Chills circulated through Council chambers Monday night… good chills that is, thinking of preparations and fundraising for the upcoming Coldest Night of the Year challenge on February 24.
You can find the Council agenda here: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=542,543,90113&preview=90702
Elizabeth Zimmerman, Executive Director of the YWCA provided statistics and information on the West Niagara Affordable Housing partnership and upcoming annual fundraiser that supports transitional housing in Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln set for Saturday, February 24 at Grimsby Secondary School (GSS).
Each of the Town Councils has in the past engaged in a friendly competition to raise the most funds for this endeavour. This year’s Town of Grimsby team will be led by Alderman Dave Kadwell. Read more about how you can help out, register to enter, or donate here: https://cnoy.org/location/west-niagara
Recreation, Facilities and Culture Committee Minutes
The Parks winter maintenance schedule was discussed where each park is assigned a priority of A, B, C, or no maintenance (A being the highest priority). Unfortunately, the schedule that was to be attached was not included in the Rec Minutes or Council package.
We’ve asked about it and it should be posted shortly. Alderman Wilson noted that the Waterfront Trail is not maintained by the Town as they have not taken control of it yet (construction related) and risk is still with the developer.
You may have noticed the upper pavilion area of the new Waterfront Trail Beach (old Fifth Wheel) is missing a lot of trees. There were a number of ash trees potentially diseased and impacted by the emerald ash borer that had to be removed. The Director has indicated there will be a replacement tree planting strategy developed and the public will be involved.
Alderman Wilson commented that “now you can see through” … the question is to what? Without mature tree cover the park is pretty unprotected from highway noise and the Town is eyeing the interchange area directly across from it for high density (water view?) development. Stay tuned as the GO Transit Station Secondary Plan evolves.
An updated fee schedule was also brought forward. Alderman Kadwell inquired if Service Clubs would be offered a lower fee. Alderman Wilson will bring this question back to the Rec Committee. Mayor Bentley noted that there is a fee assistance program, partially funded through corporate and service club donations that will provide program/service access to all residents including the economically disadvantaged and special needs individuals.
130 Main Street East (Danish Lutheran Church at the corner of Nelles and Main St E) – Heritage Register
A resolution was brought forward that 130 Main Street East be included in the Grimsby Heritage Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest (Non Designated). The resolution was passed.
The report states that:
“The Province enabled the Municipality to establish a register of non-designated properties in 2005 as part of major changes to heritage legislation in Ontario. The purpose of this requirement was to enable a municipality to withhold permission for demolition of a property include on the register (non-designated) for 60 days. The register is recognized as applicable law under the Building Code Act whereby a municipality may temporarily withhold issuance of a demolition permit. This 60 day waiting period was deemed to provide sufficient time to allow a municipality to determine if a property merited designation under Part IV (Section 29) of the Act., the effect of which would be to enable a municipality to protect a property from demolition indefinitely. The 60 day waiting period also allowed for a reasonable time for the municipality to engage in discussion with a property owner about potential options for preservation and designation of a heritage resource.”
The property has recently been sold and Planning Department staff have received a number of inquiries from potential purchasers about the property including the potential of demolition of this building.
Alderman Berry raised the concern that the property owners were not asked or advised that the site would be added to the Municipal Heritage Register. Alderman Johnston also suggested that the real estate agent should inform potential purchasers that the home is on the Register.
The report further states that:
“Inclusion of a non-designated property on a municipal Heritage Register imposes no protection against or requirement for review of alterations to non-designated properties. This would occur only if a property was designated. The only implication of inclusion of a property on the municipal heritage register (non-designated) is a 60-day delay in a demolition permit. Because of this minimal implication, the Province does not require municipalities to consult with property owners prior to including a property on the municipal heritage register.”
Grimsby Power Inc. – Board of Directors
Mayor Bentley noted that 1/3 of the board members are required to be independent members according to the “affiliate relationship code” and that this issue has arisen in the past where there has been a vacancy and they were given only a short period of time to be in compliance.
Niagara Power decides where to appoint these board members. Council has to pass a resolution to appoint the new member. The NPI committee recommendation put forward the name of Mr. Thomas Beach as the selected candidate.
Alderman Kadwell asked if the position had been advertised externally. Mayor Bentley responded that it had not and that “there are times when members will be approached or names put forward by board members”.
Correspondence from Other Municipalities
Alderman Mullins asked that Council endorse the private citizen group ordering an audit of Pelham’s finances to determine if there is any financial mishandling and if their debt is bigger than has been suggested. She was concerned that it may have an impact on the Region to get debenture funding. She mentioned she had spoken to Regional Councillor Quirk about it.
Mayor Bentley noted Pelham had already had a reputable audit done and that there is a group of naysayers who won’t be satisfied with any answer they get. He said, “we can’t have it both ways, do we want the Region dictating what we can do on a day-by-day basis? No.”
Town Manager Brandt also noted that in a meeting with his counterpart CAO’s that their position is that “everybody should stay in their own lanes” and this is not a Regional issue. The risk is not significant and similar to other municipalities. The Region shouldn’t have to sign off on our municipal loans – they’re not our parent and it is not their job to oversee what the municipalities are doing.
St. Catharines, Thorold and Port Colborne have passed motions stating they are strongly opposed to the resolution approved by Niagara Regional Council respecting the financial position of the Town of Pelham and that Regional Government has no authority or mandate to interfere in the finances of any of the Regional municipalities. St. Catharines endorsed Port Colborne’s and Thorold’s motions and indicated it strongly objected to the Region and its Audit Committee interfering in a local municipality’s finances.
Alderman Mullins then stated she is fine with it, but doesn’t want it to impact our own needs. Alderman Berry stated that “there is a bit of politicking going on”. Mayor Bentley added, “it is politicking”. Correspondence was actioned as received.
Closed Session – Town Manager Contract Renewal
The renewal of Town Manager Derik Brandt’s contract to March 16, 2018 is noted in a bylaw in the Council package (not sure if this is an error in the date – or he would be leaving very soon? ) and discussed in closed session.
That’s all for now. Comments and questions are welcomed, feel free to message us.