Middlesex Centre Council Recap: May – Jun 2017

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May 2017

  • Middlesex Centre received full scope accreditation for their management of municipal water and wastewater systems! 😀
  • Quite coincidentally, after much teeth gnashing over an alleged “raise” for the Director of Public Works & Engineering appearing on 2016’s Sunshine List, staff brought forth a new Compensation Management policy designed to curb costs and still ensure municipal staff receive the benefits their due.
    • The new policy prevents staff from being provided both time in lieu and overtime.
    • Time in lieu is offered to employees, and especially department heads, because they attend Council meetings in addition to working a full day, and those Council meetings can last upwards of four hours when there are public meetings to conduct.
    • The new policy prevents municipal employees from being paid out for unused time in lieu.
    • This was the source of the majority of the extra funds paid out to the Director of PWE, as he has not been unable to use the time in lieu given the extra duties that have been under his purview. As roles are filled, he will be able to take the time off he is owed.
  • The overwhelming majority of residents, and prospective residents, of the Komoka Glen subdivision asked for help in either preventing, or modifying, the noise wall that’s supposed to be erected prior to the subdivision being assumed by the municipality.
    • I met with a few of the residents prior to their delegation at Council to hear them out. I agree that the current noise wall plans don’t make any sense, and at the Council meeting we directed staff to contact the appropriate rail authorities to determine whether alterations can be made, and how to go about that.
  • We found out that Herm’s Sport Exchange is going to stick around at the Wellness Centre for another year, now that we’ve brought the Komoka Kings Junior ‘B’ hockey team to the Wellness Centre.

June 2017

  • We voted to adopt a new reserve and reserve fund policy that further spells out under which conditions funds can be withdrawn, transferred, and so on. If you’re interesting in this sort of thing, it’s worth a read.
  • My motion to have staff report back on possible traffic calming measures for Westbrook Drive failed, however it was largely because the work would likely have taken 18 months to complete.
    • That’s because the municipality doesn’t have any policies or design standards around traffic calming measures, and therefore those would have had to have been created first.
    • Despite the motion failing, staff are taking the issue seriously and are conducting their own investigations. We had a speed monitor out on Westbrook Drive the next day, collecting data. And there is a pilot program taking place with traffic calming measures being deployed in some trouble areas to see how well they work.
  • Our auditor reported that our financials looked healthy, and everything was in order. You can review the 2016 Draft Financial Statements here.
  • We voted to execute the agreement with the Komoka Kings Junior ‘B’ hockey team, bringing the organization to the Komoka Wellness Centre for the next 10 years. I’m looking forward to seeing the home games on Saturday nights!
  • We voted to execute the site plan agreement for Glendon Drive Developments, allowed them to start requesting building permits for the new commercial plaza at Glendon Drive and Tunks Lane, across the street from the Wellness Centre.
    • Settling the matter also required with withdrawal of the OMB appeal, which happened in early July.
  • We also approved a video surveillance policy, limiting the storage of any video captured to five days, as recommend by the Canadian privacy commissioner. This will impact any existing video surveillance already in use, like at water and wastewater infrastructure points, and the Wellness Centre.

It was a busy two months, which also included a lot of surplus residence severances on agricultural properties across the municipality. As always, if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them!

A Response to ItStinks.ca

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Alright, let’s start this off with some quick points:

  • The information photographed at itstinks.ca was provided to all parties on May 17.
  • There is no backroom deal. In fact, there’s no deal at all yet.
  • The paragraph photographed is a proposal by Tridon, which is being submitted to the OMB Thursday (along with proposals from any other parties).
  • We have approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources to build the force main between the months of October and March.

Now that we got what is, likely, the most important issues out of the way, let’s dive a bit deeper.

The folks behind itstinks.ca, and I will say I’m quite confident it’s not the Ratepayers Association – who does that leave? 🤔 – is full of baseless accusations that have no legs to stand on.

This “secret deal” is nothing but a proposal put forth by Tridon, forwarded to all parties to this OMB hearing (Middlesex Centre, Komoka-Kilworth Ratepayers Association, and Southwinds Development), back on May 17. So, think for a minute: why did this website domain only get registered yesterday? How long would you sit on information like this if you wanted to drum up a baseless smear campaign?

This proposal is likely being put forth as a contingency plan, on the part of Tridon, in case Southwinds can’t come to an agreement with MXC, and also in case Southwinds can’t complete the draft plan approval conditions. If you were a business owner, and were relying on someone else getting a contract in place before you could start building something, wouldn’t you put together a backup plan?

“But Derek,” you might be thinking, “I was assured at [insert meeting/date] that no more homes would be connected to the existing wastewater treatment facility.” Yes, a fair point. And I would respond by saying that even if Tridon gets this option into their final agreement, they would still need to apply to the municipality to ask to connect those new homes to the existing wastewater treatment facility. And when you consider OPA 28 states no more development is allowed to connect to it, I would state that Tridon would have a heck of a time moving forward with that option, regardless of what the proposal they’re filing on Thursday with the OMB says.

And on that note, I will mention that further proof there is no backroom deal struck is that the hearing is still going forward, as scheduled, on Thursday. No one has been left out of the loop, though the people behind itstinks.ca would like you to think otherwise. Sorry, but it just isn’t true.

Let’s recap:

  • There is no deal at this point.
  • Middlesex Centre has not agreed to allow 1,000 new homes connect to the existing wastewater treatment facility.
  • What you’re looking at in that photo is a proposal provided to all parties to this OMB hearing almost a month ago.
  • Any calls from the people behind this website to address the issue “this summer” is being willfully ignorant of when the force main is allowed to be built. The force main, and resulting pumping station, will connect Kilworth’s wastewater infrastructure to the Komoka treatment plant.

Now, think to yourself, out of the parties to this hearing: who would have the most to gain by putting out this almost slanderous text? Who’s threatened Derek that they would go to the press before (not Tridon or KKRPA) just a day before a Council meeting where they had delegation status? Who’s hired a consultant from Toronto to help put together statements like this? 🤔

I have had enough of this sort of mud throwing. When I was appointed to Council in November I thought we could discuss these things as adults. Instead, one party has chosen to resort to schoolyard tactics.

What I can assure you is that all the parties to this OMB hearing, especially Middlesex Centre staff and Council, want to see all these issues addressed and settled so that we can move forward. I’m still very confident that the other parties believe these issues can be addressed and settled in 2017, as well. In fact, the folks at Southwinds were bringing in dump trucks upon dump trucks full of dirt back on April 27, 2017, and bulldozers can be seen filling in the gravel pit with said dirt even today.

I’ll be attending as much of the OMB hearing as I can beginning Thursday. I will provide what updates I can at the time.

I’m going to try and get a recap of the biggest decisions to happen since February up soon, too.

Comprehensive Look at Glendon Drive Shopping Plaza

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If you’re already familiar with the information below, you can fill out this second survey now.

The reason for this evening’s zoning by-law amendment variance request is that the developer is asking Council to reduce the minimum requirement that 65% of the lot frontage of the property include building façades, from 65% to 32%. We got down to 65% after previously approving a reduction from 75%. So, Maverick is essentially asking Council to approve a reduction from 75% building façades, down to 32% building façades fronting Glendon Drive. They also want to increase the maximum front yard setback from 1.5m to 4.75m.

This is, obviously, a huge change and drastically decreases the municipality’s ability to achieve the vision for this property where you would feel like you’re walking in a nice, well-kept, urban environment with sidewalks, trees, and building façades near you.

Think of the best downtown you’ve ever been to. That’s what all the Municipality’s aims and plans for this area are trying to achieve.

Yesterday I put out a survey that looked at a very simplified version of the current site and landscaping plan. Overwhelmingly, many people like the current iteration. That’s great, I’m glad folks like it. I wanted to put together a bit more information and context after reading the full motion to make sure I get a more holistic perspective from residents.

Screenshot of current site plan.

Click the blueprint to view the full set of architectural drawings for the site, as currently envisioned by Maverick Developments.

And here are the elevation drawings I was provided last week. You can see that, for the most part, this is very much similar to the suburban plazas found in areas like Hyde Park Rd & Fanshawe Park Rd in London, and the Southdale Rd and Wonderland Rd S area of London.

So, now that you have a bit more context, please answer this new, short survey so that I can make a more informed vote at Council tonight on whether people are happy with only 32% of the lot frontage being building façades, or whether

Latest Information on Pumping Station and Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility

Map of Kilworth, Ontario
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This is the current lay of the land. Middlesex Centre (MXC) staff and Council all want to see the Kilworth WWTF decommissioned as quickly as my neighbours who live even closer to it than I do, and are affected by it more than me. I can walk there in three minutes. I sympathize.

If you have follow-up questions after reading recent information from the Kilworth-Komoka Ratepayers Association and this post, or something you saw on Facebook, I would be happy to do my best to clear anything up for you. My contact information can be found on MXC’s website.

Some Background

The Kilworth Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was upgraded in 2008 to use the membrane technology currently in use. At the time, the upgrade was done to handle all existing Kilworth wastewater flows. MXC’s Master Servicing Plan – dated April 2010, prepared by Stantec Consulting, and endorsed by the Council at the time – recommended that all future growth of Kilworth be supported by a new pumping station, as identified in the Kilworth Wastewater Outlet Schedule ‘B’ Class Environmental Assessment dated November 27, 2013, which was prepared by Delcan. This new pumping station is planned to be located within South Winds Development’s Edgewater Estates subdivision.

Once they are built, the new pumping station and forcemain will support all existing and future wastewater flows from Kilworth, which will ultimately be pumped to the recently expanded (2011) Komoka WWTF.

What’s Happening Now

The costs associated with building the new Kilworth pumping station and forcemain will, in the end, be shared three ways between MXC, South Winds, and Don Black Investments, with the costs being divided based on wastewater flow contribution. As I’m writing this, MXC remains in negotiation over the subdivision and cost sharing agreement with South Winds. Construction cannot proceed before the agreement is finalized and signed by all parties, at which time all required subdivision servicing will be completed to said pumping station.

Once the proposed works are constructed, the Environmental Compliance Assessment (ECA) recently received from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) does not have an expiry date. Based on the recommendations of the Natural Environment Report detailed in the Environmental Assessment, the timing of actual construction activities should be restricted to between October 1 and March 15 to avoid adverse affects on aquatic ecosystems, ground animals, and nesting activities of sensitive bird species that are present in Komoka Provincial Park.

Therefore, as soon as we can get shovels into the ground, we will. We have every hope, and anticipate, this will start in 2017. However, as stated above, there are a few more kinks to work out in the subdivision and cost sharing agreement. If there was a way to move more quickly, I assure you we would have pursued it by now. But have heart, we will get it done!

Upcoming Public Meetings on January 25, 2017

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Municipal staff recently notified me that there are several public meetings coming up during the January 25, 2017 Council Meeting. These usually start at 7pm, so you don’t need to attend the whole meeting.

If you review these and want to ask me any questions, please feel free to do so via Twitter, Facebook, email, or phone.

If you have any feedback at all, let me know!