Fire department report
Northeast Town Fire Chief Duane Dechamps presented council with the December fire department report.
He noted a grease fire that the department put out at the Anchor Inn Hotel, response to an alarm malfunction at a home on Meredith Street, a carbon monoxide alarm that the battery had died in, a woman who slipped and a cabin fire.
“We believe the cabin fire was due to an appliance plugged in that mice chewed,” explained Mr. Dechamps.
Councillor Marcel Gauthier commended the department for their participation in the Little Current Santa Claus Parade.
Public works manager Gary May explained to council that the town garbage truck was in Sudbury getting fixed.
“The EGR belt and a few other parts needed to be repaired,” said Mr. May. “It’s about $7,000 in parts plus labour. We are going to check on it tomorrow and if it’s not ready, hopefully pick it up on Thursday.”
He also reported that the winter operations were under way with snow and ice control.
He said that the landfills would be open on Boxing Day.
“Regular maintenance on equipment is being done as needed and we have purchased a trackless vehicle to have as a back up unit,” Mr. May added.
Community services manager Reid Taylor noted that the arena ice is running at normal capacity and staff are busy completing regular maintenance.
He said that there would be Christmas break skating starting on December 22 and running though to January 5. He added that there will be a New Year’s Eve family event at the recreation centre on Sunday, December 31 from 4 to 7 pm.
“All buildings and docks have been winterized and closed,” said Mr. Taylor. “Last month’s events at the museum went over well and the Jingle the Elf contest has been well received by the community.”
The building controls report stated that a total of 62 permits had been issued to date. The total value of construction to date is $5,381,027, with a total building permit revenue of $68,142.67.
Council has granted a request from the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA) to place cycling route signs at the Welcome Centre in Little Current and Ten Mile Point in Sheguiandah, but that the signs are not allowed to feature the proposed advertisement slots.
In a letter to council, MICA explained that it has received funding to construct eight trailhead shelter signs across Manitoulin which would feature sold advertisement spots to generate revenue for the upkeep and maintenance of the signs.
A motion was carried by council to allow MICA to erect the two signs proposed for the Northeast Town.
A second motion was made to allow for the signs to feature advertisements.
Councillor Michael Erskine said he strongly believed that the advertisements were important to the longevity of the project by providing revenue to allow the signs to be maintained in the future. He requested a recorded vote.
The motion was defeated by Councillors Laurie Cook, Bill Koehler, Dawn Orr, Melissa Peters, Paul Skippen, Bruce Wood and Mayor Al MacNevin. Councillor Erskine was the only councillor who voted in favour of the motion.
Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson reviewed some suggested changes to municipal user fees with council.
Staff suggested the brush-tipping fee at the landfill be adjusted from $33 to $10 for half-ton trucks/utility trailer, from $98 to $50 for one-ton trucks, and from $192 to $150 for large truck/trailers.
Council approved the suggested changes.
Council carried a motion approving the town’s application to the Municipal Green House Gas Challenge Fund for energy upgrades to the Northeast Town Recreation Centre including new lighting and an on-demand water heater for the ice cleaner.
The motion reads: “The Northeast Town is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recognizes that municipalities play a key role in helping Ontario meet its short and long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. The Northeast Town council approves an application to the Municipal GHG Challenge Fund for the project entitled ‘Little Current Recreation Centre Going Green Upgrades,’ with a total funding request of $15,614.57 including an in-kind contribution of $2,100 in staff time.”
Eating Disorder Awareness Week
The Northeast Town council declared the week of February 1 to 7 Eating Disorder Awareness Week after receiving a request from the National Eating Disorder Information Centre.
Mr. Williamson explained that council received a land donation from a woman in Bay Estates and that staff is looking to have it declared surplus so it can be sold.
Council carried a motion to declare the Part lot 26, Con 12, Sheguiandah Pt 7 and 8 as surplus.
Due to the holidays, council made a decision to cancel the January 2 council meeting and instead combine the council meeting with the administration and finance meeting on January 4.
Town Treasurer Sheryl Wilkin presented the accounts receivable to council for taxes and water and sewer.
For taxes, Ms. Wilkin reported that there were $234,942.25 made in payments in November.
For water and sewer, Ms. Wilkin said there were $43, 359.11 in payments for the month. She noted that there were 16 accounts currently over the $400 limit. Of the 16 accounts, four were overdue because of penalty applied for November; in four cases arrangements were made and eight disconnection letters were sent out.
Proposed budget updates
Mr. Williamson informed council that the town’s computer server had hit the end of its life and asked council to approve staff to use $16,000 from the computer reserves to cover its replacement.
Mr. Williamson also noted that town staff had learned that the Northeast Town’s Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation for 2018 would be increasing by $251,000. He suggested that since it was not likely to occur again in the future, that council treat it as one-time funding and put half of it in the working capital reserve and use the other half for capital projects such as fixing the long standing issue at the corner of Limekiln and Bidwell Roads.
The administration and finance committee agreed to council’s recommendations.
The public budget meeting was set for Tuesday, January 30 at 7 pm, prior to the regular council meeting.