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Councillor - Town of Blue Mountains

Council Chamber News – Sobeys and the Fire Department

My first meeting of Council was a real “eye opener”.

During my election campaign, I said I wouldn’t agree to or approve anything I couldn’t understand. I was caught off-guard by a request by Councilor Michael Martin for a two month leave of absence from January 15, 2015 to March 15, 2015. It was approved but I didn’t vote (having no knowledge of procedure).

I guess I must add hearing and viewing my fellow Councillors from a poorly designed Council table to my list of concerns. It’s very difficult to debate or have an effective discussion when you can’t see the person you’re speaking to or about. When you come to Council, you will see and understand what I mean.

But I digress from two more important issues of concern:

Sobeys Foodland Development

On December 15th, 2014, Sobeys representative, Christine Yee, spoke via a deputation asking Council to closely monitor and help support tendering the exterior road works for the Sobeys and Macs developments by the end of February, 2015. Ms. Yee and her development team are very concerned about the time and costs of starting construction in the spring, 2015.

On December 8th, the Director of Planning Building and By-law Services, Michael Benner, provided an update on the 4th submission of the Sobeys and Macs technical submission regarding the external works. Mr. Brenner advised Council that through a review completed by C.C. Tatham, the Town’s peer reviewer, and engineering staff, there were 196 comments or technical inconsistencies, as they would say, blocking approval of documents that would go to tender – in other words, we are far from the perfect submission that would ensure the utmost quality and full life cycle and would also ensure limited cost overruns.

So – do you feel comfortable that the Town can get the tender out in time to ensure that the Sobeys project can move forward in a timely and cost effective manner? Based on the deputation at the December 15th meeting, Sobeys is very nervous and I am too.

Blue Mountain Fire Department Fire Master Plan (FMP)

Concerns arise from staffing Fire Station #2 (Craigleith) with suitable volunteer firefighters. Demographic challenges (i.e. lack of full-time residents and a densely populated resort area) are making it difficult to recruit and maintain the appropriate number of volunteers that would meet the expected response criteria prescribed in the 2009 FMP. Of course, there are other challenges and barriers impacting future fire services.

The firm of T.L. Powell and Associates was hired to review the Blue Mountain Fire Master Plan and Fire Alarm Responses, and recommend potential options for meeting the criteria prescribed for the entire community.  It is important to note that the Fire Protection and Prevention Act (FPPA) gives the Municipality the right to provide fire protection services (or specific levels of emergency response service) deemed (by Council) to be appropriate.

Council has directed the new Fire Chief, Rob Collins, to further review the consultant’s recommendations and provide an updated Simplified Risk Assessment, detailed analysis of historical call data and an investigation of possible alternative service delivery options that are appropriate, sustainable and affordable. This report is to be brought to Council in February, 2015.

Be sure to read the Consultant Report of December 15th (LINK) and let Council know if you have any comments prior to the Fire Protection Service delivery options being presented in February, 2015.

Announcements:

1)         Council heard a presentation from Hannah Woodhouse, a local Grade 12 student from Heathcote, who won her national championship in Cross Country running in Vancouver. Hannah also won a ‘golden ticket’ to join the 6 member Team Canada at international races in Columbia and China (LINK). Congratulations Hannah!!!!

2)         Our area continues to grow as a cycling destination. A press release announced that the Grey County Road Race will be the only North American stop in the UCI World Cycling Tour and is scheduled to be held on May 22-24, 2015 at the Blue Mountain Village. See Link for more details.

3)         The Town Hall will be closed over the Christmas holidays (LINK). Be patient if you have any queries or matters of concern during the holiday period. All essential services will continue to operate during this time including waste collection, road maintenance, water, wastewater, fire and by-law enforcement services. Please note that garbage and recycling collection on Christmas and New Year’s Day will move to the Saturday following each holiday.

Upcoming Events:

1)         As Council representative on the Thornbury BIA, 2015-2018, my first meeting will be on January 7th, 2015 at 8.00 a.m.

2)         Council Committee of the Whole is scheduled for Monday January 12th, 2015 at 1.00 p.m. I expect it to be ‘jam-packed’ with interesting and lingering issues.

3)         The first 2015 Budget Workshops are now scheduled for January 28th and February 4th, 2015 starting at 9.00 a.m.

 

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