Unfinished Business December 2021

The good news is that there is a list, so theoretically, work to be done does not get forgotten – but it certainly gets delayed, some items longer than others. Hopefully the extra staff agreed for 2022 will allow some of it to get done. Also theoretically, projects get prioritised based on the Council’s Strategic plan but in practice that only happens sometimes. The list is provided at the end of every Council meeting but is rarely discussed – it’s at the end of meetings so Councillors are no doubt tired and not interested although the list is gradually getting shorter. One item often missing from the list is a current expected completion date. The latest full list is available in the links below but here is a summary.

Meeting Initiated Work Due Date Status
28 Jan 2019 Social planning and/or community development advisory committee – to work on coordinating with County on affordable Housing. June 2019 Late – Instead working on having a representative sit on County’s Affordable Housing Committee.
23 Sept 2019 Long Service Recognition Policy Not Scheduled Completed 12 Oct, 2021
2 Dec 2019 Emergency Shelters Downtown  – Community Concern about crime near Transition House Feb 18, 2020 Late – Police report lost but was to be added to the March 15, 2021, Regular Council Meeting under correspondence.
2 Dec 2019 Regulate Uber & Lyft and revise Taxi bylaw to include accessible taxis Not scheduled Work delayed due to Covid-19. Taxi companies seem no longer interested in Accessible taxis
19 Nov 2020 Expedite Affordable Housing projects with CIP Initially March 22, 2021 Working on community engagement re possible Municipal land for affordable housing – Scheduled completion April 2022.
6 Jan 2020 Consider discounted parking fines for residents April 2021 Seems not to be a priority
21 June 2021 Install 8 EV Chargers Fall/ Winter 2021 Staff reported – decision deferred to budget session – not implemented
28 June 2021 Consider regulating AirBnB Initially Nov 15, 2021 Staff reported but Council asked Staff to consider a Municipal Accommodation Tax and arrange Public engagement – no dates
14 Sept 2021 Consider a By-Law to limit idling 21 March 2022 In progress
12 Oct 2021 Create Zero Emission Vehicle Ad Hoc Committee 6 Dec 2021 Late already
12 Oct 2021 Review Accessibility issues on the Northumberland Mall Property Not scheduled Planning staff will talk to Mall managers
12 Oct 2021 Create a Volunteer recognition Policy – consider using Walk of Fame at CCC Not scheduled No action
1 Nov 2021 Consider Habitat for Humanity Northumberland’s request for the donation of land 6 Dec 2021 Approved at that meeting

To be fair, Council has recently been busy with the 2022 budget and it’s good to see that budgets are now approved before the year starts instead of the previous practice of approval well after the year started. Thanks Suzanne.  Also, none of the unfinished business items would appear to be really urgent although no doubt some would not agree.


Previous reports on Unfinished Business

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12 December 2021 1:53 pm

JD wrote “theoretically, work to be done does not get forgotten – but it certainly gets delayed”. This is very true. This past summer I was speaking to the town arborist and mentioned a broken branch in a tree. The tree is just inside the fence of a rental property and shades the play area of the renters children. The arborist already knew about the tree and I spoke to the renters about it. Unfortunately nothing was done and last week the branch fell damaging a car. By-law officers were there last week as the tree was being trimmed. I am not blaming anybody but something went wrong and it created a much bigger problem. No children were injured.

Reply to  Kevin
12 December 2021 6:53 pm

Kevin, the tree was on private property overhanging a private yard or a public space? Sometimes action happens promptly and sometimes follow-up is needed. Maybe the property owner was given a chance to address the problem first? It does seem an odd delay though. This past summer my experience with reporting a dangling limb from a tree was different and I was pleased with the quick response by Town staff. A dangling limb from a storm damaged street tree over what would be the driving aisle for a cyclist on the street (that would have been me at the time). I saw a stopped Town truck along my cycle route and mentioned the problem to the driver. And voila the next time I passed the tree the limb was removed. I knew I took a chance making the request so informally and thought for sure I would end up having to file a formal request for action to remove the tree limb, but no, serendipity played its part. I have no idea who that staff person was but I thanked them the next time I saw them, later that week, while passing a different street works site.

Reply to  MiriamM
13 December 2021 7:36 am

The tree is on private property with the broken limb overhanging a public sidewalk and the road. The damaged car was parked on the road. It was my understanding that efforts were being made to contact the owner, who lives on the property from what I have been told. I do not know what went wrong so I am not blaming anybody. I could have contacted the by-law department but did not.

Reply to  MiriamM
13 December 2021 7:52 am

Last winter, on the other side of street from this tree, there was a tree with a widening split in it. I told the people living in the houses on either side of the tree about this potential danger. Within a few weeks somebody contacted the town. As soon they did the tree was tied together and then completely removed. That tree was on public property and was dealt with quickly. Nothing was damaged. Sometimes the system works. I agree with JD that is is good to have a list to help prevent things being forgotten.

12 December 2021 10:16 am

The By-Law to limit vehicle idling time limit will have the largest effect on Town Operated Vehicles. A By-Law is not needed…just properly instruct town vehicle drivers who sit in their vehicles with the ac running in the summer and the heater running in the winter.

Reply to  cornbread
12 December 2021 10:56 am

Look around any parking lot or no parking zone outside a store or the hospital and you will see drivers sitting in their cars, AC or heating running as they listen to the radio while waiting for someone. Men waiting for wives, women waiting for children to come out of school, people hanging out with their dogs, people waiting for the freight train to pass, all kinds of people, not just town vehicles. Then there are those who turn on their car remotely to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes. We need a by-law just to tell people that in 2021 your car will restart. The usual time period is about 2-3 minutes idling maximum.

Reply to  Maureen
12 December 2021 11:16 am

My vehicle has automatic start and idles for 10 minutes to get the leather seats warm. I paid for it and i plan on using it.

Reply to  Informed
12 December 2021 1:42 pm

How long does it take to cool the seats in the summer? Maybe you do not do this but some people do. At one time it was recommended to idle a cold engine to warm it up. This is no longer necessary but a cold engine should be used gently. Warming seats is a different thing of course. Some seats have built in seat warmers or you can add a plug in warmer. I just get in and drive to save time and fuel.

Reply to  Kevin
12 December 2021 10:04 pm

Cooled seats sound nice but i personally wouldnt run my vehicle 10 minutes to activate them. I like the idea of making those decisions on my own and dont like the idea of bylaws for everything people have strong opinions against.

Reply to  cornbread
12 December 2021 12:38 pm

Have you ever stopped and asked what the town employee was doing?
I’m sure they would be more than happy to explain what they are doing