Assiginack Council Notes

Radar on Cardwell Street

After reviewing the December 2 minutes of Assiginack council, Councillor Leslie Fields informed council that she brought the proposition forward to the Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) of using the OPP’s radar sign (which posts drivers’ speeds on a large digital display) along the new and improved Cardwell Street.

CPAC members agreed with the councillor, but the radar will have to wait until the New Year when it is repaired.

Strategic Plan

Project and events coordinator Jackie White gave a presentation to council on the benefits of partnering with LAMBAC to create a strategic plan for council over the next four years of term.

“With a new council comes new ideas and a chance to do long-term planning to ensure Assiginack has a strong future while at the same time meeting the needs of the residents,” she said. “LAMBAC is within their mandate to offer municipalities guidance through strategic planning at no cost to the municipality. They will assist by preparing surveys, collecting data and then present their findings to council.”

Ms. White explained that LAMBAC would meet with council in the New Year, learn the goals of council, do research in the community and then come back to council with their findings to help council create a plan.

Council passed a motion to have Ms. White move ahead to contact LAMBAC.

Upcoming presentation

Ms. White pitched the idea of having Assiginack Public School Grade 7/8 teacher Heather Pennie give a presentation to council on ‘21st Century learning in Ontario.’

“School is not the same as when we were students,” the presentation description goes. “Times are changing and we now live in a highly technological world and our schools need to keep pace with our society. Students no longer need to focus on just the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic. We now need to teach our children the 4 Cs: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. This will help prepare our children for their future, not our past.”

Councillor Fields suggested the library board be invited to hear the discussion as well, with Ms. White agreeing.

McLean’s Park overhaul

Ms. White was pleased to report to council the recent presentation from RBC and its Learn to Play Project in the amount of $22,500. Assiginack had submitted a grant proposal for McLean’s Park titled ‘Hike, Bike, Ski and Snowshoe,’ asking for the funds to make the trails year-round accessible as well as adding features such as picnic tables, signage, bicycle stands and more.

Councillor Hugh Moggy thanked Ms. White for her work in securing the funds while Councillor Fields noted McLean’s Park’s current use for mountain bikers under the direction of Rob Mellan and Alec Anstice.

“It’s a real gem,” she added.

Accounts payable

Council approved accounts payable in the amount of $193,451.09, general, and $39,484.67, payroll.

Airport dilemma

Council reviewed a letter from Manitoulin East Municipal Airport Commission Chair Marcel Gauthier, outlining the commission’s concerns to Nav Canada on the impending administrative changes whereby the ongoing service costs associated with maintaining instrument flight rules approaches at smaller airports as the airports would be downloaded to the airport commission to pay. The airport itself does not have the resources, approximately $4,000 a year, to absorb the expenses. The same letter was sent and received by the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, the other partner in the municipal airport at Ten Mile Point.

School closure process to change

An email from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) regarding the Ministry of Education’s proposed new process for school closures explained that the Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines is changing, including a new role for municipal governments in the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) process. This is a shift away from the previous process which considered impact on school closures on community well-being and the local economy. The new model features a more exclusive focus on student achievement, reduction in the duration and number of pubic meetings required for the ARC process and provisions to consider school closings without an ARC, according to the letter from AMO.

Councillor Fields, a retired educator, questioned whether it was premature to send this notification. “It seems to me that some of this information should have come from the ministry, and not AMO,” she said.

Assiginack CAO Alton Hobbs said it was “incredibly poor timing” to send an information item such as this out before Christmas.

Councillor Moggy suggested that this be forwarded on to Rainbow District School Board trustee Larry Killens. All agreed.

Age-Friendly Community Planning

Council received notification from the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs regarding the Age-Friendly Community Planning Grant Program which is open to local governments and eligible community organizations and which provides funding to support strategic planning activities that make communities more age-friendly and helps seniors contribute to all aspects of life.

Applications are open until January 30, 2015.

“This seems like a perfect opportunity,” said Councillor Fields.

“I was glad to see this,” added Councillor Moggy.

Principal retiring

Council received a note from Assiginack Public School Principal Margaret Stringer, informing them of her plans to retire at the end of December.

Assiginack council agreed to send Ms. Stringer a letter of congratulations.

EMS Awards

Following review of the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board CAO’s Quarterly Activity Report, Councillor Fields acknowledged the Exemplary Service Medals received by Island paramedics Bonnie Smeltzer and Rudy Corbiere. The councilor asked that the municipality send a note of congratulations to each of the paramedics as they both work to service their community.

Bylaws

Bylaw 14-32 was passed, authorizing an agreement with the Queen in Right of Ontario as represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs under the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund Program, formula based component; and Bylaw 14-33, appointing members of council to various boards and committees: Assiginack Public Library Board, Les Fields and Brenda Reid; Hilly Grove Cemetery Board, Bob Case; Medical Clinic Board, Paul Moffat; CPAC, Hugh Moggy; POA Committee, Les Fields; Manitoulin Planning Board, Paul Moffat; Manitoulin East Airport Commission, Bob Case and Paul Moffat; Manitoulin Centennial Manor, Paul Moffat; Manitoulin Municipal Association, Paul Moffat (Hugh Moggy alternate). Reeve Paul Moffat is an ex-officio member of all communities.

Council also passed Bylaw 14-34, authorizing an agreement with Computrek for server monitoring, patch and backup management for the township’s computer systems. The cost is $199 per month, up $99 from the previous service provider.

Mr. Hobbs explained that the municipality’s ability to function is dependant on software, which would otherwise be unmanageable by in-house staff in the event of an emergency.