Assiginack Council Notes

Tenders awarded for Birch Street culvert replacement.

Assiginack received five tenders for the Birch Street culvert replacement, which was awarded during a special meeting of council on July 8.

They were: C.C. Construction, $107,381.64; Cecchetto and Sons Limited, $247,882.45; Denis Gratton Construction, $163,782.20; Teranorth Construction and Engineering Limited, $154,024.65; and R.M. Belanger Limited, $157,787.55.

Council awarded the tender to C.C. Construction in the amount of $107,381.64, taxes included.

Donation of chairs

Councillor Hugh Moggy thanked the Owen Sound Transportation Company for the donation of 24 chairs from the Chi-Cheemaun ferry to the municipality.

“They’re a welcome addition,” said Mayor Paul Moffatt.

Bay Street bylaw

Council held a public comments section at its July 5 meeting regarding Bylaw 16-08 to restrict common law access and the passage of the public over a portion of Bay Street in Manitowaning.

The bylaw states that the portion of road shall be controlled by way of a gate “and access will be granted only to those whose property abuts the said portion of road.”

Anna Maria Peca, a seasonal resident with a cottage on Bay Street, whose property is one that abuts the road, shared her concerns with council.

Ms. Peca told council she requires the road to be open, otherwise she has no access to property. She noted her annoyance at the lack of communication between her and the municipality.

“I need to know what your plans are,” she addressed council.

Alton Hobbs, Assiginack CAO, stated that staff’s recommendation is to put a gate across Bay Street for the next few weeks, at least while swimming lessons are taking place. Ms. Peca would get a key for the gate. The other two recommendations on offer were: leave the situation as is or close Bay Street and provide access off of Lecourt Street to Ms. Peca’s summer residence.

Ms. Peca said that by staff changing the layout of the road in recent years, they have in turn made it more accessible to residents who are using it in greater numbers. “There’s also now erosion,” she said, citing environmental concerns.

Councillor Leslie Fields said her biggest concern is that people come and park behind the beach area where kids can run out into traffic, saying she finds it a “risky situation” when there are kids at play involved.

“You can’t put me into a position where I can’t access my property,” Ms. Peca declared.

“You’re a good public citizen and we don’t want to deny you access,” Councillor Fields said.

Ms. Peca questioned the liabilities involved with having a gated access and emergency vehicles trying to enter through when a key is needed.

Later in the meeting, council passed the bylaw to see the road limited by gate access. Councillor Moggy opposed the motion.

Affected landowners have the right to appeal council’s decision.

Parents’ Council requests funding

Council received a delegation from Mark Gibeault representing the Assiginack Public School Parents’ Council.

Mr. Gibeault noted that, at the beginning of the year, the School Parents’ Council went through a prioritization exercise on how to implement its goal of community incorporation at the school. The council began by purchasing 60 new chairs and a storage cart for them for use in the gym. The next project is the purchase of a motorized projection screen (with projector), also for the gymnasium.

The cost of the purchase is $4,500 with installation provided at no charge by the Rainbow District School Board. Mr. Gibeault asked that council consider chipping in with half the amount at $2,500.

It is their hope to have it installed by September.

Mayor Moffatt said it was unfortunate that they did not come to council before the budget was passed.

Mr. Hobbs suggested that council defer making a decision until the first meeting in August as they will know their financial situation after the awarding of contracts for municipal projects.

Councillor Moggy suggested that council might be able to find the funds.

Accounts for payment

Council passed the following accounts for payment: $158,142.04, general; and $18,887.66, payroll.

Lighting upgrade for post office

Council passed a resolution to upgrade the lighting at the Manitowaning post office.

Seniors Community Grant

Councillor Fields noted the seniors programming for the year, calling it “varied.”

Mayor Moffatt thanked Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, who was in attendance at the meeting of council, for expediting the grant of $3,000, the Seniors Community Grant Program, that funds the programming.

“You guys do all the work,” Mr. Mantha responded.

MPP dialogue

Council spent some time chatting with the MPP about various topics, beginning with the Norisle.

Mr. Mantha thanked the mayor for giving him a briefing earlier that day on the Norisle and its relationship with the municipality so he might be prepared should a government purse appear.

He noted the recent cabinet shuffle and spoke of a group that restores historical buildings. “I’m not sure a ship is in their purview,” Mr. Mantha said.

The MPP said he’d like to meet with the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society.

Council then began discussion on the municipality’s two water treatment plants and their unaffordability.

“We’re a small community, and a third of our people can’t afford their water bills—it’s going to bankrupt us,” Mayor Moffatt told the MPP.

Mr. Mantha said that every constituent’s door he goes to where this subject is discussed means a door slammed.

He told council he was going to suggest a private member’s bill that would see a province-wide average set that was fair. Small townships would then see the rest of the amount needed to cover their bills bolstered by the province. However, he said, it would not likely be successful because of the costs involved (the province doesn’t take kindly to bills that cost them money). Mr. Mantha noted that the Ontario Water Maintenance Association is also looking at a similar rate structure, flat across the province.

“Right now, there’s no magic answer,” he said.

Mayor Moffatt noted the number of residents in arrears and the obsolete equipment housed within their treatment plants.

Mr. Mantha acknowledged that he does hear from Assiginack ratepayers in his office, “and they’re angry.”

He added that municipalities are also being punished by the province for being good money managers. When they ask for help for things like repairs to their water treatment plants, if the municipality has reserves they are told to take from there or get a loan.

“Thank you for any help you can give us,” the mayor concluded.

Canada 150 funding

Council passed a resolution authorizing staff to apply for Canada 150 funding toward the construction of a new fire hall.