Public gallery May 22 2018
Members of Madawaska Valley Council were disappointed about several items discussed at Tuesday’s Regular Council meeting. Shown at the meeting in the public gallery (above, from left) : Suzanne Klatt, Elaine Schweig, Bill Schweig, Doug De La Matter.
Volunteer Firefighter Certification
Council discussed a letter from Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, confirming that the municipality will be required to participate, along with all other municipalities in Ontario, in a mandatory certification program for volunteer firefighters. The new regulations begin to come into force on July 1 2019. Fire Chief Corwin Quade said that the area Fire Chiefs opposed this requirement. He said circumstances here are very different from the example rural fire department that was selected to comment on the prospective training program during its review stage. Quade says that most rural fire departments are composed completely of volunteers while the example used has a mix of full-time staff members plus volunteers. In Madawaska Valley, where a rigorous training program is already in effect, he says volunteers often hold down jobs and cannot afford time off to attend the mandatory training sessions which may be held at a distance.
Quade says he is always on a recruitment drive to replace longtime volunteer firefighters who are coming up to retirement. In particular, he says he needs volunteers who are available during the daytime. Volunteers must meet the department’s fitness criteria.
The Mayor referred to a letter from Charles Cheesman, Manager of Planning Services for the County of Renfrew, which enclosed Notice of Adoption of the County’s Official Plan Amended No. 25. He confirmed that it has been forwarded it to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs for review and approval.
Love expressed her unhappiness with what she described as “the more rigorous and not terribly great language” in the plan. She also complained that because of the recent abolition of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) the County is “stuck with” whatever comes back from the Province.
Rural Postal Services
Council also received a delegation from Diane Mitchell, National Coordinator for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) who requested the municipality’s continued support for retaining and expanding postal services in rural areas, including postal banking. Councillor Archer commented on the value that postal banking services would bring to members of the community, using as an example seniors in Combermere. Councillor Bromwich said the community of Wilno had fought vigorously in favour of retention of rural postal services in the past.
The Lakeshore Tennis Club and the Railway Station were also discussed at length at this meeting. The Current will report on these matters in future articles.