Township Watch - September 2016

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, September 15, 2016

Request to Construct a Centennial Flower Garden

The Township received a request from the Port Carling's Lions Club to build a centennial flower garden at the entrance to Hanna Park off of Bailey Street.  The garden will be in the shape of the Canadian Flag and planted with centennial tulips, as well as other red and white flowers.  This item was on the agenda for informational purposes only.

Development Charges

As outlined in the Development Charges Act, Treasurer Shannon Johnson, must present to Council development charges and reserves.  In 2015 the municipality added $124,242 to their development charge reserves.  This was $110,522 from development with the Township and $13,720 in interest payments.

2017 Budget Guidelines

In September and October, Treasurer Shannon Johnson, will be meeting with departments to review their spending trends and expenses, to see if there are any cost savings.  Following these meetings

Ms. Johnson will compile the results for review by the finance committee which will meet for two days in December.  If the time line is met, the 2017 budget will be reviewed by Committee of the Whole in January and adopted by Council in February 2017.

As in the past, Ms. Johnson encouraged the committee to increase township reserves.  During discussions it was suggested that a zero percent increase budget be brought to Council.  Committee was reminded that the previous Council did pass zero percent budgets, which is why the reserves are down.  The report was voted on and carried.

Full Time By-Law Officer

A private citizen, Jennifer Hastings from Acton Island, was before committee to express her frustration that there is not a full time by-law officer within the township to monitor building infractions.  

Ms. Hastings stated that Township by-laws are ineffective if they are not enforced and expressed dismay that a by-law officer would be approved in the budget but not have the position filled. 

Ms. Hastings also asked for committee's support to protect the environment and natural landscape of the Township. 

CAO, Steve McDonald explained that the Township currently has 0.3% of a by-law officer and that the funds that were allocated in the budget were put aside until the organizational review had been completed.  Members of committee felt that is would not be possible to follow every building permit and reporting on everything.  That falls down to neighbours watching what is being done on properties near them.

There was no resolution for this item.

Council - Friday, September 16, 2016

Municipal Water Fluoridation

As reported in the August Township Watch (Township Watch - August 2016), the Committee of the Whole voted to remove fluoride from the Township water supply.  This action had to be ratified by Council.  Prior to voting on the action Council heard presentations from Dr. Luks, a private resident and dentist, who explained the pros of water fluoridation.  As well, Dr. Gardner the Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, explained that all evidence concludes that there is no evidence of detrimental effects due to fluoride in the water.  Dr. Gardener further explained that Muskoka had health advantages due to fluoridated water and a history of better oral health than Simcoe who do not have fluoridated water.  As the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Gardner urged council to continue water fluoridation.

The issue was then discussed around the council table, with Dr. Gardner giving answers regarding:

  • What fluoride does because it does not “spend much time in the mouth”?
  • Why isn't fluoridation a Provincial or Federal issue?
  • Are there any health organizations saying do not fluoridate? and
  • Can an individual remove fluoride from their own water?

Councillors who were against water fluoridation felt:

  • People had the right to choose how to deal with their own health,
  • If fluoride adversely effects just one person it fails, and
  • That there is no proof that fluoride is working,

In a recorded vote, Council voted 5 to 3 (two councillors were absent from the meeting) to retain fluoride in the Municipal water supply.

Heritage Advisory Committee

With the new term of council in December 2014, the heritage committee was disbanded and an earlier attempt to establish one was defeated by Council.  As previous  heritage committee members were unable to sit on the committee, an ad was placed in the newspaper asking for volunteers.  Three applications were received.  In a unanimous vote, Council voted that the new heritage advisory committee members be Councillor McTaggart, Councillor Ledger, Mike Webb, Susan Daglish and Greg Knight. 

Bala Falls Road Bridge

The bridge on Bala Falls Road was inspected by the Province in 2015 with engineers saying it will require total replacement or closure in five years.  Director of Public Works, Roger Young, brought forth seven options for Council's consideration ranging from complete replacement to complete removal of the bridge.  Funding in the amount of $1,786,000.00 is available from the Province to the Township but is not specifically earmarked for this project.  Following a brief discussion Council voted to replace the bridge's existing wood deck and girders with a concrete deck and steel girders.  This will extend the life of the bridge by 50 years, as well as remove the axle load restriction on it that currently exists.

Lease Agreement with the West Muskoka Food Bank

The decision made by Committee of the Whole in August to lease the lower level of the Glen Orchard Community Centre to the West Muskoka Food Bank was ratified at Council.  Three lease options were presented to Council:

  1. A lease of $75.00/month
  2. No charge
  3. Caretaking of the property in exchange for the use at no cost

These options were discussed briefly at the table.  Option 2 was accepted by Council.

Niskikawa Versus Brent

In follow up to our News Alert (Who Will Pay?) regarding who should be held liable for damages and legal fees…- Councillor Nishikawa or the taxpayers of the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  A resolution (Resolution Resolution) from closed session that was read in open session stated that the Council condemns Councillor Nishikawa's actions and requires that she pay back the Township insurance deductible of $25,000.00.

The resolution carried in a recorded vote of 5 to 4 with Councillors Currie, Kruckel and Harding voting against it.  Councillor Nishikawa, who had not declared a conflict, remained at the council table, and abstained from the vote.....which is equivalent to a “Nay” vote.

It is with great sadness that the Board of the MRA announces the death

of long time board member and friend Madeline Fielding.

Madeline's longtime attendance at council and committee meetings

was respected and will be missed.

Madeline's wisdom and wealth of knowledge will be missed at the board table.


Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

TML - Committee of the Whole
Apr 11, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Apr 12, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
MRA - Board Meeting
Apr 27, 2019 9:00am to 1:00pm
MRA - AGM 2019
Jul 20, 2019 10:00am to 12:00pm
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