Good morning everyone! We had a lively Committee of the Whole (C.O.W) last night. Below are some highlights. Don’t forget that Sunfest is currently taking place and there are some great things happening. Visit the town’s website for more info or check out the flyer you should have received in the mail!
Legs for Literacy
Clayton Developments – Zoning Change
Department Reports, Strategic Plan & Aquatics Review
Airport Authority Board – Patrick Grew 2 year term
1. Legs For Literacy
The Committee of the Whole passed a recommendation to authorize the Legs for Literacy marathon to proceed through town on Oct 23 which will include a partial road closure from 7:30am – 9:30am from the west bound lane from the parking lot west of the Gunningsville Bridge to west of the intersection entrance at Superstore.
2. Urban Farming – Chickens
Tonight, Council WAS NOT making a decision on whether or not to approve a by-law changes that would allow urban farming, or the ownership of livestock on a residential property. What we reviewed was simply a motion to recommend that we proceed with a public hearing and to consult the Planning Advisory Committee for their views on this proposed by-law change. The recommendation was passed in a vote of 6-1. I felt it is wise of us to move forward with this motion, allowing residents the opportunity to voice their concerns/support in a public hearing, Council to do a bit more community consultation and research and to seek advice from the PAC. The debate on whether or not to approve this by-law changes will come later. This issue seems to be a rather polarizing one, which also seems to be the case whenever a municipality endeavors to allow urban farming. The proposed by-law would allow residents to house up to four hens on their property (no roosters). There are guidelines as to how big the structure can be, what it can look like, etc… Should a resident want to have hens, they would be required to get a permit and their enclosure would be approved during that process. The most common concerns are related to noise, unsightly premises and odour. I’ve done a lot of reading and so far the general consensus is that having a small number of chickens will not create any obnoxious odours. Owners will be required to ensure the enclosures are maintained to prevent things like this as well. In terms of noise, those who have experienced urban farming before state that 4 hens will not create any excess noise and really produces less noise than a neighbours dog would. As for the unsightly premises, the structures would have to be approved during the permit process and any structure that is non-compliant would result in action from by-law enforcement. The other big concern is the enforceability of the by-law and whether or not the town can handle it. Parallels have been drawn to the difficulties in regulating feral cats, but the two situations are not really the same in my mind. The urban farming by-law is much easier to address because there are clear restrictions on enclosures. Free range chickens are not permitted, ergo, we will not have the same problems that exist in trying to catch feral cats. As we move into the public hearing it is incredibly important that you TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS! We want to know your views on urban farming and having chickens locally. It’s one thing to leave a comment here, but make it official and get it on the record! The hearing will be on August 8 and residents can come and voice concerns/support.
3. Zoning Map Change – Clayton Developments
The Committee of the Whole heard from the PAC on the changes to the development plans by Clayton Developments, reported on in the last Council meeting. Essentially, they won’t be building an apartment complex anymore but semi-detached units instead. A special meeting of Council has been called for Thursday, June 30 at 12:00pm in order to read a resolution to set a date for a public hearing on this matter. We want to ensure we move quickly in order to allow the developer to begin the work as soon as possible.
4. Department Reports, Strategic Plan & Aquatics
C.O.W heard updates from the various departments. One of the big highlights was an update on the town’s strategic plan. Town staff have accomplished many of the items in the plan and the time has come to review and modify a new strategic plan. Council will review in the fall.
In the 2016 budget, Council approved a review of the aquatics program. A summary of that report was presented to Council tonight and a recommendation was passed to accept that report. One of the biggest items recommended was to hire an addition 4-5 full time staff which would make us comparable to other aquatic departments in the region and ensure quality and efficiency of service. That particular request is a steep one and there’s no way the town can afford it but we’ll try to find middle ground and recommendations like that will likely be included in the 2017 budget deliberations.
Public Works confirmed that 2 catch basins have been moved in the east end in order to try and catch more water in the event of another flash flood like the one we recently saw.
Parks and Recreation confirmed that a new piece of equipment has now been installed at Ridgeway Park and the caution tape and fencing has now been removed. Staff ran into challenges with the weather as it rained when trying to pour cement and this delayed the installation. C.O.W was also reminded that Sunfest is now here and the town’s Canada Day Celebrations will be taking place on Friday on Coverdale rd.
5. Airport Authority
Mayor Ann Seamans appointed Patrick Grew to a 2 year term on the airport authority board.
C.O.W passed a recommendation to award a $250 sponsorship to the Walk a Mile In Her Shoes campaign.
C.O.W heard a request for funding for a refugee clinic, offering free legal advice for refugees. There was some concern over this being a duplicate service to those offered by MAGMA and so Council passed a recommendation inviting the group to come in and make a presentation.
As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out! I always enjoy hearing from you!