Merrickville-Wolford Council held its last meeting of the year last week, with Mayor Doug Struthers wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas.
There were a few items that came up at the meeting that Council and staff will be looking into in the new year. Right now, both of the Municipality’s outdoor rinks remain closed due to COVID-19. Mayor Struthers says that this is what most of the surrounding municipalities are doing, especially in light of the area moving into the yellow zone a few weeks ago. The Mayor says that although their rinks are outdoors, physical distancing and contact tracing would still need to be observed as they are considered confined spaces. Staff will continue to monitor the pandemic and the information put out by the health unit to see if they will be able to open them in the new year. “We would love to open them and if we’re able to meet the guidelines of the health unit we will certainly do so because they are so valuable,” Mayor Struthers said.
Deputy Mayor Michael Cameron also brought forward a motion that will be considered in the new year. He suggested that some of the community grant money that was not doled out this year due to the pandemic be donated to the Emergency Food Cupboard. Treasurer Kirsten Rahm estimates that there is about $10,000 left under the community grants line item for 2020. “Maybe not all the money but a good portion of it would go a long way for some people in our community,” Deputy Mayor Cameron said.
Councillor Bob Foster thought it was a great idea; but said the needs of the Emergency Food Cupboard would continue well into next year and it might be a good idea to wait for the financials in January and make a decision at that time. Mayor Struthers also suggested that they defer the motion to 2021 but that they make the commitment that Council will look into donating to the Emergency Food Cupboard in next year’s budget process. “It sends a very positive message from this council to the people in our community that we are looking to give some support as best we can in 2021 for the food cupboard,” he said.
Council received at report from Forbes Simon of Jp2g Consultants Inc., about the development of McLean’s Landing Phase 2. The report outlined comments made by the public, as well as some issues in the proposal that require clarification or more attention from the applicant. This includes the issue of traffic, lot frontage size, the use of unopened road allowances, housing affordability, pedestrian walkways in the subdivision and serviceability when it comes to hooking up to the Municipality’s wastewater treatment facility.
According to the report, the applicant indicated that the Municipality’s wastewater treatment facility has enough capacity to service the 48 planned units, however this has not been confirmed by municipal staff. Considering the establishment of the Merrickville Grove Subdivision in the village, it is possible that the wastewater treatment facility will not have the capacity to service these new homes, however CAO Doug Robertson could not comment on this at the meeting, referencing discussions that were held during an in-camera session. “Part of the process at some point would be verification that there is capacity at the plant for whatever their plan of subdivision might be as we move forward in the process,” Mayor Struthers said.
Councillor Timothy Molloy mentioned that Council needs to have some discussion about the applicant’s zoning amendment request to have the minimum lot frontages lowered from 18m to 12m in the subdivision. “We need to look at what kind of development we want at the end of our village. Do we want Barrhaven on the corner of Read Street and County Road 16?” he asked. “I don’t think we do and what I can read from some of the comments, most of our residents don’t want it either. They want a more spacious development.”
Mayor Struthers suggested that they wait until the applicant responds to Jp2g’s report before they have any further discussion on the potential subdivision. “It would be wise to have those conversations when we see what they bring back in terms of how they respond to this,” he said. “Who knows, they may not even reply.”
Finally, Council adopted the dates for the 2021 council meetings. Mayor Struthers brought forward a request made by Councillor Don Halpenny earlier this year to have some or all of the times changed for Council meetings. Most of them are on Mondays at 7:00pm; but Councillor Halpenny had suggested that they move some of them into the afternoon. “We should have that discussion; I would suggest at our first meeting in January” Mayor Struthers said.