Mississippi Mills Youth Centre
The Council Meeting began with an excellent presentation by Charlotte MacAlister, Managing Director of the Mississippi Mills Youth Centre. Some impressive statistics were provided in addition to an up-date of the Youth Centre program of activities. Currently, there are 350 youth members of which 150 are daily active members. Approx. 45 new members have signed up in 2019 alone.
Youth Centre programs are administered by a combination of part time staff and volunteers and an important milestone was recently achieved when the Youth Centre obtained official charitable status. Henceforward, financial donors will be issued an official receipt for tax purposes.
A proposal has been received from the owners of 55 Spring Street, formerly the Optometrist Office, to allow a change in use and permit the establishment of a new pharmacy immediately adjacent to the Almonte Hospital property.
Council approved a zoning by-law amendment to permit the establishment of a wellness centre at 3360 County Road 29, Pakenham Ward consisting of a cannabis growing facility and eight accessory dwelling units. The proposal is subject to completion of a geotechnical analysis, an environmental impact study and regulatory approval of provincial and federal agencies having jurisdiction.
Community Official Plan:
Implementation of the controversial Natural Heritage Designation has been deferred pending receipt of a revised provincial policy statement from the Ford Government.
The population of Mississppi Mills according to page 101 of Council’s Meeting Agenda, is projected to grow by 60% to 21,122 residents by the year 2038, representing a 60% increase. Of this, 70% will be located in urban areas and 30% will be rural on ¼ to ½ acre lots.
Several significant changes were made by Lanark County to Mississippi Mill’s draft Community Official Plan with little or no explanation provided by the County. Councilor Holmes asked that the Lanark County Planner attend a meeting with Mississippi Mills Councilors to in order to explain the reasons for the changes. Councilor Holmes also recommended that future COP planning, particularly with respect to the Natural Heritage System, be undertaken using up-to-date maps. According to Councilor Holmes, this was not the case previously.
Downtown Parking Study
The long awaited Downtown Parking Study was presented. The major finding being that there is adequate parking in the Downtown although it was conceded that available parking is widely dispersed.
While the study itself was excellent and contained many statistics to back up this claim it seems that some Councilors were not satisfied with some of its recommendations. One of its main purposes was to examine the issue of the “Cash in Lieu” policy and this they felt was not done. Consequently, Council voted to defeat Interim Control Bylaw (19-22) and recommended that a comparative study be conducted to analyze the “Cash in Lieu” policies of other medium size municipalities with the intent being to link the findings with the Downtown Parking Study and the Town’s long term Strategic Study.
Council decided to look at alternative options for residents to discard yard waste in order to fill the gap left by the closing of Mr. Al Potvin’s facility.
Parks and Rec
Council appointed the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to research and develop a draft Municipal Adopt a Park Policy as well and other proposals for possible additional recreation programs.
Council received the Paterson Street report prepared by the director of Roads and Public Works recommending the relocation of the Paterson Street crosswalk closer to the Morton Street Community Safety Zone in support of pedestrian/children’s safety. Councilor Denzil Ferguson was the only Councilor twho stated he would not support the cost of relocating the crosswalk from its present location.
Council directed Town Staff to research cost effective options for improving pedestrian/School children safety at the Ottawa Street Traffic Lights located at Martin, Paterson and Industrial Streets.
In a recorded vote, and as a matter of safety for Almonte’s school children, Council directed Town Staff to allocate $5,000 from the Town Budget to supply a crossing guard at the Paterson/Ottawa Street intersection. The CAO suggested that there might be a possibility for Town Staff to provide support services in this regard. Only Councilor Denzil Ferguson voted “no”.