by Councillor John Barclay with help from Public Works staff
When exploring the kinds and levels of services that the Municipality provides, I quickly became aware that many of these services have provincial legislation that imposes “minimum maintenance standards”, while others have standards of service spelled out in detailed contracts with providers. I’ve chosen a few examples in this brief article that, hopefully, answers some of the more common questions received.
When are you going to plow my road? When snow accumulation is greater, or equal to, 8cm or 10cm (Class 4 and 5 roads respectively; the most common kind), plows are deployed as soon as practical, and they have 16 or 24 hours to reduce snow depth to provide what is called “centre bare condition”. This is all accomplished with municipal equipment and a single shift of road crew, except snow bank removal downtown, which is contracted out.
My garbage and recycling wasn’t picked up; what do I do? While you need to have your garbage and recycling to the curb by 7am on collection day, our contractor has until 7pm to collect it. If it hasn’t been picked up on your scheduled collection day, either leave it out, or collect it and put it back the next day before 7am. Give the contractor or Cheryl Fequet, Public Works Clerk, a call at 613-258-9569 extension 133, or via email at email@example.com to advise them of your address and that it was not collected and is still out for collection.
My water bill has suddenly spiked; what’s going on? If your water bill is suddenly higher than normal, there are a number of things you can do. Dye tabs are available at the Municipal Centre to check for silent leaks in toilets. You can contact Public Works Water Wastewater Clerk, Krista Johnston, at 613-258-9569 extension 159, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss and assist in identifying common leaks, as well as help identify leaks by reading your water meter. Information and payment arrangements are available to those who are experiencing financial difficulties. You should also note that rain barrels (and composters) are available, at cost, at the Municipal Centre front counter.
I’m concerned about traffic and drainage in my neighbourhood; what can I do? The first thing to do is contact the Public Works Department to describe the issue, so they can quickly assess the situation. Contact Cheryl Fequet, Public Works Clerk at 613-258-9569 extension 133 or via email at email@example.com. You’ll then be asked to complete a simple traffic or drainage concern form. While there are plans to have these forms available online, currently they’re only provided after an initial contact by phone, email, or a visit to the Municipal Centre. Once the one page form is completed and received, it is considered “formally submitted”, and an assessment process is started to determine what type of action (if any) is required to address your concern.
All assessments are based on Municipal policies (currently under review) and, in the case of traffic concerns, they are based on Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines as well. Each type of concern (speed, intersections, pedestrians, signage) has its own specific assessment process. Drainage assessments may involve a review of relevant files, conservation authority resources, and images from Google Earth.
Data collection is often followed by a site visit for visual inspection and installation of recording devices in the case of traffic concerns. This leads to an analysis of all the data, compiled into a draft report which is then distributed for review by relevant staff and, in some cases, by conservation authorities and/or the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. Once reviewed and finalized, the report is distributed to the original resident and copied to Council. Any recommended actions in the report are then implemented as time and manpower permit. If the solution is not provided for within the current budget, they are included in the next budget deliberations.
In the past ten months, as Council Liaison to Public Works, I’ve learned a great deal about what the Public Works Department does, how it does it, and how it’s paid for. I’m still learning and am looking forward to sharing more information with you. You can contact me by phone (Direct: 613-322-8132, or 613-875-4012), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or drop by one of my Talk To Me Tuesdays weekly meet and greet sessions at a local coffee shop (locations posted on Facebook.com/JB4NG).