Northeast Town Council & Notes

Boat storage

Chris Blodgett of North Channel Cruise Lines made a deputation to council requesting permission to dry-dock his cruise ship, Le Grand Heron, on a plot of land inside the Spider Bay Marina basin over the winter.

“Leaving the boat afloat over the winter has at times been a tedious undertaking,” explained Mr. Blodgett. “Removing the boat from the water would make managing the vessel much easier over this time period. The vessel also requires an out of water inspection next year by Transport Canada.”

Mr. Blodgett noted that the location at Spider Bay is ideal for storing the boat as it is made to slide out of the water on its own bottom opposed to being lifted out by a crane.

“Because of the size of the vessel, this method of hauling the boat is the only method available to use at this time,” he added. “There is no suitable marina in the area that could haul out the boat.”

Councillor Michael Erskine asked if Mr. Blodgett would be willing to pay fair market value for storage to which Mr. Blodgett responded that he would.

Councillor Skippen was concerned with liability issues if the town allowed the boat to be stored on municipal property. Mr. Blodgett explained that the vessel was fully insured and that the town would be in no way responsible.

“I see where you’re coming from, but if we open the door to one person, how can we not for others?” asked Councillor Bill Koehler.

Mr. Blodgett said that his was the only tour boat of this kind in the area and that it was a unique situation.

Mayor Al MacNevin informed Mr. Blodgett that council wouldn’t be making a decision on the deputation until its next meeting in October, as per council’s policy regarding deputations.


Council carried a motion authorizing the mayor and CAO (Dave Williamson) to enter into an agreement with the government to accept $26,800 in funding to be used for a sustainability plan for the recreation centre. The funding would cover 75 percent of the study with the remaining money coming out of the 2017 and 2018 economic development lines of the budget.

The study will allow the municipality to apply for future funding for renewable energy and other updates to the facility.

District Services Board review

Council discussed the District Services Board (DSB) and filled out a questionnaire for a government review.

In terms of accountability and transparency, council discussed how the quarterly reports were good at communicating the actions of the board, but noted that for accountability that the Northeast Town needed to be better represented on the board.

This was also brought up under board composition, with council stating that they felt they were not equally represented on the Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB.

Council also recommended that the terms of those appointed to the board from area councils should be consistent with municipal elections.

Ashley Drain

Council reviewed the tenders for the Phase 2 of the Ashley Drain. Calvin Pearson bid $93,647, Mike Varey bid $59,843 and Ferguson Aggregate bid $49,500.

Council awarded the tender to the lowest bidder, Ferguson Aggregate.

Blake Street East

Ashleigh Ferguson wrote a letter to council, petitioning for the installation of four speed bumps on Blake Street East, beside the child drop off area of the Little Current Hub and Little Current Public School.

“Blake Street East is a busy roadway and vehicles drive very quickly making it a dangerous area to drop off children attending the daycare and school,” Ms. Ferguson stated in her letter. “There is no parking lot, so it’s a serious hazard to drop young children off next to a busy street.”

Mr. Williamson said he discussed the request with the manager of public works who explained that speed bumps come with a number of road issues.

“The real issues here is the speed and parking,” said Mr. Williamson.

Council directed staff to contact the OPP about the speed and advise the Rainbow District School Board on the parking issue.

Airport report

Councillor Marcel Gauthier presented council with the Manitoulin East Municipal Airport report.

He said that for July the airport had 158 aircrafts land and 495 passengers. “August boasted similar numbers,” said Councillor Gauthier. “It was a good summer for the airport.”

He also noted that the Young Eagles Day at the airport went well and that $415 was donated through a silver collection.

“We might have a slight surplus this year, but we won’t know just yet,” he added. “The manager has started work on the 2018 budget.”

Fire department

Northeast Town Fire Department Chief Duane Deschamps delivered his report to council for September.

Fire Chief Deschamps reported that there were four calls for service since the last report including: a report of smoke at a home on Hayward Street on August 28; a lift assist on Russell Street in Sheguiandah on August 30; an alarm call at the Manitoulin Centennial Manor on August 31; and a child stuck in a baby swing at Low Island Park on September 10.

He noted that there were 32 calls for service to date.

Community services and public works

Reid Taylor informed council that the ice was in at the recreation centre and in use. This month at the recreation centre he said that there is a Shoot to Score hockey school, a Northern Ontario Hockey Association referee clinic, Skate Canada Manitoulin will start again, as will Manitoulin Panthers and the ballet program.

“Spider Bay Marina is seeing some business on weekends at the service docks,” said Mr. Taylor. “Spider Bay Marina and the Port of Little Current will close on October 8. The downtown docks have little transient traffic and a few seasonal boats remaining.”

Mr. Taylor also said that the ball fields and soccer field at Low Island Park are finished for the season and that the washrooms will be closed shortly and winterized. As well, the swimming docks will be removed.

There will be cruise ships coming to port on October 8, 9 and 17.

Public works manager Gary May reported that regular maintenance is being done on the roads as required. He said that construction on Cockburn Street is underway and that the Miller Line Painters will be finishing the lines in town and lines on Town Line Road.

Operations at the landfill are going well, added Mr. May, and a fence will be installed around the perimeter of restricted plastics.

Building controls

Council reviewed the September 19 building controls report. It stated that there have been a total of 48 permits issued this year. The total value of construction to date is $4,364,355, with a total building permit revenue of $53,436.40.

Little Current Public Library holds amnesty period

The Little Current Public Library is holding an amnesty period from Tuesday, October 3 to Saturday, October 14.

During this period all fines will be removed from overdue materials returned to the library.