by Deron Johnston
To begin this week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Deputy Mayor Barb Tobin voiced concern over what she considered a policy issue regarding the minutes from the most recent Library Board meeting at which Councillor Donovan Arnaud was a guest of Councillor Jim Bertram (who is the Council member assigned to the library board).
Under the Planning and Development part of the agenda, the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative participated in an information session to help Council and the public understand the scope of their proposed solar project. OREC had applied for a letter of support last month from the municipality, but Council passed a resolution denying the letter of support, then decided to defer the matter until a public meeting could be set up to help inform residents about the project. Some residents who live in the area surrounding the proposed location of the project were unhappy about the short notice they received about the information session. Several of them asked questions about the project and seemed to be mostly satisfied with the answers they received from OREC general manager Janice Ashworth. However, the owner of the property assured residents that, if they were opposed to the project, he would consider cancelling it. At the November 14 meeting of Council, they will vote on the previous resolution, that Council would not write a letter of support.
The LA Group made a presentation to Council on their third update of the site plan for the Kemptville Landing Condominium project in downtown Kemptville. The newest site plan had a number of changes, including: lowering both buildings to seven and eight floors respectively, reducing the number of units to 121, shifting the locations of the buildings slightly and changing the buildings to all brick exterior. Gilles Brisebois of LA Group was happy to report that all of the people who had put down a deposit had approved of the changes proposed. Mr. Brisebois wanted to begin digging on December 1 because project financing was conditional and he needed to begin work before the end of December. He estimated it would take twelve months before the first owners could move in.
CAO Brian Carré suggested to Council that the ‘reports from members of Council’ become a written report, in addition to their verbal report. This report would be included in the agenda package that is released just before each Council meeting. This sparked some discussion from Council. Councillor Bertram stated that he would continue to give his full verbal report, as usual, but agreed to submit a written report as well. The idea behind submitting a written report was to save time, so that Council members could verbally touch only on more important things, but all of the information would still be available in the written report.
For Parks, Recreation and Culture, Councillor Onasanya (who is the chair of the Canada Day organizing committee) spoke about ‘Canada Day 150’ and the inability of the organizing committee to find enough volunteers to have quorum in order to be able to vote on agenda items. Councillor Onasanya announced that activities will be planned for the entire day in Kemptville on Canada Day. This may be controversial, as Oxford Mills has a Canada Day celebration that runs from late morning to early afternoon and attracts hundreds of people.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Mark Guy, outlined two new projects. One will upgrade the WiFi capabilities in the main hall of the Municipal Centre. This has been a concern for people who have rented the space and had trouble using the WiFi for things like accepting credit card payments. The cost of the upgrade surprisingly came in under budget, which made Deputy Mayor Tobin uncomfortable. However, another project which included the building of a new interactive kiosk in the Municipal Centre offices waiting area went over budget, but the total amount for both worked out to about the same.