Dog park continued
Following a deputation by John Royal, proponent of a Little Current dog park, and another by Sylvia Moggy, representing the Manitoulin Horse Club in response to a suggestion of a dog park in the horse ring adjacent to the recreation centre in Little Current, council reviewed the dog park suggestion.
“It was made clear by the Horse Club that they weren’t in favour of it,” said Mayor Al MacNevin.
Councillors Paul Skippen and Bill Koehler said they would not be voting in favour of a dog park in the same space as the horse ring following Ms. Moggy’s presentation.
“I have a hunch this isn’t going away,” said Mayor MacNevin.
Councillor Erskine suggested staff consider the property located behind the water treatment plant as an alternative location.
CAO Dave Williamson reminded council again that council, some time ago, had approved the old Mountainside Trailer Park property, which the municipality owns, for a dog park site. This property is located to the rear of the Manitoulin Flee Market off Highway 6.
Council received a letter from Alice Pennie, president of the Manitoulin 4-H Association, requesting a donation.
“One of the prime goals of the 4-H program is to promote leadership skills and good community citizenship among our members,” Ms. Pennie writes. “Our motto is ‘Learn to do by doing,’ which means that our members are very active in various activities.”
“Although we do fundraising, our program can be enhanced by more funding from the community,” she continues. “Thus, we would appreciate any financial assistance you can give.” Council approved a $200 donation to the Manitoulin 4-H Association.
Councillor Marcel Gauthier reviewed the latest Manitoulin East Municipal Airport committee minutes with council. He said that since his last report, 38 aircraft and 65 passengers landed at the airport, bringing in just over $9,000 in revenue.
Work on the new crosswinds runway is almost complete; 1,450 feet of the 1,600-foot runway has been finished. Plans are on hold until the spring to finish the runway.
Mr. Williamson, the airport committee’s treasurer, said the airport is doing “exceedingly well” and is under budget, commending ever-frugal airport manager George Dobbs.
Councillor Gauthier noted the good working relationship the two municipalities, Northeast Town and Assiginack, maintain over their shared asset.
“It was a pleasure to serve on the committee,” said outgoing councillor Skippen.
Council received a letter from Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), thanking them for their delegation at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference.
“I understand your concerns about wildlife damage to crops and the impact it has on Ontario farmers,” Minister Hardeman writes. “Damage to most crops by wildlife is an insured peril under the Production Insurance program. However, wildlife damage to crops alone is rarely large enough on its own to trigger a claim payment.”
“This is why farmers facing increased wildlife pressures are encouraged to participate in provincially and federally-funded self-managed programs like Agrilnvest,” the minister continued. “These programs can help producers take measures to help prevent wildlife damage in the future, as well as replant damaged crops or mitigate for lost income.”
“Producers are also encouraged to investigate resources available from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to help identify the type of wildlife causing damage and then identify management tools such as buffer strips or wildlife removal to reduce the incidences of damage,” he writes.
“When we met, we discussed the idea of additional culling of wild animals to help reduce the risk of crop damage,” he continued. “I plan to raise your concerns with the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry for further consideration.”
At the behest of Councillor Bruce Wood, staff was directed to write a letter back to OMAFRA, asking for funding to enlist a student or intern to undertake a study on crop damage.
A motion was made by Councillor Wood to send the letter.
Councillor Michael Erskine told council he believed Councillor Wood and Councillor Skippen made a convincing argument to the province over the years about the plight of farmers.
Councillor Skippen suggested carbon copying the letter to the University of Guelph’s agriculture school.
Councillor Melissa Peters asked for a recorded vote.
All councillors and Mayor Al MacNevin voted in favour of drafting and sending a letter to OMAFRA. Councillor Peters voted against the motion. The motion was carried.