Repair/resurfacing of this stretch of Louisa Street. We know it’s a problem, note the rough road sign that actually means what it indicates. This is a stretch of road that is ideal for cyclists leaving town to avoid riding up Bowes Street. But this stretch, especially when heading downhill, is treacherous. It’s about 100 metres long, and perhaps can be budgeted for resurfacing in 2016 when we have a contractor in Town working on a bigger project.
Imagine you are starting on hike along the North Shore Rugged Trail. You park at the Smelter Wharf, walk around the salt pile, and head past the trail sign. Just as you come to the top of the rise you see a couple sitting on the rock, blocking your way in the middle of the path. As you approach closer the man turns, casually pointing a shotgun at you while still blocking the way. Seemingly unaware what he is doing you stop, and ask him to point the gun elsewhere. He gruffly says that there is no issue, the gun isn’t loaded. It seems obvious that you will need to find another way around. But you really don’t want to turn your back on anyone holding a gun, even if it isn’t loaded.
Now imagine that instead of a shotgun the couple have four mid to large sized dogs who run up and block your way, barking and growling. You ask them to take control of their dogs and they tell you not to worry, their dogs don’t bite, despite their current behaviour. What do you do? Start pushing through the dogs, risking a bite? Ask the people to control their dogs? Or turn around and try another path?
Well the second scenario happened to me this past weekend and the people with the dogs were indignant when I asked them to restrain their dogs. I suggested that they should have their dogs under control and preferably on leads. The man told me they were allowed to have their dogs off lead and to “go read the f***ing sign”. Eventually the woman grabbed the dogs and pulled them back so I could pass. He remained on his rear end bitching about the inconvenience. She was muttering about how the dogs just didn’t like me. Well I suspect that the woman was more embarrassed by the situation and her partner’s reaction than she wanted to let on and the dogs were picking up on her emotions, which made it worse.
Well that ruined a pleasant hike as I ran through the whole scenario in my head while hiking the trail. And then a couple of hundred metres ahead my route was blocked by another barking dog. In this case the owners came up and grabbed the dog apologizing for her behaviour. She was a German Shepherd, pretty much full sized, but obviously still a puppy.
It seems that nine out of tem times when I come across a dog off lead on the trail there is no issue. The dog walks by ignoring me, or runs up tail wagging looking for a pat on the head. I’m happy to accommodate them.
Dog owners don’t understand that everyone doesn’t see their pets as friendly and non threatening when they run up to people and start barking and growling. I grew up with large dogs and learned to be cautious with a strange dog, or even a familiar dog in a stressful situation. Put four dogs together as I faced while on the trail and you have a pack, and anything can happen. But of course the owners are not likely to be the ones getting bitten. Someone who is afraid of dogs would have been terrified.
I had a similar situation a year ago along the North Shore Rugged Trail. I was walking along the trail and a large dog came up running, barking, growling and blocking my way. I didn’t move. Eventually the owner, someone I knew, came along with the customary – oh she doesn’t bite. No apologies or promises to keep their dog under control. Just a suggestion that there was no need to be cautious. I dare anyone else to be in that situation and take a step forward or turn their back on the dog.
Despite what the owner of the four dogs said, dogs are required to be on lead when on the North Shore Rugged Trail. It’s on the fading sign. If you want to let your dog run, it’s okay with me, but have them under control.
It’s really not about dogs being off lead, it’s about common courtesy and taking responsibility for your actions and those of your pets. And that includes your dog’s poop.
Dogs can be as dangerous as a shotgun. It all depends on the owner. I hope people will not stop hiking the North Shore Rugged Trail to avoid a few bad actors. Perhaps bear spray is to be recommended. My sense is that soon enough someone is going to get bitten, but it’s not going to be me.
But it Was Still a Gorgeous Evening on the Trail (Parry Sound in Colour)
The North Star has featured a series of well written articles in the past month concerning the deliberations at Sequin Township Council regarding the option of creating and operating a municipal police force. Seguin is hopeful that other area municipalities, particularly the deep-pocketed municipalities of Carling Township and The Archipelago, will join with them to share and defray the start up and ongoing operational costs of a municipal police force. Seguin is looking to save at least 20% of their eventual Ontario Provincial Police bill. The area municipalities have yet to feel the full impact of the OPP cost changes because the Province has decided to phase the increases in over a five-year period.
Here are some things the Staff, Council and residents of the surrounding municipalities may wish to consider as they debate and decide on local policing.
OPP protection is less a service than it is insurance. The insurance includes competent and capable policing that acts to deter crime. It’s like home insurance. After paying home insurance for more than thirty years, with no claims, it would perhaps have made better sense to self-insure. I would have saved a bundle of money over the past three decades. But would I have had the necessary protection if there were a major fire, or a flood, or a burglary? Could I have qualified for a mortgage without insurance? The municipalities make the argument that they have only a limited number of calls for the police per year and the effective cost per call is too high. Well if you keep your calls for service down you will have lower costs in the long run because the costing is calculated on a per resident charge plus a call for service formula.
Get over the sticker shock. The surrounding municipalities have been living a subsidized existence when it comes to policing costs. This was the reason for the revised two part cost formula implemented by the Province, a, a basic cost per residence (insurance cost) and a cost per incident (service cost). It’s like a service contract on a furnace where you pay a flat fee per year and that gets you a free cleaning, but you pay a deductible if you have a furnace problem and need extra service. The municipalities will still be paying less than that charged to the ‘lawless’ residents of Parry Sound with the new pricing model, and won’t have the ‘pleasure’ of OPP vehicles rushing through their towns to get to a neighbouring municipality.
Do-it-yourself may be more expensive. As expensive as it seems to establish a police force, it will cost even more to dissolve a police force. I have heard that the second happiest day of a boat owner’s life is the day they buy their boat. There are estimates that it will cost about $2 million to set up a municipal police force between the expenses for equipment and a new facility. That figure doesn’t seem to sit well with some members of Seguin Council and they think it’s too high. It’s not! I have yet to see a major project come in under budget. Budget for the $2 million, add in another 25% for unforeseen circumstances, and work like the devil to come in under budget. Don’t start with the thought that you can do it do it for even less. And remember, if you decide it doesn’t work the wind down costs would the same, or even more. Separation packages for police officers aren’t cheap, and specialized used equipment usually gets sold for 25 cents on the dollar.
Will the possible savings represent good value? That 20% savings Seguin is hoping for amounts to what, $250,000 or so annually? Yes that’s a big figure, and if your business model is to be the low cost, low service, municipality then you have a bit of a problem. So you will pay about $2 million upfront to perhaps save $250,000 per year. Hmm, that means an eight-year pay back not considering inflation. Add in even limited inflation and it gets to be ten years. Add in cost overruns and it more like twelve years. And if it doesn’t work out and you start getting the municipal police problems seen in too many small community police forces and you decide to wind it down. Ouch, ouch, ouch. But why not get a few of your neighbours to join in and share the pain, I means the savings?
Small police forces too often lead to big problems. An article in USA Today noted that small police forces don’t have the resources to provide qualified oversight, do proper training, and properly monitor performance. Read the article and don’t assume that Seguin is Mayberry and you will have Andy Griffith and Barney Fife running the show. Actually that might be a great example of the type of policing you will get, except this is real life, not a television script.
Someone needs to take responsibility. Do local councils really want the responsibility of managing a police force? In the case of Seguin, Carling and The Archipelago perhaps they have the time to keep a close eye on a police force in terms of costs and quality control. They don’t have much to worry about beyond road maintenance and making sure they don’t anger the seasonal residents by doing anything that might raise property taxes. Parry Sound Council has their hands full running a real town with real services in addition to managing services for the District. But hey, if the municipal policing thing really doesn’t work out the councillors can always choose to not run for reelection and let someone else clean up the mess.
I look forward to following the OPP deliberations at Seguin Township Council, and may even drop by for a couple of meetings. From what I have read things are starting to heat up. Why watch reality television, when you have council meetings? It’s not as scripted and there is no post production editing.
Handle With Care!
Well it seems to have been a light meeting, that was perhaps because too much went on behind closed doors. I note that the meeting minutes included two items, one of which – Item 7.3, I’m petty certain didn’t need to be behind closed doors. I’ve asked for an explanation on the thinking behind this type of secrecy.
The only surprises from reading the minutes, besides the closed session items, is that a couple of items were withdrawn. They are noted below.
Update/correction – I suggested in an earlier post that Metroland Media might have given the parry sound.ca domain to the Town. This is not the case. The domain parrysound.ca along with all similar community domains using the .ca suffix were set aside by the federal government when the .ca suffix was offered to the public.
4.1 – Letter – Glen Murray, Minister, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) Re: Thank you letter for the Town’s delegation at Ontario Good Roads Association Conference regarding the remediation of the Brownfield sites at the former Imperial Oil properties and the Waterfront Development Concept Plan. Circulated and Forwarded to CAO.
5.1 – Bernadette and Erick Phillis, residents of Seguin. Re: Lack of public transportation in Parry Sound. Withdrawn. I believe this is the second time it has been withdrawn.
5.3 – Howard Wesley. Re: Booth Street Park. This concerned the rehabilitation and upgrade to the park and is on the agenda as Item 9.1.1.
Ratification of Matters From Closed Agenda
7.2 – Response to the Notice of Surplus Lands from the Near North District School Board (William Beatty and Victory Schools). That an offer to bid on William Beatty School and Victory School from the Near North District School Board by the Town of Parry Sound, be declined. Carried.
7.3 – Town Dock – Small Craft Harbours – Engineering Inspection. That upon the recommendation of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, Council request Small Craft Harbours to fund an independent third party engineering review of the Town Dock. The review is to define ‘bringing the Dock up to standard’, along with a life cycle plan for all dock components. Carried. I wonder why this wasn’t an item for discussion and review at the open session of Council. It’s important that Council not be encouraged to start ‘hiding’ things behind closed doors. It’s a problem faced by many communities, let’s keep it out of Parry Sound. I’ll let you know what the Town provides as an explanation.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.1.1 – Booth St. Park Transformation. Resolution. That the proposed plan for the transformation of Booth St. Park as presented to Council at its May 5, 2015 meeting be approved. Carried.
9.4.1 – Parry Sound Beerfest: Noise By-law relief. Resolution. Withdrawn. That’s a surprise, this is a town that likes and appreciates beer. No mention is made on whether it will be added to a future meeting of Council.
9.4.2 – Joint Promotion/Marketing Plan – Former Shell Property. That upon the recommendation of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, Council direct staff to work with the owner of the former Shell property to develop a joint marketing/promotion plan in an effort to attract development to the site. Direction. Carried.
9.5.1 – EMS Operational Review. That as recommended by the EMS Advisory Committee the Evidence Based Review of System Planning & Deployment (Operational Review) by Performance Concepts be accepted by the Town of Parry Sound, as attached Schedule “A”. Resolution. Carried. Council also directed the Director of Emergency and Protective Services to engage effected stakeholders in implementing recommendation #2 of the report in the immediate future and that recommendations #1 and #3 be developed for consideration through the EMS Business Plan for 2016 implementation.
10.4.1 – FedNor Funding Agreement: Regional Marketing Plan. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a funding agreement with Industry Canada/FedNor for the development of a Regional Marketing Plan. Carried.
10.4.2 – Festival of the Sound: Lease Agreement/Stockey Centre. Being a By-law to authorize the execution of a lease agreement with the Festival of the Sound for the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts. Carried.
10.4.1 – By-law to Prohibit Smoking. Being a By-law to prohibit smoking in and within twenty (20) metres from any entrance or exit of a building owned or leased by the Town of Parry Sound and in or within 20 metres of any municipal outdoor public place as defined in Schedule A to this bylaw and to repeal Bylaw 2012-6087. Postponed. Council wants information on how ‘this went’ down in Huntsville before making a decision.
Remember, the full minutes are available at the Town’s website as is the meeting agenda without attachments. The complete meeting agenda package, with attachments, is available at this website through the TOPS Council Agendas page.
Rust Never Rests (Parry Sound in Glorious Colour)
Wednesday’s, May 6, 2015, issue of the North Star had an article concerning an early March railway accident at the Church Street crossing that I wondered would ever come to ‘light’. I’m glad it did, because too often ‘what happens at night, stays in the dark’. Here’s a link to the online article.
The report said that a load of rails, the kind used for railway tracks, loosened on a CP train while traveling through Parry Sound allowing one of them to ‘hang out’. As it crossed Church Street the rail caught a ‘utility’ pole and dropped it. Here’s a photo from the next morning.
Cut Off at the Knees (Parry Sound in Four Colour)
But what happened to the rail that was hanging out and cut off the pole? What else did it hit? That wasn’t elaborated on in the North Star article, and it’s one of those details that CP probably didn’t want to discuss. I understand that the train just continued on, the engineer and conductor unaware that the rail was hanging out. The clip of the pole probably would not have been noticeable from the lead engine.
Apparently the rail hit the trestle crossing Gibson Street and a section broke off, falling down on the street. Fortunately it was at night and no one was hurt. That probably solved the problem of the rail hitting anything else. The trestle crossing Gibson Street is pretty ‘tight’ and would have clipped the rail reasonably short. I have no idea when the crew became aware of the problem.
What might have happened had it been during the day and the rail had slipped out on the right hand side? For many reasons I’m glad that both schools are being moved away from the railway tracks.
Sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you.
Anyone else noticing that the southbound trains seem to have picked up speed in the last week along the CN track? I understand legislation will be enacted this Fall that will increase the safety requirements of the railways operating in Canada. Stronger tankers and slower speeds are part of the legislation.
Is This ‘Rail’ Line Dancing? (Parry Sound in Motion)
I read with interest the CBC article by Neil Mcdonald titled – “Ferguson’s predatory police are not the only ones”. It’s worth a read and underlies the premise of this post. Here’s a link to the article on the CBC website.
His article discusses the US Federal Government’s report on the very serious misuse of police powers in Ferguson, Missouri. The report suggests the local police were more interested in creating revenue from ticketing and fines, presumably to validate their jobs, than protecting the public. Neil Macdonald suggests that Ferguson is not the only community to face this type of police behaviour. The article notes that, “A law-abiding, mentally impaired employee of a local convenience store — a black man — was such an easy target that he was arrested 258 times in four years, often dragged out of his bedroom in the back of the establishment.” Note the words – law abiding.
So with the objective of saving money the surrounding municipalities are looking at creating a local police force that would be accountable to the local councils and staff. What would be their accountability? How would they be supervised and monitored? Would the police force be asked to create enough revenue to offset a portion of their costs? Might policing become a net profit centre? Those tourists seem like easy pickings, sort of like Canadians driving through Georgia for their winter vacation in Florida.
Yes, I know this is Canada and we don’t behave like those morally suspect capitalist Americans. We would never allow a similar situation. Or would we? Have local police forces across Canada ever focused their attention on revenue generating issues rather than protecting the public? All members of the public? There are how many missing Aboriginal women in Canada that it seems neither the politicians nor the police want to find or investigate their disappearance.
I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. A former Parry Sound resident who grew up in town, and was in high school in the 70’s, told me that he often wondered when the local police officer approached a group of students whether he was looking to bust, or looking to sell. This was a time when Parry Sound had its own police force, and I’m told there were some very serious conflicts of interest. The Town with time eliminated the police force and brought in the OPP. Yes, this was a high school student who perhaps bought into the local gossip about the local police. But perhaps it wasn’t gossip, perhaps it was fact. Regardless, a police force that does not have the trust of the people they are tasked to protect is unable to do their job. If you can’t trust the police are you likely to ever cooperate with them?
Are the OPP perfect? No, there are too many individuals with borderline personality disorders who are attracted to policing because of the discretionary power it provides them. But there is a system, a province wide system, in place to monitor and weed out those who either don’t fulfill their roles, or who abuse the system and the people. It’s much harder to do if you have a police force that is managed by individuals who have no experience doing this, and who may carry political or personal agendas.
So I wish the local communities luck with their plans to implement local policing. It can be done, it can be successful, but great care needs to be taken that rot doesn’t set it.
Ferguson seems to have rotted right to the core, police, staff and probably the politicians. But hey, that’s there not here. We’re different aren’t we?
I’m happy to pay a bit more for policing and have it operated professionally. Not perfectly, professionally.
Cleaning Up! (Parry Sound, Night Crawling)
This week’s meeting of Council is very light. I’ll be there to listen to the deputations but expect the meeting will be over by 8:30 at the very latest, perhaps even before 8:00.
5.1 – Iain Flemming, Festival of the Sound. Contributions of the Festival of the Sound to the Town of Parry Sound. I understand there have been some changes at the Festival in the last couple of months. It will be interesting to hear what has been going on and what is planned.
5.2 – Anne Bossart. Update on activities at Tower Hill Heritage Garden.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.2.1 – Winter Access to William Street. Resolution. This is a follow up to the request from the last meeting of Council to provide and maintain pedestrian access across William Street in the area of Isabella Street. The recommendation is to not provide this access until there is a sidewalk. The issue is safety of people using the crossing and then walking along the side of the street. Sidewalks will probably be a 2016 budget item. They may also be included in the Wiliam Street renovations, Item 10.2.1.
9.2.2 – Pre-budget Approval – Replacement of 2004 7-Ton Truck. Resolution. A head start on the 2016 budget. This resolution requests Council to commit to a $100,000 expense for 2016 to pay for half of the truck, with delivery in January 2016. The first half, $100,00, was budgeted in 2015. The drop in the Canadian dollar is going to make this type of purchase much more expensive for the near future at least. The Town dodged a bullet, a $200,000 bullet I estimate, when they purchased the Ladder Truck last year before the drop of the dollar.
10.2.1 – OCIF Funding Contribution Agreement – William Street. The Town will be receiving $2 million in provincial funding to support the ‘renovation’ of William Street between Mill Lake Road and Annie Street including water mains, sewers, sidewalk and bicycle path. The cost to the Town will be about $800,000 in addition to the provincial grant.
There is more of course more, but not anything that I think worth highlighting. The full agenda is available at the Town’s website.
Bridge Over the River Seguin (Parry Sound, Night Crawling)
Or are they? A train passed as I started this post and nothing in the past hour or so.
I hope you enjoyed the quiet little town we have had for the last three days. Nothing like a derailment and an engineer strike to cut back on the rail traffic through Parry Sound. I saw a train carrying rails heading north on Monday, likely to repair damage caused by the the derailment south of Timmins over the weekend.
So expect a little more noise and additional traffic backups on the rail crossings as the backed up traffic needs to be pushed through.
It has been a bad week, month, year, decade and new century for the rail industry. They just don’t seem able to keep their trains from running off the tracks. But on a positive side the railways have their business on track with profits booming (I guess that isn’t a word I should be using when discussing railways), and the railway executives being very well compensated for using their ‘given rights’ to ‘run over’ the Canadian public.
Here’s a link to a concise summary of the many accidents the train industry has seen over the past few years.
All Quiet on the Southbound Track. (Parry Sound in Black & White)
As expected the meeting was reasonably short with no major issues debated or deferred. One interesting last-minute addition to the agenda, Item 9.6.1, put forward by Councillors Horne and Saulnier, was a request for a concerted effort on the part of the Town to relocate government operations from the waterfront and use the land for commercial and tourism related activities. An interesting initiative that may well define what Council accomplishes this term beyond the usual management of streets, water and buildings.
An important issue raised in the questions of Staff concerned the assessments of the ‘big box’ stores in Parry Sound, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Home Depot and the Comfort Inn. These companies have appealed to MPAC regarding their assessments on a province-wide basis. They are looking to have their assessments reduced going back to 2010. Apparently the situation is close to settlement with Wal-Mart and it may cost the Town on the order of $200,000 for the years 2010-2014, with the loss of perhaps $50,000 in tax revenue annually going forward. Add in the other three corporations appealing their assessments and we have the potential for a significant loss in annual tax revenues for the Town, not to mention tax refunds for the years 2010 to 2014. This will impact the 2015 budget and all others going forward. This is why you don’t dip into the Tax Stabilization fund to pay for an election year tax break.
It also appears that there will be no great tax break for Parry Sound related to the OPP cost restructuring, at least not in 2015. Because of the 5-year phase in of increases and reductions to individual communities the reduction to Parry Sound in 2015 will be offset by increased Courthouse policing costs.
Concerning the agenda items:
2.1.1 – Application B/5/2014(PS). It is proposed to be rezoned from a Marine Residential (RM) zone to a Marine Residential holding (RM-h) zone. This does concern the landlocked property across Emily Street from the recently constructed Habitat for Humanity home. There was one speaker in support of the addition of a holding designation and none in opposition. Council will decide on this and announce a final decision in the weeks to come.
4.1 – Letter. Fluoridation of the Town’s Water Supply. Noted.
4.2 – Belvedere Heights’ 2015 Operating Levy. Noted.
4.4 – Letter. High Water Levels on Lake Manitouwabing. Noted.
5.1 – Perry Harris, CEO, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Proposed Designated Information Centre, Year in Review. The presentation was well received and the request will be considered as part of the 2015 budget deliberations.
5.2 – Tony Romanelli, RCC Media Re: Digital Billboard on the CN Train Bridge crossing Bowes Street. Did not appear, so no action. I have sent a letter with my concerns about the proposal to Council, linked here. The letter was noted as part of the correspondence portion of the meeting.
5.3 – Petition to construct sidewalks to the new elementary school. The deputation was well received and will be included in the 2015 budget discussion. A question was asked whether the Separate School Board had been contacted as well.
8.1 – Support of Funding Request from Near North District School Board to Ministry of Education regarding joint school campus in Parry Sound. CARRIED.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.3.1 – Resolution. Stockey Centre Catering Service Agreement. WITHDRAWN.
9.5.1 – Direction. Strategic Planning Ad-hoc Committee be established to develop an outline to develop the 2015-19. The Plan is based on a similar format to that undertaken in 2011 and submit the outline to Council February 3rd for approval. CARRIED.
9.6.1 – Relocation of government offices from Parry Sound waterfront area. This was a last minute addition with no documentation. In brief, Councillors Saulnier and Horne are suggesting that the OPP and Service Ontario move to the Mall, the MNR move to the Coast Guard Base and Imperial Oil and Shell make their properties available for development. Their enthusiasm was palpable and is built on the experience of other municipalities that have revitalized their waterfronts.
10.1.1 – By-law. To appoint a Treasurer for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. CARRIED.
10.1.2 – 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. CARRIED.
10.1.3 – By-law. To approve an Investment Policy for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. CARRIED.
10.1.4 – By-law to define the purchasing policies and procedures for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. CARRIED.
Being Watched? (Parry Sound in Black & White)
Tonight’s agenda weighs heavier on the deputation end of things than usual. Most of the items before Council seem related to updating policies and procedures. I’m glad to see the Town is working on issues that may not be urgent but are still important.
2.1.1 – Application B/5/2014(PS). It is proposed to be rezoned from a Marine Residential (RM) zone to a Marine Residential holding (RM-h) zone. It’s hard to figure out from the attached documentation but it appears to be the property across Emily from the recently constructed Habitat for Humanity home, back a hundred feet that doesn’t seem to have access to a public road. It seems the Town is putting additional restrictions on the property rather than loosening them perhaps to permit the owners to sell the property. There is no information in the council package regarding the nature of the holding provision. Additional information may be provided at the meeting.
4.1 – Letter. Fluoridation of the Town’s Water Supply. This letter expresses concern about the addition of fluoride to the Town’s water supply. A couple of thoughts; the difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose, what can heal can also kill if taken in excess. People may be surprised where raw materials for products that are consumed by humans are sourced. A regularly prescribed hormonal supplement for the treatment of post menopausal symptoms is still sourced from the urine of pregnant mares. I expect the Town will look into the available evidence concerning the benefits and risks of public water fluoridation and return with a reasoned response.
4.2 – Belvedere Heights’ 2015 Operating Levy. No surprises here, but it’s interesting to see the relative municipality assessments. Parry Sound is in the fourth spot with $777 million of assessment behind Seguin with $2.9 billion, Archipelago with $1.8 billion and Carling with $870 million. Got to love those high end seasonal residences, don’t call them cottages. Too bad they don’t like to pay for infrastructure, not even the high speed internet they are ‘pining’ for. Perhaps they can get taxpayers from the Province and the rest of Canada to subsidize their ‘need for speed’.
4.4 – Letter. High Water Levels on Lake Manitouwabing.
5.1 – Perry Harris, CEO, Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce. Proposed Designated Information Centre, Year in Review. This includes a pitch requesting financial support for the Chamber’s tourism initiative in the Town’s 2015 budget to fill the gap left when the Travel Centre at the 400 was closed a year ago.
5.2 – Tony Romanelli, RCC Media Re: Digital Billboard on the CN Train Bridge crossing Bowes Street. I am concerned that this puts commerce ahead of safety and common sense. My letter to Council is linked here. We have had three traffic related deaths in the Town in the past decade, let’s not create a situation that adds to the number.
5.3 – Petition to construct sidewalks to the new elementary school. Makes sense, let’s keep the kids safe if we are requiring them to walk to school. Shouldn’t this expense be shared with the School Board?
8.1 – Support of Funding Request from Near North District School Board to Ministry of Education regarding joint school campus in Parry Sound. Parry Sound is joining the McDougall initiative in this matter.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
9.3.1 – Resolution. Stockey Centre Catering Service Agreement. Staff is suggesting the Town contract with a new caterer as the current contract holder has decided not to apply for renewal.
9.5.1 – Direction. Strategic Planning Ad-hoc Committee be established to develop an outline to develop the 2015 – 19. The Plan is based on a similar format to that undertaken in 2011 and submit the outline to Council February 3rd for approval.
10.1.1 – By-law. To appoint a Treasurer for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound.
10.1.2 – 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.
10.1.3 – By-law. To approve an Investment Policy for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. This is a bigger issue that is well described in the council package. The proposal is that the Town invest in conservative financial instruments that are not simple interest bearing accounts.
10.1.4 – By-law to define the purchasing policies and procedures for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound. This is a large document that defines and refines the Town’s purchasing and contracting policies. A necessary read if you are a current or future supplier.
I will be at the meeting tonight to attend the open meeting and listen to the deputations and Councillor reports. The rest of the agenda seems to offer the prospect of providing little more than what is in the council package.
The Way It Was – Before the Freeze (Parry Sound in Black & White)