The Council Chambers were packed again as two hot issues were on the agenda – the potential Livingston Avenue Extension through the woodlot and ongoing dumping of fill on Kemp Road properties. And don’t miss the New Business piece at the very end … the Biodigester!
You can find the Council Agenda at: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=542,543,79798&preview=85965
And as usual here are the notes from the meeting:
Habitat for Humanity
Alastair Davis, CEO Habitat for Humanity, presented on the HFH mandate and commended Town Council for its role in supporting the programs and home builds in Grimsby. They encouraged everyone to visit the recently opened ReStore location at 185 South Service Road to take advantage of the great deals on home renovation supplies, to donate, or to find out about great volunteer opportunities.
Chief Librarian Kathryn Drury and Art Gallery Director Rhona Wenger presented on the rollout of the #Grimsby150 time capsule project. In fact, there will be TWO capsules, one will be located at Southward Park and the other at the Grimsby Museum.
All Grimsby residents are invited to make their submissions in a “My Canada 150 Book”, please contact Library or Art Gallery staff for more information. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for July 1, 2067 when the capsules will be opened and their contents revealed!
Hemson Consulting presented on the Planning, Building and Engineering Fee Review. The full report is included in the agenda. The intent of the report is to align the Town’s fee recovery will those of other comparable municipalities and move towards implementation of full recovery of direct and indirect costs.
The gaps identified between revenue versus costs was substantial in some areas. Aldermen were eager to see a new fee recovery plan in place as soon as possible to close this gap. The report will be brought to Admin & Finance next and once approved, can be implemented immediately. Recovery of costs under the new fee schedule cannot be done retroactively.
Kemp Road Dumping
Josip Majetic, a resident of Kemp Road West, spoke eloquently on the negative impacts of hundreds of dump trucks an hour barreling along Mountain and Kemp Roads to dump fill at 42 Kemp Road West. He stated he has been told by the drivers that “they can dump this year but not next year”, seemingly knowing that the Town is absent a fill by-law to enforce any action.
In his discussion with the landowner, Mr. Majetic commented that she stated she was “increasing the value of her property”. He further mentioned that this area is zoned agriculture and that the only way to farm the land like this is with a (Caterpillar) D-9.
Mr. Majetic also circulated photos to Council of what the dumping looks like. We took a photo of that photo and you can see for yourself what is going on:
Photo Credit: Josip Majetic
Mayor Bentley stated “we have an existing fill by-law”, then went on to state “nothing will stop what is going on” and that the Ministry of Environment is responsible for monitoring and testing. He stated that he had provided Joe with all the information and that the Town was “working on a by-law right now” – so, is there a by-law now, or isn’t there?
Alderman Johnston asked what the rules are for dumping in the Greenbelt (where the site is located). Mayor Bentley responded that the new by-law will be brought to the next Planning & Development meeting and that would be good place to ask that question. Another question was raised about the Johnson Creek drainage works and possible impacts. Town Manager Brandt asked if there was a specific question or concern. The Mayor said it was a question for Public Works, but it shouldn’t impact the drain. He also stated that “Conservation (NPCA) hands are tied on that side of the street”.
Alderman Kadwell stated again that “we don’t have a fill by-law” and he had been told that contractors are paying a company $50 a load and that fill doesn’t get inspected because it’s from another site. Town Manager Brandt responded that “this fill was inspected before it was transported”. Alderman Kadwell also noted there were visible signs of damage to Kemp Road due to the excessive heavy truck traffic, to which Town Manager Brandt responded that the trucks were legally using the roads, load restrictions were being obeyed and enforced, and we have no avenue to charge for damage for the legal use of the road.
Directed at elected Aldermen and Council, Mr. Majetic stated:
“when you do nothing when something illegal is done to our environment, you are supporting that illegal act”.
The Town has posted a public notice on the Kemp Road fill issue on both Facebook and their home website. You can read it here: http://www.grimsby.ca/News-Notices/kemp-road-fill-2.html
Livingston Avenue Extension – Save the Woodlot
George Trifunovic spoke on behalf of owners of 468 Main St W (75% of the woodlot ownership). Alderman Berry requested that Bruce MacKenzie, spokesperson for Save the Woodlot, and Colleen Allison (another woodlot owner) be permitted to speak as well. There was a lot of applause going on, leading the Mayor to comment, “this is not a sporting event, it’s a meeting”. The motion from the Public Works meeting was lifted for further consideration by Council.
Points raised by both sides, speakers and Aldermen:
LEGEND: (G) George Trifunovic / (A) Aldermen / (B) Bruce Mackenzie / (C ) Colleen Allison / (T) Town Manager/ (M) Mayor Bentley / (Q) Tony Quirk
(G) A trail creates liability and safety issues.
(G) Farmers need access to both north and south sides and a trail would not work.
(G) A road would work with curbs and shoulders and driveways, farm equipment would respect rules of the road.
(A) How would farmers access both sides any differently if it was a road – and they had to cross gutters/ditches?
(G) A trail would encourage revelers, vagrants and trespassing on private property.
(A) No connection between a trail and it “being the wild west”.
(G) If an Environmental Assessment is necessary, so be it.
(G) It was tagged to be a roadway since 1970, not fair to change to trail now, leave it the way it is.
(B) What started the request for an Environment Assessment for that process? Justification?
(B) Who called for the EA initially and why?
(B) When the Notice of EA was posted in 2014, the consultant scheduled two Public Information Centres (PIC’s) – late summer, then it was pushed back to fall, then the next spring, then not held at all. Why were the PIC’s not held? We could have had this discussion in 2014.
(B) For the sake of the woodlot, a trail is better than a road. We just need a public forum.
(C) Grimsby doesn’t need another trail.
(C) It’s private property. The road needs to go through for the GO train development.
(C) If you’re not putting a road through, we’d like our $$$ back for the expropriation.
(C) It will help our family (it’s a private matter).
(A) All land in the Greenbelt, can’t do anything on it (10 year minimum), was this even discussed?
(T) Can’t rezone it, roads can be built, land use needs just have to be justified. Not true that “nothing can happen”. Those lands can be developed for farming and a range of development related to agriculture, linear infrastructure, GO train allowed in Greenbelt. Will be development on a different scale and nature. A woodlot would not be allowed, but it’s a significant heritage feature.
(M) Rezoning for development is not part of the equation right now.
(A) Another option, put energy into repairing/upgrading Casablanca and old Hwy #8. It’s a road to nowhere. If we do the extension, and the Greenbelt opens up for development, we’ll have to tear the new road up.
(M) The Casablanca EA has to be done anyway. It’s a key piece of the GO train/hub study and will allow us to recoup development charges (over the next 5 yrs) in case the road is built. That’s the only reason the $8.5M is in the Transportation Master Plan (TMP). There’s no justification for the road now and the EA study will probably show that. Their will be separate EA’s (Casablanca and Livingston Ave) which will overlap.
(A) Don’t need to do a Livingston Avenue EA. We have enough transportation roads. Keep our current roads in good shape.
(A) If it stays in the TMP, is it an identified and approved project?
(T) If you think by keeping it out of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) it won’t happen, that’s not what it’s about. Region has already decided the Casablance EA is a priority and a Traffic Study is part of it which will look at how traffic flows and maybe give information that the extension is not necessary. Who knows what will come back? Wait for the info to come back from the study, eventually they will be doing the LA EA.
(A) The Region is asking us for a yes or no answer on the Livingston extension.
(Q) There are two issues before Regional Council. The LA EA issue and the TMP (25 year plan used to calculate development charges). The Province has come up with “Prime Employment Lands”. A change in government could give more say re: the Greenbelt. Leaving it in the TMP doesn’t cost anything. The old EA was held in abeyance. The Hub study will feed into the Traffic Study. The decision of Council today will be voted on by Regional Council and they will decide it if is included (the EA).
(M) The Casablanca EA and Traffic Study (collectively) will lead in and could provide justification for another roadway. It will indicate capacity, and if needed, another EA (LA EA) would be done for mitigation of negative impacts.
(A) Rather forego the LA EA, it sends the message we don’t want it (applause).
(M) The Casablanca EA will be “lead” (contracted out) by the end of the month.
(T) For clarity, removing it from the TMP will not prevent an EA or the road being built.
(Q) We will be short $8.5M if we don’t put it in the TMP.
Council voted on and supported the following recommendation:
“Resolved that the Public Works Committee recommends that the Council of the Town of Grimsby at this time neither supports nor opposes a Livingston Avenue extension and would prefer to see the results of an Environmental Assessment on this matter prior to considering our position and further that the 2017 Niagara Region Transportation Master Plan reflect this.”
How They Voted
For the record (and possibly resident’s 2018 Election considerations), the matter was a recorded vote:
|— / ABSENT
The Town also posted on this discussion on their Facebook page.
The Save the Woodlot Facebook page provides further insight into this discussion: https://www.facebook.com/savethewoodlot/
Alderman Kadwell asked for an update on the status of the biodigester. Mayor Bentley responded that it has been running every day under the watchful eye of the experts and is generating power to the grid and revenue. They are working on different menu options to produce gas. He stated they started producing gas on the Wednesday of the week following the July 17 presentation to Council by Shaffee Bachus but are not yet running “full out”. They have “burned off” the initial gas output and for the last couple of weeks have been generating power to the grid.
When Alderman Kadwell asked about the % of methane being produced, Mayor Bentley stated they are using “test recipes” and a controlled commissioning from an approved menu. The target for full production is the first week of October. The Mayor noted that Grimsby Energy receives a premium when generating power for prime time use. He noted that initially they started at $0.10 then progressed to $0.12, $0.14, and now average $0.16-$0.17 per hour for revenue. The peak for prime time is $0.23 per hour. It is not a flat rate and is flexible.
Alderman Kadwell asked about the status of the standby generator. The Mayor responded that it is there more for safety reasons.
Alderman Berry noted that the biodigester had received all approvals from all affected agencies and was running accordingly. The IESO was in for an audit last week, due to concerns raised, and had no concerns. He stated that “the experts are running it, actually, our employees are running it now”.
Regional Update (And maybe the Biodigester…)
Regional Councillor Quirk speaks quite quickly, so it’s sometimes hard to pick up the gist of his updates. He attended a recent AMO meeting where a “Bluebox Update” was presented. Stewardship Ontario provides funding to municipalities for organics diversion, depending on diversion rates. The Region is looking into “opportunities” with the Town…
Following on Grimsby Energy’s recent application to accept biosolids (source separated organics), does this mean the menu for the biodigester may include Regional waste organics (SSO’s) as a possible source of income for the Region in the near future…?
That’s all for now!