Assiginack Council Notes

Minor hockey recognized

Councillor Leslie Fields gave her commendation to the Manitowaning Minor Hockey Association “who just wrapped up a really good season,” noting the full parking lots each Sunday night.

“The people who organize that deserve so much credit for bringing them from one place in the fall to another level come the end of the season,” Councillor Fields added.

“It’s a testament to the work of volunteers,” Councillor Hugh Moggy added.

Budget meeting

Council met on February 27 to discuss their priorities for the 2017 budget.

Councillor Bob Case suggested that the Queen and Arthur Streets rehabilitation and resurfacing project should be the highest priority public works project, should necessary funding be secured.

Councillor Brenda Reid suggested the following projects for the 2017 budget: repaint and add shelving to the medical clinic basement; repair the entrance to the lower level of the library; engineering/design of a fire hall/public works garage; confirm sufficient arena drainage; review a list of roads to be resurfaced, surface treated, in need of gravel and ditching provided by public works; review the town equipment; move ahead with the landfill expansion; look for grants or reserve contributions for an ice resurfacer and the ice plant; review the museum budget; address the heating and sewer issues at the post office/BMO building; and review the financial statement of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor.

Councillor Hugh Moggy put forward the following for consideration: a zero increase to the tax rate, if possible; the marina to be staffed for the summer; lower debt levels; Old Mill siding repair or alternatives; Burns Wharf Theatre should be the primary project for grant opportunities; departmental reviews for operating budget efficiencies; leave the Manitoulin Road Superintendents’ Association; sidewalks; view the Manitowaning waterfront as an asset and as a priority.

Councillor Fields reminded council that: funds must be set aside to fund the Steamship Society lawsuit; that Canada’s 150 celebration will cost money, regardless of funding; “we need to stay ahead of road issues”; and that boat launches should be in good repair and usable at all times.

Mayor Paul Moffatt asked to focus on debt retirement and asked that council address the public works garage and fire hall.

“There was a general discussion on the need to demolish the ‘Mastin house’ once the property is vested in the Township’s name,” the minutes state. “It was agreed that we would not proceed with purchasing 53 Napier Street as it does not secure all of the necessary property for seniors housing and the ad hoc committee has not found a willing private sector partner.”

“There was a general discussion, with no resolution, on the Burns Wharf Theatre being the highest priority for funding application when other projects may be just as important or beneficial to the community,” the minutes continue.

OMAFRA RED program

Staff made an application to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Rural Economic Development (RED) program to conduct a branding study for the municipality.

“We expect the cost would be $25,000, leaving a municipal contribution of $12,500 and would require hiring a consultant,” explained Alton Hobbs, CAO, in a report to council. “The objective of the exercise would be the development of a municipal ‘brand.’ Identifying what people think of when they think of Assiginack. A branding study then allows staff to develop marketing strategies as we use these newly identified ‘brands’ to market ourselves to the greater public.”

Accounts for payment

Council approved the following accounts for payment: general, $45,558.49; and payroll, $18,054.64.

Assisted living care

Council received an informational handout from the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) for physicians regarding services offered which prompted much discussion on the lack of knowledge on what is available in terms of services on Manitoulin.

Mayor Moffatt noted that the Assiginack Family Health Team did not have a copy of the CCAC sheet.

“Doesn’t that say something,” Councillor Fields responded.

Mayor Moffatt suggested people don’t know the criteria for accessing assisted living, with councillors giving their thoughts on what assisted living means and what is available on Manitoulin.

The mayor noted that the VON is “worked to death” at the moment.

Bylaws

Council amended Bylaw 15-05, the municipal donation policy, to Bylaw 17-07 by adding: “a public call for donation requests will be issued by the Township in January of each year on the Township’s website and in the local newspaper” and “requests for donation of any type received after April 15 will not be considered by council.”

Council also passed Bylaw 17-08 to authorize a municipal forest fire management agreement with the Ministry of Natural resources and Forestry.