Township Watch - October 2013


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Solar Farms

Two delegates, for four separate proposed solar farm projects in the Township presented their plans at Council on Friday, October 18th.  Each proposal was looking for council’s support for their project as the window to apply to Ontario Power Generation for provincial funding will be open from November 4th to December 13th.  With this limited window of opportunity to grant municipal support to the projects, the Township has scheduled a public information meeting.

Bala Falls

Three delegations were scheduled at Council on Friday October 18th to give presentations on public safety at the North Bala Small Hydro Project.  Karen McGhee Bala Project Manager and Vice President Frank Belerique represented and spoke for Swift River Energy Limited (SREL).  Mr. Belerique stated he actually came prepared to ask Council to meet with SREL to discuss some relief for the Township to minimize construction impact on the area.  Ms McGhee answered many questions posed by council for 75 minutes.  Mitchell Shnier from Save The Bala Falls gave a presentation showing other hydro plants in Ontario that post danger signs and activate a siren to indicate that “cycling” is to begin.  SREL has stated that sirens or flashing lights will not be necessary at the Bala locations.  Sandy Currie of the Moon River Property Owners Association spoke regarding the current water flow and how, in his opinion, it will be altered by the hydro plant.  Much of Mr. Currie’s presentation was based on existing data from SREL.

By-Law Officer

Since the last by-law officer’s resignation last month, the Township has hired a new by-law officer.  Ryan Konrad will divide his time between by-law enforcement and fire safety.   Mr Konrad, along with Chief Hayes and Deputy Chief Baranik, was also given the title of “property standards officer”.  Chief Hayes requested that council appoint three other part time deputy by-law officers from within the fire department.  This request was moved to Committee of the Whole and later denied.  These officers would have been spread around the township and would have helped back-up the single by-law officer who is on call 24/7.

Council Code of Conduct

As the MRA is extremely concerned about process and good governance, we are happy to report that some of the councillors have requested that the Township enact an updated council code of conduct (the “Code”), as well as hire an Integrity Commissioner.  Although there was support around the table to move forward with an updated Code, it was requested that a staff report be drafted by the CAO and presented at the next council meeting.  It was suggested that there are many Codes throughout the Province of Ontario which could be reviewed concurrently with the township Code to help reflect provincial regulations.  A Code could be useful for this council as some members do not seem to be able to use Robert’s Rules of Order or follow the Township’s procedural by-laws.   As we have reported in the past there is often behaviour around that table that is unacceptable and comments that are completely uncalled for.  A perfect example of this type of behaviour was demonstrated on Friday, October 18th.  Chief Hayes explained that due to a busy year he had not been able to compile the necessary information for a Master Fire Plan and asked council for permission to hire a consultant.  After some discussion Mayor Murphy asked Chief Hayes if he did not have “the time or the tools” to complete the work, and then questioned “what keeps you so busy”?  The comment was unnecessary and insulting.  Unfortunately, no one around the table publically objected to this remark.

The MRA hopes everyone enjoyed the beautiful Indian Summer we had.

 

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