Council Recap: Jan 23, 2019

If you missed the last Middlesex Centre Council meeting preview, you can find it here and the public meeting preview here. I’m using my tweets from during the Council meeting as the recap, so that’s why it’s written in the present tense!

Presentations, Delegations & Petitions

  • We started with Bill Rayburn, speaking about his recommended process for hiring a new CAO. He’s eager to see this go well and has already started beating the bushes looking for good, interested candidates.
  • Here’s the presentation, in case you would like to see it.
  • Bill is speaking about being Chair of the OMERS board and interviewing and scoring candidates. How tough it is, doing it fairly, scoring according to priorities, etc.
  • Bill speaks on the importance of future proofing; ensuring you’re not just hiring what you need today, but what you need years from now. And then having contrasting candidates, because if you have a shortlist that’s all the same, you have failed.
  • Also good timing right now because there are a slew of CAOs who have either left their current municipality or will be looking for a change after seeing the new Council that’s been elected last fall. Bill knows some great CAOs who are now looking for a new opportunity.
  • Bill has a two-step interview process that has worked really well for him (it’s in the presentation). Elgin County just used it, and has a list of scenario assignments that could be used to test for municipal government knowledge, ability to write and writing style, etc.
  • After some lengthy back and forth, Council has approved a $500 refund to Fred Lewis on the basis that he could have charged 1.25% interested per month, as the Municipality does, over the roughly 3 years his invoice went unpaid.
  • Kevin Moniz presented his update to the Martin Road Drain. I asked about replanting trees, which Kevin says is not advisable because of the works. Fair enough. Councillor Aerts also identified a clerical error regarding pipe size, which Kevin will rectify and report back about.
  • This was received for information. Now onto Committee of Adjustment, which I am chairing! So I will report back after.

Committee of Adjustment

After some healthy debate regarding EU zone, minor variances, and some Q&A, staff’s recommendation to deny the application was approved. However, it seems there’s consensus that applicant should seek to re-zone their property instead, at which point they just need a building permit.

Public Meetings

  • We’re starting with the redline revisions to EdgeWater Estates. UTRCA doesn’t have any concerns, Kilworth Heights West (Tridon) has concerns about cutting off natural trail after 695m and plans for it, and no concerns from a French-speaking school.
  • Carol Wiebe, the planner for South Winds, is going through the changes. Much of it is getting appropriate zoning in place for changes that have been submitted previously. Current draft plan shows this, registered last year with a 10 acre SWM.
  • South Winds has deeded and registered the open space blocks to the south (right side of photo) to the Municipality, which will be part of a floodplain. The area for ~33 units would be a vacant land condominium, hence the request for a private drive.
  • A resident of River’s Edge Lane has concerns regarding potential or all the traffic to use Westbrook Drive, and the orientation of the path. I can say Crestview Ave will be extended all the way to Glendon, and Carol Wiebe reiterated the multi-use path exists and will be available.
  • A concern from a resident about ensuring that the construction access will continue to use the construction access road. That is accurate. I made some corrections regarding ingress/egress to Glendon (one, not two) and that I’ve been told Crestview should be connected in 2019.
  • A question from a resident about maintaining the multi-use path; it would be maintained like a primary trail, minimal work unless standards change. The President of Tridon confirms for another resident that the ingress/egress is designed to handle all the traffic.
  • The report was received for information.
  • Mr. Ruggeri’s request was mostly approved. The staff recommendation was approved.
  • The application severance was also approved. On to item 10.5.
  • Laverne Kirkness is here with one of the partners (Mary-Ellen) of PW Holdings. Starting with a bird’s eye view of the land, looking north. This application, if approved later, would complete development of Union Ave.
  • 50’ lots and 150’ deep, keeping in line with existing UR1 zoning. The draft plan of subdivision does comply with MXC’s official plan (and Komoka-Kilworth Secondary Plan), the County’s OP, and the provincial policy statement (PPS).
  • The applicant is looking for approval at Council, approval from the County, and hoping to get lots in for servicing this spring. No comments from the public. Councillor Aerts has a question about two dashed lines — probably an easement. Received for info.

Consent Agenda and Staff Reports

  • We took a 10 minute break and now have skipped ahead to the DWQMS operations plan. Council asking staff some questions regarding Top Management Review Agenda & Meeting Minutes.
  • Questions re: pressure change in Delaware b/c of new standpipe, causes of low pressure, what to do w/ TC.
  • Council votes to endorse the DWQMS for 2019. Brian and Eric (water/wastewater staff) can go home now! 😁
  • On to item 8.7, allowing temporary use for Kevlar at 85 Queen St. I made this motion back in December. Approved! Kelly (Planner) can go home now!
  • Now we’re backing up to item 8.1, the request for a Health and Safety & Human Resource Coordinator.Deputy Mayor Brennan wants to know if we can provide services to other municipalities if it turns out this person isn’t really a F/T position. Tiffany says that’s a possibility.
  • A question from Councillor Aerts about hiring this person before the new CAO or not. Tiffany, Director of Corporate Services/Treasurer, says that this person would report to her, the past CAO was not typically involved in who Tiffany hires that reports to her. I said I was okay with deferring new municipal engineer because that person reports directly to the CAO. The H&S/HR person would not report directly to the CAO.
  • Scott, Director of Community Services, supports making this position happen because of the workload they will receive. It’s a F/T job is the message.
  • Clipping along. Motion to hire a health and safety/HR coordinator position was approved.
  • Motion to temporarily appoint IBI Group as the municipal engineer was approved. There is no retainer, it’s purely on an hourly, as-needed basis.
  • Pre-budget approval for the Meadowcreek storm water project is granted. Now on to the Deputy Fire Chief position. Chief Toth is looking for a new F/T position. I’m speaking in support, but DM Brennan seems to feel otherwise based on his opening.
  • And I don’t speak in support lightly. Chief Toth works 60 hour weeks getting his department up to snuff and has accomplished a lot in the past two years. DM Brennan would like to see this deferred for a year b/c much of what’s done has been “one-off stuff.”
  • Councillor Shipley also thinks that the HR person will take a lot of the load off the Chief, and thinks that person could handle the Section 21 guidelines.
  • Chief Toth agrees some items have been one-offs, but he has a lot of after hours items that happen. JHSC, other meetings. The one-offs also come with a lot of maintenance. Structure is getting there, but he simply can’t get to a lot of day-to-day items right now.
  • Doesn’t feel right putting Section 21 guidelines on new HR person or his educational coordinator. Huge workload right now.
  • Council defeated my motion to approve the position. Instead a motion was approved to have Chief report back in 6 months on the workload taken off him by the new HR coordinator, and what responsibilities would be offloaded from him to the Deputy and impact on his job description.
  • DM Brennan reporting on last County council meeting. SCOR was there with a report on their activities. FCM exec position available, and Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden is running for that. Funding for asset management plans made available by provincial gov’t.
  • Several people were at County council re: a new gravel pit in Thames Centre, they were against it. It’s going back to Thames Centre for review. Complainants said air and noise studies weren’t done. OFA also had delegation regarding property tax rates.
  • Councillor Aerts makes the point that his farm home is only taxed at 0.005%, whereas North Middlesex farm homes are taxed at 0.008%. Huron County’s ag land is taxed at 0.23% but they still pay more taxes than Middlesex County ag land.
  • On to by-laws! And then done. Good night everyone!