Taxpayer’s Association seek support
The NEMI Taxpayers’ Association made a deputation to council requesting support in the form of a motion “demanding that the Province of Ontario recognize that hydro rates are becoming increasingly unaffordable, not only to families but to municipalities.”
“There is no question that over the past several months, our provincial government has forced an increase in hydro rates to a point where these rates have spiraled out of control for many families in the province of Ontario,” explained NEMI Taxpayers’ Association spokesperson Irene Callaghan. “In some households, being able to pay the hydro bill might mean making a choice between heat and electricity or paying rent or mortgage.”
In addition to the motion, the taxpayers said that they wanted to see an “immediate ‘real’ action plan, one that ultimately sees a significant reduction in the amount that average taxpayers are having to pay in hydro rates.”
“Furthermore, our association is also requesting that this motion be forwarded to every village, every town and every city in the province of Ontario,” added Ms. Callaghan. “It is time for taxpayers and municipalities to show concern for these ever increasing hydro rates, while sending a strong message to Queen’s Park. Quite simply, enough is enough.”
Councillor Bill Koehler said that he would support this request and that a motion like this was “long overdue.”
Mayor Al MacNevin said that council would have to wait for its next meeting before making a motion as per its bylaw regarding decisions stemming from deputations.
Yacht Club dockage request
The Little Current Yacht Club (LCYC) sent a letter to the Northeast Town council asking for council to reconsider its decision to not donate dockage to the club for its annual North Channel Regatta race.
“We were very disappointed to hear that our request for docking space regarding the North Channel Race Week has been denied,” said a letter from LCYC Commodore Jim Corless. As a club we have always felt a part of the community and have tried to be good corporate citizens. We continually try to attract transient boaters in the North Channel to Little Current via the Cruiser’s Net and our local race program. In the past we contributed $10,000 to the construction of the West Pavilion, made a donation to the Manitoulin Health Centre and we have always promoted that our members buy locally.”
“Regarding the North Channel Race Week we will be placing an order for hats and shirts with a supplier here in Little Current,” continued Mr. Corless. “We have also obtained free dockage for the racers in the Port of Gore Bay. Please bear in mind that we are not asking for a cash donation but for a donation of services (900 feet of dockage for the night of Friday, July 24 and the use of the West Pavilion).”
In a recorded vote, Councillors Laurie Cook, Melissa Peters, Paul Skippen and Bruce Wood all voted against the motion, while Councillors Michael Erskine, Bill Koehler, Dawn Orr, Marcel Gauthier and Mayor MacNevin carried the motion.
Council also reconsiders volleyball donation request
The Little Current recreation volleyball group made a deputation to council last month asking council to reconsider its decision to not donate the cost of insurance for the club ($167).
Council carried a motion to donate $200. In a recorded vote, Councillors Cook, Marcel Gauthier and Melissa Peters voted against the motion, while Councillors Michael Erskine, Bill Koehler, Paul Skippen, Bruce Wood and Mayor MacNevin all voted in favour of the donation.
Highway 6 on Great LaCloche Island declared scenic corridor
The Northeast Town reviewed a letter from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) granting the Northeast Town’s request to designate Highway 6 on Great LaCloche Island a ‘scenic corridor.’
“We agree that it is appropriate to designate this section of highway as a scenic corridor and will stop issuing new billboard sign permits,” states the letter to council from MTO Regional Director Eric Doidge.
To complete the process, the MTO requests that council make a resolution formally requesting Highway 6 on the Great LaCloche Island a designated scenic corridor.
Council carried a motion to amend its bylaw prohibiting billboards, signs or other advertising devices erected within the designated scenic corridor from the Little Current Swing Bridge to Great LaCloche Island boundary line of the Northeast Town.
Town amends off-road vehicles bylaw
Town CAO Dave Williamson explained to council that the provincial government is going through the process of changing the regulations pertaining to off road and ATVs (effective July 1).
The new legislation will now permit off-road vehicles and ATVs on the side of provincial roads, but Mr. Williamson told council that the current municipal bylaw does not permit them on municipal roads.
Council carried a motion to amend Northeast Town bylaw 2005-08 to permit off-road and ATVs on municipal roads.
Community Safety Zone
Council reviewed a letter from Karen Tracey, on behalf of concerned residents on Water Street West, requesting that council address the speeding on Water Street West.
“There have been and continue to be numerous incidents of cars speeding and driving in a reckless manner on Water Street West,” wrote Ms. Tracey. “This problem accelerates in the summer months with seasonal traffic and boaters travelling to and from Spider Bay Marina to access their boats. Water Street is frequented by children, families, dog walkers and people coming down to utilize Sisson Park and Low Island.”
Council carried a motion to designate the area a Community Safety Zone, but it was defeated. However, a motion to post signage to indicate the speed limit as 40 km/hr and ‘children at play’ was carried.
Cancom Security appointed as parking bylaw officers
The Northeast Town council appointed several employees of Cancom Security as parking bylaw enforcement officers for the municipality including Shaun Shawanda, Samantha Recollet, Denis Seguin, Petina Shigwadja, Martin Francis, Wayne Jacko, Taho Wabie and Andrew Dewing.
Town property for sale
Council carried a motion to direct staff to go to tender for the disposition of three properties: 5.45 acres, lot 28, Concession 3, parcels K and N; .09 acres, Island TP 2234 PCL 1587; and .50 acres, lot 7 and 11 David Street, Sheguiandah.
Fire department report
Northeast Town Fire Chief Darren Bailey presented council his June report. He noted that there were three calls for service including a call on May 25 for a gas spill on Meredith Street, a fire alarm at the Hydro One station on June 5 and a possible vehicle fire on Highway 6 south on June 14.
“On June 6 seven members of the department attended a one day course on propane response,” said Chief Bailey. “On June 23 available members will participate in a two-hour webinar/webcast on hoseline operations for fires in multiple-family occupancies.”
Community services and public works
Reid Taylor delivered the community services report. He said that most user group programs were ending in June for the summer, but that rooms were still getting use with private bookings.
“New dressing room and washroom floor capital projects are complete,” said Mr. Taylor. “The Manitoulin Trade Fair went very well once again and staff are busy at the complex completing maintenance tasks daily.”
“Spider Bay Marina has a majority of seasonal customers at their docks,” continued Mr. Taylor. “Downtown docks are open for business and seeing some traffic. Staff are taking care of customers and completing maintenance tasks at both facilities. Also, the first of 13 cruise ships arrive on July 10.”
“For parks and outdoor areas, the soccer at Low Island Park finishes at the end of June,” he explained. “All the town public washrooms are open and being monitored regularly. Parks are being checked and cleaned regularly and grass maintenance is underway. As well, staff are working on the Low Island Park trail system.”
Mr. Taylor shared with council that Rick Armstrong was the successful candidate for the vacant recreation centre/marina position.
Ian Phillips reviewed the public works report with council. He said that the load restriction had been lifted on municipal roads and that gravel is being placed on roads. “Grading and calcium will start next week and construction on White’s Point Road is underway,” he added. “Public works equipment is working well and the sidewalk on Worthington Street will soon be complete.”
The building controls report stated that there have been 28 building permits issued for a total construction value of $1,275,030 to date. The report also noted that there are an additional five permits pending and they are anticipated to be issued before the end of the month.