Northeast Town Council Notes

McLay Subdivision extension

Council received a request from Doug McLay, asking for a two-year extension on meeting the needs of approval for his 19-lot Red Lodge Road subdivision. CAO Dave Williamson explained that Mr. McLay is required to prove the value of the septic system on the first six lots and needs more time to meet those demands. Mr. Williamson also noted that there is no planning reason to not support the request. The motion to grant the extension was carried.

Bike rack requests

Council received a letter from Sue Griffis, a seasonal boater and Haweater, asking the municipality to consider the placement of bicycle racks downtown, at the grocery store, at the Manor, library and more. “It would create a place for us to safely lock our bikes while shopping, touring or visiting family members,” she writes. “It would also promote a healthy lifestyle as we in healthcare encourage people to exercise while staying safe.”

Mr. Williamson reminded council that there are already bike racks downtown and said they could encourage the grocery stores to follow suit.

Air conditioning tender

The municipality received two tenders for a new air conditioner for the main hall of the recreation centre to replace the original 1978 unit: Cimco, $70,300 and PSL, $62,097.58. Mr. Williamson explained that the two tenders were for the exact same unit and recommended council accept the PSL tender, which will be funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Councillor Laurie Cook asked about efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions with the new unit, which Mr. Williamson explained would be greatly improved.

BIA request

Council received a letter from the Little Current Business Improvement Area (BIA) to support its new slate of directors. They are: Aline Taillefer, chair; Debby Turner, vice chair; Shannon Cranston, treasurer; Barb Baker, councillor representative/secretary; Sarah Quackenbush, Denise Lytle and Mike Wilding, directors. The slate was approved.

Little Current drinking water report

No risks were identified at any point in the report, but there were three reports of non-compliance because of sampling issues: 1) a couple of instances of samples taken too close together (should be five days apart); 2) Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA, which operates the plant) did not record the findings of the discharge water for total suspended solids in December and 3) the plant’s membrane filtration units are reaching their end-of-life.

American seasonal residents request support

Council heard from some of its seasonal residents who are asking for support on lobbying the federal government on their behalf to allow them to attending their summer homes this year. The Georgian Bay Association is also taking this stance on their behalf.

Councillor Jim Ferguson declared a conflict of interest as his business, Ferguson’s Maintenance, “has a vested interest in American cottagers.”

“I think we all know how much we value our American visitors who contribute both financially and socially to this municipality, but given the state we’re in, namely Ontario, maybe this is an issue for further down the road,” said Councillor Laurie Cook, noting the “wonderful job” Americans are doing at getting vaccines into arms. “I don’t think it’s advisable to lobby on something that’s a public health issue, not a political issue.”

Councillor Dawn Orr said she agreed. “It’s just bad timing to consider this. Americans are a great asset, but I think it’s not the right time to take this up.”

“I understand their position, but I can’t support this at this juncture,” said Councillor Al Boyd. “All you have to do is hear the number counts. We’re not in a good position to open borders, but I certainly feel for them not being able to get to their properties.”

Staff was directed to write a letter to those American citizens who had contacted the municipality, which would defer to public health’s calls on the border.

New sweeper

Council approved the purchase of a 2009 GMC sweeper for $41,000 including taxes.

Mr. Williamson told council it was an “excellent deal” and suggested the funds come from the boosted Gas Tax funds. He reminded council that the cost to cover new brakes on the current sweeper is $20,000 alone.

Councillor Mike Erskine asked if it was possible to share the unit with another Island municipality. Mr. Williamson suggested that it could be rented, but that also poses problems if it doesn’t include an operator.

Councillor Bill Koehler raised suspicions with a newish sweeper being sold at such a good price. Mr. Williamson explained that its former municipality, Thorold, is fortunate to cycle out its equipment every 10 years. He noted that the unit is actually worth $80,000, so if there are minor repairs to be made, the Northeast Town will still be ahead of the game. A brand new sweeper comes with a $350,000 price tag.

Northern Credit Union responds

Council received a letter of response to the mayor’s letter to Northern Credit Union (NCU) following news that the last Island branch in downtown Little Current would be closed.

The NCU letter stated the branch closure is still going ahead and made the offer to train council on remote banking services.

“It was a very gracious response,” Mayor Al MacNevin said wryly. “Not only did they respond, they offered to train me.”