Council Recap: Sep 11, 2019

Council Recap: Sep 11, 2019

Here is the recap for the September 11, 2019 Middlesex Centre Council meeting. If you missed the preview, here it is. Most of the notes below come from my Twitter account, where I live tweeted the meeting.

Adoption of the Minutes

Deputy Mayor Brennan asked why the meeting minutes are so scant on details. Clerk Wright responded that Municipal Act prohibits adding specifics about what is said; it’s supposed to have motions and major events only. Minutes for past two meetings approved.

Delegations, Presentations & Petitions

Item 6.0

Deputy Fire Chief Launie Fletcher presented with Governor General Sovereign Medal for Volunteers! Mayor DeViet and Chief Toth presented it to him.

Item 6.1

  • Brad Bunke from GM BluePlan Engineering now here to speak on Donkers-Hurlbut Municipal Drain Extension. Formal notice of withdrawal by one of the petitioners, which makes the petition deficient under the Drainage Act.
Photo of Brad Bunke holding map illustrated watershed
The watershed in question.
  • The major road just to the right of the centre of the map is Highbury Ave. Normal process was followed, lots of daylighting for Union Gas lines. Got all the way to cost estimate and assessment table.
  • GM BluePlan informed in February a petitioner would withdraw, finally occurred in May. This is the standard meeting to review. Deputy Mayor asked why they withdrew – sense that costs were high, may install private tile instead.
  • Deputy Mayor asks why isn’t petitioner on hook for all the costs? Bunke says Drainage Act is clear as to how the assessment is prescribed, regardless of whether the petition was withdrawn.
  • Cllr Aerts seeks clarity on costs assessed. All costs included in the $50K+ assessed to three properties. Now some questions about labour rates for one of the vendors. Bunke explains some of the process that occurred with Union Gas and very large pipes being crossed.
  • Solicitor of Record for Mayoni Enterprises now speaking. Felt costs were too high, other methods weren’t paid any attention. If they had known costs in advance, would have withdrawn sooner. Now surprised that costs assessed are so high, “no economies of scaled were used.”
  • Solicitor asks rhetorical(?) question of whether there’s a way to move project forward at a lesser cost. Reiterates client pulled out because client was bearing majority of cost (as per the Drainage Act).
  • The gentleman that farms the property now speaking. Admits legitimate need to improve drainage. Clay tile installed 40 years ago, not doing its job now. Previous map has incorrect branch endpoint.
  • Adjacent farms already systematically tiled, but rest of drain not designed to take that into account. Says his opinion is this drain is over-engineered. Had another person (not an engineer) take his own stab at design that was less expensive.
  • He called Badger Daylighting and got a quote with a much lower hourly cost ($280 vs. $400), and highlighted that new topographical map wasn’t done but were charged for one.
  • “Is there a separate price for public utilities and private landowners?”
    • Unfortunately, there often is.
  • Mayor DeViet asked staff if there’s a process for appeal. CAO DiLullo indicates we can defer this back to the engineer, and some of the work can be attributed back to Union Gas. Council votes to refer this back to the engineer to see if there’s a way to reduce costs.

Item 6.3

  • Now onto asset management update. Here are some highlights from the report. Assets mostly in good condition, but a few water and wastewater assets need maintenance or improvement shortly.
  • Asset management update received for info. Onto the Consent Agenda.

Consent Agenda

Arnie Marsman clarified some items in the Parks & Recreation Area by-law after our call yesterday to ensure the right intent is described.

Chief Toth now speaking about the UTV that the Fire Dept would like to buy (all covered by private donations). Only buying one, not one for each fire hall. Fire fighters will be covered under our insurance while operating an off-road vehicle.

Deputy Major Brennan questioning need for UTV. Trails in Ilderton mostly accessible in either direction, so not a lot of distance for normal fire-rescue vehicle to cover, and number of calls are small. Doesn’t feel all costs accounted for. Disappointed in how this has come about.

Delaware has another unit that can handle fires out on trails, less expensive and not as modern but it works. Thorndale has something that you can put skis on and such to make it more versatile.

Some discussion about all the items. I’ll expand in my full report. UTV was pulled out of Consent Agenda. All other Consent Agenda items approved. Recorded vote for UTV reintegration, 4-3 (Silva, Scott, Heffernan & DeViet in favour; Brennan, Aerts, Shipley against).

Staff Reports

  • Item 8.1 up for debate. Discussing whether to proceed with sale of land, all abutting neighbours would be notified. Motion approved.
  • Item 8.2, crosswalk on Longwoods Rd. I asked which day of week and time of day the traffic count was done, staff doesn’t have that info (normal staff out of office). Cllr Scott says residents and policing committee have been working on this for over a year. County staff amenable.
  • Mayor DeViet makes point that unless intersection is actually safe, people will not walk and therefore you don’t get accurate pedestrian counts. Motion approved. Over to you Middlesex County!

Correspondence

Some discussion on the province’s downloading (what else do you call it?) of flood and erosion control funding to the conservation authorities, and that’s a mandatory program. Of course the shortfall will come from property taxes.

I made the point that City of Kitchener’s point about disposable wipes is true. They’re NOT disposable! Cllr Shipley asked staff to add some info about that to our website; staff will do so when new website launches. Correspondence received.

By-laws all approved. That means we have appointed Rob Cascaden as the new Director of Public Works & Engineering. Welcome Rob!