Country Fest request
Craig and Kelly Timmermans, organizers of Manitoulin Country Fest (MCF), made a deputation to council last Tuesday night. Ms. Timmermans was pleased to inform council that the festival was 90 days away and that they were expecting 7,000 to 8,000 patrons a day. They also told council that they had increased camping from 380 to 580 spots to accommodate festival goers and hired a third-party company to supply power to RVs.
The Timmermans requested that council declare the week of Tuesday, August 8 ‘Manitoulin Country Fest Week’ and an event of municipal significance. They also requested the donation of four NIM buckets at the MCF grounds, the use of town tables and chairs from the recreation centre, permission to place directional signs on municipal property for the event, use of the town’s chain link fencing and the inclusion of Manitoulin Country Fest on the town’s LED sign at the Welcome Centre and on the town website.
Councillor Michael Erskine commended Mr. and Ms. Timmermans on their hard work organizing Country Fest. Councillor Marcel Gauthier added what a great event Country Fest is for the community.
Mayor Al MacNevin said that council will revisit the requests at their next meeting of council on Tuesday, June 6, as per council’s policy with deputations.
Council reviewed a recommendation from the administration and finance committee approving the placement of an eight by six foot sign at the corner of Manitowaning Road and Draper Street for the period of time in which the property is actively being used for car sales as requested by Sudbury Hyundai.
“I won’t be supporting a billboard sign in a residential/urban area,” said Councillor Melissa Peters.
Councillor Erskine wanted it stipulated in the motion that the billboard could only be in place during the time of the Manitoulin Trade Fair.
The motion was amended to include Mr. Erskine’s suggestion, allowing until two weeks after the Trade Fair for it to be removed, and was passed by council.
Manitoulin OPP Community Services Officer Steve Hart sent a letter to council, asking if they would like two ‘report impaired drivers, call 9-1-1’ signs. He explained that the Manitoulin Injury Prevention Coalition had obtained 25 signs and that they were being offered to Island communities free of charge. Council carried a motion to accept the two signs and to have town staff erect them.
Council carried a motion to donate $200 towards Manitoulin Secondary School’s Relay For Life event on June 2.
Council also carried a motion to donate $200 to the Manitoulin Navy Leage towards the Manitoulin Sea Cadets Corp.
North Channel Regatta
The Little Current Yacht Club requested a donation of dockage for participants of the North Channel Race Week Regatta on the night of Friday, July 21.
Councillor Erskine asked how much the dockage was. Town CAO Dave Williamson responded that it had a value of $1,575 that would be taken from the donation budget, leaving $565.50 left.
Mr. Williamson also added that the $2,500 donation to Manitoulin Streams had been both placed as both a separate line item and in the donation budget by mistake, meaning that there was an additional $2,500 in the donation budget.
Councillor Erskine stated that the donation budget should be called a ‘community investment,’ as that was a more accurate title of what it was for. Mayor MacNevin told Councillor Erskine that the name of the donation budget wasn’t on the agenda and that the matter on the table was the request from the yacht club.
Councillor Laurie Cook noted that last year council decided not to donate the dockage, but after the yacht club came back to council making the request a second time, they ended up donating the dockage for the event.
“It seems like the same groups are coming back again and again each year to ask for money,” said Councillor Cook, noting that her opinion was just an observation. “There are a lot of groups doing great things that chose to not come to this table and ask for money, instead they fundraise and ratepayers can choose to donate or not.”
In a recorded vote, the motion was carried to donate the dockage by Councillors Erskine, Marcel Gauthier, Dawn Orr, Melissa Peters and Mayor MacNevin. Councillors Cook, Bruce Wood and Paul Skippen voted against the motion.
Northeast Town Fire Chief Darren Bailey presented the April fire department report to council. He said that there were 17 calls for service to date including a call on April 25 to a house fire on Redmill Road, a fire alarm on Water Street on April 26, a small grass fire on Highway 6 south on April 29, a fire alarm on Water Street on April 30, house fire in Sheguiandah First Nation on May 3 and a small grass fire on North Channel Drive on May 8. Fire Chief Bailey added that all fire department apparatus and equipment was in good working order.
Councillor Erskine inquired about the turn out on calls. Fire Chief Bailey responded that the turn out of volunteer firefighters is pretty good.
Councillor Cook commended the department on their fast response time.
Community Services Manager Reid Taylor reported to council that town staff were busy cleaning, painting and prepping the recreation centre for upcoming events and doing repairs and maintenance as required.
“This month at the recreation centre we have the Rainbow Round Up May 19 to 21, the Manitoulin Trade Fair May 26 to 28, youth baseball and soccer start the week of May 23 at Low Island Park and the Pickleball Club has started.”
In terms of the parks and marina, Mr. Taylor said that Spider Bay Marina is ready to be open for business on May 19 and that the downtown docks are being moved and will installed shortly. “Parks are being inspected regularly,” said Mr. Taylor. “The baseball fields and soccer field are ready for use and the public washrooms will be open at the Market Garden Pavilion as the market starts on Saturday.”
The first cruise ships will be arriving at the Port of Little Current on June 5 and June 13, Mr. Taylor added. He also reported that the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah is open for the season and that work has begun on cleaning up outdoors and gardening.
Public Works report
Public Works Manager Gary May reviewed the public works report for May. He said that regular maintenance is underway on the roads and that culverts are being changed where needed for this year’s capital projects. “Sweeping of roads are underway in the rural areas,” he added. “Load restrictions will be taken off next week (May 23).”
He noted that May 21 would be the first Sunday of the season for the landfill to be open (2 to 6 pm).
“Equipment is all working well,” said Mr. May, “and parks are open for the season.”
Mr. Williamson explained to the community services and public works committee that staff were bringing a proposal to council that was brought to them from Councillor Dawn Orr to pave one km of Townline Road this year instead of hard surfacing seven km of municipal roads. He explained that over the last couple of years the quality of hard surfacing had been poor and that staff had been investigating alternative solutions.
“We are proposing a shift for this year that instead of hard surfacing, which we find we only get two year’s out of, pave one km of road which will have a 15-20 year lifespan,” explained Mr. Williamson.
Councillor Skippen said he wasn’t in favour of the change as 1 km wasn’t very much.
The committee carried a motion, making a recommendation to council to approve the change to paving from the corner of Townline Road and Highways 6 for one km along the road instead of the scheduled hard surfacing.