Council update

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North Grenville Council met twice last week – back to back on the evenings of Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20. With the next most recent meeting being on March 5, there was much business to discuss in last week’s meetings, much of which could be described as “routine”, such as consents for the purchasing of needed equipment, and the handling of day-to-day requests that needed Council’s attention. 

One item that stood out on the agenda for March 19 was the approval of the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) expansion contract. Mike Finley, the Municipality’s Director of Public Works, provided Council with an overview of the project, including the expansion work that will be completed in each stage. He explained how the current WPCP (constructed in 1993) functions, and gave an update on the improvements that it will see. 

The tender process for phase A was completed last year, and Director Finnley was prepared to ask Council to award the $64 million contract to North America Constructors. After asking some questions, Council agreed to award the contract. The paperwork will be completed in the coming weeks, with construction then expected to start right away. Phase A is expected to take just over two years to complete, at which point the legwork of phase B will be worked out. Following discussion on the finances of the project, Mayor Nancy Peckford took the opportunity to point out that the plant expansion is a positive sign of North Grenville’s continued growth. She also pointed out that development charges are a welcome source of revenue to pay for such projects. 

Also of note from March 19 is that Council received the latest Annual Drinking Water Report for the Kemptville drinking water system. The report showed no adverse water quality incidents. 

The meeting on March 20 was much lengthier. It included two public meetings regarding zoning matters – one for Oxford Village Phase II, and one for a proposed zoning amendment on Rideau Street to allow the construction of an 8-unit multi residential unit. 

Regarding Oxford Village Phase II – a new subdivision off of County Road 43, west of Food Basics – there was a significant amount of concern raised by members of the community. A resident of Settlers Way (in Settlers Grant, to the north of the subject property) spoke first, describing the construction process as “horrible” and “devastating”, saying that the Municipality’s forests are being torn down, and animals are wandering around looking for their home. “I feel like Barrhaven has followed me here,” the resident said. 

Another resident of the same street raised concerns about the quantity of aquifer water available to feed private wells with the new homes being built. He also raised questions about the adequacy of the emergency services to serve this rapidly growing development.

Yet another resident expressed worry that the new development will be approved prematurely: “I am concerned that if this is approved or parts of it are approved tonight with all these outstanding questions, then we can’t roll back on that. And that’s something that as a citizen I’d like to see our Council be held responsible for.”

The motion on the table was to defer the decision making, and Amy Martin, the Municipality’s Director of Planning and Development, confirmed that there will be opportunities for questions to be answered in future steps of the process. Deputy Mayor John Barclay also pointed out that there is a significant information gathering process that happens when a development request is first made, and he asked Director Martin to give a summary of that process. 

The public meeting for the Rideau Street development was much more efficient, with only a few simple questions asked. Council approved the motion, moving this project forward. 

One other interesting motion before Council on March 20 was an amendment to the “Vehicle for Hire” bylaw, in order to remove barriers that may be preventing a Taxi or similar service from being established in North Grenville. For example, it removes minimum experience requirements, as well as the requirement of including a three year driving abstract as part of the permit application. It also reduces the required liability insurance from $5 million to $2 million. The motion passed. 

There were no other meetings yet added to the Municipal calendar as of the time of writing. Important highlights from future meetings will continue to be covered in the Times. 

 

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