On February 3, 2015, the Council of Westport held a Budget Town Hall meeting to hear your concerns. The following concerns were introduced by members of the public:
Litter barrel pickup during the summer season
Garbage bags instead of garbage tags
Speeding on Main St and Rideau St
Recycling, including costs and eligible items for recycling
Plans for the paving of Bedford Street
Now, 18 months later, I can report that Council has acted on your concerns.
We have hired a by-law enforcement officer
Routine litter barrel pickup has been increased during the summer months
We have gone to garbage tags for large garbage bags. There is still a large inventory of small garbage bags
A new 4-way stop was put in place at the corner of Bedford and Main St
The recycling program for the Village of Westport is driven by the Township of Rideau Lakes, as we use its services. We will continue to encourage the Township to widen the eligible items for recycling
We have been unsuccessful in our grant applications to pave Bedford St. The cost is approx $1.5 million and we will continue to keep this issue on our radar and apply for grants as they become available
Please continue to keep Council informed on your concerns and suggestions. This is our Village, your Village.
It has been 6 months since the new Council began its term and I was sworn in as your Mayor. The new Committees of Council were established in February and by March meetings were taking place. Many residents of Westport are members of the committees and I expect amazing things to occur with their valued input and efforts. The Committee of the Whole is a new monthly meeting of Council, a little less formal than Council meetings and is generally the 4th Tuesday and yes, it is open to the public.
In regard to the waste water plant, I am happy to report that we did not need to transport any effluent this year. Although we had a winter of freezing nozzles and pipe breaks, we processed enough effluent that our lagoon levels were lower this spring than in 2014. We monitored the lagoon levels daily and had a contingency plan in place to transport effluent if the lagoon levels rose beyond predetermined levels during the winter. We are in the process of getting the summer application equipment set up and will be operating under a Ministry of the Environment Emergency Order again this year to lower the lagoons to where they need to be for next winter.
The Village is also moving forward in providing a climate-proof, dependable waste water system and one that will allow growth for the Village. The first step is a process called a Municipal Environment Assessment (MEA). This is a prescriptive process, which is led by an Engineering firm with the assistance of a technical steering committee, which includes several Village residents. The Project Coordinator reports to Council on the progress of the MEA at each Council meeting this year. Please consider joining us at Council meetings to hear what is being proposed.
Council worked with a consultant this winter and spring to develop a Village Strategic Plan, a first for Westport. Many members of the business community and public were interviewed by the consultant for their input. A strategic plan helps Council prioritize its goals in line with the budget. The final plan will be shared with Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Winter turned into spring slowly this year so our “Pulling Together in Westport” spring clean up was held on Saturday, May 9th. Over 40 community members volunteered their time, effort and rakes to get the Village ready for the May long week-end and summer. Thank you to everyone who helped out. Watch for this to repeat in 2016.
Recently, village residents Bob Scott and Mark Herlehy approached me with a proposal to help the arena. They had done a review of repairs and improvements that need to be done. The “wish list” was well thought out, however as the Village has many other pressures, there is only a small amount of money set aside in the budget for repairs to the community centre. And this is when Bob and Mark offered their suggestion, which I accepted!
Those now using the facility or who have fond memories of time spent on the ice or in the stands might consider becoming a “Friend of the Arena” by making a donation. Donations made to the Village of Westport for arena improvements qualify as gifts for income tax purposes and the Village would issue receipts. All donations will only be used for this purpose. For further information contact Mark Herlehy at email@example.com. or Frank Huth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you enjoy a long, hot summer and that you spend time with loved ones. As always, if you have any questions, please contact a Councillor or myself.
On March 10, 2015, I will have been your Mayor (Westport) for one hundred days during which the councillors and I have spent many hours at council meetings and committee Meetings. We are committed to learning about the issues and being strategic while developing workable solutions. When MPP Steve Clark came to our January Council meeting, he noted that our Village “won the prize” on two counts – the most Council meetings since taking office and for having the most constituents in attendance. Mr Clark also noted that you also were the happiest group of people attending a council meeting!
When MPP Steve Clark came to our January Council meeting, he noted that our Village “won the prize” on two counts – the most Council meetings since taking office and for having the most constituents in attendance. Mr Clark also noted that you also were the happiest group of people attending a council meeting!
Some milestones have been reached and we continue to work towards others. The installation of new pumps at the Glen St station and repairs to the berm at the lagoon were completed by December 31. Both were important to assist with our production of effluent. We have supported our operator all winter to process as much snow as possible and he has made good progress, despite pipes breaking and the towers freezing up. Both of these situations require the plant to be shut down until repairs can be made. Council is in the process of finalizing mitigation plans for the lagoons this spring. If the analysis and forecast after the snowmaking season indicate that the lagoons are not low enough to handle the spring thaw and rain, arrangements have already been made with another municipality to move the required effluent to its processing plant.
The winter has been long and we have received as much snow as last year. I want to recognize the work done to keep the roads and sidewalks ploughed. I have been stopped by many people, who are pleased that they have been able to get out this winter and in particular, walk around the Village.
Dedicated to Progress
The best news we received occurred in late February when the Village was notified by the government of Ontario that it had been successful in an infrastructure grant application for $2million dollars, of which the government will cover 90%. This will get us started on the repair and remediation work at the waste water distribution plant.
New Committees of Council were formed in January, community members were invited to apply and in February several Westport residents and business owners met with their Councillors to begin the work of the committees. Parks and Recreation, Economic Development and Tourism and the Harbour Committee are new and add to the strong community involvement of Westport in Bloom, Museum, Library and Heritage Committees.
This month, Council will begin the budgeting process. There will be a meeting later in March dedicated to discussing and eventually approving the budget. I will keep you informed of that date.
Thank you very much for your support the past 100 days. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Councillor of your choice or me at my email email@example.com or at home at 613-273-9195.