On December 1, a closed session meeting of North Grenville Council took place, listed in the agenda as taking place for the purpose of “education/training” at the Brigadoon in Oxford Mills. Another closed session meeting took place on December 5, this one listed as taking place for solicitor-client privilege, matters relating to an identifiable individual, and a somewhat more unusual discussion topic: “A trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the Municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value.”
As is always the case with closed session meetings, these meetings were closed to the public and media. On December 5, shortly after the preceding closed session, an open session meeting took place in Suite A at the Municipal Centre. Following the Mayor’s opening remarks on housekeeping business, Rachel Burns from RNJ Youth Services gave a presentation to provide information on the services that the organization provides. Rachel had given a Community Grants presentation in November.
Next, Council heard a recommendation from municipal staff to approve the continued road maintenance work plan in the Municipality which would include a gradual resurfacing of O’Neil road within the next 6-10 years. Some back and forth discussion took place between Public Works Director Mike Finley and Deputy Mayor John Barclay. Councillor Deb Wilson then had some questions for the Director, and a resident of O’Neil Road, Evan Thompson, stepped forward to ask questions on his behalf and that of his neighbours as well.
Evan was asked to lay all of his questions out at once for future discussion amongst staff and Council members. He first asked why Crozier Road was prioritized for road work over O’Neil Road when both receive the same traffic. He then pointed out that many roads in the Municipality have been better cared for despite being travelled only by local residents, while O’Neil is more of a thruway. Evan further questioned why the Road Superintendent’s considerations were part of the decision making process, calling it “personal choice”. Director Finley endeavored to look further into these matters. He also confirmed which roads the Municipality is focusing on right now for rehabilitation: Townline, Hess, Edward Scott, Norton, and Slater. O’Neil is the next priority after these roads.
Following the discussion about roads, Council voted to adopt an updated land acknowledgment, similar to the previous one read at the beginning of each Council meeting, which acknowledges that the Municipality operates on unceded Indigenous territory.
Next, Council heard a report from Hillary Geneau, the Municipality’s Director of Corporate Services, regarding North Grenville’s recent participation in the Communities in Bloom project. Director Geneau also provided an update on the implementation of the recent Parking Study recommendations which were heard by Council in October, beginning with a focus on eight identified priorities.
Councillors Wilson and Strackerjan both raised concerns about the inclusion of so-called “age friendly” parking spaces in the Plan, which both the Advisory Committee and Council had decided was not appropriate since it unfairly paints elderly people as being less mobile, and also does not help younger people who need access to more accessible parking. The Councillors asked that the “age friendly” parking spaces be off the table.
Deputy Mayor Barclay asked that one of the priority items be moved higher on the list, specifically asking that North Grenville eliminate the use of a blanket overnight parking ban in the winter months. The Deputy Mayor instead recommends the use of a notification system to instruct residents not to park on the street whenever snow clearing is required, such as during or after a snowfall event.
Finally, Director of Planning and Development, Amy Martin, presented a request from two residents of Scotch Line Road to construct an access laneway/driveway at their own expense. The proposal did not raise concerns for Council, and Director Martin was authorized to execute the agreement.
The December 5 meeting was short compared to some other recent meetings, lasting just under one and a half hours. Another open session Council meeting took place yesterday, December 13 – the final meeting on the agenda for this year. The December 13 meeting will be covered in the December 21 issue of the Times.