Merrickville-Wolford report

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Funding from the Municipal Modernization Program:

The Village of Merrickville-Wolford is receiving over $150,000 from the provincial Municipal Modernization Program, which will be used for a Third Party Review of Service Delivery.

Mayor Doug Struthers commented to the Times that “Staff’s application to the Municipal Modernization Fund was successful in securing $152,640 for the cost of an independent third-party reviewer of our water/waste water systems, and to provide further specific and actionable recommendations for cost-efficiencies by January 31, 2023″.

Ontario is providing over $28 million to support 322 projects through the Municipal Modernization Program to help small and rural municipalities across the province find better, more efficient ways to deliver local services for residents and businesses.

Municipalities can use the funding to conduct reviews of local services and administrative operations to find efficiencies, including accelerating the creation of new housing through streamlined development approvals and working with neighbouring municipalities to share services.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the need for municipalities to be as efficient and nimble as possible, while ensuring services remain financially sustainable today and in the future,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

Library records increase in users:

The Merrickville Public Library has experienced a very healthy turnaround in the number of users enjoying the library’s programs and facilities, returning to close to the same levels as pre-pandemic. In October, 2021, the total circulation figure was 2,083, a slight increase on the previous year, though still below the figure of 2,369 from November 2019.

However, by November, 2021, that figure had risen to 2,235, as residents returned to the library in larger numbers. The Board noted that November is a slow time of the year; however, there are plans to increase the library’s presence on-line and in local media.

Chamber proposes Victorian Lamp Posts:

The Merrickville-Wolford and District Chamber of Commerce made a presentation to Council on a project involving placing 70 Victorian-styled lamp posts mounted on blocks of Armour Stone at strategic locations throughout the core Village area, as well as in other places throughout the Village. The stone blocks will reflect the style of the blocks used in the Canal locks, and will be big enough to provide additional outdoor seating. The lamp posts and stone mounts will be portable and can be removed for winter storage. This will facilitate the plowing of sidewalks through the winter season. The lamps will be solar powered, the posts will have hanging baskets of flowers, and will be used to decorate for specific public occasions, celebrations, and events.

The initial cost for this project will be around $173,000, with additional costs for replacing light bulbs and batteries. Council were asked to write a letter of support for the project, in support of an application for a My Main Street Community Activator Grant. My Main Street is a partnership between the Economic Development Council of Ontario and the Canadian Urban Institute, and is funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Should the requested funding be forthcoming, it is hoped to begin the project on March 15 this year.

“Sons of Martha” project:

In a previous presentation to Council, a group calling itself ‘The Sons of Martha”, submitted a proposal to restore the Cairn now located in Deek’s Quarry, and remove it to a new Public Square in Merrickville [see the Merrickville-Wolford Times, January 19, 2022]. A Report to Council by CAO, Doug Robertson, has recommended that their plan be approved, noting that “it is important that the Project Team receive the approvals and support that they require to move this project ahead as quickly as possible”.

Fireworks:

Controversy continues to surround the proposal by Council that Family Day be marked by fireworks in the Village. A survey of residents was held to gather public opinion on the matter, and the Environmental Advisory Committee registered its opposition to the display because of environmental pollution and the impact on the nearby Rideau Bird Sanctuary.

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