| Oct 24, 2013

Council lukewarm to Isaacs' proposal

Denbigh resident Paul Isaacs has been looking into some of the items in the Addington Highlands budget. One of the things that he has discovered is that the costs associated with the environmental monitoring of waste sites within the township have risen dramatically over the last eight years.

In 2005 the township spent $5,414 on monitoring, but over the last three years the average cost has been almost $75,000 per year.

According to Isaacs, the reason for the large increase is the increasingly onerous demands made by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) on local municipalities. He suggested that the township send a letter of complaint to the province, and provided a sample letter for council's consideration.

The letter says that upper “levels of government are prone to making policy and then transferring the implementation of that policy, and the accompanying costs, to more junior levels of government ... Such is the case with the costs associated with monitoring the surface and ground water of municipal waste sites. Your ministry officials, along with the inevitable and costly consultants, impose sampling requirements that bear no relation to the actual risk that the sites present. The resultant costs are grossly inflated and not justifiable relative to the risk.”

The letter concludes by saying that the township may consider “capping, at some fraction of the current amount, the expenses allotted to waste site water monitoring in the 2014 budgeting process.”

Reeve Henry Hogg said that the township is not in a position to make any kind of a threat to the province.

“It's really about pollution,” said Hogg. “I look at it the way I look at insurance. No one wants to pay insurance premiums. But do you know what it would cost if one of our sites pollutes Mazinaw Lake or the Mississippi River? That would cost millions. I appreciate what you are saying, Paul, but that's just what I think.”

“Sure, the province makes the rules and we have to pay the price, but that is the way it is. I don't think we really want to make them angry. They give us a hard enough time when we try to get along with them,” said Deputy Mayor Bill Cox.

In the end Council received Paul Isaac's letter for information.

Flinton Hall retrofit: The township received a provincial grant to retrofit the heating and cooling system at the Flinton Recreation Centre. The township originally talked to the consruction firm Black and McDonald about designing the new system, but since Council could not guarantee that the entire contract would be headed their way, the company lost interest.

A search for a contractor to do the work proved difficult, but a contractor was found. Last week, that contractor pulled out. Facing the end of the year and the need to spend the grant money in time, Chris Pulfer, an engineer working for the township on the project, asked that he be permitted to pay Black and McDonald $2,000 to complete specifications for the project and quote on the entire job, on the understanding that “if the quote is acceptable, the township will contract with them to have the work completed.”

Council accepted Pulfer's plan, and allocated $2,000 to get the ball rolling with Black and McDonald.

Royce to get a truck

Royce Rosenblath, the township's road superintendent, has been using his own truck and charging the township mileage for 20 years. He has done an analysis of his costs, and concluded that it costs him 61 cents per kilometre to cover operating and replacement costs for his truck, but his current rate of compensation from the township is 45 cents per kilometre.

In a report to Council, Rosenblath said that “on 36,000 kilometres per year that would equal a $5,760 loss. I cannot continue to operate in this manner." He gave three options: that the township up the mileage paid, lease a truck, or buy a truck for him to use. Council decided to purchase a 4x4 full sized truck for Rosenblath's use at work, at a cost of between $45,000 and $60,000.

No to boat house

The township said no to a proposal by Fritz and Ursula Nussberger to build a boat house at their waterfront property, because the township owns the shoreline and the boat-house would be located on township property. 

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