Tehkummah Council Notes

December 1

Fire department cost recovery bylaw

Council briefly discussed and approved a bylaw that would allow the township to recoup costs incurred for fire department calls. The bylaw allows the township to submit claims to insurance companies if substantial resources are used in a call for service. 

Later in the meeting, council approved an agreement with a company to manage the claims for a portion of the recovered cost.

This bylaw will enable the township to register for the Ministry of Transportation’s Authorized Requester Information Service to look up information about vehicles and drivers.

Annual Christmas tree event

Council approved a request from Councillor Eric Russell and wife Betty to host the third-annual Christmas tree event, modified this year for COVID-19 protocol. It took place on Friday, December 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on the municipal grounds. There was no Santa and no bonfire; masks and physical distancing were required. The Russells monitored safety compliance.

Legion recognition book

Council approved its annual business card-sized ad in the Royal Canadian Legion Military Service Recognition Book at a cost of $290 including HST.

Electronic tax bills

Council directed staff to investigate the cost and setup requirements to implement an electronic tax bill option for ratepayers. This originated from a taxpayer request and could potentially save postage costs, simplify communications with out-of-area taxpayers and may speed up the tax collection process.

Budget meeting

Council will hold a special meeting to discuss the 2021 budget on December 15 at 7 pm.

Arena donation

Council deferred a motion to donate some money toward the Providence Bay Arena’s operating expenses in recognition of the Tehkummah residents who skate there in absence of a rink in the township. Staff is to investigate which arena most ratepayers use before any donation decisions are made.

Insurance risk assessment

Tehkummah received a report from Frank Cowan Insurance about potential risks within the township. All of the recommendations in the report were recommended to be addressed within 30 to 60 days; the township had addressed all but one issue at the time of the meeting.

Fire Marque agreement

Tehkummah entered an agreement with Fire Marque Inc., a company that will allow the fire department to claim excess firefighting expenses from a recipient’s insurance policy.

The township is not currently recovering such costs and will benefit from the new agreement, despite Fire Marque’s 30 percent cut. Some insurance associations have warned that having such an agreement in place may cause premiums to rise.

Eligible fees include the current Ministry of Transportation rate per unit per hour, rate per person per hour and other costs ranging from foam to metered water, air tank refilling or even water bomber drops.

New Xerox copier

Council approved the purchase of a Xerox Altalink C8155 multifunction office machine at a cost of $6,334.85 plus HST, including a service agreement. The cost per black and white page will be marginally higher than before but the colour print cost has dropped considerably.

Holiday landfill hours

Because the landfill’s open day, Saturday, coincides with the Boxing Day statutory holiday, council directed staff to explore the possibility of opening that day, opening on another day in lieu of the missed Saturday or skipping the week altogether.

November 17 (special meeting)

FCM asset management funding application

Tehkummah adjusted the wording of its application to receive funding for asset management planning through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The particulars of the program have not changed, including the township’s already-pledged budget contribution of $6,990.

Tehkummah also updated the wording, but not the material contents, of its animal control and heavy vehicles bylaws at the meeting.

New EDO

Tehkummah approved the proposed hiring of Shelba Millette as the shared economic development officer between it, Assiginack and Killarney.

November 3

Outdoor rink request

Patti McKenzie wrote to council to request that the recreation committee build an outdoor skating rink, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when recreation opportunities are limited and children need safe ways to be social and get exercise.

Councillor Lorie Leeson explained that the recreation committee had never truly formed and it tends to be just two individuals organizing things and trying to find volunteers each time.

Reeve David Jaggard asked what liability the township may face, to which clerk-administrator Silvio Berti said he was unsure and thus suggested that council defer the motion until staff could find more information.

Councillor Eric Russell recalled that when he first joined council, he worked with former councillor Paul Bowerman to make a rink at the ball field but they only got half the water they needed. The next year, council did not support the effort, he said.

Councillor Leeson said that years ago, council donated to the Providence Bay Arena because many Tehkummah residents went to its free skating days.

The motion suggested deferring the request until the recreation committee could provide further details.

Councillor McKenzie asked how the township could set up a functional recreation committee. Mr. Berti suggested updating the list of prospective volunteers and holding a meeting of those individuals, at which the group could set up terms of reference.

Sea container request

Councillor Gordon formally brought forth his long-standing request that the township acquire a shipping container for storage purposes. He has raised the issue for several months and his efforts increased after council permitted the South Shore Volunteer Firefighters’ Association to have one shipping container for storage at the ball field at a recent meeting, as an exemption from its zoning bylaw that does not presently allow for such items in the township. Tehkummah is updating its zoning bylaws to address travel trailers and shipping containers.

“I think it’s something we need. If there was no COVID, we’d still have a hallway full of books, the washroom would be full (of municipal records) and things would be at the seniors’ hall and Floyd’s hunt camp. I’m sure the fire hall would be happy too,” Councillor Gordon asked of council.

Mr. Berti said municipal files cannot go into a shipping container because it would neither be weather sealed nor pest-controlled, and there were questions of winter access.

Councillor Leeson agreed that storage was tight in the township and Councillor Russell supported the concept of a storage container, referencing records storage disputes in the township from the past decade.

Mr. Berti said the township had applied for funds to expand the municipal building under COVID-19 funding intakes, part of which would be used for records storage, to which Councillor Gordon replied that this would be a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and he did not understand the reasons for the impasse.

Councillor McKenzie said it seemed most councillors were concerned about library storage; therefore, the library should be the one pursuing the request. He acknowledged the clerk-administrator’s argument that sensitive records cannot be stored in such an environment and said he was against the township getting a shipping container for storage.

Councillor Leeson suggested using the South Baymouth museum’s vault as records storage if required.

Reeve Jaggard suggested deferring the motion until council had more information.

“Yep, what the hell, I don’t care,” muttered a frustrated Councillor Gordon as he and the rest of the councillors voted to defer the request.

Christmas plans

Council approved the closure of the municipal office and roads department, except for snow plow needs, December 24 through 26 and December 29 through 31. Council also set employee Christmas bonuses and gave $250 to the fire department in lieu of its usual support of its Christmas party, which is cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Donations, payments

Tehkummah donated $500 to the Manitoulin Family Resources Christmas basket campaign. It also donated $200 to the Manitoulin Student Aid Fund for Manitoulin Secondary School graduates from Tehkummah. The township also paid an annual membership due in Destination Manitoulin Island of $282.50.

October 6

Road construction update

Councillor McKenzie expressed concern that the new ditch along the 10th Sideroad, which had recently been rehabilitated, contained three feet of water. Roads superintendent Kevin Dunlop explained that there were two beaver dams yet to be cleared and that Dave Millette had already trapped 16 beavers in the area.

Smeltzer’s Drain update

Two ratepayers had appealed decisions from the court of revision. The issue will go to a tribunal at some point in the future.

Waste study intent

Council agreed to send a letter of intent to Gagnon Renewable Resources that it would support, in principle, a waste volume and profile study.

Grant management services

Council entered into an agreement with GrantMatch, an agency that identifies funding opportunities for municipalities and helps them apply in exchange for 10 percent of the first million dollars in funding and five percent of all additional funding.

Resilient Communities Fund

Council agreed to apply to the Resilient Communities Fund through the Ontario Trillium Foundation for COVID-19-related technological improvements. This would allow for measures such as improving municipal computers, possibly getting councillors laptops for Zoom meetings and finding ways to better serve the public through technology. EncompassIT agreed to help the township apply.

Propane rider

Tehkummah accepted a rider from Superior Propane for a price of 54.5 cents per litre for 23,367 litres, excluding taxes. Mr. Berti said the rate did not change from the previous year.

Information items

Council received an update on its asset management plan application status update as number 269 in the queue. Council also received a complaint from South Baymouth resident Larry Killens about parking at the South Baymouth postal outlet.

The township further received an update on the status of COVID-19 in the district and a progress report on the Rogers Creek Bridge replacement project.

Safe restart agreement

Tehkummah applied for funding under the second phase of Ontario’s safe restart agreement for municipal operating dollars.