Northeast Town Council Notes

February 23

Zoning bylaw amendment

Council passed a zoning bylaw amendment for Wanda McCulligh, represented by Jordan Stephens, which would allow for another Vankoughnet Street multi-residential unit (a four-plex) in a residential-zoned area. As was reported last month, Mr. Stephens also approached council for a separate multi-residential unit zoning bylaw amendment for a property on Vankoughnet Street East.

There were no comments or objections from members of the public.

“Anything we can do to help get things moving we should do,” said Councillor Bill Koehler. “It’s another great project from Jordan.”

Consent application

Council also reviewed an application for consent from Carrie McCulloch and Casson Eadie for 196 Pepper Point Road in Sheguiandah. The application was submitted to correct title to the land.

“This piece of property as described has had a separate roll number and has been considered as a stand-alone lot prior to 1979,” the report to council states. “The consent application is being made due to a technical issue with the deed.”

Highway 6 traffic report

Council received a traffic report from its new radar sign, which was stationed along Highway 6/Manitowaning Road, near the new Tim Hortons, from February 9 to 15. During that time, 14,291 vehicles passed through. Council learned that the average vehicle speed in the 40 km/hr zone was 42 km/hr with the highest speed clocked in at 127 km/hr. CAO Dave Williamson noted that the high rate of speed could be attributed to an emergency vehicle, but that there is no way of knowing for certain.

Fish and Game donation

Council received its annual donation request from the Little Current Fish and Game Club for contributions toward its springtime event with visits from Island elementary schools to tour the walleye hatchery.

Council approved a donation of $200.

Downtown business request

Council received a letter from the Anchor Inn, the Island Jar and Loco Beanz, requesting that council give some consideration to their summer operations. The trio asked that the municipality: waive sidewalk leasing fees again this summer; allow for a patio outside the Anchor Inn, as per last summer; and consider a communal outdoor dining area.

“What we are proposing is a structure in the cenotaph square with a trellis roof, white globe lights and flower/plants,” the businesses wrote. “We believe this would be inviting and encourage people to order take-put and spend time downtown eating their meals, drinking their coffee etc.”

Mr. Williamson said it was important to note that this was not a request from the Little Current BIA.

The CAO warned that because the request came from three businesses and not the BIA, granting any of the requests would become dangerously closing to “bonusing” and suggested the request be sent back to the BIA. He also noted that the BIA is eligible to apply for funds that would likely help cover such costs.

Mayor Al MacNevin said the BIA should make a concerted effort toward getting a board of directors, as the group has not formally met in some time.

Gun legislation

Councillor Bill Koehler asked that council give consideration as to how it responds to the new federal gun legislation as it pertains to municipalities. Under the new legislation, municipalities would be tasked with deciding how it deals with handguns.

“Trudeau wants us to look after all the handguns, regulated by a bylaw,” Councillor Koehler said. “Who’s going to govern the bylaw? I think it’s something we better look at. Do we need to arm our bylaw officer with a firearm now?”

Mr. Williamson suggested council could wait until there’s more clarity on the legislation before making any decisions.

The mayor said he would also seek advice from his fellow directors at the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities.

February 16

Farewell, Gary

In a February 16 Zoom meeting, Northeast Town council bid farewell to former public works manager Gary May who retired from the municipality after 26 years, the last 10 of which were spent as the head of public works.

Mayor Al MacNevin wished Mr. May well on behalf of the municipality, with other councillors adding their well-wishes.

“I’ve enjoyed working with everyone over the years,” Mr. May said, acknowledging that the job came with its fair share of challenges, including his first weeks on the job (as head of public works) when the public works garage in Little Current caught fire, but that those challenges were always great opportunities to overcome and learn new things.

CAO Dave Williamson also added his congratulations on Mr. May’s retirement, noting that it was “always a pleasure” to work with Mr. May and that he made himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Gary’s been beyond reliable and a pleasure to work with.”

“I’m just a phone call away,” Mr. May said.

Fire department report

The Northeast Town Fire Department report was submitted to council which outlined five calls for service from January 13 to February 5: January 21, Sheguiandah First Nation structure fire; January 25, Rockville Road vehicle fire; January 28, Sheguiandah First Nation residential smoke alarm; January 30, report of a propane smell/leak at a Little Current residence; and February 5, report of smoke at a residence in Sheguiandah First Nation.

Public works report

Public works manager Wayne Williamson shared his report with council. He noted that daily road patrols are conducted with trucks being dispatched as required. The ‘trackless’ machine is out salting and sanding every morning due to the daily freeze/thaw cycle and staff is hauling snow away when needed.

Mr. Williamson shared that landfill operations are going well.

He also noted that the tender for the Draper Street sidewalk has been issued and that the lagoon project has been completed and is operating on ‘continuous discharge.’ Roadside brushing is also occurring as time permits.

Community services report

In his report, community services manager Reid Taylor shared with council that rec centre room rentals (such as the Lions Den) are currently back on offer and that the outdoor rink at the rec centre tennis courts should be operational (weather permitting).

Rec centre staff are taking care of daily cleaning/sanitizing, maintenance and repairs, as required, as well as winter projects.

Mr. Taylor also noted that Spider Bay Marina seasonal renewals notices  would be sent out to boaters this month and that planning is underway for the marina’s capital project.

Turning to events, Mr. Taylor shared that the municipality’s Valentine’s Day contest received over 700 nominations and that virtual workshops were hosted by events co-ordinator Lisa Hallaert: February 17 and 24, wontons and Belgian waffles; and March 3, today, pastry.

Ms. Hallaert is also hosting ‘trivia Tuesdays’ on the municipality’s Facebook page, as well as ‘thankful Thursdays,’ which seeks to thank frontline workers.

Councillor Jim Ferguson asked if there was a chance to put the ice back in at the arena. Mr. Taylor responded that it would take a lot of guarantees from user groups to see that happen, noting that Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association has called it quits for the remainder of the year.

Building controls report

Two permits had been issued so far in 2021: one residential and one seasonal dwelling (additions and renovations).

Mr. Williamson said that so far this year, there has been a lot of enquiries to the chief building official regarding new builds.

Traffic bylaw amendment

Council passed a resolution to amend bylaw 2015-32 to place a yield sign at the intersection of Dunlop/McDougall Street and Mill Street in the village of Sheguiandah.

Sheguiandah notice board

Council received a letter from Sheguiandah resident Gail Gjos, requesting council consider putting up a notice board near the community mailboxes located at the fire department.

“Since we lost our post office and now get our mail from the bank of mailboxes at our fire hall property, we have lost our ability to post any notices of interest to our community,” Ms. Gjos writes. “My request is that we have some kind of area constructed near these boxes, where we could post items of interest to those frequenting the said boxes.”

Council agreed with Ms. Gjos and staff will erect a notice board, but municipal staff must approve, and post, the notices.