The Municipality of North Grenville Council had a busy agenda last week during the regularly scheduled Council meeting on May 3.
The first significant item on the agenda was one that has been up for consideration for a number of years. The Mayor and Council heard a presentation from Robert Day, Carolyn Likely, and Jeanne Lambert regarding a membership for the Municipality for “Mayors for Peace”, an organization which aims to promote world peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons globally. Robert and his wife visited the Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki several years ago, and he told Council that the experience was very moving. He spoke of what a significant gesture it would be for North Grenville to join over 8,000 other municipalities worldwide as a member of Mayors for Peace, which involves formal registration and the paying of a yearly symbolic membership fee of 2,000 Yen or about $20. Jeanne Lambert of the Bishop’s Mills Women’s Institute informed Council that the Institute not only endorses the idea of North Grenville joining Mayors for Peace, but would also be willing to cover the associated fee.
Next, Sommer Casgrain-Robertson of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority provided an update on some statistics and other pertinent information such as watershed monitoring and flood forecasting. Mayor Peckford used the presentation as an opportunity to ask if Sommer had any insights regarding the sustainability of area aquifers, given that many local residents – particularly rural residents – have been raising concerns about their well water supply in the face of many new developments recently. Sommer informed Council that there are two main aquifers in the local area, with municipal wells generally tapping into a deeper and more abundant one, while private wells draw from a more shallow one. She confirmed that the shallow aquifer likely does not have the same volume of water as the deeper one, but that developers are required to study water sustainability before building. Other Council members took the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation as well.
Following the Conservation Authority discussion, a discussion of the shortage of doctors and other primary care professionals in North Grenville took centre stage. The doctor shortage issue has been discussed at length in previous months, and the Municipality will now be taking next steps by developing a primary care strategy with local stakeholders. In the meantime, Director of Corporate Strategy Hillary Geneau told Council that residents who are without a family doctor should register on the Province’s Health Care Connect system at Ontario.ca/healthcareconnect. Particular doctor recruitment strategies were discussed by members of Council.
An issue which created much debate at the meeting was a new proposed truck route by-law. Operations Superintendent Ryan Brault provided a presentation on the bill, which would ban large trucks on municipal roads unless they are making a local delivery. Conflicting opinions were presented by Superintendent Brault, Council members and local truckers. One construction company owner, Corey Lockwood, raised a concern that Smith Road is used for truck access for an ongoing development and that the proposed by-law would add significant cost and time to the project. Corey argued that this would have a negative impact on another important issue – the affordable housing crisis. He also disagreed about safety concerns, and pointed to a survey that suggested that 57% of respondents did not feel trucks were a problem. A local resident disagreed and expressed concerns about safety stemming from the volume of trucks on her road. Mayor Peckford also mentioned that approximately 50 residents of Smith Road had brought safety concerns to her. Ultimately, due to the debate, the motion on the by-law motion was deferred so that further consultation could take place.
The Council meeting concluded on a more positive note as Council moved to name the Municipality’s 1914 vintage firetruck “Howard Wilson” in honour of the late lifelong resident and business owner of the same name.