Northeast Town Council Notes

Anti fracking deputation 

Zachory Nicholls made a deputation to the Northeast Town council requesting that they create a bylaw banning fracking in the municipality.

“While the province will ultimately hold the rights to issue permits for fracking, I believe there is value in the municipality taking a stand, such as an unwilling host, to show that the Northeast Town does not support the ecologically degrading process,” explained Mr. Nicholls. “Fracking is the process by which millions of litres of water mixed with chemicals, many of which are toxic, are forced underground into shale beds in order to shatter the shale beds and release the gas and most of the fracking mixture.”

Mr. Nicholls noted that the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council, Council of Canadians, Green Party of Ontario and Ecojustice have all expressed disapproval for fracking, as have First Nation leaders from Manitoulin.

Mr. Nicholls also said that if the Northeast Town created the bylaw, they would be the first municipality in Ontario to do so.

Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin explained that council can only pass bylaws for issues they have control over. “We need to be careful that we pass a legal bylaw,” said Mayor MacNevin. “We can’t pass a bylaw against the provincial government. If we do support your position, we can work with staff on the wording.”

Application for consent

Council reviewed an application for consent from the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) to sever a lot in Little Current.

CAO Dave Williamson noted that the severance would create a zoning issue as the municipality doesn’t allow an accessory building, in this case a garage, on a property without a main building.

Council carried a motion notifying the MPB that they had a concern with the application for consent.

Truck signage request for Wilson Street

The Northeast Town council received a letter from Skip and Sue Lafreniere raising concerns about speeding on Wilson Street (where they live).

“Meredith Street is where the large trucks are supposed to travel between Highway 6 and Worthington Street. We have noticed that the large trucks and transports still travel up and down Wilson Street East,” states the letter to council. “When these vehicles travel up and down the street they are not travelling at the 40 km that is posted but travel at a much faster speed.”

The couple requested that council erect a sign at both ends of Wilson Street East prohibiting large trucks and transports from travelling up and down the street.

CAO Dave Williamson explained that council has received similar requests in the past but that a requested route is posted on the highway for transport trucks, one that Manitoulin Transport has been compliant with.

RONA site plan

Mr. Williamson discussed the site plan for the new RONA building on Highway 6 with council. He explained the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) would not grant an encroachment service unless the municipality takes ownership of the water line.

To comply with the MTO, council rescinded the previous resolution approving the site plan and passed two subsequent motions.

The first, to pass the bylaw to enter into a site plan agreement (amended) with Thomas Farquhar and Sons; and second, “That council agrees to take ownership of the water service lateral running under Highway 6 providing Thomas Farquhar and Sons (RONA) with water to their property boundary and that the site plan agreement is registered on title.”

The Northeast Town applies for rec centre funding

Council carried a motion authorizing town staff to submit and application to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program for the rehabilitation of the Northeast Town Recreation Centre skating rink initiative.

Mr. Williamson explained that the funding would cover 50 percent of the cost to update lighting at the recreation centre and to purchase new ice plants.

“We are essentially trying to capitalize on funding on something we will have to do in the next few years anyway,” said Mr. Williamson.

Councillor Michael Erskine stated that he felt the application was a great idea and that making the recreation centre more efficient would also help reduce future costs. “It’s a win-win,” he said.

Councillor Melissa Peters asked where the other half of the funding would come from for the project. Mr. Williamson replied that it would be brought forward for council’s consideration at the 2016 or 2017 budget deliberations and that town’s half would be between $100,000 and $150,000.

“It would all be subject to budget approval,” Mr. Williamson noted.

Airport report

Councillor Marcel Gauthier reviewed the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport Commission report with council. He reported that fuel sales are going well and that the Young Eagles day was a success.

“We had 45 children that got to fly,” said Councillor Gauthier. “We had four pilots that volunteered their time and planes and a great group of volunteers that made it all possible.”

Mr. Williamson went over the airport’s 2014 audit with council, noting that it had a $10,000 surplus last year which is “very impressive considering the airport had a $100,000 budget.”

He attributed the airport’s good financial position to the hard work of the airport manager and staff, who does much of the repairs and work themselves.

Community services and public works

Kevin Dunlop presented council with the public works report for July. He said that surface treatment is completed on White’s Point Road, Rockville Road, Low Island Park, Hayward Street (at the new subdivision), McDougall Street and Bay Estates Road.

“Surface treatment warranty work has also been completed on Bidwell Road, Rockville Road and Limekiln Corner,” said Mr. Dunlop. “Vankoughnet Street has been repaved and the line painting is being down later this week. As well, the sidewalk has been completed from Draper Street to Blake Street.”

He told council that the July 11 Hazardous Waste Day went well at the landfill and that the equipment tender for the John Deere 450 bulldozer and Caterpillar compactor will close on Friday (July 24).

In terms of equipment, “we are sending the 2010 Freightliner to Sudbury for electrical repairs and the garbage packer has been repaired at a local garage. As well, repairs have been made to the 2005 GMC extended cab.”

Reid Taylor reviewed the community services report with council.

He said that the recreation centre rooms are still getting used a lot with private bookings and staff are completing maintenance tasks as required. He also said that staff are beginning preparations to put the ice in.

“Spider Bay Marina is very busy and the downtown docks are seeing good daily traffic,” continued Mr. Reid. “We have cruise ships on July 23, August 1, 6, 13 and 14.”

He concluded that the town washrooms are being cleaned regularly, parks are being checked and cleaned regularly, the grass maintenance is ongoing and that Hawater Weekend preparations have begun.

Building controls

Council read the building controls report which noted that “to date there have been 35 building permit issues for a total construction value of $1,829,992. There are an additional four outstanding applications with a pending construction value of $2,188,482. These outstanding applications are anticipated to have permits issued by month’s end. Daily inspections continue as we are in peak construction season.”