Given that Monday’s night regular Council meeting was a marathon event, starting at 5:30PM and ending at roughly 12:45 AM, some readers might not have the inclination to spin through about 7 hours of the recording to see what interests them.
While the meeting was long, hopefully this summary can be kept short… but no promises are being made. The recorded stream can be found at: https://vimeo.com/448679720
Opening Messages From The Mayor [00:06:50]
Mayor Jordan opened the meeting speaking highly of the new NRT OnDemand transit initiative that was just launched. $3 for a ride door-to-door anywhere in Grimsby. You can find more info at https://niagararegion.ca/transit/on-demand/ and download the app.
The Mayor also announced that Councillor Sharpe and his wife welcomed the arrival of their new daughter on August 3rd. If you have not done so already, you can leave your message of congratulations on Councillor Sharpe’s Facebook post at this link here.
Report – Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities [00:10:00]
Council briefly discussed the initiative and approved a motion to join the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. You can read more about this UN-lead initiative here: https://en.ccunesco.ca/networks/coalition-of-inclusive-municipalities
Report – 2019 Statement of General Operations [00:13:30]
Director of Finance, Steven Gruninger gave an overview of the Town’s finances including announcing a budget surplus (leftover money) of nearly $1.1 million.
Councillors raised questions where this money could be put, how the Town could learn how to better estimate budgets to avoid affecting the tax levy and the health of various Town reserves.
Council voted to place the surplus into the reserves.
Integrity Commissioner Reports [01:06:05]
Having been deferred from the July meeting, the Integrity Commissioner Reports were up for discussion. Councillor Vardy introduced a motion that summarized the reports, including those that were dismissed and included a statement that Councillor Ritchie be reprimanded, as recommended in the report for his breach of the Code of Conduct.
It appeared for some time it could be a long draw-out and possibly nasty process of going through each and every complaint, dismissed or not. In the end Council decided to put the matters behind them and committed to working together. The motion was passed unanimously.
Site Alteration Permit – 149 Kemp Road West [01:23:40]
This was not the first time this address was before Council and/or the Planning Committee in regards to their fill operations. The owner was granted a permit in April 2018 and in 2019 requested a short extension to complete his work. The Planning Committee at that 2019 meeting gave him an additional 3 months, more than what he had requested, to complete the work in all finality.
At the end of July 2020, the Town received and investigated a complaint that the lands were still being serviced with fill despite the lack of a permit. Councillors raised questions about whether the final grading that should have occurred was ever confirmed and whether the owner has been penalized for this recent contravention.
The owner has now applied for a permit, which was put before Council.
Significant concern was raised by many Councillors over the proposed amount of fill that was proposed to be brought in, if the permit was granted. Councillor Sharpe pointed out that the verbal report from Public Works mentioned 500 truck-loads/5,000m³ and the written report included in the agenda stated the amount of fill would be 800m³. He asked for clarification on the significant difference in numbers.
The Acting Director of Public Works then stated that he believed it was 800 truck loads (8,000m³) and not 800m³ and that this staff estimate was high and the actual number estimated by the owner was 500 truck-loads/5,000m³. Any permit requests over 1,000m³ requires the Director to schedule a public meeting before any decision can be made by Council, which there has been none.
Councillors re-iterated the issues with this site, the proposed numbers and how much hardship people living on the mountain have already had to endure in relation to trucks.
The Acting Director requested to take the matter back to look at the numbers and clarify which is correct. Council passed a motion to refer it back to Town Staff for further information and clarification.
Grimsby Beach Land-User Planning Study [1:44:10]
CAO Schlange stated that the actual cost to for the study would be about $161,000 and was much less than previous estimate of $230,000. He further stated that the study will not have any impact on the 2021 tax levy. This may be further offset by grant money.
Councillors agreed that this study was necessary to protect the unique heritage of Grimsby Beach and how important this area is to the Town. Council voted unanimously to approve the study and it’s awarding to the selected consultants.
Review of Town’s “Discharge of Firearms & Bows” By-Law [01:51:30]
The Clerk gave a brief overview of the background to this report, stating the current By-Law dates back to 1976. There was some “community feedback”(probably complaints) that initiated this update to the existing By-Law.
Councillors discussed whether there should be provisions for hunting and if/when public input should be received in regards to changes in the By-Law. Other points were raised regard pellet-guns, air-soft and paintball guns.
A deferral motion that required public consultation first was defeated and the updated By-Law was approved with a provision to allow public input at a later date to further refine it.
Report/Settlement Agreement – Century Condos [02:14:55]
The CAO kicked off this segment by formally introducing the new Director of Planning, Building & By-Law. Director Minichillo went through a PowerPoint presentation on the proposed development. The “feel good” PowerPoint slides seemed more instructive than it did informative… and Councillors agreed.
This was a rather long segment that should be watched, as a “Cole’s Notes” version would probably do a disservice to many of the points raised. Councillor Sharpe’s comments and questions about the development were “on point” and should not be missed, starting at 02:43:40.
Closed Session – Settlement Agreement – Century Condos [05:22:18]
Council emerged out of the closed session and voted on the following resolution regarding the Century Condos “settlement agreement”:
“Moved by Councillor Ritchie; Seconded by Councillor Vaine
Resolved that confidential report 20-17 be referred back to Staff to negotiate the intentions of what was discussed in closed session and bring back a settlement at a Special Council meeting of August 27, 2020.
With the exception of Councillor Dunstall who voted “no”, the rest of Council including Mayor Jordan voted to send this matter back for further discussion.
Resolution – Playing “O’Canada” At Beginning of Council Meetings [05:30:15]
Councillor Sharpe brought forth this motion to have our national anthem played at the beginning of Council meetings. This would bring the Town in line with other municipalities and the Region who do the same. The motion was carried.
Resolution – GEI Board Information [05:33:30]
Councillor Vaine brought a motion for the report of disclosure of certain classes of information regarding GEI and the sale of the Biodigester. The motion was carried.
Resolution – Indigenous Statement [05:36:20]
This motion from Councillor Bothwell requested a staff report to investigate “indigenous territorial land acknowledgement statements” and their possible inclusion at the beginning of meetings, similar to other municipalities. An educational component to this was requested to fully understand this important history and avoid “tokenism”. The motion was carried.
Resolution – Accessability Mat For Grimsby Beach [05:47:30]
The second motion of Councillor Vaine for the meeting addressed the request for a report for an accessibility mat to ensure that all residents have a chance to enjoy the beach. The motion was amended to cover all of Grimsby beaches and was passed.
Closed Session – Update On Personal Matters Regarding An Identifiable Individual [07:11:50]
Council came out of their closed session on “personal matters” with the following resolution:
“Moved by Councillor Ritchie; Seconded by Councillor Sharpe
Resolved that staff receive the directions provided in the closed session.”
The motion was carried unaminously.
After 7 hours and 15 minutes, the meeting was finally adjourned. It certainly was a long meeting for those at home watching. Hats off to our elected officials for tackling such a lengthy and tough agenda.