Assiginack Council Notes

Birch Street culverts to be replaced this summer

During its June 7 council meeting, council heard from Gary McKay of Tulloch Engineering regarding options for the replacement of the Birch Street culverts on Clover Valley Road.

Mr. MacKay said that he and township roads superintendent Ron Cooper viewed the culverts recently and found them to be in “very bad shape. The bottom is rotting due to corrosion and rust.” This, he explained, causes water to run around the perimeter of the culverts rather than through them, causing sinkholes, which then cause the road to collapse.

“There is no imminent danger, but I am worried about a pumper truck or emergency vehicle (crossing the culverts),” he told council. “I wouldn’t let it go until next spring.”

He said there are pluses and minuses for bridges. “They are expensive but have their place.”

Mr. Cooper explained that the culverts, at seven feet in diameter, run completely full of water in the spring and suggested that a move to eight foot culverts might be in order.

The cost ranges between $125,000 and $150,000 for new culverts, and up to $225,000 for a new bridge.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been contacted and Mr. MacKay was told that there is a fishery in that creek so the workable window for construction is between July 1 and the end of August. If construction does not take place in that window, Assiginack would need approval from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Assiginack would also need DFO approval if the municipality decided to change from culverts to a different structure.

Mr. MacKay suggested getting galvanized steel culverts with a polymer coating, which will last an additional 50 years over regular galvanized steel. The cost for this is $800 for one linear metre. The culverts are almost 21 metres in length.

The engineer also suggested a guard rail system as the Ministry of Transportation is now recommending this action be taken. Mr. Cooper suggested to council this wasn’t necessary.

“Good contractors can do this job without shutting traffic down, or at least to one lane,” Mr. MacKay continued. If not, traffic on that road could conceivably be closed for two weeks.

CAO Alton Hobbs asked Mr. MacKay if a guarantee of one lane closure during construction could be written into the specs of the tender. Mr. MacKay said it could and suggested mailing the tender as an invitation to a few “reputable” companies. Mr. Cooper said he would email him a list the following day, including Manitoulin contractors.

A motion was made by Councillor Brenda Reid, seconded by Councillor Leslie Fields, that the tendering process for the Birch Street culvert replacement commence.

Accounts for payment

Council passed a resolution to see staff pay the following accounts: general, $241,552.58; and payroll, $59,563.29.

Belgian waffles coming to Manitowaning

Council reviewed a letter from Tammy Reynolds regarding the opening of a Belgian waffle business in Manitowaning.

“We may be setting up at our property at 96 Queen Street intermittently through the summer and wanted to know if there were any bylaws or requirements for us to do so,” she wrote to council. “We have been in contact with the health board (unit) in Mindemoya and will be certified by them for operation.”

Council had no objection to the request.

New Museum Advisory Committee member

John Pennie has been appointed to the Assiginack Museum Advisory Committee.

Drinking water financial plan

Assiginack council passed a resolution to complete a financial plan for the municipality’s drinking water systems, as per government regulation.

They also passed a resolution to petition the government:

“And whereas the plan must be approved by resolution indicating that the water system is financially viable; and whereas this report is to be given to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and whereas we received our most recent report on March 15 and it indicated that our system is not financially sustainable; now therefore that we petition the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for direction as we cannot satisfy the regulation requirement regarding financial sustainability.”

Mr. Hobbs pointed to the Sudbury and District Health Unit minutes that contained a motion regarding the importance of fluoridated drinking water and referencing a private member’s bill to support mandatory fluoridation. He told council that he asked a representative of the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which maintains the water treatment plants, the cost of installing a fluoridation system and was told the cost would be $84,000 per plant (Manitowaning and Sunsite).

“The province has lost track of the fact that small municipalities cannot afford this,” Mr. Hobbs said.

Council passes alcohol policy

Council passed Bylaw 16-07, being a bylaw to amend Bylaw 14-02, with changes made specifically for the South East Manitoulin Lions Club Summerfest weekend. The exceptions to the alcohol policy are as follows: 1. A small self-contained mini pavilion may be erected near the baseball diamond. It will be served by Smart Serve-certified staff and will only be open during the baseball tournament and will not have direct access to the baseball diamond; 2. The Lions Club is permitted to serve alcoholic drinks in aluminum cans. Bottles must be retained in the serving area and the drink must be served in a plastic cup; and 3. The Lions Club is permitted to have at a minimum one Smart Serve certified staff at all times at each location where alcohol is sold.