Northeast Town Council Notes

Request for signage

Council received two requests for directional signage at its July 2 meeting, one from Red Lodge Resort and the other from Rockville Inn Bed and Breakfast. 

Both Red Lodge and the Rockville Inn were seeking council’s permission for directional signs at the intersection of Bidwell Road and Indian Mountain Road. While the cost of these signs comes at their expense, they do need council’s permission before going ahead.

“Time and time again we hear that the problem is a lack of signage,” said Councillor Michael Erskine. “It makes sense to help people get around.”

The motion to approve the requests was moved by Councillor Erskine and seconded by Councillor Bruce Wood.

Energy plan

Council reviewed its draft energy plan, which is a requirement of the province of Ontario.

The base for the Northeast Town’s draft plan comes from its 2016 figures, explained CAO Dave Williamson.

“Being environmentally conscious is a big factor for council, but so is saving money,” the CAO said.

Mr. Williamson walked council through the municipality’s biggest energy consumers, beginning with the Little Current lift stations.

The big users are the information booth (the figures did not reflect the booth’s new propane furnace, however) at 52,750 kilowatt hours, the airport (35,234 kilowatt hours) and, “of course, the rec centre.” The rec centre, it was explained, uses by far the most energy at 552,240 kilowatt hours.

“We have been working diligently on energy conservation (at the rec centre),” Mr. Williamson explained, noting the replacement of dehumidifiers, lights and the move to on-demand hot water. The rec centre is also moving to net metering, with the hopes the Little Current water treatment plant will following in that direction soon too.

Some observations from the draft energy plan are: electricity consumption increased from 2016 to 2017 by 267,086 kilowatt hours (spread across 21 buildings); furnace oil consumption increased from 2016 to 2017 by 7,059 litres; and propane consumption increased from 2016 to 2017 by 146.99 litres.

There was a decrease in electrical consumption at the landfill (2,880 kilowatt hours), recreation centre (28,880 kilowatt hours), Sheguiandah public works garage (5,753.81 kilowatt hours) and Spider Bay Marina (4,193 kilowatt hours). There was also a roughly four percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2016 to 2017.

Mr. Williamson noted that council set a new five percent reduction target, with the goal being to reach that percentage at the very least.

Safety and wellness plan

Council reviewed a document regarding the community safety and wellness plan as presented by the Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board recently.

These, it was explained, are legislative plans that must be completed by 2021.

Mr. Williamson explained that the purpose of the plan is because the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are dealing with calls that are better provided by other services, such as addictions, social services, mental health and hospitals.

“This is a serious issue in small communities in that there is only one responding force: the police,” Mr. Williamson said. “It’s a global plan for the municipalities to seek out a risk assessment and find out what kinds of responses are appropriate. The problem is that there are six or seven Island municipalities, which makes it onerous.”

Mr. Williamson explained that the DSB has approached the Manitoulin Municipal Association saying that they would facilitate the process to help the Island municipalities come up with a process with appendices that might have risks that are unique to certain municipalities.

“At the last meeting of the MAA, the chief of paramedic services (Robert Smith) spoke and said he’d work with the municipalities,” Mayor Al MacNevin noted. “He helped to create the plan for the City if Greater Sudbury.”

Mr. Williamson said the MAA is looking for a yes or no.

“While we don’t supply the services, we need to come up with a plan,” the mayor said, “we just don’t have the resources in our community, which is why police have to respond.”

“Of course we need more community services, but that’s not the direction we’re seeing governments going,” Mayor MacNevin added. “It’s a great exercise, but is there the funding? We have 18 months to come up with the plan.”

“I know from working as a police officer that it’s crucial that they know what the calls are so they can work toward goals, in turn saving policing costs down the road,” said Councillor Al Boyd.

POA minutes

Councillor Erskine informed council that there are big changes coming down the line in the world of the Provincial Offences Act (POA).

He explained that the POA court is going to have to purchase a new server as they’re still using a DOS system that is no longer compatible with current systems.

Councillor Erskine also explained that there will be a download of costs incurred to municipalities for those charged with prosecuting level 3 POA infractions, such as careless driving. Manitoulin was one of the last areas to be hit with the downloading of Crown Attorney costs to be made billable to municipalities, which could mean a further $30,000 to Island municipalities.

Councillor Erskine also noted that there continues to be a big challenge in ticket collections.

Mayor MacNevin said POA costs were almost revenue neutral before, but won’t be now.

“At least the big cases aren’t many in number,” Councillor Erskine said.

Canada Day

Mayor MacNevin noted the success of the Downtown Little Current Canada Day Summer Fair.

Mayor MacNevin said council would pen a letter of thanks to the Business Improvement Area.

Manor minutes

Councillor Dawn Orr spoke of the success of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor’s Canada Day yard and bake sale.

As of May, 33 people applied for residency and the manor is at 99.3 percent capacity year to date.

Councillor Orr noted The Expositor’s article about the Manor funding cutbacks.

“So long as we’re very careful on what we spend, we should be okay,” the councillor said.

“So that’ll be going to municipalities?” the mayor asked of the funding shortfall.

“Well, we don’t want to, but the budget will have to be looked at,” Councillor Orr responded.