The first official “Special” meeting of council took place on December 11/18 in the Council chambers at 5:00 pm.
It was basically an unremarkable meeting with no particular issues resolved and no anticipated motions introduced. The Mayor and Councillor Ferguson spoke from their experience and followed a tone of anticipated control introduced by the staff.
Cheering and clapping greeted new Mayor Christa Lowry when she entered the Council chambers. The rest of council slowly wandered in, one or two at a time, possibly encumbered by the new responsibility now thrust upon them. In retrospect we should have welcomed them with a round of applause!
There was no official welcome to the new Council or to the members of the gallery and no singing of O Canada. Mayor Lowry went directly into explaining the nature of a Special meeting of Council and how one can be called by the Mayor with a minimum of 48 hours notice and the agreement of the majority of Council. The Mayor went on to explain Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and its importance.
The next item was to be the Consideration of A Closed Session but was moved to the end of the evening in consideration of the number of people in the gallery.
The first issue was the Composition of the Striking Committee. The outline of this committee is in the Procedural Bylaw, The Mayor and three members of Council, one from each ward based on who received the highest number of votes. The resultant decision was to have all members of Council sit on the Striking Committee.
It was determined that the Statutory Committees had to be dealt with in timely fashion, those being Heritage, Accessibility and Committee of Adjustments/Property Standards. The others, which are not time sensitive, are Community and Economic Development, Transportation and Environment and Parks and Recreation. These boards can be changed as they see fit.
Councillor Maydan proposed to bring back Financial Administration and Policy Committee; also review the terms of the Committees, four years is a lot to ask, perhaps 2 years.
Councillor Dalgity recommended suspending the rules for the striking committee and voting to make the changes now. Mayor Lowry said that it was necessary to notify the public of changes to the procedural bylaw so it would be the next meeting. The point that Councillor Dalgity was trying to make was that the Procedural Bylaw could have been changed at that meeting with a two thirds majority of Council. Councillor Dalgity also suggested that he would like to see Agriculture Committee not just a “working group”.
Councillor Guerard suggested extending the closing date for volunteers for the committees that do not have a closing date extended.
Council Ferguson offered a word of caution if we go back to more committees; to bear in mind we could each end up sitting on a lot more.
Mayor Lowry suggested directing staff to bring The Terms of Reference back to the next meeting. Deputy Mayor Levi suggested that this Council should have an opportunity for input on The Terms of Reference.
Mayor Lowry suggested that many of the committees have attracted more than double the number of required volunteers and proposed to do the statutory bylaws now and wait until the Striking Committee is in place to do the others. The Committee of Adjustment could go without change until the new one is in place.
Mayor Lowry and staff suggested that the Don Maynard Park was a tricky situation and could be setting a precedent. They recommended consulting a lawyer to determine the next steps. The Clerk will try to provide an update to Council for their next meeting.
MRPC Council representative; the MRPC is made up of four members of the public and one Council representative. They did not choose a Council representative tonight but will do so at the next meeting.
Councillor Holmes suggested that ENERDU should be recognized for the contribution they have made to the Municipality. Councillor Ferguson suggested that it be made more general to indicate the contributions the Cavanagh family has made to Mississippi Mills over the years. This watered down version was passed. The issue was not about the contribution the Cavanagh family has made over the years but about the abuse that was heaped on ENERDU and Jeff Cavanagh in particular over the term of the construction of the ENERDU hydro plant. There was a motion, to which all were in favour of having the Mayor send a letter of appreciation to the Cavanagh family in recognition of their contribution to the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.
We did not stay to hear the statement of the results of the In-Camera session which took place immediately following the meeting.
Note the next Council meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 6 pm in the Council Chambers.