The Council Meeting was well attended. When the meeting started, many were left standing in the lobby.
- The meeting started with a robust rendition of ‘Oh Canada” (not done at the last meeting)
- An Engineer from JL Richards made a presentation about our water and waste system. The good news is that our water and sewer systems are working well and can accommodate present needs. The bad news is that many pipes and equipment must be replaced. The consultant provided maps indicating the areas of highest need. Yes, this is going to be expensive. See the background material for further details.
- The acting CAO has identified 25 ongoing and upcoming projects for the Municipality. There was agreement that this list needs to be prioritized.
- Live streaming of Council meetings is coming early in 2019.
- Wild parsnip is still with us. Staff has inspected every ditch on every road and has an accurate map where the parsnip is growing. The plan is to spray these weeds but residents can opt out of the spraying. However, such residents must get rid of the wild parsnip in other ways and if not done satisfactorily, the resident will lose the opt out option.
- Council discussed if the Municipality should opt in or opt out of the cannabis program offered by the government. There is a $10,000 incentive for Municipalities who opt in. Council decided to survey the public to get input before making a decision.
- Council has a bylaw called “Cash in Lieu of Parking”. The Planning department has been asked for a building permit for a second restaurant at 7 Mill Street. There is not enough parking at this site to accommodate this proposed business. The business needs 12 more parking spots to meet the bylaw. Council can waive this requirement by charging $3000 per parking spot, for a total of $36,000 in this application. Council discussed the present lack of sufficient parking in the downtown district and this voted unanimously not to opt for the cash in lieu of parking. No building permit will be issued. It was suggested that a thorough review of downtown parking should take place this summer.
- Council agreed that hiring a new CAO is a priority. Given that this process could take a number of months, it was decided that Council would try to find an experienced person to fill this position on an interim basis. This person would not be applying for the CAO position full time.
- There is a lot of interest for committee appointments. To date, Council has received 105 applications. Council definitely wants to organize committees so that residents can give input to committees. There was discussion on how this could work. Council decided to fill the statutory committees and fill the remaining committees at a later date. Council wants to review the terms of reference for all committees.
- The Ramsay Meadows situation has still not been resolved (Fire Research Station).
Mayor Lowry and some elves distributed some chocolates to the public during a brief recess. This was well received and we eagerly await what the Mayor has planned for next meeting.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!