As Council will be taking a break for a month (next meeting is July 17th) there seemed to be a lot of ground covered and a packed audience to go along with the proceedings. The agenda and following discussions were definitely a mixed bag of treats.
The night’s Agenda can be found at: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=542,543,79798&preview=85023
Admin & Finance Minutes
The 2016 Statement of Operations was reviewed comparing the actual expenditures to the budget. A deficit of $3,204 will be funded from the Budget Contingency Reserve. Alderman Mullins noted the various departmental surpluses and commented that the committee will be having a look at the reserve accounts to determine if there is any other way they should be using these funds. Our personal thought… no more biodigesters, please!
Planning & Development Minutes
We captured most of the highlights in our previous post here but as expected, the Heritage Conservation Policy was front and centre at Council. Quite a number of heritage supporters were in the chambers, some having requested in advance to be added as a delegation to speak to the motion… but their request was denied. Alderman DiFlavio brought forward to Council four “minor” revisions to the new Heritage Grimsby Terms of Reference:
22. Bringing forward proposals for delegated authority for approval of heritage permits under the Ontario Heritage Act to the municipal heritage advisory committee, planning and development committee and Council for consideration.
- Remove “no other delegated authority”. As an advisory committee, this wording is not necessary.
The Committee shall be composed of five (5) members, two (2) of which shall be members of Council.
- Change to “minimum of five members”, rather than maximum, to be flexible and inclusive if there are a greater number of interested, qualified applicants from year to year.
No member of the committee may serve more than two consecutive full or partial terms of Council on the Heritage Grimsby. Council may waive term limits on appointments to the committee and executive positions as it sees fit.
- Remove the tenure restriction (limited to two terms of council) to allow members to gain an understanding of their role and responsibilities in the first term.
Heritage Grimsby -> Heritage Grimsby Advisory Committee
- Insert “Advisory” into the name for clarity. Full name was intended to be “Heritage Grimsby Advisory Committee”. The intent was that the short form only would be “Heritage Grimsby”.
Mayor Bentley noted that Council had received a couple of complaints of harassment and bullying with regard to the former committee and an independent investigation had ensued. The results indicated that at least one member was guilty of harassment and another of bullying. The Mayor requested that the Town Manager determine what information on the investigation can be released to members of the committee as well as the public.
Town Manager Brandt noted that they had been made aware of concerns of an unsafe working environment affecting staff and that the harassment has continued. He has forwarded this to the investigator. Alderman DiFlavio reiterated that it is time to put negativity behind and there are a lot of positives to build on. Alderman Berry stated that “we can’t have bashing of our staff in the newspaper”.
Alderman Kadwell suggested that the public should be consulted on the Terms of Reference (TOR). Town Manager Brandt stated that there is no requirement for public meetings and that the “Toolkit” was designed for municipalities that had never had a committee. Mr. Michael Seaman (Director of Planning) designed the aforementioned “Toolkit”. Alderman Berry stated “we owe it to the community to have their say”.
The amended By-Law was passed and the call for members will be placed in the local newspaper. It was suggested that at the next Planning & Development Committee, the process can be developed to evaluate member submissions received. Alderman Johnston was hopeful the new committee would be in place to plan for “Doors Open” this fall. Alderman Seaborn stated that former GHAC members “are still working with us” on Doors Open.
Public Works Minutes
Don’t drink the water… Or shower!
The cistern at the newly opened Southward Park tested positive for bacterial growth (not ecoli or coliform) in early June despite being cleaned. Further tests are being done and they are awaiting the results. There is a well tied in to an irrigation pond for “grey” water use and a cistern for potable water on site.
There will be an investigation to determine the problem and will look at possible illegal connections to the well, a leak in the cistern, or issues with the ultraviolet disinfection systems. Meanwhile, potable taps (and showers) will be marked unsafe to drink/use until the situation is rectified.
Ministry regulations are changing for minimum maintenance standards of roads, sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes. Bike lanes are now to be treated in winter with a similar standard to roads and sidewalks (sand and salt, clearing). Most bike lanes in Grimsby are the responsibility of the Region, but the Lake Avenue and Winston Road neighbourhood will also need to be considered. Potential hazards adjacent to sidewalks and bike lanes have to be looked at. The committee decided to pass this on to the new Grimsby Active Transportation Committee to deal with once it is re-established.
You can read all about the CoGen problems in our previous post here.
Alderman Kadwell asked the Mayor if there was a plan to use the CoGen more when the igniters are fixed. Mayor Bentley responded that how often and how long it is used is based on the price of electricity and natural gas. He stated that a lot depends on energy prices and the differential needs to be enough.
So… they have to fix the igniters and hard drive so that they can get it up and running (both turbines) for the MOE to do the required noise study following the completion of the sound barrier walls… and if it doesn’t pass, that will certainly mean more $$$. Will the proverbial “stuff” hit the (turbine) fans?
The Town received a substantial $3.97M through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) federal/provincial grant. Projects totaling $4.08M were submitted (which included a $110K buffer). Quartek Group was awarded the design and inspection contract in December 2016 at $490/day plus tax and disbursements for 180 days (about 6 months). Concerns were raised that with the influx of grant money and the tight timeline, many municipalities approved for funding will struggle to compete for the limited number of qualified contractors to do the work, raising the bid submissions due to supply and demand. As well, there is a strong possibility that the target of having 60% of the projects completed by March 31, 2018 cannot be met, resulting in clawbacks of the approved funds.
2018 Watermain Replacement Projects are being pushed back because of the CWWF priority and the ongoing Winston Road work. As well, the Central and Marlow Ave water main replacement project will be delayed to 2019, preferably to overlap with the end of the Phelps development.
The DIA has requested a change in the Region’s garbage waste pickup to Fridays to accommodate the extra waste generated by the Thursday’s Farmers’ Market. The cost to change the pickup (seasonally for the market) would be $2,500 per year for three years (increase to the Town levy). The bag limit would be reduced from 12 to 7. Discussions on this change are ongoing.
52 Garden Drive
What a great turnout by concerned residents at the two Committee of Adjustment meetings and Council! After some deliberation Council approved Planning staff’s motion to appeal the decision of the COA to the OMB.
Planning staff stand by their report that the requested variances are not minor in nature. They are still hopeful the developer will come back with a more palatable and conforming design before the OMB hearing. Legal costs will be borne by the Town and the developer will be responsible for his own costs. Concerned citizens should keep in touch with Planning staff to be apprised of any changes.
Hydro Shareholder’s Account
Funds received for Council members sitting on the Hydro board are deposited into a Hydro Shareholder’s Account. $25K of the total available funds (approximately $50K) will be disbursed to the Niagara Community Fund/Grimsby Community Fund. Alderman DiFlavio suggested that a motion could be passed at a future Council meeting to set aside a reserve amount and allocate any excess funds directly as received, to the Grimsby Community Fund. Mayor Bentley noted that a record of all past donations is kept and he would take a look at that as a guide and make a future recommendation.
Ombudsman’s Report: Alderman Berry couldn’t resist bringing this up again. He made an emphatic statement that “from an ethics point of view… a front page article shouldn’t be corrected on the third page” and that this particular newspaper (NewsNow) should “report the news, don’t make up the news” – – it was “like the National Enquirer, only it’s becoming the Grimsby Enquirer”.
Biodigester: Alderman Kadwell had a tour of the biodigester with Mr. Panetta (new lead replacing Mr. Detenbeck) on June 13th and looks forward to the July 17th update to be presented to Council. He requested that the Town Manager consider changing the format of the presentation and open it up as a public meeting forum. He looks forward to a response from Town Manager Brandt on this request.
Regional News: Councillor Quirk noted that the Region is close to passing a new Development Charges By-Law that will include significant changes to incentives for Brownfield development. The Fifth Wheel Losani development will be impacted.
Next Council meeting will be on July 17 @ 6:30 PM. Please note that meetings will begin at 6:30 PM rather than 7PM for the summer months.