Central Manitoulin Council Notes

March 12 meeting

Bradley McAllister Memorial declared a community festival

Council passed a motion at its March 12 meeting, moved by Councillor Derek Stephens and seconded by Councillor Ted Taylor, declaring the annual Bradley McAllister 4 on 4 Hockey tournament a community festival. “This is an annual event, I believe, I think it is a good thing to remember this lad,” said Councillor Taylor.

“It is not just children,” agreed Councillor Pat MacDonald. “It is for all ages.”

“It is simply a great event,” said Councillor Stephens. “It is a great opportunity to see some fast-paced hockey.”


CAO and maintenance supervisor authorized for arena decisions

Council authorized the CAO and maintenance supervisor to make decisions regarding the ice surfaces as called for by the season bookings. Moved by Councillor Councillor Ted Taylor and seconded by Councillor Alex Baran, the motion is intended to allow flexibility in case local teams make it to the finals of their tournaments. “If any of the teams make the playoffs in their leagues, it only makes sense to have the decisions made by those persons,” said Councillor Taylor.


Financial reports passed

The year-to-date financial reports from the Property Committee, dated February 28, were passed on a motion made by Councillor Alex Baran and seconded by Councillor Ted Taylor.


Council to lobby MTO for traffic flow study

Council passed a motion, moved by Councillor Linda Farquhar and seconded by Councillor Ted Taylor, requesting that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) return to the municipality during the peak summer season to study the intersections of Highway 542 and 551, as previously suggested by the MTO itself last year.

“This has been an ongoing issue for eight years now,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “Is there any indication that the highway work will get done this year?”

“My understanding is that it will,” said CAO Ruth Frawley.

“Are pedestrian lines part of that?” asked Councillor Dale Scott. “That is my understanding,” replied Ms. Frawley.

“I was at CPAC (Community Policing Advisory Committee) and there was a fair bit of discussion on parking at that intersection,” said Councillor Scott. “The police will be told to be watching the regulations on parking. Sergeant (Kevin) Webb said they will be making note.” Councillor Scott pointed out that the issuing of tickets by the OPP is more difficult as they actually have to wait for the driver to return to the vehicle to issue a ticket to the driver, not simply place a ticket on the windshield, as a bylaw officer would be able to do.

Councillor Scott noted parking at that intersection was particularly problematic when school buses are travelling to and from Central Manitoulin Public School. “It is going to be addressed by the police,” said Councillor Scott, “but it is not as easy as if they could just put a ticket on.”

“When they are speeding on photo radar they can just send the driver a ticket,” said Councillor Patricia MacDonald. “It doesn’t make sense that they can’t do parking violations the same way.”


Council supports MSS students’ bid to have crosswalk installed

A motion put forward by Councillor Alex Baran and seconded by Councillor Patricia MacDonald supporting lobbying efforts by the Manitoulin Secondary School Native Studies and Language class to have signage for a school zone and crosswalk with amber lights in all directions installed at the intersections of Highways 551 and 540 and further that the motion of support be forwarded to both the Ministry of Transportation and MSS teacher Stewart Roy.

“Are they asking to put in a light?” asked Councillor Ted Taylor.

“At that intersection, so people coming from all directions can see it,” said Mayor Richard Stephens, who had attended a Manitoulin Municipal Association meeting where the students and Mr. Roy gave a presentation on their project.

Councillor MacDonald indicated that she had seen signs in that area that students were present.

“I think it is a great idea,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “I would be hoping that they would be looking at realignment of that intersection as well. It does not line up properly. I am hoping this will encourage them to look at that as well.”

“That was discussed at the MMA meeting,” agreed Mayor Stephens.


Council divided on speed limit debate

A motion to respond to the Ministry of Transportation consultation request on Ontario’s proposed changes to the default speed limit within municipalities, indicating the municipality would prefer that the default be set at 40 kilometres per hour, but that the MTO set the rate not the municipality, and that further, signs be placed further out of the village of Mindemoya due to the developed area having expanded east and west on Highway 542 and north on Highway 542, was moved by Councillor Dale Scott and seconded by Councillor Linda Farquhar.

Councillor Patricia MacDonald announced that she was not in favour of the motion. “I think the default should be 50,” she said. “People who are going 50 will still go 50, people who speed will still speed. This will just encourage people to break the law. I never see anyone pulled over, I think this is trying to solve a problem with a law that could be solved by enforcement.”

“I am with Pat,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “I don’t think 40 will solve the problem.”

“I would like to see the signs further out,” said Councillor Ted Taylor. “I think they should be out by Home Hardware. There are a lot of people along that road and there are a lot of people walking.”

Councillor Baran noted that there is no evidence to support what people are thinking when they are driving. He noted that people tend to drive slightly over the posted limit and that consequently a lower posted limit would likely have the effect of slowing people down.”

The municipality currently has a speed limit of 40 kilometres within the municipal roads in the built up villages. The debate centred around speed limits on provincial highways running through the villages within the municipality.


Road committee financial reports accepted

A motion to accept the year-to-date financial reports of the Road Committee ending February 28, moved by Councillor Dale Scott and seconded by Councillor Ted Taylor, was carried.


February 26 meeting

Sewer and water budget approved

Council approved the 2015 water and sewer budget with a 2.96 overall increase in the rate on a motion by Councillor Ted Taylor and seconded by Councillor Derek Stephens. The bylaw setting the rates in place was given three readings and passed on a motion made by Councillor Alex Baran, also seconded by Councillor Stephens.

“I think it will be good,” said Councillor Baran. “Our decision (to increase rates) was based on the rate of depletion of our reserves.” Councillor Baran noted that there were a number of expensive replacements that would be coming in the future. “Last year we drew down our reserves, so we were not in a positive drawback this year. At least we are relieving the amount of reserves that are being depleted.”

Councillor Patricia MacDonald noted that the municipality is depleting its reserves for water and sewer this year by about $14,000. The depletion last year was closer to $40,000.


Four-year lease of Lake Mindemoya Pavilion approved

A motion by Councillor Dale Scott and seconded by Councillor Derek Stephens to approve the municipality entering into a four year lease, at the nominal amount of one dollar a year, with the United Fish and Game Clubs of Manitoulin (UFGCM) for the Lake Mindemoya Pavilion was approved. The motion had a caveat added that the lease was contingent on the club utilizing the site for a new fish hatchery as indicated in their request.

Councillor Ted Taylor, who had attended a recent meeting between the UFGCM and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), noted that the presentation made to ministry officials was essentially the same as that delivered to a public meeting held in the council chambers earlier in February.

The MNRF had indicated they were not opposed to the prospect of a new hatchery, but were not ready to commit to the provision of eggs to the facility until the completion of the analysis of fish populations was completed, likely at the end of this coming summer.

“There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for the hatchery from the public,” noted Councillor Alex Baran, who also attended the MNRF meeting.

Councillor Taylor noted that the large number of invasive rainbow smelt in the lake appear to be eating the walleye fry. “Once the fry are larger, the tables seem to turn,” he said. “Then the walleye are eating the smelts.”

“The fish hatchery does seem to be a win-win for everybody,” noted Mayor Richard Stephens.

Councillor Baran suggested the addition to the motion indicating the lease of the pavilion would be contingent on the success of the project.

“We don’t want to just lease out the property for a dollar for just anything,” he said.

Discussion emphasized that the public use of the property, washrooms and parking would not be hampered by the fish hatchery.

“People will still be able to access the beach and everything,” noted Mayor Stephens.


Municipality to have presence at 2015 Manitoulin Trade Fair

A motion passed at council to purchase a $300 booth at the 2015 Manitoulin Trade fair was moved by Councillor Derek Stephens and seconded by Councillor Ted Taylor.


Council to request proposals for financial services

The municipality will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for the provision of financial services.

“This had to do with a representation to committee,” explained CAO Ruth Frawley, who explained that it is normal municipal policy to seek RFPs for services provided to the municipality.

“What is involved, payroll?” asked Councillor Alex Baran.

Ms. Frawley replied that the RFP process involved all of the financial services, including the regular audit. Councillor Baran asked if the RFP was for a bundle of all financial services, or if the municipality might select a number of suppliers for each.

“I don’t know, it would depend,” explained Ms. Frawley.

Councillor Derek Stephens noted that many services set a base cost for services, but that the actual cost can vary depending on the number and amount of services actually accessed.


Council approves physician recruitment proposal

A proposal that the municipality take part in a joint physician recruitment program involving Manitoulin and the North Shore was approved by council to extend for this term of council (approximately four years), to be reviewed annually for effectiveness.

“I think the presentation that the hospital made was very good,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. Councillor Stephens offered up that the present coordinator appears to be “doing a fantastic job.”

“It (physician recruitment) is a pretty important issue to us,” continued Councillor Stephens.

Councillor Patricia MacDonald noted the request for the committee was for $6,000 a year and that the municipality has supported the construction of a new family health team building.

Councillor Linda Farquhar suggested that a time limit be placed on the commitment and that council should “look at how effective it has been.”

Councillor Dale Scott said that he agreed that the hospital is very important to the community. “The only reservation I have is how the Island will benefit,” he said. “I am not sure it was talked about what kind of priority we get.”

“It is not just Manitoulin, it is all of the region,” agreed Mayor Richard Stephens.

“It is totally up to the doctors where they will go,” noted Councillor Stephens, cautioning the council that the committee will not have the power to dictate to doctors attract to the region where they want to set up practice.

“I share Dale’s concern,” said Councillor Alex Baran, pointing out that there were no “iron clad assurances. It is on a regional basis,” he said. But that being said, he agreed that physicians coming to the region would be a “benefit to everyone.” Councillor Baran suggested that the agreement be reviewed each year and that a entrepreneur be induced to build a locum facility in the community, which is what the recruiter had indicated was the biggest challenge in attracting prospective doctors to the area.

There was some discussion of who would be the municipal representative on the recruitment committee, with Councillor Derek Stephens indicating he would be interested in the challenge.

Mayor Stephens suggested the appointment be deferred until details of travel and meeting frequency were clarified.