Northeast Town Council Notes

Traffic bylaw 

Since passing a bylaw amendment earlier this month limiting parking on Blake Street on the south side of the street  (15 to 33 Blake Street) to 15 minutes, staff reported to council  that they had received feedback regarding this change.

Council made the previous amendment after receiving community feedback that parking and traffic had become a safety concern on Blake Street.

“We have been in contact with the daycare operator at Little Current Public School and the new restriction is a problem for parents with small children who come for programing throughout the day,” explained town CAO Dave Williamson. “We have been told that the main parking issue is only during the drop off the pick up times at the school. We are suggesting that council amend the traffic bylaw to make the restricted 15 minute parking from 8 to 9 am and 2:30 to 3:30 pm daily.”

Mr. Williamson also recommended that the parking restriction on the north side of Blake Street (from 16 to 32 Blake Street) be changed to between the hours of 8 to 9 am and 2:30 to 3:30 pm.

“What is the cost of the parking signs?” asked Councillor Paul Skippen. “And how much extra will it be to add the changes to the ordered signs?”

Mr. Williamson responded that the signs cost $700 (including installation), plus an additional $200 to add the time plate.

“It was going to be an issue for residents who have visitors too,” added Mayor Al MacNevin.

A motion was carried to amend the traffic bylaw.

Councillor Michael Erskine inquired as to how much the municipality was spending on  bylaw enforcement.

Mr. Williamson explained to council that the municipality was paying $25 an hour for 10 hours of enforcement a week ($250/week) through Cancom Security.

Shoreline work request

The Northeast Town reviewed a letter from Barbara and Dale Baker requesting permission to do work on their eroding driveway which meets/crosses over town road allowance.

Mr. Williamson explained to council that the couple has already contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry which has no concern regarding the work.

Council carried a motion granting the Bakers permission to work on their driveway.

Waste Reduction Week

Council proclaimed October 19 to 24, 2015 Waste Reduction Week after reviewing a request.

“It is important to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfill site,” said Councillor Erskine. “I will definitely support this motion. The longer we can make our landfill last the better.”

Councillor Marcel Gauthier agreed with Councillor Erskine, adding that encouraging people to recycle is a good thing as many people still don’t in the municipality.

Curling Club donation request

Council received a letter from Ella Orr requesting the town make a donation towards the rental cost of the Little Current Curling Club for Cam Spec and Yvonne Jacques’ going away party.

“Cam has been a life-long resident of Little Current and has made many valuable contributions to the community,” wrote Ms. Orr.

“Cam Spec has done a lot for this community so I would support a $200 donation to help offset the rental cost,” said Councillor Erskine.

Councillor Erskine made a motion for the $200 donation, but had no seconder.

Dog park

Town staff presented a report to the community services and public works committee on off-leash dog parks.

Staff was asked to explore the pros and cons of a municipal dog park after a petition of 150 Northeast Town residents in support of an off-leash dog park was presented to council earlier this year.

Staff identified the former Mountainside Estates property as a potential location for the dog park. The report also looked at the associated costs, which Mr. Williamson said the people behind the petition previously told council they would fundraise to cover.

Councillor Gauthier said he felt it would be a good idea and might help alleviate the dogs that were  being let off-leash at Low Island Park.

“I don’t see any negatives with the idea,” added Councillor Erskine.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councillor Cook. “It is a good draw to our municipality and a great addition for our residents.”

Council agreed that they supported the idea in theory and directed staff to contact the organizers behind the petition to talk more about the potential project.

Fire report

Northeast Town Fire Chief Darren Bailey reported that there had been two calls for service so far this month. He explained to council that there was a call on September 5 for a dump truck fire on Townline Road and a call on September 6 regarding the fire alarm at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre.

“The trucks and firefighting equipment is in good working order,” said Chief Bailey.

Community Services and public works

Council reviewed the community services and public works report. According to the report, the arena ice is in and rentals have started. User groups have also started new programs for 2015/16 including ballet, martial arts, Sea Cadets and fitness classes.

The ice season starts September 15 at the recreation centre and the Shoot to Score Hockey School will run from September 18-20.

“Staff are taking care of customers and completing maintenance tasks at both facilities as required,” the report notes. “Cruise ships are finished for the season and preparations for building winterization will begin this month.”

Public Works Manager Gary May presented his report. He told council that the culverts have been installed at Bass Lake and the winter sand has been put up at the rural and urban yards.

“Ditching and brushing will start this month,” he added. “The surplus bulldozer and Bomag have been sold (Mr. Williamson noted that the Bulldozer sold for $10,200 and the Bomag for $8,000). OCWA will start flushing hydrants in Sheguiandah on October 8 and 9.”

Building controls

Council reviewed the building controls report from August 31.

The report states that there have been a total of 49 permits issued to date. Of those 49 permits, five were new residential buildings, 18 were residential additions and renovations, seven were new seasonal dwellings, seven were additions and renovations to seasonal dwellings, one was a new commercial/industrial building, seven were additions and renovations to commercial/industrial buildings and four were for demolition.

Council dons ‘boobscarves’ to raise awareness 

Barbara Baker made a presentation to council on Tuesday night informing council of the ‘boobscarf’ campaign.

Ms. Baker said that annually the campaign generates $2,000 through the sale of 25 boobscarves—$500 in sales from the scarves, matched by $500 from Blades and Things and then matched by a Manitoulin company (last year, Manitoulin Transport donated the $1,000 match).

“Each year we find a different organization that supports the Manitoulin residents,” said Ms. Baker. “Last year, we donated to the Mindemoya Hospital chemo program and for 2015 we will be donating to the Sudbury breast screening program.”

To kickoff the campaign this year, Ms. Baker had council wear boobscarves for a photo spread for the boobscarf.ca website.

Town fuel tender awarded

Council reviewed the fuel tenders with staff. CAO Dave Williamson explained that Manitoulin Fuels came in with the lowest tender, which would save the municipality $5,000 annually.

Council carried a motion to award the fuel tender to Manitoulin Fuels.

Howland Drain contract revised for bypass

Council approved the revision of the contract with Cecchetto and Sons Ltd. due to a request from the Ministry of Transportation to add a one lane, traffic light controlled by-pass during the construction of the culvert under Highway 6 by the landfill. Mr. Williamson explained that since the MTO requested the by-pass they will also be paying for the $227,945.50 additional cost.

Parking bylaw

The Little Current Business Improvement Area (BIA) sent a request to council asking for a change to the downtown Little Current parking bylaw.

Due to public concerns with the two hour parking limit along Water Street (which the BIA previously requested), the BIA asked council to change the parking limit to four hours to allow customers more time downtown to enjoy a meal, shopping and errands. The BIA also asked council to change the entire post office parking lot to 24 hour parking (it was 24-hour along the north side and two hours along the south side).

Councillor Bill Koehler and Marcel Gauthier expressed that they felt the parking limits should be eliminated all together downtown and made a motion to make the entire municipality 24-hour parking unless otherwise designated. The motion was carried, but Councillor Michael Erskine put a second motion on the table to change the Water Street parking that was previously designated as two hours, with the exception of the post office parking lot (keeping it 24-hour), to four hours, honouring the request of the BIA.

Councillor Erskine’s motion was carried.

Council carried another motion to revoke the previous municipal parking bylaw and then another to replace it with a new parking bylaw due to the number of changes that have occurred to the bylaw.

Donations

In a recorded vote, council carried a motion to donate $200 to the 12th annual Rick Francis Memorial Golf Classic, which took place on September 19. Councillors Laurie Cook, Melissa Peters, Paul Skippen and Bruce Woods voted against the motion while Councillor Michael Erskine, Marcel Gauthier, Bill Koehler, Dawn Orr and Mayor MacNevin voted in favour of the motion.

Council also reviewed a request from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario requesting the Northeast Town donate at least $100 in aid of the international effort to resettle the Syrian refugees in safe countries. Councillor Erskine declared a conflict of interest.

“AMO is challenging all of its member municipalities,” states a letter from AMO. “We hope to raise at least $40,000. This goal will help save two families and if we raise a greater amount, we can help save more families. AMO will donate all of the proceeds to Lifeline Syria.”

A motion to donate $100 was moved by Councillor Orr and seconded by Councillor Cook. In a recorded vote Councillors Marcel Gauthier, Laurie Cook, Dawn Orr and Mayor MacNevin voted in favour of the motion, while Councillors Bill Koehler, Melissa Peters, Paul Skippen and Bruce Wood voted against the motion. As the motion was tied, it was defeated and no funds were donated.

Library board

The Northeast Town council approved the appointment of Mike Easton to the Little Current Library Board.

“I know Mike spends a lot of time at the library and will make a great addition to the board,” said Councillor Gauthier.

Council also carried a motion to accept Barb Baker’s resignation from the library board.

Airport minutes

Councillor Gauthier reviewed the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport Commission meeting minutes with council.

He reported that staff was busy winterizing equipment and that the airport is still on track to stay within budget for this year, despite an $8,000 expense to fill cracks on the runway.

Councillor Gauthier was also pleased to tell council that one of the large hangars had just been rented.

Council support cycling tourism

A letter was sent to council from the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) asking council to pass a resolution recommending that the MTO add paved shoulders when Highway 540 is resurfaced between 2016-2018.

Council passed the resolution, which stated, “We highly recommend adding paved shoulders when Highway 540 is resurfaced between 2016-2018. The municipalities on Manitoulin, including our municipality, have been supportive in all cycling efforts for many years and have seen a tremendous growth in cycle tourism. We would like to see Manitoulin Island recognized as a top cycling destination in Northern Ontario. We need MTO’s help to achieve this objective as our municipal roads often do not offer connections between communities.”

Age Friendly Community Plan

Representatives from McSweeney and Associates, the firm hired to create the Age Friendly Community Plan for the Northeast Town, made a presentation to council explaining their plan for the document.

They also sought feedback from council on what they would like to see change in the community for seniors.

McSweeney and Associates also informed council that they would be doing community input sessions that week. They explained that the next step in the development of the plan would be presenting an action plan for council’s approval utilizing the information gathered from council and the community input sessions.

Municipal vouchers

Town treasurer Sheryl Wilkin reviewed the municipal vouchers with council.

For accounts receivable for water/sewer, Ms. Wilkin reported $16,737.37 in payments in September. She also noted that there are currently 14 accounts over the $500 limit and of those, six are being disconnected and eight are due to penalty applied in August.

For accounts receivable taxes, Ms. Wilkin told council that there were $638,702.81 made in payments in September. She added that staff was currently preparing letters for individuals who would be in third year of tax arrears as of January 2016.