For those who may have been busy with holiday preparation or parties and missed out on the December 18 Council meeting, in the spirit of the season we are (as always) giving you the gift of notes for your reading pleasure.
The agenda for the meeting can be found here:
The official minutes have not yet been posted on the Town website as of this writing, December 29th.
Delegation – Santa Claus Parade Winners
Congratulations and awards were handed out to those who participated in a very well attended Santa Claus Parade.
- Crowd Pleaser: Winona Gospel Church
- Best Non-Profit Entry: West Niagara Agricultural Society
- Best Commercial Entry: Vineland Growers Co-op
- Best Church or School Entry: New Life Community Church
- Best Walking Group: Grimsby Equestrians
Delegation – Cheryl Gannan, West Lincoln Councillor
Ms. Gannan presented the Town of West Lincoln’s case to change its composition by adding an additional Regional Councillor effective with the 2018 Municipal Election. Currently, only the Mayor sits on Regional Council and the Town’s population is currently 14,500 with anticipated growth to 29,460 by 2041. An additional Councillor will cost approximately $34,000 per year (plus travel, cell phone, conferences, training and development) and require changes to Council chambers, estimated at $100,000. These costs are borne by all 12 municipalities.
Grimsby aldermen questioned the estimated costs and suggested that perhaps the timing could be put off until the Region completed its governance review. After some discussion, the resolution was accepted and passed. The Region has since announced that a triple majority was received and the additional Councillor for West Lincoln is approved.
The St. Catharines Standard covers the issue in these articles:
And the Niagara Falls Review:
Not everyone supported West Lincoln’s proposal. A number of municipalities suggested that Niagara Region can be effective with a new model of representation, reduction in numbers, and that it seriously requires a governance review.
Interestingly, we found that under a transition loophole in Bill 68, by passing this approval for West Lincoln now, before the 2018 election, the Region does not have to finalize a governance review until two years after the 2026 election (interesting timing). So, Mayor Joyner’s statement about governance review in the next term may or may not happen, as the Region is not bound to do it…
Here’s an excerpt from Bill 68 (Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2017):
Reviews by regional municipalities
(6) Following the regular election in 2018 and following every second regular election after that, a regional municipality shall review, for each of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality.
(7) The Minister may make a regulation changing the composition of a council of a regional municipality if the regional municipality does not, in the period of time that starts on the day the new council is organized following a regular election referred to in subsection (6) and ends on the day two years after that day, either,
(a) pass a by-law to change, for one or more of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of the members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality; or
(b) pass a resolution to affirm, for each of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of the members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality.
(11) Until after the regular election in 2026, subsections (6) and (7) do not apply to a regional municipality that, during the period between the regular election in 2014 and the regular election in 2018, passes a by-law to change, for one or more of its lower-tier municipalities, the number of members of its council that represent the lower-tier municipality.
Delegation – Brian Purdy, Niagara Gateway Information Centre
With a new 5-year lease in place, the visitor information centre at the Casablanca interchange is moving forward with a marketing and advertising plan to increase its revenue stream.
Mr. Purdy played a YouTube marketing video to attract new clients which was well received by Council. Considering that the GO Station Secondary Plan calls for intensification and 18-storey buildings on the site, it will be interesting to see how, or if, the visitor centre fits into that plan down the road…
Admin & Finance Committee Minutes
Chair Mullins stated that the segregation of duties deficiencies identified in the 2016 audit were “minor” in nature, related to access rights, and the IT Director would be “on top of it”. This has been an issue for a number of years and the Mayor stated at Committee that resolving these deficiencies needs to be a priority.
The audit also identified that the Town does not have a formal process to identify and evaluate internal and external business risks, such as strategic, compliance, financial, operational, reputational, etc., which could result in the Town not being able to run its operations successfully or report appropriately on its financial status. The Town’s written response to the audit was that “risks are discussed as staff identify any issues they may become aware of” and that “additional time is required to implement a formal business risk model”. Chair Mullins stated at Council that “staff are confident that risks are addressed”.
With regard to the Clerk’s memo on the election recount policy, Chair Mullins stated that Finance would like to have input from Council so that something can be in place prior to the 2018 election. She also noted there is no deadline for comments. The Mayor indicated that he felt a guide was important. Currently, a recount is only mandatory in the event of a tie, but anyone can submit a formal request for a recount to Council.
Recreation Services Committee Minutes
MHBC Planning Limited has been chosen as the consultant to deliver the Parks & Recreation Master Plan at a contract cost of $109,900 (excluding HST). Alderman Wilson noted that there will be at least two public meetings as part of the consultation process and that various interest groups in the community will be solicited for input.
Planning & Development Committee Minutes
For those who attended the GO Transit Secondary Plan statutory public meeting on December 12 (see our notes here) a motion was put forward to lift the minutes for further discussion. Alderman DiFlavio noted that the public and Committee were concerned that there had not been adequate time for Planning staff to digest the comments and concerns raised at the public meeting. As a result, approval of the Plan is deferred to allow for another public meeting (not statutory) with those who registered receiving notice. A date for this meeting has not yet been set. Once we hear, we will be sure to share with everyone.
The heritage value of the Moore House at 314 Main St East was discussed and will be referred back to the new Grimsby Heritage Advisory Committee for review. As a demolition permit was already issued back in July, and the property is not designated, there is no legal protection from demolition. The Town is hopeful the owner will delay to allow time for the Heritage Committee to bring forward suggestions.
Update on OMB Appeal of LJM Waterview Development Phase II
We are disappointed to share that the OMB decision released on December 27 was not in our favour. The decision is sorely lacking in detail of the scope of the cross examination and issues list that we presented. We are in the process of reviewing the rendered decision to determine our next action.
For those who stood by and supported us, we could not have done it without you. The positive emails and your presence at the hearing reinforced that we were fighting the good fight for the citizens of Grimsby.
Although the decision is in favour of the developer, we raised serious concerns with the planning rationale including the fact, that the Board also acknowledged, that Town planning staff didn’t know what the phased population/jobs target (to 2041) set by the Region for the “greenfield area” was (the area in which this development is located), and that they had already greatly exceeded it as proven in our evidence. Planning staff advised Council when the development was put forward for approval in December 2016 that this area was “significantly underperforming”, which was certainly not the case.
What residents of Grimsby need to be concerned about now is that this Council has demonstrated that they will approve a 15-storey building in a neighbourhood with a maximum height of 6 storeys, right next to two-storey townhomes.
They have thrown out the rulebook and the Official Plan and will allow developers to set the sky as the limit. When the heights and densities are finalized in the new GO Transit Secondary Plan, be forewarned that nothing is written in stone. Watch for details of the next GO Station Secondary Plan public meeting.
If this can happen in the Winston Road Neighbourhood, it can happen in any neighbourhood.
If you don’t agree with the decisions this Council is making on planning matters, your strongest voice of opposition will come on October 22, 2018 at the ballot box of the 2018 Municipal election.
That’s all for now… have a safe and Happy New Year everyone!