Assiginack Council Notes

Burns Wharf delegation

Assiginack council received another delegation from the Burns Wharf Theatre Players (BWTP) at the April 21 regular council meeting. Peter Baumgarten of the BWTP started off by asking council a set of questions.

“We understand that at present the renovations to Burns Wharf are not a priority for the Municipality of Assiginack,” he began. “Should we be able to raise enough money to cover the complete cost of the required upgrades to the building, can council guarantee that those renovations would take place, even if several years of fundraising is required?”

Council said it had no problem with this request.

Mr. Baumgarten said that given that the actual work that is required to upgrade the building, “the BWTP committee feels that the architect’s estimate is inflated. Would council approve a consultation with local building contractors to provide estimates based on current and local materials and labour?” Council responded that it did not have a problem with this, but asked that the BWTP take this on themselves, with council’s blessing.

“In order to reduce the overall cost of the upgrades, will council allow for volunteer labour once the project begins?” Mr. Baumgarten next asked. “All labour would be subject to inspection in order to ensure that the building codes are met. And would such volunteer labour be covered under the present insurance policy of the township?”

Council said that it would be up to the contractor and that, currently, volunteer labour is not covered under the township’s insurance policy. However, clerk Jeremy Rody said that the policy was up for renewal and that he would look into seeing if it could be added and report back to council on the costs involved.

Elwood Wohlberg, also representing the BWTP, put council on the hot seat and asked why the municipality had not yet had project and events coordinator Jackie White seeking out funds for work to be done on the Burns Wharf.

“I have to be directed by council and I have not been directed by council to do so,” she responded, through council. “In research and reading, the more the community embraces the ideas financially, the more the funding agencies will like it.”

Marilyn Wohlberg of the BWTP encouraged the municipality “to get those applications rolling—we’ve got nothing to lose.”

“I would suggest to you that once you start your fundraising then council could get on the back of it,” Reeve Paul Moffat said, adding that Ms. White has been doing funding research, but not making applications (for this project).

“We will cooperate as much as we can, Marilyn,” the reeve added.

More money saving ideas by Phil Blake

Council also received a delegation from Phil Blake who has taken the task on of seeking out ways to save Assiginack taxpayers money in terms of their water bills.

“I looked at the preliminary budget and I have a few suggestions,” he began. “It’s a budget with no incentive,” Mr. Blake added, noting that the projected municipal hydro amounts show no goal to reduce or maintain last year’s figures. “Right now, you’re averaging $5,000 a month which will mean $60,000 a year—that’s $10,000 over budget.”

Mr. Blake gave council further suggestions, including a company that installs wind turbines to run the high energy lagoons and which could save the municipality thousands and thousands of dollars each year. Through this research he found that the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) has utilized this technology at least one of its sites and endorsed it on the company’s webpage.

“Why is it me telling you these things and not OCWA when we’re paying them $250,000 a year?” he asked. “We need to put pressure on OCWA.”

Council thanked Mr. Blake for his hard work and research.

EdCamp turnaround

Following an initial tabling of discussion on a donation to EdCamp Manitoulin, council came back to the subject with the denial of a $100 donation.

Reeve Moffat noted the presentation on ‘Education in the 21st Century’ that had been brought to council during a fall council meeting, led by Assiginack’s Public School’s own Heather Pennie, adding that education is vibrant in the municipality. “And here we have something happening right here in Assiginack,” he said.

Following his moving speech, council reversed its decision and passed a resolution to donate to EdCamp Manitoulin.

Policing costs on the rise

Assiginack council received a billing statement adjustment for its 2015 Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) policing costs.

The 2014 reconciliation results, plus the 2015 adjustment for Assiginack, means an additional $11,496 in cost of services.

Cheque register

Council approved the accounts for payment, general, $201,364.14, and payroll, $15,841.09.

Council supports Madawaska Valley

Council reviewed a motion from the Township of Madawaska Valley regarding the high costs of hydro, urging the province to give relief to rural residents and calling on the premier to reduce rates.

Policy establishment

Council passed Bylaw 15-10 to amend Bylaw 06-03 “to establish policies under a municipal code” by adding the following policies: Veteran’s Wall of Honour Photograph Display Policy; Marriage Solemnization Policy; Charitable Donations – Tax Receipts Policy; Security Video Surveillance System Use Policy; and Email Privacy Policy.

Council also passed Bylaw 15-11, amending Bylaw 06-03, adding an Employee Responsibility Policy.