Northeast Town Council Notes – Dec 11-13

Council honours retirees

Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin presented certificates of appreciation to staff retirees Glen Case (manager of public works) and Tom Spry (chief building official) on behalf of town staff and council last week, noting both employees’ hard work and dedication to the town over the years.

“I would like to thank the many mayors and councils over the years for their support,” commented Mr. Case.

“It has been a joy to work for the town, but I am happy for someone else to take over and move on,” said Mr. Spry with a smile.

Channel View Drop-In Centre gets funding for new bingo machine

The Channel View Drop-In Centre requested a $1,000 donation from the Northeast Town council for the purchase of a new bingo machine.

“The seniors of the Channel View Drop-In Centre request your assistance in purchasing a new bingo machine as ours is broken and at present we are using the old Lions Club machine,” stated a letter to council from the Drop-In Centre’s president Bill Martin.

Council debated about whether or not they should donate the funds, as the 2013 donations budget was already overdrawn. The conversation was deferred until Thursday’s administration and finance committee meeting in order for staff to check on how much the new machine would actually cost and if the organization could continue to use the Lions Club’s machine until next year.

Council learned on Thursday that the Lions Club’s machine was not in the best working condition and that the actual cost of a new machine would be $1,011.92.

“These are the seniors that built our town,” said Councillor Christina Jones in support of the donation.

In a recorded vote, Councillors Michael Erskine, Christina Jones, Dawn Orr, Bill Koehler, Marcel Gauthier and Mayor Al MacNevin carried a motion to donate $1,011.92 from the 2014 budget to the Channel View Drop-In Centre for the purchase of a new bingo machine, while Councillors Melissa Peters and Bruce Wood voted against the motion.

Donations budget cut to $10,000

At the administration and finance meeting last week, council reviewed and discussed its 2014 donations budget.

It was put on the agenda by Councillor Peters who felt it needed to be reviewed.

“Just to clarify, our donation budget is $13,000 for 2014 plus $10,000 from Northland Power’s road use agreement (for community support) fund?” questioned Councillor Koehler.

Mr. Williamson confirmed that this was the case, noting that the Manitoulin Secondary School bursaries and money donated to the Lions Club’s Haweater Weekend were separate line items in the budget.

“That $23,000 is too rich for me,” added Councillor Koehler. “I don’t think we should be throwing that much money around. I don’t see why $5,000 put with the $10,000 Northland fund won’t be enough.”

“Our donation budget supports an overwhelming amount of social and cultural activity in the community and it is a very small amount of our overall budget,” said Councillor Erskine, asking staff what percentage the budget line item makes up of the overall 2014 budget.

Mr. Williamson responded .003 percent.

Mayor MacNevin reminded council that they would have a $10,000 donation from Northland for the next 19 years that is allotted towards community organizations and support.

Councillors Orr and Erskine suggested the donation budget be taken down to $10,000, supported by the Northland fund to equal a total of $20,000.

A motion was carried to reduce the 2014 donation budget line item from $13,000 to $10,000.

Committee recommends taxi bylaw amendment

Northeast Town staff recommended to the Northeast Town council that the town’s taxicab licencing bylaw be rescinded.

“There are some very onerous obligations with having a taxi licencing bylaw,” explained town CAO Dave Williamson, noting that some of those obligations include the requirement for the town to regulate criminal checks for drivers, establish fares and enforce the government’s requirements for taxi cab accessibility. Councillor Michael Erskine expressed that he disagreed with staff’s recommendation, stating that he felt the town could manage the obligations and corrected other councillor’s assumptions that the accessibility requirements went beyond ensuring equal fares for all individuals.

Councillor Bill Koehler requested that staff modify the bylaw and bring it to committee on Thursday.

After reviewing the amended taxi licencing bylaw on Thursday, committee recommended to council that the amended bylaw be approved.

Council will hold a public meeting prior to voting on the amended bylaw.

Council requests spring bear hunt be brought back to Manitoulin

After reviewing a letter from Safari Club International (SCI) regarding the Ontario government’s plan to reestablish the spring bear hunt in urban areas of Northern Ontario, council carried a motion to not only support the bear hunt, but also to expand the hunt to Manitoulin.

“The Council of the Corporation of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands supports the Ministry of Natural Resources’ pilot project of introducing a two-year early bear hunting season that includes the Manitoulin Island,” reads the motion carried by council.

Council repeals zoning amendment that caused planning board to appeal to OMB

Last Tuesday, after an in camera session, council carried a motion to repeal a zoning bylaw amendment that caused the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) to appeal the Northeast Town council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Despite concerns from the MPB, the Northeast Town council carried a motion on August 6, approving a zoning bylaw amendment to allow for four residential units on the second floor of the building that houses the Turner’s Home Store, located on Vankoughnet Street East, in an industrial zone.

The planning board responded to the bylaw amendment by carrying a motion to appeal council’s decision to the OMB, however the developer withdrew his application prior to the OMB reaching a decision claiming that he didn’t want Northeast Town taxpayers to have to carry the financial burden associated with the MPB’s appeal.

“The Council of the Corporation of the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands reads for a first, second and third time and finally repeals bylaw 2013-27 being a bylaw to amend zoning 2002-31 as applied for by Kilganan Group,” reads the motion carried by council.