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Mayor Black 2021 Annual Address

Mayor Black took some time during this evening’s Council meeting to look back at 2021 to highlight some of the significant accomplishments of Council and Staff as well as looking ahead to 2022. Notable items included:

Public Works

  • Phase 1 preparatory works for the Central Bridge project were completed including the Bell Street reconstruction, the McArthur Island watermain crossing, the Gillies Bridge rehabilitation, the Mill Street sidewalk connection to the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail, and the temporary overhead utility river crossing.
  • We remained aggressive in our street paving program with over 2.5 km of our streets receiving new asphalt in 2021. Overall, these projects came in $725,000 under budget.
  • The Bridge Street Pumping Station rehabilitation commenced in 2021 and will be completed shortly.
  • LED Streetlight conversion was completed north of the river.  When the full streetlight conversion is completed, it will save the Town approximately $70,000 per year on its electricity bills which will help to pay for the cost of the conversion project over time.
  • Work on the Town’s Transportation Master Plan is nearing completion.  The Master Plan will guide transportation infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years including recommendations to meet the needs of all types of transportation including walking, cycling, transit and cars.
  • A new Signalized Pedestrian Crossover was installed on Moore Street at the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail.
  • We are in great shape with sewer and water with the vast majority of our buried infrastructure in satisfactory to very good condition. Our older pipes have been replaced over the years, as was done on Bell Street in 2021. Our bridges will also be in great shape with the completion of the rehabilitation of the Gillies Bridge in January and the replacement of the Central Bridge structure in 2022.
  • I would like to add, there is sufficient capacity in our water and sewage networks to support the ongoing development within the Town. As development has increased within the Town over the past few years, staff have initiated Environmental Assessments (EAs) for expansions to our Water Treatment Plant in Riverside Park and Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as a new Water Reservoir. Once the EAs are completed in 2022, detailed designs will be initiated to get these projects tender ready so that these works may be completed by 2025, thereby maintaining capacity in our infrastructure for the next 20 years of forecasted growth.
  • We will need to pay attention to our Water By-law restrictions in the pending years, particularly at our water intake facility in Riverside Park.

CAO-Administration

  • A Request for Proposal was issued for a Community Improvement Plan which will establish incentive-based programs to stimulate revitalization of neighbourhoods, facilitate growth while encouraging the private sector to invest in their properties, and enhance the overall quality of the community. A CIP will be developed including the following areas:
    • Brownfield rehabilitation;
    • Heritage restoration;
    • Residential or commercial improvements
    • Creation of new affordable housing;
    • Accessibility upgrades to existing rental properties
  • Between 2019-2021, the Town has received 27 provincial and/or federal grants totaling $10,823,915.  In 2021, staff worked diligently to apply for grant funding and was successful with 15 applications totaling $1.71 million.

Childcare

  • We have opened more childcare rooms and have moved into the new expansion. This also means we have been hiring and increasing our work force.
  • Carambeck splash pad is up and running. It was a huge hit with our school age children.
  • This year we were able to participate in the Christmas parade and our float was a huge success! 

Fire / By-law

  • The Fire Department purchased a Sparky mascot earlier this year, and it was extremely well received in the community.  Sparky helped spread safety messages via virtual fire safety presentations, skating with Sparky, social media posts and visiting downtown businesses. “Keep it up Sparky” says the Mayor.
  • The By-law Department purchased their first hybrid vehicle which will be used to conduct regular patrols around Town. 
  •  With the community growth we are experiencing, there were a record number of by-law investigations conducted.

Library

  • Successful library renovation - The library underwent a successful renovation in 2021, creating a more vibrant and accessible community space. The renovation includes new carpeting throughout, expanded office space, fun reading cubbies for kids, updated lighting and electrical, fresh paint, new meeting rooms, a universal washroom, a laptop bar, a water bottle refilling station and much more.
  • 175th Anniversary - 2021 was the 175th anniversary of the Carleton Place Public Library. Celebrations for the Library’s 175th Anniversary included a plaque listing the current and former librarians, video interviews with staff, patrons, and community members, and book reviews by members of the Teen Advisory Group.
  • International Dyslexia Association Mini-Grant - The Carleton Place Public Library was the recipient of a mini-grant from the International Dyslexia Association to purchase a collection of decodable books to help emergent and struggling readers.  It is proving to be a popular collection.

Clerk’s Office

  • The Town’s 5-year accessibility plan and accessibility policies were updated in 2021 to ensure that the Town is in compliance with provincial legislative requirements.
  • This past Fall, the Clerk’s Department secured approval from Council to conduct the 2022 Municipal Elections using internet and telephone voting only. This will help the Town to conduct the upcoming election in a safe and accessible manner.

Treasury

  • The Town’s Asset Management Steering Committee worked with PSD CityWide to implement software to assist in managing the Town’s assets as well as completing a new Asset Management Plan that is compliant with provincial legislation.
  • The Treasury Department began implementation of Virtual Town Hall software that will allow residents to view and pay their taxes, utilities, dog tags and parking tickets online.  This program will be available to residents in the Spring of 2022.

Recreation

  • Despite supply-related delays, construction of the Carleton Place Arena Expansion is nearing completion and patrons have had the opportunity to utilize the new dressing rooms and expanded lobby since the Fall. This project included four (4) additional dressing rooms on the bottom floor, and office space on the second floor. The expansion also included accessibility enhancements to the lobby, and a brand-new canteen opening in 2022.
  • The Recreation & Culture Department was proud to oversee the planting of 10 trees in Carleton Junction. In 2022, the Department will continue with other planting projects in several community parks throughout the Town.
  • The Department was pleased to be able to re-open its doors for the majority of 2021 to present valuable programming at the Pool, Arena, and Active Living Centre which allowed residents to participate in programs that they loved in a safe environment, with staff actively following all COVID-19 guidelines.
  • A successful “Evening of Reflection” was held on September 30th, 3021 to honour the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Planning

  • We issued 327 building permits of which 213 were for new homes.  This is much closer to aligning with our Official Plan’s growth projections than in previous years.
  • Site alteration and pre-servicing work commenced on the Coleman Central and Mississippi Shores subdivisions in preparation for the construction of new homes in 2022.
  • The Town commenced the Official Plan review with the publication of three (3) possible growth scenarios and the appointment of a citizen Ad Hoc Committee which is providing feedback on amendments to land use policies.  A draft Official Plan is anticipated to be published for consultation in spring 2022.

Communications

  • CP Scoop continues to be a helpful and reliable source of Municipal information. We continue to include Federal, Provincial and Local Covid updates. There were over 700 new sign-ups in 2021 with over 1,800 unique email addresses now receiving the newsletter.
  • A new Social Media Policy was approved which provides guidelines and standards to ensure the appropriate use and management of the Town’s social media channels

2022

The Recreation & Culture Department was successful in obtaining grant funding through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, which will allow for the complete reconstruction of the Train Station Park, located behind the Active Living Centre (132 Coleman St.) This new park will include a shade structure, accessible play structure, accessible picnic tables, and several pieces of fitness equipment for multi-generational use.

Stantec Consulting has been engaged to complete a Parks, Recreation, and Culture Master Plan in 2022.

In conclusion, our focus will be the timely replacement of our downtown bridge and the reconstruction of our main street. We had so hoped our pandemic world would have been behind us, as these two (2) projects will contribute significant inconvenience and disruption to many of our residents.

As these activities roll-out, the Corporation will undertake as much communication as we can to help lessen this disruption

We will:

  • Use social media resources to reach out to residents and visitors to communicate that downtown will be open for business during construction.
  • Further encourage all members of the community to sign up to receive the Town’s e-newsletter (CP Scoop) as each week we will continue to provide weekly construction updates of what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
  • A direct outreach program has already been initiated where Town staff and the BIA Manager are meeting downtown businesses to provide direct communication relating to the project and addressing any concerns and/or inquiries from the businesses.
  • In addition, Council is in a position to further negotiate with the Lanark Transportation Agency to increase their service to our residents throughout construction.

All this to say our tax rate increase for 2022 is 1.97% giving us an average of  less than 2% per year for the last four years of the term, and certainly under the rate of inflation.