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.

 

 

Wasauksing Swing Bridge Update

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The letter pasted below was passed on to me a couple of days ago. It may be of interest to some of you. It is not a confidential document as it was sent to a large number of recipients in the area who have expressed an interest in the issue. To protect their privacy I have ‘whited out’ their addresses.

It seems that if you have an interest or opinion in the matter you are invited to provide comments to the referenced Transport Canada office. (Click on the letter below to see a larger version.)

Here is a link to the report referenced in the letter.

Council Agenda Preview – February 20, 2018

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There seems to be little of importance on the agenda beyond 2.1.1/10.2.1, whether the matter of fluoridation should be on the 2018 ballot. It seems that Council promised a vote would be held when they chose to remove fluoride from the municipal water system at the request of a vocal community group.

Selected agenda items are noted below.

Closed Session Agenda Items

d) labour relations or employee negotiations. (Performance Review-Director of Public Works)
j) educating or training council members and no member shall discuss or deal with any matter in a way that materially advances the business of the Council (Parry Sound Area Municipal Airport Update)

Public Meeting

2.1.1 – Council will hold a public meeting to consider comments from the public regarding the placement of the following question on the ballot for the 2018 Municipal Election per the Fluoridation Act, R.S.O. 1990: Are you in favour of the fluoridation of the public water supply of this municipality? Council will hear from the pubic regarding the placement of the question on the ballot. This is not a forum to debate the issue of fluoride in the public drinking water supply.

Correspondence

4.2 – Lauren Scott. Correspondence about the dangers of a 5G system.

Deputations

5.1 – Simon Blakely, Employment Officer, Professions North*Nord (PNN). Presentation of PNN’s services and programs

5.2 – Lynn Middaugh, Director of Development and Leisure Services, Parry Sound. The Ontario Business Case for Cruising the Great Lakes, by Cruise Ship Industry Group (CSIG)

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 post for the public the updated draft procedural By-law that governs the meetings of Council and Committees per Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act (MOMLA), which introduced a series of reforms to the Municipal Act, Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and City of Toronto Act affecting Parry Sound’s procedural by-law.

9.3.1 – Approve Signing Authorities. Resolution. Whereas the Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound approved Resolutions 2014-030 and 2014-228 approving signing authority and credit card authority to Members of Council and certain members of staff; and Whereas there are no changes to the position or authority levels at this time; and Whereas there has been a change in the Director of Finance and POA Court Servicesposition;
Now therefore be it resolved that Resolution 2014-030 be amended to remove Trevor Pinn, Director of Finance and POA Court Services as a signing authority; and Further that Kim Chen, Director of Finance and POA Court Services be added as a signing authority.

By-laws

10.2.1 – Fluoride Question on the Ballot-2018 Municipal Election. By-law 2018 – 6802. Being a bylaw to submit a Question to the Electors on the 2018 Election Municipal Ballot.

10.2.2 – Appointment of Treasurer. By-law 2018 – 6803. Being a By-law to appoint a Treasurer for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound and to repeal by-law 2017-6786.

10.5.1 – Department of Canadian Heritage – Cultural Spaces Canada – Funding Agreement. By-law 2018 – 6804. 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 specialized equipment for the performance hall.

 

Wet Dreams? Part 4

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It was about a month ago that a CBC article arrived in my news feed. It said that one third of Canadians live paycheck to paycheck. It stunned me, although I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think that Parry Sound has any reason to believe that its residents are any better off.

A Thought Experiment

Let’s take a family in Parry Sound with two children. Let’s assume that they rent and pay $1,000 per month not including utilities. That’s not an unreasonable estimate for an apartment big enough for two or three children. Rent represents a large portion of their disposable income. Let’s also assume that a pool is built in a multi-municipal partnership and as a result Parry Sound taxes go up by 2%, a best-case scenario. That means the landlord’s taxes will go up and be passed on to tenants. Let’s assume it’s a simple 1% rent increase to cover the cost of the tax increase. A landlord has more than taxes as part of expenses. This family now is paying another $10 per month or $120 per year to support a municipal pool. If they want to use the pool they need to find another $1,000, or a month’s rent, to pay for a family membership at the pool. Can they swing this? Not if they are living paycheck to paycheck.

A Pool for Exactly Who?

Exactly who is a municipal pool intended to serve? Well, it will obviously only serve those who want to swim and have the resources to get to the pool. That’s not everyone and it may not even be a majority of residents. A pool will also serve only those who can afford a pool membership. That further shrinks the ‘pool’ of users. Everyone else will be helping to subsidize the pool for those who want to swim recreationally or competitively, are able to access it, and can afford it.

Actually, it will be only a tiny minority of people who use the pool. Any pool will operate much like a commercial gym. Gyms price their memberships to entice people to buy in, realizing that it will only be a small percentage who actually use it regularly. Most gyms are unable to properly serve all of the people who have paid for a membership if they were to show up regularly. The net/net is that the gym owner makes a profit and the people who actually use the facility are paying less than they really should because of the effective subsidy of others. In this case of a pool all taxpayers are being asked to cover the cost for what will be used by only a few. According to StatCan there are 16,000 people living in the municipalities considering participating in a pool. How many of these can you fit into a pool at one time? Or in one week?

Don’t believe or like this line of thinking? Here is a link to an article in the Washington Post that discusses the business of gym memberships. They note that one gym has 6,000 total members but only capacity for 300. That sounds about right for a pool, but with a 16,000 to 300 ratio.

All-Star Game – Magic Johnson to Darryl Dawkins for a Dunk

There is the point being made that a pool would help with the recruitment of medical professionals to the West Parry Sound Health Centre (WPSHC). That opinion was made clear a couple of years ago when the CEO of the WPSHC made a presentation of Parry Sound Town Council. After the presentation the Parry Sound CAO soft lobbed a question to the CEO asking if a pool would assist with recruitment. Like a Magic Johnson pass to Darryl Dawkins at an All-Star game, the CEO grabbed the alley oop and not only slammed it home, he broke the backboard. Beautiful. And like any All-Star Game it really didn’t make any difference.  A pool can make a difference in recruitment, but ….

Is it enough? Can a pool really make a difference? It’s an 11-million, or even 20-million-dollar bet.

Talking to others I have come to understand that perhaps the biggest reason recruitment is an issue may not be the lack of the pool, but the lack of good opportunity for two career families. Heck, it’s a problem for all families thinking of moving to the Parry Sound area, not just physicians. A physician may be married to a lawyer, or a chartered accountant, or an engineer, or a biologist, or a management consultant, or …. How easy is it for both adults to find good career advancing jobs in the Greater Parry Sound Area?

There is also the issue of educational resources. You have seen the local academic scores. Health professionals are presumably competitive academically, and probably want the best learning environment for their children. That means children learning in an environment where it is not only the teachers that challenge them, but also other students with similar goals and advantages. Do we have magnet schools for the musically or scientifically gifted? Rosseau Lake College is excellent, but as a private school has its own set of pros and cons for a parent to consider.

It’s perhaps better for physicians or top medical professionals to work in an urban centre and provide their families with all of the available benefits and cottage in the Greater Parry Sound Area. Win-win. Weekdays, a vibrant multicultural urban centre, access to educational resources, a local church, synagogue or mosque, and of course a pool and much, much more. Weekends, the relaxation and connection to nature on a lake or river in the West Parry Sound area.

Perhaps that too negative. It’s possible that a pool can help with medical professional and executive recruitment, but it needs to be part of a larger recruitment plan. Let’s see the plan.

It All About Access

How do we make a case for a pool recognizing that at this point it is largely the pet project of a relatively limited number of folks wealthy enough to take advantage of it?

The answer in my opinion is to make it accessible to children, through a school program. That doesn’t necessarily mean attaching it to the new ‘super school’. I understand that there is no room, and more importantly no budget. That’s okay. If we want the pool to be part of the community, we need to introduce children to it. Even if they only get a dozen dips in a school year it is an important experience that might have lifelong implications, and one they would not have been able to enjoy otherwise. There may be a future Olympian waiting to have their potential revealed.

That family who saw their rent go up $120 per year because of a new pool might be okay with the increase if their children we able to use the pool without any additional charge.

Lessons of the Bobby Orr Community Centre

Let’s not use the Bobby Orr Community Centre model as a template for a municipal pool. At this point the taxpayers of Parry Sounds subsidize the BOCC to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars per year. Beyond its use for meetings as well as community and private events the BOCC is primarily used as an ice rink. But as an ice rink its use is pretty much limited to organizations who pay for ice time. The organizations who pay for ice time play an important role in subsidizing the BOCC expenses and are given top priority in terms of ice time assignment. This results in other taxpayers, casual skaters, having very limited use of the facility, sometimes depending on the Mayor or Tim Hortons to cover the cost of a free skating period. People do have access to free skating at the Kinsmen Park, but that depends on the weather and the contribution of volunteers. Let’s not hope that a municipal pool would, like the Bobby Orr Community Centre, be limited to those who pay a premium or participate in programmed content while all others are relegated to Waubuno Beach, and subject to season and weather.

If a pool is a municipal resource that is subsidized by the taxpayer, the taxpayer needs to have access. A pool cannot become a resource that is reserved for those who can afford to pay more or are willing to participate in structured programs. Structured programs, swimming lessons and swim club, will be necessary, but shouldn’t preclude regular casual public access.

Concluding Comments and Suggestion

Building a pool for the right reasons and with the financial involvement of the neighbouring municipalities can make sense if it is done for the right reasons with a plan that encourages use by all. Or at the very least doesn’t create any artificial barriers.

How about we forgo any basic user fees and make it free to all municipal residents? Add in another $300,000 to the annual expense line that might come from user fees and spread the cost among the communities. You pay just a very little bit more in your taxes but that’s all it costs to access the pool unless you use the programming. That family with two kids could then afford to go for a Saturday morning swim in the middle of January.

There is an election coming up, let’s put it to the voters to decide. Let’s not leave the decision up to a few dozen individuals who raise enough fuss that they get their way. That has worked too well in the past, perhaps not to the benefit of the larger community. In Parry Sound the squeaky wheels, as long as there are enough of them, get the budget. Let’s remember the many folks who live paycheck to paycheck when we look at how tax money should be spent.

That’s it for me on this topic. I may chip in with some comments at some future point. I will be interested in watching how this initiative progresses. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

(Disclosure: I can afford my portion of any tax increase that is part of a joint municipal pool initiative. I can also afford a $1,000 per year pool membership.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

wet Dreams? Part 3

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Swimming in Numbers.

In the end it’s about the numbers. There is no question in my mind that there is no one against a pool, aquatic centre or athletic complex on the basis of its contribution to the community. There may have been people for and against the Walmart on principle and not numbers. And there were people for and against fluoridation, and the numbers didn’t really matter. In the case of a pool it’s all about the numbers at the council level.

Let’s start with some numbers. These numbers can be used to tell any number of stories, but we will focus on only a couple that are relevant to a municipal pool.

The numbers in the table above are derived from a few sources, notably StatCan, MPAC, and individual municipal budgets and tax rate bylaws. The Occupied Home figures from StatCan, basically tells you how many of the properties are not used seasonally, that is they are residents and not cottagers. The MPAC Values represent the property values in the various municipalities. To make things a little easier to digest I have normalized the figures with the Town of Parry Sound being set at 1. That means all of the properties in Seguin have about four times the values of those in Parry Sound. McKellar property values total about four fifths that of Parry Sound. Some of these numbers may be surprising. Tax rates are similarly expressed relative to those of Parry Sound. For example, a person in Parry Sound paying $2,000 of municipal tax on their property would pay $540 in Seguin for a property with a similar MPAC assessed property value, $740 in McKellar and $880 in McDougall. This does not include the education tax levy which is the same in each municipality. The education portion represents about 10% of my total tax bill in Parry Sound but would represent about 35% of the tax bill of someone in Seguin or the Archipelago. We pay exactly the same rate for education taxes, but it ‘hurts’ more in a relative sense in the other municipalities.

If this is the financial backdrop for a pool project, it’s important to understand the implications for each of the municipalities. I have a pretty good idea of the more important considerations in Parry Sound and will imagine some of the dynamics and concerns in the other municipalities. At this point Carling, McDougall and the Archipelago have expressed initial interest in a municipal pool project. McKellar has declined to participate. Seguin has not yet responded as far as a I know, and I believe Parry Sound has not committed but is likely to agree to participate in looking at the options.

Town of Parry Sound

Parry Sound Town Council is generally in favour of a pool if it can be done as part of an equitable long-term sharing agreement with the other municipalities. Going alone would increase the Town levied taxes by about 12% as mentioned in an earlier post, and these taxes are already four-times that of Seguin and the Archipelago.

The Town is likely to have other concerns that would need to be addressed in any agreement. It’s obvious the pool would need to be in Parry Sound, if only for access to a secure supply of treated water. None of the other communities would be able to provide this service and the cost of building and operating a treatment facility would make the pool project too expensive. But, the Town has concerns about losing a portion of its water treatment capacity to a project that will not generate revenue. Who pays for additional capacity if at a later date capacity equivalent to that used by the pool is required for development?

There is also the prospect of losing prime real estate to another project that will not generate property taxes. The Town now has more than two dozen facilities occupying prime real estate that don’t pay taxes. This includes churches as well as social service and medical service providers. These groups enhance the quality of life for Parry Sounders, but they also enhance the quality of life of those in the surrounding communities. These facilities make use of, and raise the cost of, tax subsidized services, increasing the load on tax payers of Parry Sound.

Would a consortium of municipalities be willing to give Parry Sound a credit on the tax assessed value of a municipal pool? Assuming an ‘assessed’ value of $11+ million for a pool would suggest that if it were a business or residential property it would pay about $150,000 in annual municipal taxes. Would the consortium be willing to credit the Town that amount against their contribution? Oh, oh, I hear the howls already!

For Parry Sound a pool is not that interesting unless acceptable terms were negotiated. What might be acceptable to Parry Sound might not be acceptable to its neighbours.

The Archipelago and Seguin

I am lumping these two together because they largely share the same interests, although they might not share the same ways of thinking.

Issue one is the tax payer. The majority of Seguin and Archipelago taxes are paid for by seasonal property owners. What they want is limited services and low taxes. They are paying two sets of taxes, one for their home in ‘Hogtown’, and another for their cottage in ‘God’s Country’. They don’t need a pool, they have one they are already paying for back home. These are informed folks who do not want to pay for anything more than is absolutely necessary to ensure a road to their cottage, and rules to prevent their neighbour from building a bigger dock or ‘bunkie’ than they have. And when it comes to roads they are already paying for that last ‘mile’ of driveway to access their ‘cottage’.

There are still folks in both municipalities who live, work, and contribute to the larger West Parry Sound community. In principle, they probably would like a pool, but not if it costs that much. It’s a bit different depending on whether you live in The Archipelago or Seguin. Archipelago residents really have only one choice where to go for shopping and services – Parry Sound. Sudbury, Huntsville and Bracebridge are a bit too far. For Seguinites it’s a bit more nuanced. Given the proximity of Huntsville and especially Bracebridge, it becomes a toss-up as to whether you drive to either one of those towns or Parry Sound. It may not even be a toss-up for those in Rosseau. Once you’re in Bracebridge for a pool you have more options in terms of their recreation centre and shopping. Pay more taxes for a pool in Parry Sound that you won’t use? The eastern Seguinites will probably say no. For those in Orrville a Parry Sound pool might be desirable, if they think they will use a pool. Not all will. The situation for Archipelagians is more obvious if they want a pool. That may be why they have expressed initial interest in a community pool discussion.

Both communities offer their seasonal residents the lowest taxes possible. These are the municipalities that boast multiple multimillion dollar properties. A quick look online revealed numerous, and I mean numerous, properties with valuations in excess of $5 million each in Seguin. That $5 million dollar ‘cottage’ would pay about $18,000 in Seguin taxes (not including education taxes). Raising their taxes 2% would mean an additional $360 in taxes. That might mean foregoing a couple less bottles of fine wine, probably very fine wine. When you make this type of money though, a dollar spent on something you really don’t want hurts more than you might imagine. And if it hurts they squeal. With a ward system they have ears to squeal into.

Carling and McKellar

I’m lumping these together to save words even though McKellar has declined participation. The situation these municipalities share is similar. Heading off to Sudbury or Muskoka for a pool is not really practical. At the same time, they both have more than two-thirds of their property value owned by seasonal residents and face the same issues discussed with regard to Seguin and the Archipelago.

The property values in both of these municipalities approach but don’t come consistently close to the stratified values of the Seguin and Archipelago properties. Seasonal residents of both municipalities are likely to pushback against any increase. Perhaps in anticipation of this McKellar’s council has already declared their lack of interest and retreated to their bunker.

McDougall

McDougall is much like Parry Sound in many ways, but not all. If you have driven along Big Sound Road you realize that there are a number of million dollar plus properties, just not the multimillion properties of Seguin and the Archipelago. Parry Sound does not have these types of properties, which may explain why the ‘rich folk’ who work in Parry Sound don’t live in Parry Sound. Taxes in McDougall are also the highest in the area, but still less than half of Parry Sound’s. It’s an easy ride from McDougall, at least the major population centre of Nobel, to Parry Sound for shopping and making use of a municipal pool.

Who Pays What?

This will certainly be a point of discussion and probably disagreement. Do you share expenses on the basis of permanent population, seasonal plus permanent population, private dwelling numbers, or MPAC assessment? I’m sure the lower tax municipalities, with higher assessment values and lower populations, would prefer a population-based sharing. Parry Sound would prefer an assessment-based allocation.

Both methods of allocation are currently being used. Belvedere Heights allocates municipal contributions on the basis of MPAC assessed property values. By this measure Parry Sound, The Archipelago, McDougall and McKellar all pay about the same, plus/minus $15,000. Carling pays about $40,000 more and Seguin pays about four-times as much. This is because Seguin in particular has a massive assessment base with all of those multimillion dollar ‘cottages’.

The Reginal Health Unit on the other hand allocates municipal contributions on the basis of the MPAC 2014 population count. This makes the Town of Parry Sound the largest contributor, while the Archipelago pays next to nothing. This makes sense as health services are delivered on a per person basis, although it is likely our ‘summer visitors’ and cottagers make considerable use of the hospital, albeit not so much the health unit services.

Playing Arbitrage

The situation with McKellar is interesting to think about. They have expressed no interest in a community pool, but could we deny McKellar residents the right to use the pool? Probably not. We would just need to charge a premium for those who want to use the pool but whose municipality doesn’t provide support. It’s a tricky situation. We are likely to have visitors interested in using a pool. Some will be tourists with no relation to the community and there will be others who are friends or family of area residents whose municipalities contribute to the pool. Charge too much and the Town looks like a money grabbing community, charge too little and it will make it cheaper for other municipalities and their residents to not participate in supporting the community pool. But then again, any additional revenue is probably ‘profit’. What is the additional cost of ten visitors compared to the corresponding dollars of non-resident income?

Let’s look at the McKellar situation as an example of what communities might want to think about. If McKellar were to participate in the pool they would probably be on the hook for about $85,000 per year (permanent population basis). That would raise their taxes by a bit less than 1.5%. On a property value basis, let’ assume that for a $250,000 property, not a high-end cottage, this would amount to an increase of about $18 per year. In exchange for this the resident could purchase an annual pool pass for let’s say $1,000. Also assume the non-resident rate is $1,400, a 40% premium. For that person having McKellar in the consortium is a big savings. It’s likely that it would be a break-even event for residents if they were only to use the pool twice a year and pay a resident as opposed to non-resident single visit rate.

What about McKellar as a whole. I would be surprised that if more than 30 pool memberships were sold to McKellar residents. That would bring in $30,000 of revenue as a ‘resident’. The non-resident rate would bring in $42,000, a difference of $12,000. That’s not close to the $85,000 it would cost McKellar to participate in the consortium. McKellar would be better off reimbursing pool users the $400 cost of a non-resident membership. It would raise taxes only a fraction of a percent if the amount couldn’t be found in petty cash.

That’s what arbitrage is all about, capturing profit by exploiting the difference between prices in different markets. In theory at least, it could work to the benefit of a community like McKellar to sit outside. It would be hard to refuse McKellar residents access to the pool because McKellar isn’t party to the pool partnership or charge them the appropriate premium to cover the real benefit they are receiving.

Final Thoughts

The numbers and the individual interests of municipalities are what will drive the decision. Understand the numbers and you can perhaps better anticipate and address concerns at your local municipal level.

There is also a social issue that needs to be addressed. A municipal pool is not like roads or health services that we all use in one way or another, even if we don’t have a car or never get sick. I’ll take a look at that in the next and final installment.

 

 

 

 

Council Agenda Preview – February 6, 2016

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As things start to heat up at Council I’m getting a little bit worried as explained below.

4.2 – This concerns the sewer flushing issues that has been the topic of previous letters but no public discussion, announcement or apparently any resolution.

9.2.2 – Why is money being put into a splashpad reserve fund without any public discussion? While I think a splashpad has merit, I don’t think it is at the point of having funds allocated to it. Council should be willing to open a reserve fund and put in a dollar if they want to indicate their support in the absence of a proper budget discussion and agreement. Putting the suggested $40,000 into the reserve without requesting other proposals for park and recreation type installations or programs is shortsighted and perhaps suggesting some sort of favouritism. I’m still a bit miffed about the decision to install the ‘musical garden’ on the Rotary Algonquin Regiment Fitness Trail at a price of $35,000 without any public discussion. I have played with the instruments, and it’s more than okay, but I am yet to see anyone else use it. Could these funds have been put to better use? We’ll never know. Staff and Council seem to treat the Parkland Reserve Fund as a ‘rainy day’ or ‘mad money’ fund. How about the Park inventory and plan we were promised a couple of years ago before going forward allocating parkland funds? (Yes, I do remember these things.) Reading the Staff recommendation, I note that this item is not a core service, it is not a goal, and it only indirectly relates to Council’s Strategic Priority. The enemy of the best is not the bad, it is the good.

I like, and in principle support, the idea of the splashpad. Let’s review and approve it appropriately. If a nod of support for the proposal is required let’s open the reserve and put in a $1,000, not $40,000.

9.5.1 – This one I think is just plain writing sloppiness. I certainly hope so. “That upon the direction of Mr. Bobby Orr, Council provide financial support”. So, Mr. Orr now directs how Town of Parry Sound Council spends our money? No, I’m sure that Mr. Orr merely supported, or recommended support for, Mr. Ideson’s participation at the Paralympics. His recommendation is as good as a direction given his substantial contributions to the Town and area, but I think he would be embarrassed by this language. Words really do matter, ask any lawyer.

Things seem to be getting a little bit loosey-goosey. I hope this is not a symptom of pre-retirement malaise. Eyes open Councillors. Staff may find it easier to recommend yes than no, especially if they don’t need to deal with the consequences of either.

Closed Agenda Items

  1. b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees. (AMO Board relations)
  2. c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land for municipal or local board purposes. (Big Sound Marina)
  3. d) labour relations or employee negotiations. (Union Grievances, Negotiation Mandate)
  4. f) the receiving of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose. (Union Grievances, Negotiation Mandate)

Correspondence

4.2 Richard and Marilyn Mooder, residents. Re: Feel their concerns have not been resolved.

4.4 Form letters from one group and citizens supporting a question on the ballot for municipal election to appoint an elected official to the citizen’s Ad Hoc Wellness and Pool Recreational Committee.
Gardens of Parry Sound – Russell Becker, 3 illegible signatures, Norma Romanelli, Gloria Young, June Carlton, Glenna Hoddy, Nancy Lock, E. Robinson, Dorothy Simpell, D. Stratton, Lois Moloney, Margaret Dunnigan, Lou McLeod, ? Marshall, Deana ? Vivian Moore, Dr. Victoria Smith, Jennifer (no last name), Chris George, Lise Henderson (resident), Valerie and Colin Cramp. Total of 24 letters

4.5 Chris McDonald, resident
Re: Splash Pad Reserve and Splash Pad Development Plans

Deputations

5.1 Tricia Bain, Facilitation & Planning Coordinator, Community Living Parry Sound Re: Community Ramp Project

5.2 Peter Istvan, Member, Citizens Ad-Hoc Wellness and Pool Recreational Committee. Re: Appointment of Council Member to become a member of this Committee

Resolutions and Direction to Staff

9.1.1 – Issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a 2019 Fire Truck Purchase instead of a Tender. Resolution. That the Council for the Town of Parry Sound waive the Purchasing Policy and direct staff to proceed with a Request for Proposal for the purchase of a Fire Truck to be delivered in 2019.

9.2.1 – Request to put a Question on the Municipal Ballot Re: Pool/Complex member Appointment. Resolution. Whereas Council received a letter of request from a citizens’ Ad Hoc Wellness and Pool/Complex Committee encouraging all seven West Parry Sound Municipalities to pass a by-law by March 1st, 2018 to include a wellness/pool related question on the ballot for the 2018 municipal election as follows:

I support my municipality in appointing an elected representative to a Recreation Complex Advisory Committee to investigate and determine the feasibility of a recreation wellness and pool complex in the Parry Sound area (Yes or No);

Therefore, Be It Resolved that Council for the Town of Parry Sound put a question on the ballot for the upcoming Municipal Election asking eligible voters to appoint an elected representative to a citizens’ Ad-Hoc Wellness and Pool Recreation Committee.

Resolution. Be It Resolved That Council for the Town of Parry Sound officially appoints Mayor Jamie McGarvey as a member of a citizens Ad Hoc Wellness and Pool Recreation Committee to investigate and determine the feasibility of a recreation wellness and pool complex in the Parry Sound Area.

9.2.2 – Splashpad Reserve Fund. Resolution. That a Splashpad Reserve Fund be established; and That $40,000 be transferred from the Municipal Property / Parkland Reserve Fund to the Splashpad Reserve Fund. Direction. That further contributions to the Splashpad Reserve Fund be considered as part of the 2019 Budget process and be dependent on the extent of community fundraising support at that time.

9.5.1 – Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Reserve Fund – Donation. Resolution. That upon the direction of Mr. Bobby Orr, Council provide financial support in the amount of $2,000 to Mark Ideson and his quest for Gold at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in March to be funded from the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame Reserve Fund.

9.5.2 – Open Grant Program. Resolution. That Council approve the 2018 Open Grant Program allocations per attached Schedule “A”.

9.5.3 – Bill 139 – Update. Resolution. That the February 6, 2018, Bill 139 Report and Recommendation, attached as Schedule “A”, be accepted by Council for information purposes.

By-laws

10.1.1 – Appointment Bylaw – Allison Kreuger – Municipal Law Enforcement Officer. By-law 2018 – 6796.
Being a bylaw to appoint Allison Kreuger as a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer.

10.3.1 – Temporary Borrowing Authorization. By-law 2018 – 6797. Being a by-law to authorize temporary borrowing to meet the current expenditures of the Town of Parry Sound until taxes are collected and other revenues are received.

10.3.2 – Ontario Regulation 284/09. That Council hereby adopts the compliance report for expenses excluded from the 2018 budget outlined in the staff report “Ontario Regulation 284/09”, attached as Schedule “A”, as a requirement of Ontario Regulation 284/09 passed under the Municipal Act, 2001, as amended.

10.3.3 – 2018 Budget. By-law 2018 – 6798. Being a By-law to Adopt the Operating and Capital Budget Estimated for the Year 2018.

10.3.4 – Tax Policies – Capping and New to Class/New Construction. By-law 2018 – 6799. Being a bylaw to specify our Tax Policies, including the claw back percentage, the capping threshold parameters, the minimum tax level for new to class / new construction and to exclude certain properties from the capping program for the year 2018.

10.3.5 – Tax ratios for 2018. By-law 2018 – 6800.Being a by-law to set Tax Ratios for Municipal purposes for the year 2018.