner shall file his/her annual report regarding any activities to Council no later than March 31st of each year; and That should there be no complaints/investigations for the year, in this case, 2017, then the Clerk shall report to Council accordingly; Therefore, the Clerk reports that the former Integrity Commissioner, George Rust-D’Eye and the current Integrity Commissioner Harold Elston, have reported that there were no formal complaints filed nor investigations conducted in the year 2017.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). Resolution. That the Council of the Town of Parry Sound accept the bid from Dependable Emergency Vehicles in the amount of $194,682.12 +taxes for the supply of 18 SCBA, 36 additional air bottles and ancillary equipment.

9.4.1. – 2017 Water System Summary Report. Resolution. Whereas the Town of Parry Sound owns and operates the Parry Sound Drinking Water System (M.O.E. Designation Number 2200000585) which has been categorized as a “Large Residential” Drinking Water System, and Whereas Ontario Regulation 170-03 (as amended) under the Safe Drinking Water Act requires, according to “Schedule 22 Summary Reports for Municipalities” that all large Municipal Residential Drinking water systems have a report prepared no later than March 31st of each year addressing the items detailed in the Regulation and is given to the members of Council in the case of a drinking water system owned by a municipality; Therefore, be it resolved that Council of the Town of Parry Sound hereby acknowledges receipt of the report titled: “Town of Parry Sound Tony Agnello Water Treatment Plan, Large Municipal Residential Drinking Water System Summary Report 2017”, as prepared by Kyle Hall, Manager of Water Systems.

9.4.2. – Waubeek Street Reconstruction Tender Results. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of C. C. Tatham and Associates, Council award the tender for Waubeek and Prospect Street Reconstruction to Weeks Construction Inc., in the amount of $5,101,291.00 plus HST, this tender being the lowest of four (4) tenders received.

9.5.1 – Splash Pad – Response to request for location. Resolution. That Council designate space at Waubuno Beach for future development of a Splash Pad as identified on Attachment #1.

By-laws

10.1.1 – West Parry Sound Emergency Plan 2018. By-law 2018 – 6813. Being a by-law to adopt an Emergency Management Program and Emergency Response Plan for the West Parry Sound Area and to meet other Requirements under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

10.2.1 – Disposition of Amended Procedural By-law. By-law 2018 – 6814. Being a By-law to govern and regulate the proceedings of Council of The Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound, its Committees and where applicable, its Boards and to repeal By-law 2015-6573.

10.2.2 – Separate By-law for Election Signage. Direction. That staff be directed to bring back the draft Election Sign By-law to the April 17th, 2018 Council Meeting, for disposition by Council after the 14-day public notice period so the public may have the opportunity to provide comments.

10.3.1 – Business Improvement Area (BIA) Levy By-law – Downtown Business Area. By-law 2018 – 6815. 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 2018

10.5.1 – Chantler Barging Ltd. Lease Agreement/Renewal – 3 Bay Street. By-law 2018 – 6816. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a lease renewal agreement between Chantler Barging Ltd. and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound.

10.5.2 – Rezoning Application – Z/18/1 – 60 and 60a Seguin Street (Themer). By-law 2018 – 6812. Being a By-law to amend By-law 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 60 and 60a Seguin Street (Themer)

10.5.3 – Rezoning Application – Z/18/2 – 128 Gibson Street (Corkins). By-law 2018-6817. Being a By-law to amend By-law 2004-4653 (The Zoning By-law), as amended, for 128 Gibson Street (Corkins).

10.5.4 – Custodial Services for Parry Sound Fire Station. By-law 2018 – 6818. Being a by-law to authorize an agreement with Bernie Filiatrault Janitorial for Custodial Services for the Parry Sound Fire Station.

10.5.5 – Artists Round the Sound Agreement. By-law 2018 – 6819. Being a By-law to enter into an agreement with the Artists Round the Sound (ARTS) for the rental of wall space at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts. Direction (For Direct Staff Follow-up): That Council direct staff to prepare a Request for Proposal for an art exhibit at the Stockey Centre at the conclusions of the ARTS Agreement.

10.5.6 – Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation Intern Agreement. By-law 2018 – 6820. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of an agreement between the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound accepting the terms and conditions of the approval of the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Project Development Intern.

 

Council Agenda Preview – March 6, 2018

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Once again, we have a light agenda for this week’s council meeting. The more notable items include:

9.1.1 – Town of Parry Sound/Parry Sound Area Planning Board. Resolution. A necessary step it seems for the Town to get greater control of it’s own Official Plan amendments.

9.2.1 – Resolution. Staff 2018 Goal Plans Summary. I haven’t gone through the goals but I find them to be a good summary of what is going to get done, or not, for the current year. I’ll take a look at them at some point and provide comments in a separate post.

10.5.2 – By-law. Department of Canadian Heritage – Cultural Spaces Canada – Funding Agreement. The Town has received a grant of $580,000 that helps offset the $1.4 million cost of the Stockey Centre renovations.

Closed Session

d) labour relations or employee negotiations. (Update on Union Grievances)

k) information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them; (Infrastructure Funding)

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, as amended. The subject property is known as 60 and 60a Seguin Street, or Part of Reserve and Part of Lot 1 on Plan 86, Part of Waubeek Street on Plan 2, more particularly described as Part 1 of 42T16527, in the Town of Parry Sound. The applicant has requested relief from the Residential Second Density Zone to fulfill a condition of consent. Reduced frontage, access, parking and yard requirements are requested as a result of the provisional severance.

2.1.2 – Council will continue the public meeting to consider an additional proposed amendment to the Zoning By-law under Section 34 of the Planning Act, as amended. The subject property is known as 128 Gibson Street, or Lot 7 and part of Lot 8 on the westside of Gibson Street on Plan 62, in the Town of Parry Sound. The applicant has requested relief from the Residential Second Density Zone to permit an additional dwelling unit above a proposed detached garage.

Correspondence

4.1 – Rebecca Pollock, Chair, Parry Sound Area Active Transportation. Appreciation for the Town’s snow removal efforts

4.2 Mike Rivard, Acting Correspondence Manager, Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr’s Office. Letter thanking Parry Sound for our correspondence regarding invasive species in the Great Lakes. The Town’s letter has been forwarded to the Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and the Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Consent Agenda 

8.1 – Appointment to the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Board of Directors. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of the Parry Sound Downtown Business Association Board of Directors, Mike Puro be appointed to the Board of Directors to represent the downtown business Above and Beyond; and That the term of office ends November 30, 2018 per the term of Parry Sound Council.

8.2 – 2018 Nomination of Mayor McGarvey for the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities’ (OSUM) Executive Committee – Term 2018-2020. Resolution. That Mayor McGarvey be nominated to the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities’ Executive Committee for the term 2018-2020.

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Town of Parry Sound/Parry Sound Area Planning Board. Resolution. That Council request the municipal members of the Parry Sound Area Planning Board for a Resolution supporting the Town’s intention to withdraw from the Parry Sound Area Planning Board.

9.2.1 – Staff 2018 Goal Plans Summary. Resolution. That the 2018 Staff Goal Plan Summary, attached as Schedule “A”, be approved.

9.5.1 – 2018 Municipal Assistance Program Allocation. Resolution. That Council approve the 2018 Municipal Assistance Program allocations per Schedule “A” attached.

By-laws

10.2.1 – West Parry Sound Joint Election Compliance Audit Committee Terms of Reference and Appointments. By-law. Being a by-law to authorize the establishment of the West Parry Sound Joint Election Compliance Audit Committee and to repeal By-law 2010-5489. Resolution. That subject to the approval by the five member Councils of the Township of McKellar, Municipality of McDougall, Township of The Archipelago, Township of Carling, and Township of Seguin, Parry Sound Council appoint the following people to the West Parry Sound Joint Election Compliance Audit Committee for the 2018-2022 term of Council: Peter Spadzinski, Sandy Eddington, Larry Simmons, Judy Keown (Alternate)

10.3.1 – Gas Tax Funding Agreement. By-law. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a Letter of Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Province of Ontario (as represented by the Minister of Transportation) and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound under the Dedicated Gas Tax Funds for the Public Transportation Program.

10.5.1 – Memorandum of Understanding – Parks & Recreation Ontario: Youth. By-law. Being a bylaw to authorize the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding between Parks & Recreation Ontario (on behalf of Play Works) and the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound under the Youth Action/Advisory Council Development project.

10.5.2 – Department of Canadian Heritage – Cultural Spaces Canada – Funding Agreement. By-law. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a funding agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage – Cultural Spaces Canada – for the Stockey Centre roof and siding renovations.