Mayor reminds residents to “stay the course”:
Director of Emergency and Protective Services, John Okum, updated council last week on what bylaw has been doing to enforce COVID-19 provincial orders. Director Okum said that since council gave bylaw the authority to address contraventions to the provincial order, they have responded to about 60 occurrences that varied in severity. Some were addressed through education, while others needed OPP intervention. “Overall there is very good compliance,” Director Okum told council.
Mayor Peckford said that, although North Grenville has a low number of reported cases, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville as a whole have been particularly hard hit, mostly due to outbreaks in long term care homes. “The vigilance that we all need to demonstrate as residents in fighting COVID-19 must remain,” she said. “We must stay the course on this one.”
Council receives updated water and wastewater study:
Staff presented council with the Municipality’s updated water and wastewater financial plan at the special meeting last week. As part of the 2019 budget, council approved a study, carried out by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd., to look at the water and wastewater cost for service, rate review, and Financial Plan. The Financial Plan is one of the requirements for maintaining a municipal drinking water license under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and looked at the period from 2020 through to 2031.
Superintendent of Environmental Services, Mike Finlay, told council that the largest cost to the municipality relating to the water and wastewater system will be the creation of a new well and pump at a cost of $5 million. He said that based on projected growth in the Municipality, it is estimated that the new well will be needed as of 2024. Superintendent Finlay believes it is likely that the Municipality will have to borrow money to complete this project, or figure out a way to finance it through development charges.
The water rates review study, which was supposed to be part of this report, has been postponed until staff is able to get more input from the public. Superintendent Finlay says the report has to comply with their legislative obligation, and that it is staff’s intention to bring it back to council and the public at a later date. Mayor Peckford said that after speaking with Director of Public Works, Karen Dunlop, the Municipality is hoping to be able to do a full water rate review, with public consultation later this year.
Municipality supports vendors selling bag tags:
The Municipality will be supporting businesses who are selling bag tags by ensuring they are able to recoup the cost of selling the tags through a POS system. The bag tag program was brought up again at the council meeting last week, as some residents have expressed concern about being able to access the bag tags if they are self isolating. All members of council agreed that it would not be prudent to suspend the bag tag program, as the Municipality depends on the revenue to offset waste management costs. “It is not just impractical, but imprudent, at this time,” Mayor Peckford said.
There are retailers in the Municipality who are selling bag tags and are also willing to deliver them as part of grocery or food orders. B&H Grocer and the Independent are long-time vendors of bag tags, and a few local restaurants, including Mr. Mozzarella in Kemptville and Paul’s Bistro in Oxford Station, have also agreed to sell them. Council has agreed to compensate businesses who sell the bag tags with 2% commission per transaction to make sure they are not losing money through debit/credit card fees. The hope is that this will entice more businesses in the community to become bag tag vendors.
Council also directed staff to continue working on a system whereby residents can either phone in or order bag tags online, and have them delivered to their house by mail. A service fee of $0.25 would apply to online orders; however, the Municipality would cover the cost of postage. Bag tags are also available through the Salvation Army and the Knights of Columbus, both are operating food banks.