CKL City Hall - January 22, 2019
By Kirk Winter
As part of an effort to make council more transparent, the new Council hosted their first Committee of the Whole meeting for 2019.
In his preamble, Mayor Letham gave a thumbnail sketch of how he hoped these meetings would work. Letham welcomed the multiple deputations, and hoped they would encourage open and respectful discussion. He stated that the meeting was strictly educational, and that the Committee of the Whole was for recommendations only. Final decisions would likely be made at the regular Council meeting on February 5, once Council and Staff had a chance to investigate the issues more thoroughly.
Sewer charges in Omemee
Frank Arnold owns a real estate holding company and rents property in the CKL. His property in Omemee consists of four one-bedroom apartments. He is currently being billed four flat-rate sewer charges of $591.56 a year.
Arnold believed that the charges were not fair, and that they were not being consistently being applied across the City. Arnold wants to see the City repeal the automatic four times charge, and bill instead only one flat-rate charge. Arnold argued that his four apartments likely do not produce the equivalent sewage of perhaps a family living in a typical bungalow, and they only pay the $591.56 fee once.
Arnold is only paying the one fee for right now, and asks that the City waive interest and penalty charges while his request is being investigated.
The City will respond to Mr. Arnold’s deputation on February 5.
Frankhill Road boat launch
A deputation was made regarding access and ownership of a boat launch beside 782 Frankhill Road, fronting Chemong Lake.
The presenter stated that for more than 50 years the boat launch has been accessed by the community, and open to all. It has become a public gathering place to swim, fish, and launch boats.
That changed when the property at 782 Frankhill Road was sold and a new owner arrived. Pictures were shared with Councillors showing that the inhabitants at 782 Frankhill Road were attempting to claim that the launch was theirs, and theirs only, lining the area with signs declaring the launch is private property. Other signs stated that the area was under video surveillance.
The presenter stated that the boat launch is clearly City property, and always has been; therefore the City needs to step in and deal with this as a by-law issue.
Apparently barriers had also been installed at the site to limit public access, but those have been removed.
Councillor Dunn was familiar with the situation, and with the support of Councillors Veale and Richardson, suggested that staff investigate and issue a report by the end of March so the situation can be rectified before another boating season is upon us.
The report will be forthcoming.
Winter Service for McGuire Beach Road
The President of the McGuire Beach Association would like the City to continue to provide winter service for their road.
The Association had a Limited Service Agreement with the City until 2017 that provided some level of service both summer and winter for a fee, as part of McGuire Beach Road is unassumed.
In 2017, the City cancelled all of these agreements to focus on roads that are wholly in their purview. Homeowners along unassumed roads were encouraged to go to private contractors and negotiate service with them.
It was shared that McGuire Beach attempted that, but was staggered when the quotes came back from the private plow companies contacted.
The presenter stated that residents at McGuire Beach are not prepared to pay what the private firms want. Residents believe they pay more than enough tax for the City to plow their access road.
A far-reaching discussion followed about assumed and unassumed roads, which basically concluded that the City might look at taking McGuire Beach Road back if the cottage association made significant repairs to the road to make it more accessible to City plows.
Councillor Yeo wondered why the City did not provide service for fees anymore, like snow clearance. City staff said they had no desire to compete with private contractors.
Yeo insisted that the City revisit the issue, and Councillors agreed that staff would produce a report by the end of the second quarter of 2019 revisiting service for fees. Yeo also asked the City to look at taking on projects like McGuire Beach if it could be reasonably handled by Public Works.
Waive Fees for Encroachment Agreement
A presenter from Sturgeon Lake shared a deputation regarding the fee he is currently paying the City because his pergola encroaches on City property by three feet.
The City charges the individual $200 a year for the privilege of having his pergola on City property.
The presenter was hoping to get the City to waive the fee entirely, considering the size of the structure and the amount of taxes he already pays on his property.
Deputy Mayor Elmslie asked the owner if he was aware of the pergola issue when he purchased the property, and the owner shared that he was aware of the encroachment and the cost when he bought the home.
Elmslie then asked City staff to explain what City policy had been previous to the new encroachment by-laws that were passed in 2018. Staff explained that the City had entered into a five-year arrangement with the previous owner, setting the fee at $200 a year for the pergola encroachment.
Councillor Yeo suggested that the fee for a lattice work pergola seemed out of line. He stated that the fees being charged for structure encroachment were difficult to accept, and need to be more closely tied to the size of the object guilty of the encroachment.
Staff said they could accept that the pergola did not qualify as a “structure”, and the fee could therefore be reduced to $125.
A motion was passed, and the fee was cut almost in half.
Affordable housing sites recommended
A presentation was made by the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation about possible build sites in CKL for affordable city-owned housing. Council decided to move forward with an expansion of the current Lindsay Street site, and add more affordable housing units on City land surplus to use on Hamilton Street in Lindsay. City properties on Hogan and Colborne Street will be kept in reserve for future builds.
Councillor Ashmore wondered if cleanup costs had been figured into the expansion of the Lindsay Street site as he expected significant coal by-products to be found there from its days as a railroad station. Ashmore was told that costs had been factored in for a cleanup at the north side of the Lindsay Street property.
Councillor O’Reilly favoured the Corporation plan and had personally spent time speaking to residents around the potential Hamilton Street build to lower neighborhood anxiety about more City-owned housing coming to their ward.
A discussion was had about the feasibility of setting aside a percentage of development charges in the City to fund more social housing and while some liked the idea, Councillor O’Reilly pointed out a complication. Haliburton County, who partners in the Housing Corporation, has no development charges, probably scuttling using development charges as a way to fund the expansion of much needed geared-to-income housing in both counties.
Deputy Mayor Elmslie also wanted to make sure that if the Corporation sells 26 of its older stock to help fund the new building that total stock across the City would not actually go down. The Corporation assured Elmslie that there would be a net gain in overall housing numbers upon the completion of these recommended projects.
Fenelon Falls Chest Fund Grant
The City approved a grant from the Fenelon Falls Chest Fund in the amount of $2,500 to Snowshoe Ontario.
Paving of Zion Road
A brief discussion was had regarding Zion Road. Council made the decision to send the issue to staff to be included in the Roads meeting in March. Staff will be asked to come back with a report detailing the cost/benefit analysis of engaging in repairs on that roadway.