Tehkummah Council Notes

Delegation regarding Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act

Mr. Bowerman asked council if they had read over the act, to a negative response. He requested that whatever he did not cover in this presentation be put over to the following week.

Mr. Bowerman said some of the issues he presented on had been ongoing for 119 years and he was concerned about the older generations passing on and losing history. He went on to present about the options to preserve burial sites within the township, including discussions of work the township has done on area cemeteries dating back to 1948. He took issue with the township’s past statements that it cannot work on the Michael’s Bay town site when it had participated with Manitoulin Streams to rehabilitate the river on the town side.

Mr. Bowerman went over a number of policies within the act regarding fencing, signage, markers and maintenance of burial grounds and cemeteries. He said all the former landowners of Michael’s Bay have been aware of the burial sites in the area and requested Tehkummah form a cemetery care and maintenance committee that receives council funding to preserve its ancestral heritage.

Councillor Rick Gordon asked how many sites Mr. Bowerman was referencing in his discussions of unmarked burial sites and cemeteries. He listed the total as five in the Michael’s Bay town site.

Clerk-administrator Roy Hardy said the landowners have the responsibility to preserve the burial sites on their property—in this case, the federal government. He said the township could change the zoning to heritage, to alert potential future buyers of the land to the possibility of archaeological remains being present.

He said the municipality is responsible for two cemeteries—the children’s cemetery and the one cemetery in Michael’s Bay. The other burial sites were not located on municipal property.

Councillor Michael McKenzie asked Mr. Hardy how the township could pressure the landowners to mark the burial sites; Mr. Hardy said he had contacted the federal government for an update on their plans for the sites.

Previous minutes

Councillor McKenzie asked whether any financial information had been obtained from the 2018 Easter egg hunt. Mr. Hardy stated that he interpreted the motion from the last meeting to require financial information only for future years, not ones that had passed. 

Budget and tax rates bylaws

Council approved the 2019 budget and a two percent mil rate increase in taxes.

Roger’s Creek bridge and 

boundary roads agreement

The previous boundary roads agreement with Assiginack had expired and Councillor McKenzie had been working with Assiginack’s mayor to draft a new agreement before any work would be done at the site. 

The plan was drafted with a 10-year renewal period, but Councillor McKenzie said he would prefer it to be renegotiated every term or every second term of council, otherwise it could easily be forgotten. Mr. Hardy agreed with having a regular review period.

Councillor Russell said he didn’t understand why the townships needed an agreement because the Municipal Act stipulates a 50/50 sharing. Councillor McKenzie said it was important to help reduce confusions in the maintenance of the roads. Mr. Hardy clarified that the bills are indeed half-and-half, but clarification on which side is responsible for a given section is specified within the agreement.

Councillor McKenzie noted that there was a used bailey bridge that could possibly be donated to the townships, pending engineering approval and required maintenance.

Council resolved to revise the agreement for a 10-year period and prepare its bylaw, including a four-year review of the agreement. Councillor Russell voted against because he felt an agreement was not required.

Fire Chief’s report

Council resolved to have the fire chief arrange for self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) bottle filling in Assiginack township, to apply for up to $5,000 in funding through the Royal Canadian Legion’s Ontario Command, enough to nearly cover six new handheld portable radios.

Marina rental space

Township staff reviewed its operating costs for the marina space that is normally rented out seasonally. Mr. Hardy recommended that council open tenders for the space, bearing in mind its operating costs as a reserve bid, and only accept tenders that arrive above the reserve bid, which council accepted. If no bids surpass the reserve amount, the space will remain unoccupied for summer 2019.

Proposed lumberjack 

heritage festival

Council supported in principle a proposed lumberjack heritage festival, with one goal of getting involved being that they could have input into the spending on the initiative. Council expressed interest in getting the Manitoulin Tourism Association to make a presentation to council and Mr. Hardy said by including heritage in the proposal, they may be able to access certain heritage funding to help support the event.

One-time efficiency grant

Township staff had identified some possible uses for the $228,000 grant. The roads superintendent listed his top three priorities, in order, as being a plow/sander, having access to a bulldozer for the landfill and roughly 5.5 kilometres of road that could use gravel this year at a cost of up to $40,000.

The fire chief identified getting a permanent propane generator for the township office and fire hall, and Mr. Hardy recommended getting a portable generator that could be brought to a community centre or similar building that would provide shelter in an emergency.

Council honorariums

Councillor McKenzie made a formal motion based on his previous comments in the budget planning process that council’s honorariums be cut in half, with the balance being sent to the town’s reserves. He was unable to secure a seconder and the motion was lost.

Landfill update

Mr. Hardy said he had received an update about the landfill condition that stated it was in poor repair after the winter. There were concerns that an area not to be disturbed had been touched.

He said the roads superintendent had been provided with the design manual for the dump and notes from DST Engineering about starting to form an outside berm around the area, and how best to fill the space. Mr. Hardy also asked DST to give a site visit with the roads superintendent and landfill staff to learn what else needs to be done since the effects of this winter.

Councillor McKenzie said that council had asked the landfill attendant two weekends prior to have the public leave their garbage at the base of the landfill because it was unsafe to enter the site, and that the roads crew would move it to the top.

Reeve David Jaggard asked when council had given that direction. Councillor McKenzie said it had been discussed at a meeting, but was unsure of whether a motion had been made.

“The issue here is that’s not council’s job. Council should not be doing that,” said Mr. Hardy, noting that landfill procedures had to follow the provincially approved manual which cannot be changed without informing the ministry.

Closed session

Council resolved out of closed session to direct Mr. Hardy to negotiate a five-year contract with Infrastructure Ontario for the lease of the Tehkummah patrol yard and speak with public works labourer candidates.