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Council Meeting Highlights - December 8, 2020

Mayor Black Holiday Greeting – At this evening’s Council meeting, Mayor Black read the following greeting for the Holiday season:

Hello Carleton Place, as your Mayor, I would like to take a moment to bring Holiday greetings this evening as tonight is our last Council meeting for 2020

I don’t need to tell anyone, as you are all certainly aware, that 2020 has been one of the hardest years in recent memory. However, what I can tell you, and with confidence, is how proud I am of how we pulled together as a community to support each other in this time of uncertainty.

It has been most impressive throughout the year to hear of all the different ways we have stepped up to get through this year together.

  • The frontline workers and first responders who risked their very lives to keep us and our families safe.
  • The restaurants who provided meals for those who were struggling.
  • Community members continuing to donate to the food bank to ensure no one went hungry.
  • Friends and family picking up groceries for those who couldn’t leave their home.
  • Volunteers shopping for and delivering groceries to our most vulnerable.
  • Businesses and councillors donating hand sanitizer to long term care homes and residents who sent messages of encouragement and kindness to the workers in those facilities.
  • Town staff who continued to work throughout the pandemic to ensure municipal services continued to be delivered to the high service standard that residents have come to expect.
  • Local organizations who shifted their events to virtual so that we could continue to feel a sense of community.
  • The Teachers who had to shift their model of how they educate our children while also keeping them safe.
  • And to the children who proved to be so resilient. Who stayed home and missed their friends, who gave up traditional holiday event celebrations to keep their families safe, and who painted rocks with messages of encouragement to make strangers smile.

These are all examples of what it truly means to not just live in a Town but to be a part of a community.

While we know that it’s frustrating to not celebrate in-person with our friends and family, we must remember that for us, this is a temporary measure – but for the families and friends of the over 12,000 Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 – it is not.

I know how busy and stressful the Holiday season can be at the best of times but this year in particular, I ask you to remember that no one is too busy to be kind.  Please continue to check in on family, friends and neighbours, particularly those who might be facing the Holiday season alone.

Staying home and apart as much as we can is the most important thing we can do.

On behalf of Council, have a safe and happy Holiday Carleton Place and all the best to you and your family in 2021.

Carleton Place Hospital COVID-19 Readiness - Mary Wilson Trider, Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital, Integrated President and CEO, presented Council with an update on the services the hospital has provided to the community in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressed concerns on hospital capacity. Mrs. Trider’s full presentation can be viewed on the Town’s Facebook page as part of the Committee of the Whole meeting.

2021 Budget Presentation – Treasurer Trisa McConkey presented the draft 2021 Budget which proposes a 1.97% levy increase which represents an increase of $36.77 based on a home valued at $273,750 which is the median home value in Carleton Place for 2020. The presentation is available on the Town’s website for public viewing. Please email tmcconkey@carletonplace.ca with any comments or questions prior to December 15th, 2020. Council will consider the final draft of the budget at the January 12th, 2021 meeting.

Building Permit Fees Public Meeting – A public meeting was held this evening in respect to proposed changes to the Building Permit Fee Schedule. The primary reasons for the proposed changes are to increase efficiencies within the Department for permit processing, to utilize flat fees for simplified issuance of permits and identification of permit costs for the public. The proposed changes will come forward in a By-law at the first meeting in January 2021.

Interim Control By-law - In May 2018, Council passed an Interim Control By-law in accordance with Section 32 of the Planning Act, prohibiting any new development within a defined area in excess of 28’ (8.5m). Following the adoption of the interim control by-law, the Town commissioned a Neighbourhood Character Study to:

  • Consider the existing character within the Study Area;
  • Understand what elements that influence character are important to residents;
  • Review the existing policies and guidelines in the context of the character analysis and feedback received, and;
  • Provide recommendations for improvements to policy, design direction, and possible changes to the Development Permit By-law.

Following the provincial declaration of the State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Council elected to pass a 1-year extension of the Interim Control By-law to permit adequate time to consider the Neighbourhood Character Study.

At the November 24th Committee of the Whole meeting, staff presented a report on the final Neighbourhood Character Study. The primary recommendation resulting from the Study was the adoption of an Amendment to the text of Section 4.3 (Mississippi Residential Sector).

Council directed staff to undertake the statutory public process to amend Section 4.3 of the Development Permit By-law.

Backyard Hens - A presentation was made at the November 24th Committee of the Whole meeting at which time a request was made for the Town to revise Animal Control By-law No. 122-018 to allow residents to keep domestic fowl on their property.

Council directed staff to prepare a By-law for the regulation and keeping of backyard hens in the Town of Carleton Place for consideration in early 2021.

Recreation and Pool User Fees – Council approved a 3% increase to Regular Season Ice Rental Rates and Pool User rates for the period January 1st, 2021 to September 5th, 2021 to help balance the Recreation and Pool budgets in 2021 given the shortage in funding due to COVID-19.  The Town received $284,900 in Phase 1 funding under the Safe Restart Program which will be partially used to address some of the shortfall in the Recreation budget and has made an application for funding under Phase 2 of the program. It is unknown when the Town will receive a decision on its Phase 2 application.

Library Renovation Tender - Tender 220-28 for renovations to the Carleton Place Public Library was awarded to the low bidder, 2519181 Ontario Inc. O/A Preston Construction in the amount of $292,246.00 plus HST. At tender closing nine (9) bids had been received. The 2020 budget included an amount of $500,000 for the project. Given that we are dealing with an aging facility, it is anticipated some of the remaining budget dollars will be required for any change orders which may result, the purchase of new shelving, along with paying for the professional fees of Architect, mechanical / electrical / structural engineers, etc. and the building permit.

ICIP Grant Application - The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure intake under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) was recently announced by the Province of Ontario. This is a $250 million infrastructure funding program focussing on public infrastructure, defined as tangible capital assets, including temporary infrastructure related to pandemic response, primarily for public use and/or benefit. Council authorized staff to apply for the exterior repointing repairs on the north and west side of the Town Hall as the Town’s priority under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream – Local Government Intake of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The estimated cost of the masonry repairs of the north and west sides of the Town Hall for 2021 is $230,000. If the application is successful, the Town would receive 80% federal funding of a capped grant amount of $160,376.00 or $128,300.80 and 20% provincial funding or $32,075.20 towards the project leaving a balance of $69,624 to be paid by the Town from the building reserve.

Development Charges Background Study – A special Committee of the Whole meeting was held on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 where Andrew Grunda of Watson & Associates, Economists Ltd presented the findings of the Development Charges Background Study.  This evening, Council directed staff to post the Development Charges Background Study and draft By-law on the Town’s website in accordance with the provisions of the Development Charges Act.

October/November Fire Report – Council accepted as information the Director of Protective Services’ Report on the activities of the Ocean Wave Fire Company (OWFC) and By-law Enforcement services for the months of October and November 2020.

2021 Draft Childcare Budget – Childcare Services operating results have not been positive throughout 2020. During the COVID closure (March to August), the Town’s centers lost $275,314 despite cost cutting efforts. Losses for the year are entirely related to direct services to children and COVID expenses. During the shut-down, the Province regularly communicated there would be funding to cover costs during the shut-down period. Town staff submitted the required reports to Lanark County who acts as the Service Manager for Childcare in Lanark County on the Province’s behalf. So far, the Town has received no confirmation of the amount of these funding allocations.  The estimated 2020 Year-End Deficit is approximately $519,792.07. Staff are hopeful funding will be received for the closure period, and that County staff are successful in advocating for additional funds from the Province and/or are able to reallocate funding not used for other purposes in 2020. In the absence of additional funding, there is a Childcare Operating Reserve with a balance of $1,051,748 that will fund the 2020 deficit, leaving approximately $531,956 for 2021. Council approved budget Option #1 as presented by the Treasurer which will require all funds in reserve being put towards the budget leaving nothing for unforeseen circumstances and/or the continuation of COVID restrictions beyond 2021. It will also require a loan from the Town’s reserves to cover the $20,416 deficit.

Community Enrichment Grant Request – Council approved an additional request for a Community Enrichment Grant for the Carleton Place Christmas Basket Program in the amount $1,500, which is the maximum amount per group in accordance with the program’s parameters.

Sidewalk Art – Council authorized the CAO to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Interval House regarding winter maintenance of the sidewalk area in front of the ‘As Good As New’ location due to the installation of the sidewalk art.

Waste Collection – Additional Bag of Waste - At the September 22nd, 2020 meeting, Council passed a motion extending the collection of one (1) additional bag of waste per household each week until December 31st, 2020. With the deadline approaching, staff presented Council with a number of options moving forward into 2021. Council directed staff to return to the collection of one (1) bag of waste per week from each household as of January 1st, 2021. There will be no further impact on the Town’s waste budget after returning to the one (1) bag limit.

Carleton Place Canadians Arena Advertising Exemption - The Carleton Place Canadians currently purchase advertising spaces from the Town and are permitted to sell these spaces for sponsorship dollars. Council passed a motion allowing the Carleton Place Canadians to be exempt from paying for non-renewals of advertising spaces for the period September 1st, 2020 until August 31st, 2021.

The following By-laws of note were read and passed:

1. By-law No. 107-2020 Animal Control By-law Amendment – To address matters relating to animal control and feeding wildlife.

2. By-law No. 108-2020 Adoption of an Emergency Measures Plan - On an annual basis, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Ontario requires that the municipal emergency management plan be reviewed, updated as required and any changes approved. The only change required this year was to change the Community Control Group (CCG) to the new updated name of Municipal Emergency Control Group (MECG).

3. By-law No. 111-2020 - Phasing and Deferral Agreement with 1470242 Ontario Inc. – Authorizing the Mayor and Clerk to enter into the term sheet, phasing and deferral agreement and any other agreements, amendments or documents required between the Corporation of the Town of Carleton Place and 1470424 Ontario Inc. to allow for phasing and deferral of payments under the cost sharing agreement for infrastructure works south of Highway 7.

4. By-law No. 112-2020 - Repeal By-law 32-2020 Waive Interest Fees, Water Rates and Taxes - At the start of the COVID-19 emergency, an emergency Council meeting was held on March 25th, 2020 to discuss measures the Town would be undertaking to address various Town matters in response to the emergency. Council passed a By-law to waive penalties and interest for late payments incurred from the date of passing until the By-law is repealed. During the first 2021 Budget meeting on November 6th, 2020, Council discussed reinstating interest/penalty charges due to the significant financial losses experienced by the Town in 2020 and the estimated impact to revenues in 2021. The draft 2021 budget includes forecasted revenue from penalties on unpaid tax balances in the amount of $200,000 and interest on unpaid utility balances of approximately $20,000 per quarter. Council voted in favour of repealing By-law 32-2020 and therefore, penalty and interest charges on tax, water and other fees/charges owing to the Town will be reinstated effective January 1st, 2021.

5. By-law No. 113-2020 - Interim Tax Levy - A By-law is required to allow for billing an interim tax levy on properties in 2021 until adoption of final tax rates can occur in the spring of 2021 once County and Education rates have been received and after Council approves the 2021 Budget. Interim Tax Bills will be mailed to customers by the end of January or early February 2021. These amounts will be due in two (2) equal installments on March 1st and June 1st, 2021. Council authorized the passing of an interim tax levy by-law for 2021 based on 50% of the prior year’s annualized taxes.

6. By-law No. 114-2020 Fees and Charges for 2021 – Each year Managers conduct a review of the fees and charges pertaining to their service area(s). The review is to ensure that the existing fees are adequate in terms of any increased costs being incurred to provide the service or identifying a fee which was not previously charged. Council approved adopting a comprehensive Fees and Charges By-law for 2021 incorporating both proposed new rates and rates which are not being recommended to change in 2021. This By-law includes a 2% increase to rates for municipal childcare services, effective February 1st, 2021, to reflect the increased costs for staffing and reduced attendance.

7. By-law No. 115 - 2020 - Amendment of the Sign By-law 65-2008 – amendments to sections on Awnings and Projecting Signs.

8. By-law No. 116-2020 - Insurance and Risk Management Agreement – Council awarded the Request for Proposal for insurance coverage and risk management services to Frank Cowan Company with McDougall Insurance & Financial as broker for the period January 1st, 2021 to January 1st, 2022 in the amount of $334,039.76 including non-refundable PST.

9. By-law No. 117-2020 - Amend Traffic and Parking By-law 46-2003, Overnight Winter Parking to include the following:

  • Amendment to Section 9(2) to permit overnight winter parking to occur in the five (5) below-noted locations between November 15th of any given year to April 1st of the following year.
    1. The Riverside Park parking lot at the end of John Street is not heavily used during the winter months therefore staff would recommend that ten (10) spaces at the east end of this parking lot be designated for overnight winter parking. These spaces would need to be signed.
    2. The gravel parking lot for Carleton Junction on Coleman Street will accommodate eight (8) overnight parking spaces.
    3. The gravel area on Cavanagh Road next to the tower and stormwater pond which will accommodate 10-12 overnight spaces.
    4. Lastly, the temporary gravel area at the south end of McNeely Avenue by the trail will accommodate approximately six (6) overnight parking spaces.
    5. Centennial Park Parking Lot on Joseph Street.

Please Note: The next regularly scheduled meetings of Council and Committee of the Whole will be on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021.