Deputy Don’s Update – June 28, 2018
I had a great experience last weekend being involved in a fire training exercise with some of our Springwater volunteer firefighters, led on Saturday by Deputy Chief Jeff French. The other half of the team was on the next day, led by Chief Ian Gavet. They are very keen and dedicated and work very hard to keep us safe – thank you always.
2018 Development Charges Background Study & Bylaw
Development Charges (D.C.s) are collected when building permits are issued by the Township for residential and non-residential building, to provide for the recovery of growth-related capital expenditures arising from new development. The D.C. Act provides the formula for collecting D.C.s through a by-law, with the current one expiring on February 1, 2019.
In general terms, to determine D.C.s, the amount, type and location of growth is determined for a future time period. Servicing needs to accommodate the growth are determined. Capital costs to provide services to meet the needs are determined. After certain deductions, the net is allocated between residential and non-residential benefit. The net cost is divided by growth to provide the D.C. rate for the Township and also area specific D.C. charges within the Township.
Watson & Associates Economists Ltd were retained by the Township in the fall of 2017 to assist staff in preparing the 2018 Development Charges Background Study & By-law. Public meetings were held and the Report and By-law were posted on the Springwater website for comment two months ago. On June 20th, Council approved the new rates, which result in D.C.s that will recover the greatest amount possible of growth related costs under the D.C. Act for the next five years.
Council Compensation 2018-2022 Term of Council
The Municipal Act requires that Council review the Council Compensation by-law at least once during its four-year term. Since 1990, federal tax legislation has allowed elected municipal officials to exclude one-third of their remuneration from income, due to related expenses in carrying out their duties. This effectively allowed elected officials to treat one-third of their remuneration as tax-free. The Federal government announced in its 2017-18 Budget that the one-third tax free exemption for elected officials’ remuneration would no longer be allowed as of January 1, 2019. Council reviewed all aspects of compensation with the goal of not costing more for the taxpayer and yet offering a fair remuneration package for the time spent fulfilling the role of a councillor. It was decided to increase the basic pay so that there is no difference to the net amount paid to each councillor. Council replaced the family benefit coverage with an annual reimbursement of up to $3,000 for each elected official’s private healthcare benefit plan, if it was spent. The benefits costs will be lower than under the current method and will be more predictable. Council approved opting out of the previous pension plan for elected officials, saving an estimated $18,000 annually. Reimbursement for a portion of councillor internet will be reduced to a flat $50 per month per councillor. Mileage reimbursement will be at the same per kilometer rate, based on actual kilometers driven to municipal functions excluding Township regular council meetings. These expenses will be based on submitted and approved expense reports. All of this offers a competitive compensation package that will attract quality future Council candidates, be fiscally sustainable and be efficient to administer by staff.
Strategic Asset Management Policy
Under Ontario regulations, Council is required to approve a Strategic Asset Management Policy by July 1, 2019. Subsequently, the Strategic Asset Management Policy must be reviewed and, if necessary, updated at least every five years. The Township has received funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and has engaged the services of Public Sector Digest to assist in developing the Policy. A cross-departmental Asset Management Steering Committee has been formed and has met regularly to refine the Policy. Council reviewed and approved the Policy in its meeting last week, in advance of the required timeframe proposed under the regulations. Work will continue by the Steering Committee to review the current levels of service and develop the proposed levels of service to present to Council in future.
The original contractor for this project has requested additional funds to complete the project and is in default of the original contract obligations. Legal advice was to terminate the contract and obtain a replacement contractor to complete the construction of the building. Staff have sourced a replacement contractor to complete the foundation, erect the structure and pour the concrete slab at a cost of $221,000 plus HST. The electrical cost, estimated at $35,000, will be a separate cost. A contingency has been included for any unforeseen additional cost with the removal of the original contractor such as additional engineering and missing building components. The revised total budgeted project cost is now $550,000, an additional $125,000, which will come from recreational development charges and reserves. The new contractor anticipates being able to resume the project by the end of July. Options with respect to pursuing the original contractor are being reviewed and evaluated.
Midhurst Class Environmental Assessment (EA)
On June 12, 2018, the draft Environmental Study Report (ESR) was completed and placed in public record for review and comment on the Township website, along with a hard copy being available for review at the Springwater Administration Centre. On that day, meetings were held with the Midhurst EA Steering Committee and the Midhurst Resident Liaison Committee to review comments from the MOECC and the revised ESR. A final Open House was held on June 18th at Snow Valley Resort, with information boards and consultants available to discuss aspects of the EA and the final ESR, a presentation by Mr. Joe Mullen, CEO Ainley & Assoc. Ltd. and questions asked by residents. The Revised Notice of Completion of the ESR was issued on June 15th. The formal public review period associated with the draft Environmental Study Report (ESR) has been increased to 90 days (Tues. Jun. 19 to Tues. Sept. 18, 2018). This provides more time to review the reports and raise any questions and concerns. If you have any outstanding concerns about this project, please address them to Ms. Heather Coleman, Director of Public Works, at the Township and/or Mr. Joe Mullan, (contact information on the Township website) prior to 4:00pm on Tuesday, September 18, 2018. If concerns regarding this project cannot be
resolved in discussion with the Township, the person with the concern(s) may request that the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) order a change in the project status and require a higher level of assessment under an Individual Environmental Assessment process (referred to as a Part II Order). To submit such a request, please send a completed “Part II Order Request form”, available on the Township and/or MOECC website, along with any supporting information to all three individuals on (contact information on
Township website). If no requests are received by 4:00pm on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, the Township may proceed to carry out design and construction of the project, as presented in the planning documentation.
ERRC Official Plan Amendment – ERRC
Last month, Springwater Council approved a motion I raised to request County to hold a public meeting to have its consultants provide an update and responses to the questions, concerns, issues raised by residents and agencies and Springwater through correspondence and in the public meetings previously held by the County and Springwater over the last 2 years and that this be done well in advance of County and local Official Plan amendment applications. On June 12th, County released a report and motion seeking approval of an Official Plan Amendment by law for the ERRC.
I believe it is premature to approve the County Official Plan Amendment 2 for the ERRC at this time. We need more fulsome communication and dialogue regarding the questions, issues and problems raised and that needs to be done by way of a public meeting. I disagree that these issues have effectively been addressed in the staff reports presented – this does not represent effective two-way communication with some of the key affected parties.
The staff report says there will be further plans drafted before building including: a Wildlife Management Plan, Environmental Management Plan, Compensation Planting Plan, Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report, Fire Prevention Plan and Emergency Response Plan. The public needs to know the details of these now before rushing to approve the Official Plan amendment.
Fire potential is a huge concern. Notwithstanding what MNRF says regarding the risk of fire, Springwater Fire has raised concerns that still need to be addressed. Another waste management facility fire occurred in Orillia last Friday. Fires will happen. We need to know now the details of how they will be dealt with.
Other items not yet addressed include:
• Compensation for affected residents;
• Emergency Road exits on dead end roads;
• Need update on feasibility of going ahead with this project now versus renewing contracts for another term
• Need to update the business plan options and look at funding models.
I do not support this Official Plan amendment by-law approval because I think we are rushing too quickly before these and other steps are completed and decisions made.
The vote at County Council this week approved the Official Plan Amendment by a recorded vote of 92 to 31. After the amendment was passed, I then tried to get a motion passed to still have the County hold a public information meeting to review comments and concerns expressed by the public and regulatory agencies and how they have been specifically addressed in the County Amended Studies regarding the ERRC and how they will be further addressed in the additional work that will be required in future as part of site plan and environmental compliance approval.
Discussion occurred regarding having an information meeting now as opposed to a later time period in late 2018 and 2019.when staff indicates that more aspects of the ERRC are determined. My motion was defeated in a recorded vote 73 to 50.
Deputy Mayor – Don Allen