North Grenville had a quieter month in April compared to the hustle and bustle of March. The last April meeting took place on April 18, with the open part of the meeting lasting about 80 minutes. The meeting began with an acknowledgement from Mayor Peckford of the hard work that municipal staff put in to help with clean up after the ice storm of April 5. The Mayor further gave a shout out to local volunteers in honour of volunteer week.
Council jumped right into business, as Sandra Summers, the Executive Director of the local Community Living chapter, made a presentation regarding Community Living Month which takes place in May. Council moved to officially proclaim the month of May as Community Living Month in NG.
Next, Council heard from Dr. Linna Li, the Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit. The purpose of Dr. Li’s visit was to introduce herself, given that she has only been in her role since September. She explained that the Health Unit is working on strategic planning which will require input from key players such as the Municipality over time. Dr. Li brought welcome news that local COVID-19 cases are currently low, although the disease will be here to stay for years to come.
Mayor Peckford pointed out to Dr. Li that the pandemic had many potential negative effects on mental health, particularly insofar as it prevented people from socializing for a period of time. The Mayor asked Dr. Li to comment on what the most urgent public health matter is currently. Dr. Li confirmed that mental health is a major concern, as is continued vaccination.
Next, Council heard a report on a parking study proposal, with a recommendation to award the agreement for the study to Ainley Group at a cost of $38,075 plus HST. Ainley Group was the only company that submitted a bid after two other companies were denied a request for an extension to the submission deadline. Deputy Mayor Barclay voiced concern that because the bid from Ainley Group was about double what was originally budgeted for, it’s unfortunate that the deadline was not extended to invite some competing bids. Councillor Strackerjan agreed, stating that she was not comfortable with the $38,000 price tag and that the two-week window during which bidding was open was not long enough. She also called the sense of urgency on the matter “questionable”. Council did not pass the motion to accept the bid from Ainley Group, and instead moved to re-open the bidding for the study, acknowledging that this will push the expected completion of the study to the end of October.
Council then heard a report on a proposed municipal well for the Oxford Village settlement, the cost of which would be covered by new developments in the area. Deputy Mayor Barclay asked and received confirmation that other developers who benefit from the new well will compensate the builder of the well – LA Developments – via a credits system. The municipal well that is being built by LA Developments is one that the Municipality had anticipated would be needed anyway, regardless of whether it was constructed by the Municipality itself, or a third party. Council passed the motion to enter into a funding agreement for the well.
Other routine updates from various departments were heard by Council. The final item of business was the appointment of Councillor Deb Wilson as a liaison to the North Grenville Chamber of Commerce. Deputy Mayor Barclay took the opportunity to point out that there seems to be a false sense in the community that Council has been bending rules to facilitate development in Kemptville’s downtown. He clarified that this is not the case, and that outdated by-laws are simply being amended as needed.
The most recent Council meeting took place on May 2, too recent to be covered in the current print edition of the Times. Further highlights from Council will be available in future issues.