The last Council meeting of 2017 had no major decisions; we did not see the long-awaited waterfront study, the YMCA merger with the CCC is still up in the air and there were no contentious decisions made. All C.O.W. decisions were implemented without debate except as noted below. But there was a fuss made over Lorraine Brace on the occasion of her retirement as Town Clerk. This month the Town service to be highlighted will be Lorraine’s responsibility, Legislative Services. Lorraine spoke about that as the first Agenda item (see below). Gil Brocanier then made an emotional speech about how he admired her professionalism, helpful attitude and warm smile and wished her a happy retirement. Later, all the councillors echoed his sentiments. Below is a screen grab from the You-Tube streaming of the meeting. But Wally Keeler got some success as did the residents of Kerr Street with the parking issue.
In her last official, public presentation Lorraine outlined what the Legislative Services Department does and some of their successes.
- Organize and manage elections – moved to fully accessible and lower cost internet and telephone only voting
- Perform wedding ceremonies – 350 in the last year with up to 4 weddings in a day, some on the beach. With a fee of $300 there is no cost to the taxpayer.
- Manages the Phone service – all employees are happy to answer any questions from the public
- Improved online engagement with the Civic Web and using video for Council meetings.
- Bylaw Enforcement is improved with a dedicated bylaw enforcement officer. Also many bylaws have been reviewed and updated. Lorraine’s replacement, Brent Larmer, proudly showed the bylaw guide which has seen 1400 copies printed and distributed. It is also available online (and also on Cobourg Internet here) . Brent said that Cobourg is only the third municipality in Ontario to have a by-law guide.
Lorraine did not mention it but others did – she was the driving force behind the wonderful 1867 Cobourg Day Council meeting re-enactment (details here)
Wally presented his concern that the shutdown of the Northumberland Today website caused the loss of valuable community information (details here). In the end, Council agreed to send a formal letter per his request.
The ongoing saga of the parking problem for some Townhouse owners at the west end of Kerr Street was resolved. (Details here) The owners made yet another presentation and suggested that the developer should pay for the laybys. However, Glenn McGlashon said that the developer had met commitments by providing what was in the drawings – the implication being that there was no chance the developer would pay. After much discussion and a couple of amendments to a motion, council unanimously agreed:
- Option 2 ( involves not moving the sidewalk) would cost $23k (+ $2k to move 4 trees) and should be implemented by the Town with the cost charged 50% to Development Charges and 50% to the Capital budget. (May not be in 2018).
- Parking to be allowed until the laybys are implemented.
The time frame might be into 2019 since the road is not yet assumed by the Town.
Other low-key items
Also passed at the meeting with no discussion was:
- The revised Development charges bylaw.
- The Street naming policy was approved after consultation with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and the Heritage Advisory Committee.
- Salary increases for non-union employees (1.9% per year for 3 years) were approved
- A $4.5M loan to finance the Parks/Works building in Northam Park was approved
- Some refunds of taxes (look for a future post on this subject)
- A one year extension of the Transit Contract.
And because it was the last Council meeting of the year, all councillors wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
Note that all Council meetings in the New Year will have new procedures and a new start time of 4:00pm. There’s a list of all 2018 meetings here.