Northeast Town Council Notes

Council approves zoning bylaw amendment

The Northeast Town council approved a zoning bylaw amendment that was requested by Vanessa Pierce concerning her part lot on Wilson Street west.

“The subject land has been in the ownership of Ms. Pierce for three years and the rezoning would allow for uses permitted in the residential zone, i.e. a dwelling unit,” states the application. “Residential uses are not permitted within the development zone. Therefore, a zoning amendment is required.”

There were no objections to the request during the public meeting, however Peggy Young, representing her parents who live on Wilson Street West, spoke to council regarding the roadway, requesting that the town officially take over the road.

Council directed staff to enter into discussions with the property owners regarding the road.


Council urges MTO to pay for roadwork

Councillor Bill Koehler brought up under ‘old business’ during last week’s council meeting that the town had still not heard back from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) regarding the bill council sent the ministry for phase three of the ‘connecting link project.’

Town CAO Dave Williamson reviewed with council how council had directed staff to send the MTO an invoice for the work the town completed, finishing phase three of the connecting link road work on Highway 6 from China City to the Little Current swing bridge.

“The project was three parts and the MTO completed the first two and kept putting off finishing the third part and then cancelled the funding, leaving us to spend the $99,000 to complete it,” said Councillor Koehler. “I think we should send another letter telling them that we are waiting for our refund. This is nothing we should let go by the wayside. “

Council agreed with Mr. Koehler and a motion was carried directing staff to send a letter along with another invoice to the MTO.


Review of drinking water report

Mr. Williamson reviewed the Little Current drinking water system annual inspection report with council. He specifically directed council to page 12 of the report that contains the various recommendations, noting that the report points out that the water treatment plant is 14 years old and will need maintenance and upgrades when it reaches its twentieth year. Mr. Williamson recommended to council that it consider budgeting for an engineer in the 2015 capital budget to begin looking at what these maintenance and upgrades will be.


Northeast Town council supports golf fundraiser

After reading a letter from Larissa Lopex of the Canadian Cancer Society, council carried a motion to donate $100 to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Reggie Leach and Friends’ Golf to Cure Cancer event at the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course in Manitowaning.

Councillor Melissa Peters requested a recorded vote stating, “I will not be supporting this due to the lack of budgeting with council’s donations.”

In the recorded vote, Councillors Michael Erskine, Marcel Gauthier, Christina Jones, Bill Koehler, Dawn Orr, Paul Skippen, Bruce Wood and Mayor Al MacNevin all voted in favour of the donation while Councillor Peters opposed it.


Northeast Town Fire chief report

Council reviewed Northeast Town Fire Chief Darren Bailey’s July report. He noted in the report that there had been a reported car fire on July 5 and a house fire on Blake Street West on July 13 in Little Current. He also noted that the apparatus and equipment is in good working order.


Community services report

Reid Taylor delivered the July community services report. He reported that maintenance and repairs to prepare for upcoming events and the ice season were ongoing at the recreation centre, in addition to painting and capital upgrades.

“This month at the recreation centre Drive Test continues,” noted Mr. Taylor. “The Haweater Weekend events are coming up and pickleball continues.”

As for the marina, Mr. Taylor said that the service dock has been busy on weekdays and very busy on weekends, adding that “this past Sunday night the marina reached capacity, which is good.”

“The Port of Little Current has been very busy this month,” he continued. “Lots of transient boats have arrived and stayed overnight. Staff are completing maintenance tasks when not servicing boats and the new Spider Bay launch ramp/fuel dock has been installed and completed.”

He added that the first cruise ship of the year would be coming on Friday, July 25 and that the port would also be hosting the North Channel Regatta on Friday, July 25.

In terms of the town parks and outdoor spaces, Mr. Taylor told council that the Community Picnic at Low Island earlier in the month was a “great success,” noting that 200-250 people had attended.

“The new Low Island swim dock is installed and open, as is the new Low Island gazebo,” said Mr. Taylor. “Preparations for Haweater Weekend have started and all washroom facilities, parks and playgrounds are open and being maintained regularly.”

Councillor Marcel Gauthier commented that he was pleased with the town staff’s work maintaining the local parks, especially the Little Current library park.


Public works report

Ian Phillips presented the July public works report to council at last Thursday evening’s meeting. He said that the construction on Limekiln corner was still in progress and that the lift of Harbour View Road was complete.

“Lacroix Construction is finishing up the force main,” he continued. “And in terms of equipment, it is working well and maintenance and repairs are being done as required. The hazardous waste day was on Saturday, July 12 and everything went well, though numbers were down.”

Councillor Gauthier said that he had received many positive comments regarding the work that Lacroix Construction did on the Robinson Street force main.

“Can we ask staff to send a letter to them, thanking them for a good job completed on time?” asked Councillor Paul Skippen.

Council agreed that that would be a good idea and directed staff to contact Lacroix.


Building controls report

Brock Sanftenberg delivered the building controls report for July to council.

“To date we have issued 31 building permits with an estimated construction value of $1,057,410,” said Mr. Sanftenberg. “Parking is being monitored and tickets issued on violation. Also, Low Island Park is being patrolled for dogs off leash. In property standards, we are gaining compliance with registered owners in respect to grass-cutting for unoccupied lots and vacant lots.”

Mr. Sanftenberg concluded his report by presenting graphs on issued building permits over the past five years and the estimated construction value over the last five years.


Council approves Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre rental policy

Mr. Williamson presented an Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre rental policy that staff had prepared for council at the community services/public works committee meeting last week.

“This policy sets the rates and policy for the space rental,” explained Mr. Williamson. “We designed it to help stimulate community activity within the arts sector. The policy is to provide this space to the not-for-profit arts sector. We want to create the opportunity for individuals in all sectors of the arts to display work, while growing the downtown core.”

He noted that in order to help stimulate the art sector, the space will continue to be free of charge to local artists, artisans and arts related organizations, but that after this year the policy and rate structure will be reviewed by council.

As for commercial activity, users will be charged $50/hour with a minimum of a two hour booking or $200 a day, the rental policy notes.

The policy also outlines commission rates for arts and activity, “Artists, artisans and arts organizations who are utilizing the space for the sale of artwork will not be charged a rental fee to utilize this space, but a commission fee of 10 percent will be applied to the total sales per artists or organization.”

During council’s review of the policy, Councillor Michael Erskine suggested that a cap be added to the commission rates so that the fee doesn’t exceed the commercial rental fee.

The committee made a recommendation to council to approve the Artisan Incubator and Technology Centre rental policy.


Airport report

Councillor Marcel Gauthier reviewed the Manitoulin East Airport report with the Northeast Town council. He noted that fuel sales were up this year and that the Young Eagles program earlier this month went well.