Northeast Town Council Notes

Green Bay Community Hall requests funds

Ken Ferguson, on behalf of the Green Bay Community Hall, addressed council, asking for a $2,000 donation to help cover the hall’s outstanding taxes.

“I am here on behalf of the trustees asking for your help,” explained Mr. Ferguson, noting that the hall had been exempted from taxes up to 2010 and that the organization had just been made aware that from 2010 onwards the hall was no longer tax exempt, resulting in an outstanding tax bill close to $4,000.

Mr. Ferguson also added that the trustees had not received a bill in the last four years until recently, resulting in the organization being made aware of the situation.

Despite some comments from council about poor organization by the trustees, a motion was carried to donate the requested funds.

In a recorded vote, Councillor Michael Erskine, Marcel Gauthier, Christina Jones, Dawn Orr, Melissa Peters, Bruce Woods and Mayor Al MacNevin voted in favour of the motion, while Councillor Bill Koehler voted against it.

 

Council keeps donation budget at $13,500

After a great deal of discussion at the administration and finance committee meeting earlier this month over cutting back the donation budget from $13,500 to $10,000 for 2014, and a recommendation to council to reduce the budget, the motion was defeated at council. The budget line item in the 2014 draft municipal budget will remain at $13,500.

 

Channel View Drop-In Centre given funds for new bingo machine

The Northeast Town council carried a motion at its last meeting, based on a recommendation from the administration and finance committee, to donate $1,011.92 to the Chanel View Drop-In Centre for the purchase of a new bingo machine.

The recommendation was to have the donation taken out of the 2014 donations budget, however after discussing the donation further, council motioned to have the funds taken out of a retirement living reserve account. Mr. Williamson explained that the reserve account was originally established several years ago for a study that did not occur.

The motion carried by council stipulated that the $1,011.92 was to be transferred out of the reserve account into the 2013 donation budget and than donated to the organization.

 

AOK granted another year of Northeast Town landfill use

Council reviewed a letter from Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) First Nation Chief Patsy Corbiere requesting an extension on the First Nation and the municipality’s landfill agreement.

In the letter, Chief Corbiere explained that AOK has been working on establishing its own landfill, with negotiations nearing completion.

“It is our objective to have this project ready to be tendered next spring for construction in the summer of 2014,” states Chief Corbiere. “We are still in discussions to confirm how we wish to haul waste off-reserve beyond this date.”

“It is important to note that we have been work diligently with government to have this project complete in specific time frames as set out by our project team,” added Chief Corbiere. “However, it is important to note that AOK will likely be requesting an extension to our current service contract for landfill services for the 2014/2015 fiscal year.”

Responding to questions from council, town CAO Dave Williamson explained that an additional year of allowing AOK to use the Northeast Town landfill would only take three quarters of a month off the life of the landfill.

“I would support this request because they have been good neighbours, have made an effort to recycle and the impact of another year of use is minimal,” said Councillor Marcel Gauthier.

Council carried a motion granting a one-year extension of the AOK/Northeast Town landfill contract for services.

 

Northeast Town gets funds for Harbour View Roadwork

Council carried a motion granting the CAO and mayor to enter into an agreement with the Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund and accept $21,250.88 in funding. The money will be used in 2014 for upgrades to Harbour View Road.

 

Winterfest Weekend designated a ‘community festival’

After reviewing a letter from the Little Current Lions Club, the Northeast Town Council carried a motion designating the Winterfest Weekend of January 31 to February 2 as a ‘community festival,’ allowing the organization to apply for a special occasion permit from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

“The weekend will indeed be a festival with much planned and other community groups getting on board too,” the letter from the Lions notes.

 

Council supports World Autism Awareness Day

The Northeast Town council decided to support and participate in World Autism Awareness Day again on April 2, 2014. As part of the awareness day, the town will fly the Autism Ontario flag.

 

Town receives reply from MMAH minister

The Northeast Town council received a response from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) regarding the town’s request to be removed from the Manitoulin Planning Board and become its own planning authority.

“Planning boards play an important role in Ontario’s land-use planning system by providing cost and service sharing opportunities, seamless policy protection and overall coordination of future growth and development across planning areas,” wrote Minster Jeffrey in her letter to the town. “I believe that every effort should be made to ensure the success of their operation.”

Minister Jeffrey concluded her letter by encouraging the town to work with the planning board to reach a “fair and effective resolution.”

“The government is constantly looking at regionalizing,” said Councillor Erskine in response to Minister Jeffrey’s letter. “It is cheaper and easier to deliver services in bigger municipalities and moving forward, rural areas are going to have to push get what they need.”

Council expressed that it would continue to work on becoming its own planning authority and meeting with the MMAH in pursuit of this goal.

 

Council to meet with Aboriginal Affairs in New Year

A letter was included in council’s agenda package this month from Audeck Omni Kaning (AOK) First Nation regarding the recent meeting between AOK Chief Patsy Corbiere, the Northeast Town council and a representative from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAND).

“The meeting on November 7 provided valued information to both parties along with the Additions to Reserve (ATR) policy requirements imposed by AAND,” wrote Chief Corbiere in the letter to council. “The First Nation purchased several properties adjacent to the reserve which fall under this lengthy ATR process. It is anticipated that as part of the consultation process with the municipality that ongoing dialogue continues between both leaderships in the near future.”

Mr. Williamson explained that in the New Year council would be meeting further with AAND and AOK to discuss the ATR process in more depth and to provide input.

 

Municipality lagoon funding application denied

Mr. Williamson spoke to council regarding correspondence from the Small, Rural and Northern Municipal Infrastructure Fund Capital Program and a recent application from the municipality for the lagoon expansion.

“We applied for $2 million dollars for the lagoon expansion, but unfortunately the project proposal was not selected to move forward,” explained Mr. Williamson.

Mayor MacNevin commented that the project was very much needed by the municipality and that he was hopeful they would secure the funding in the future.

 

Council approves taxi business licencing bylaw amendment

The Northeast Town council carried a motion passing bylaw 2001-13 as amended, “being a bylaw to regulate and licence the owners of taxicab businesses.” The motion came from a recommendation from the administration and finance committee and discussions of eliminating the bylaw altogether.

 

Council honours OCWA employee

Ontario Clean Water Agency Water plant operator for the Northeast Town (both the Sheguiandah and Little Current plants) Geoff Tuerk received a certificate of appreciation from council at the community services and public works committee meeting last Thursday after saving the town over $20,000 in electrical costs.

“Through Geoff’s efforts he reduced hydro at the Little Current plant by 25 percent and 50 percent at the Sheguiandah plant,” explained Mr. Williamson. “He took this initiative on his own and the result was big savings both financially and in terms of power use.”

 

 

Fire department report

The community services and public works committee reviewed a report from Northeast Town Fire Chief Darren Bailey. In the report he wrote that there was a total of 49 calls for service to date and that there had been eight requests for fire inspections in 2013.

“Throughout 2013 we had four officers receive certification for Level 1 Company, four officers complete the fire inspection course, in addition to one firefighter and three officers and four firefighters receiving certification in pump operations.”

 

Community services report

Reid Taylor delivered the December community services report to committee. He reported that the recreation centre ice was being used well by user groups and customer rentals, adding “218 hours have been booked for the month of December, four ice user groups are using the ice and four adult recreation hockey groups.”

Mr. Taylor also reported that user groups are continuing to use the main hall on a weekly basis and that public skating is continuing to be popular.

“The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League game on December 14 went very well and was well attended,” continued Mr. Taylor. “The Christmas break schedule begins December 20. There will be a family New Year’s evening event on December 31 with a ‘Blast From the Past’ themed family skate from 5 pm to 8 pm and family games, activities and prizes for the best costume.”

 

Public works report

Gary May presented the public works report, but noted that it was small this month.

“Winter maintenance is well underway and equipment is being repaired and serviced as needed,” said Mr. May.

 

Building controls

The building controls report noted that there had been a total of 81 building permits issued to date with a value of $15,670,356 and $122,250 in permit fees.

The report also noted that winter parking is being monitored and tickets are being issued as required.

Mr. Williamson added that there had been a problem with individuals parking downtown overnight, but that thanks to monitoring and ticketing this had been significantly reduced, making it easier for town staff to properly plow the downtown area.

 

Committee requests more information from Hydro One

The community services and public works committee reviewed a letter from Hydro One about planned forestry maintenance for the Northeast Town, which would include the use of the herbicide Garlon.

The committee recommended to council that a representative from Hydro One come to council in the New Year to discuss their plans including the use of Garlon.