February 20, 2019
Mayor Don’s Update – by Don Allen
Minesing Mini Fest – By Ward 3 Councillor Wanda Maw-Chapman
We just celebrated another successful Minesing Mini Fest. It was a beautiful day, marking the 47th Mini Fest, with the theme ‘Winter in the Wild West’. The bowling & euchre on Friday night was a full house of rousing laughter and fun. Saturday started off with a Pancake Breakfast in the packed Minesing Community a Hall. Mayor Allen, Deputy Mayor Coughlin, Councillor Moore, MP Alex Nuttall and MPP Doug Downey joined me in presenting awards to Walter Priest as Citizen of the Year and Brianna Barnicutt as Youth of the Year. On to the parade, where floats were creatively decorated. Everyone enjoyed the Chili Cookoff back at the Community Hall and the Winner, voted making the best chili, was Mark Priest. The Magician kept the kids well entertained, with screeches of laughter and disbelief. We ended the night with a dance, with music by ‘County Line’. Thanks to all the hard-working volunteers who helped organize, set up and clean up throughout the weekend. Wanda.
Code of Conduct
Previous Council attempted on several occasions to institute a Code of Conduct, but it could not be completed.
New Provincial legislation requires that all municipal councils adopt a Code of Conduct for Council and Local Boards and Committees by March 1, 2019. In December 2018, this Council appointed an independent Township Integrity Commissioner (IC) and staff have been working with the IC to draft a suitable Code of Conduct for Council and Local Boards/Committees. Council recently participated in a workshop regarding this and further reviewed it at a public meeting before this Wednesday’s Council meeting at the Township. The Springwater Code of Conduct will be final reviewed on February 25th by Council in a Special open 6:30pm meeting at the Township for hopeful adoption. Drafts of these codes are posted on the website.
The Codes set out guidance on: conflicts of interest, gifts, benefits and hospitality, acceptable expenses, confidential information, use of Township resource, election campaigns, improper use of influence, business relations, conduct, media communications, Township by-laws and policies, respectful workplace, employment of relatives/family members, working against/undermining Council’s decisions, complaint protocol, actions of the Integrity Commissioner and Council review. I believe this is valuable and needed progress and I support it completely.
Save the evening of March 27or March 28. The Township will be holding two public open house meetings to obtain input from Springwater residents as to whether they support or do not support the use of off-road vehicles on more Springwater roads and trails than presently is allowed. The March 27th meeting will be at 7pm at the Elmvale Community Hall and March 28th will be same time at the Springwater Administration Centre. More details will be forthcoming.
Elmvale & District Food Bank (“Food Bank”)
The Food Bank, which is a registered charity, began operating out of a small space at the Elmvale Lions Hall in the early 1990’s and out of several other locations over subsequent years prior to its current location, since 2013, in the Elmvale Community Hall, using approximately 2,600 square feet. The demand for the Food Bank’s services has steadily increased – in 2018 it served 413 individuals/families, being a 21% increase over 2017. The current facility logistics requires food to be manually lifted to a second floor and being manually handled 14-16 times before finally being dispensed. The Food Bank depends on approximately 40 volunteers, many of them seniors, so lifting heavy volumes of food up and down stairs multiple times is impossible for them without the assistance of younger volunteers.
The option of installing a “dumb waiter” was researched to transport food between the two floors. A quote was obtained, and the total cost of this option is estimated to be $115,000.
Another option being considered is to construct a new 3,000 sq. ft. facility on Township property at 62 Yonge Street North. The facility would include a waiting/reception area, washroom, interview room, staff room, food preparation/packing room, cold storage and a warehouse area. The facility would be constructed with a large shipping/receiving door with a sloped ramp to allow for off-loading deliveries on pallets of donated food from larger trucks. Other aspects required would include the construction of the interior access routes and a parking area. Estimated costs for this option range from $285,000 to $360,000. Funding proposed for this includes $100,000 from the Food Bank, $100,000 from the Township and a loan to the Food Bank by the Township for the rest out of the existing Elmvale Hydro Reserve Fund, to be repaid over up to 10 years from future donations to the Food Bank. There are other funding possibilities that are being explored as well.
Council is considering this matter this week. I believe the current Food Bank issues and situation need to be rectified now and that the latter option could be made to work to create a more efficient operation for these hard-working volunteers to work in, which would provide more efficient service to those in need and the ability to expand to fulfill further potential volume increases.
Council Meeting Start Times
A motion is being reviewed by Council this week to change the start time of regular council meetings (only) from 6:30pm to 5:30pm. Prior to last 2014 to 2018 term, council meetings started at 5:30pm. These were changed to 6:30pm start in 2014. In 2016, Council reviewed this and conducted a public survey and by far, most responses agreed with a change to 5:30pm, but Council of the day decided to maintain the 6:30pm start time.
Should a 5:30pm start time be agreed upon by Council, staff would make certain that the agenda would be arranged in an order that administrative items would be dealt with at the beginning of the agenda. Any important, contentious or items of possible high public interest would be listed further on in the agenda, thus discussing them most likely after the 6:30pm time period. Items that could be moved forward could include public meetings for planning matters, certain delegations and related action reports and closed meeting sessions.
Senior staff are presently allowed in lieu time to recognize the two hours between the end of business day and the start of Council meetings. Their time during Council meetings is considered part of their job responsibility. Changing the start time to 5:30pm would reduce in lieu time for meeting attendance in half and if you attribute an average hourly wage estimate to this, it is presently valued at approximately $13,000 annually of time which is generally used by staff for time off before using vacation time.
It is great when residents attend council meetings and the fact that we stream all regular meetings and make all of them available on the Springwater web site is very positive and is watched by numbers of people. The 6:30pm start time has led to little or no change in physical attendance by the public to council meetings – over 90% of our regular council meetings are attended by very few if any residents. However, total transparency will continue to be maintained, as everything is recorded. To suggest that there is no concern for residents’ involvement, or anything is being hidden by this proposal is total fallacy. You won’t find a more open Council.
This month, I started monthly radio interviews, reviewing current Springwater news items with Rock95 and 107.5 KOOL FM news director Dan Blakeley.