Madawaska Valley’s February Council in Committee meeting ran across two days, including a presentation about Development Charges (as reported on Feb.7). No declarations of pecuniary interest or conflict were recorded. Coming out of a lengthy closed session, Mayor Kim Love reported that among other things Council had given direction to CAO Suzanne Klatt on the Lakewoods/Skead Road construction tender and regarding human resources. Among the open session business were the following:
Chloride levels in waterways: Correspondence from Wendy Wolak, Vice-President of Carson Trout Greenan & Lepine Lakes Association (CTLG) provided information about chloride levels in those lakes and the effects of road salt in general. She asked about the road salt used and chloride level tests conducted in MV. Council directed Klatt to forward her query to the Ontario Clean Water Agency about levels in Kamaniskeg Lake (North Basin), as well as to County regarding their roads. Councillor Mark Willmer said the information provided was “good news.” Councillor David Shulist thanked CTLG for bringing forward the subject.
Peplinski unhappy with lack of progress on Ohio Road improvements: Following completion of the Operations Committee agenda and just as Chairman Councillor Bromwich was about to hand the gavel back to Mayor Love, Councillor Ernie Peplinski interrupted so as to question Operations Manager Hilary Kutchkoskie on the subject of Ohio Road. As previously reported by The Current (click HERE), improvements to Ohio Road have been designated a priority since 2017 but in order for them to be carried out, the municipality needs title to parcels of abutting land that are not within its ownership. He demanded an update from Kutchkoskie on the surveys and transfers of title. In response the Operations Manager reported that the survey in one transaction had been deposited and lawyers were drafting a by-law. On a second transaction, he said the surveyor was having issues and would soon meet with MV Planning and Operations staff to discuss the outstanding surveys. This did not appear to satisfy Peplinski, who in common with Mayor Love resides on Ohio Road. He replied, “So basically what is your plan of action? Are we just going to sit and wait for them? This has been going on for how long now?” As Kutchkoskie started to reply, Peplinski continued: “This is what I heard a month and two ago and it’s still continuing. So, are we going to take the initiative? To get this moving? Please?” Kutchkoskie said, “I don’t know what to tell you, so I will repeat it.” He did so, which prompted Klatt to cut off the discussion, saying she would seek a timeline in writing.
Cost of fire fighter training: An announcement that the Ontario Fire College would close as of March 31 had been made without prior notice. Chief Fire Officer Corwin Quade reported the closure would significantly increase the cost of fire fighter training and certification. Council agreed that once more information is available MV would join with other rural municipalities to lobby for affordable regional training.
Fireworks By-Law: A draft Fireworks By-Law on the agenda suggested specific days and hours when fireworks could be set off in MV along with safety provisions and costs of non-compliance. The draft By-Law was tabled and CAO Klatt asked members of Council to forward any suggestions to Quade and Klatt so they can move the item forward.
PJYCC needs additional cash injection: Recreation and Community Development Coordinator Stephanie Plebon sought Council direction when recent inspections revealed generators at both the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre (PJYCC) and the Municipal Office are non-compliant. Council noted the older generator at 85 Bay Street was due for replacement/repositioning. They were not pleased by the estimate of $27,949.00 + HST to make the PJYCC generator compliant as the facility is a municipal emergency centre. Council directed staff from other departments to advise on the best course of action.
MV Food Bank not moving to Combermere: Since the proposed occupation of the vacant Combermere Golden Years Centre by the Madawaska Valley Food Bank would have constituted a change of use, an inspection was required. It revealed significant foundation and structural deficiencies. MV Food Bank told Plebon that as substantial costs were indicated, they did not have sufficient resources to assist with major renovations. Love asked Council about the building saying, “Presently [it is] surplus to needs. Do we need it sufficiently to invest a lot of money in it?…. What value does it contribute to the municipality going forward?” Klatt pointed out that staff is working on a list of all lands and buildings owned by MV to determine which could be deemed surplus. Council directed Klatt to put the building on that list.