Council Recap: Feb 20, 2019

Alright, let’s get to it! If you missed the preview for this Middlesex Centre Council meeting, you can click here to read it.

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interest.

No one appeared before Council to contest the assessments in the Martin Rd Development Drain report, and the members of the court approved the assessments as identified in the report.

Delegations, Presentations & Petitions

We had a presentation by the Lower Thames Conservation Authority, similar to the one the UTRCA did recently. Here are some highlights:

  • A lot of effort being put into planting hectares of trees each year.
  • They do their best to spread the news about flood watches and warnings to local media, social media websites, and also have a gauge on their website you can view at any time.
  • Ice jams causing floods appear to be becoming more common.
  • You need to pay for parking at Sharon Creek Conservation Area, but that funding is paying for a lot of work to maintain and enhance the facilities.
  • London Canoe Club is based at Sharon Creek! You can rent a canoe and head out almost any time.
  • Longwoods Conservation Area continues to be a destination for school field trips to learn about indigenous culture and history.

You should check out the LTCA’s website for more info. I’m looking forward to some trips to Sharon Creek this summer!

Consent Agenda

The discussion for the consent agenda was primarily focused on on the following:

  • I asked staff whether the YMCA’s surplus, and therefore the donation to the Strong Kids Program, was generally on an uptrend. The answer was that it varies – in 2016 the surplus was over $60,000, in 2017 it was lower, and now we’re back up to $59,000 for 2018.
  • Council opted to discuss the Integrity Commissioner’s report later in the evening.
  • I asked about the current maximum flows for the Ilderton and Komoka Wastewater Treatment Facilities, since they both appear to be near capacity fairly often, or the Komoka WWTF would be at capacity as soon as the Kilworth WWTF is decommissioned.
  • Staff explained that the ongoing Ilderton WWTF expansion was not reflected in the current maximum capacity numbers, so that was good to hear. And staff also explained that the Komoka WWTF is only running at roughly 50% capacity given the existing demands; once the Kilworth WWTF is decommissioned and that wastewater is sent to the Komoka WWTF, the additional capacity will be opened up. That additional capacity at Komoka is not reflected in the report. Phew! 🙂
  • The reports were all received, minus 8.3.

Staff Reports

  • Council voted to approve a market assessment for the CAO position’s salary grid range this fall. I voted against the motion as I thought the current range provided was sufficient. If I recall correctly, I was the only dissenting vote.
  • All of the grants applied for through the Council Grants programs that were recommended by staff were approved.
  • After a lot of debate about the Staff-Council Relationship Policy meant for day-to-day operations, and preventing staff from speaking to senior management ad-hoc (unless some other items were clearly defined), Council did approve the policy but also struck a line from the Council Code of Conduct that would have mandated all communication go through the CAO first. We can now continue doing business as I have been for the past two years, and we have a new policy (provincially mandated) that helps reinforce the Council Code of Conduct.
  • Getting Drainage Reports begun were approved for the Goudy Municipal Drain and Government Drain No. 1 Extension.
  • VanBree was awarded the Squires Municipal Drain Improvement job.

Public Meetings

  • Following on the last public meeting in January, ZBA-27-2018 was approved.
  • B-22-18 & ZBA-25-2018, seeking to sever 5 lots along Plover Mills Rd in Bryanston were denied. There was a lot of debate about allowing development to continue in areas without municipal water and wastewater systems, what justification was previously used for other severances of the same lot and similar ones nearby, whether that justification still applied and so on. I had no idea how this one would go, but ultimately the applications were denied. Whether the denial will be appealed remains to be seen at this time.
  • B-1 & 2-2019 and ZBA-1-2019, for 15 Elmhurst St in Kilworth, were approved. The conditions as part of the severance state that groundwater impact and stormwater management reports must be done, which will hopefully allay any fears surrounding emptying any existing residents’ wells, especially the shallower ones. The groundwater impact report, presumably, could report that additional development would have a severe impact and could put the severance in jeopardy. We won’t know until the assessment and report are completed.
  • ZBA-02-2019, for Jury Road, was approved.

Backtracking to 8.3

We finally got back to item 8.3, the integrity commissioner report. To make a long story short, there was a lot of back and forth about the substance of the reports, people saying they had never seen John act in a disrespectful way described in the reports (neither have I, for what it’s worth), and so on. John did acknowledge the incidents happened, but his explanations all seemed to make sense and he stated clearly the intent was never there to influence staff in an inappropriate way. I did make a note of saying that he should not have approached a District Fire Chief before speaking with Fire Chief Toth, but I couldn’t recommend any penalties based on the report provided. Earlier in the evening we struck out a problematic portion of a policy from the Council Code of Conduct. Hopefully something like this doesn’t occur again.

And that’s everything that you really need to know! We already have multiple public meetings set for March, and the next Council agenda will be out later this week. Feel free to contact me between now and then.