The work should be wrapping up soon at the waste water site. Pressure testing of the new system is expected to be completed later this week. After that successful test, the next step includes a 14 day testing period of continuous operations. If there are any major operational reasons to stop this cycle, a new 14 day testing period begins once the issue that prompted the interruption is corrected. A successful continuous 14-day period is required before “substantial performance” can be declared by the Engineering consultant.
2018 BUDGET – Village and United Counties of Leeds & Grenville
Council has held two meetings to develop the 2018 budget. As you will recall, 2017 had some unplanned incidents – i.e. the force main water break on Rideau St and the water pipe breaks on Concession St and Spring St. These and other unexpected 2017 costs must be rationalized in the 2018 budget. Our tax base is very small and that reality hits home when you consider that a 1% increase in the tax rate only increases revenue by $8000. On Feb 8, at the last budget meeting, Council asked the Treasurer to review the draft budget with a view of reducing both the general and capital budgets. This revised draft budget is on the Agenda for the Committee of the Whole meeting on February 20. The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG) and the Board of Education have yet to inform the Village what their budgets are for 2018.
UCLG will approve its budget by mid-March and there are two projects included for Westport. The first is a major refurb of the Main St Bridge (Fish Hatchery Bridge) in 2018. The project will include a paved shoulder on the bridge, providing a safe route for pedestrians, particularly in winter. I understand that the plan is to keep a portion of the bridge open during construction. The Counties’ 2018 capital budget also includes a study of County Rd #10 from the Main St Bridge to Grady St (the top of the hill). UCLG has made the commitment to consult with the Village and Rideau Lakes Township, as part of the study, on other concerns regarding this road including considerations for alternate routes for heavy trucks. I will keep you informed on both projects.
Breakfast with the Mayor
The next Breakfast with the Mayor will occur on Wednesday, February 28 at 08:00 a.m. at the Cove Country Inn. We will have time to discuss several topics, including business preparations for Le Boat (expect the first Le Boat to arrive in the Harbour by the end of May), parking issues in the downtown and the new Heritage Walking Tour. The Cove offers a buffet breakfast at 08:00 ($10 pp). Meeting discussion begins around 08:30. Pls consider joining us and offering your thoughts.
Please call if you have any questions. 9195
The contractor continues to finish construction on the new waste water system. However, the lagoons are close to capacity and until the plant is fully operational, it will be necessary to haul effluent again this year to Smiths Falls. The Village has tendered the haulage and you will begin to see trucks later next week.
The haulage will ensure that lagoon levels stay ahead of the daily flows, which is different than past years where the intention of haulage was to empty the lagoons. I know we all hope that the system is fully operational in the next few weeks.
So, when you see the tankers on County Rd 10 or 42 next week, it is important for you to know that our contract states that the cost of haulage is the contractor’s, not ours.
Please call if you have any questions. 9195
I got home from holidays on Monday night and had a wonderful time. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and emails.
Now … here in the Village there is lots going on. Let’s start with the progress on the build of the new waste water system. You have likely seen lots of Tackaberry trucks on County Rd 42 over the past 6 or 7 days. They are moving 77,000 tons of sand from their quarry in Seelys Bay to the waste water site. Although the contractor got off to a slow start, Paul Snider and I met with him on Tuesday and he is confident that the project will be finished on the contracted completion date of November 21, 2017.
Lots of work done by FOTA at the Arena this summer. You won’t recognize it when you go inside. The east wall has been insulated and painted, the seats have been painted and raised so that every seat has a good view of the ice, new zamboni door installed and press box is being built next week. The Rideaus Alumni held a fund raiser on Saturday night and through the generosity of so many people, with special mention to Jimmy Howard, raised enough money to buy a new scoreboard that will sit above centre ice. Come out and support the Rideaus this year .. first home game is next Friday.
Lockwood Park – second phase – is well under way. Josh Doornekamp and his crew are moving the cenotaph from the fire hall parking lot to inside the Memorial Gates at the George St entrance and building the children’s playground with the help of volunteers. And speaking of the Memorial Gates, the left pillar was straightened today – seriously!! The cement pad for the cenotaph is in place so we get an idea of how the cenotaph will look once it is moved. Definitely a place of honour for those who gave their lives for the freedom of our country. The hole has been dug for the natural playground and I hope that the structure will be built in the next couple of weeks.
I feel it is important to remind you that no tax dollars are being spent on the improvements at the arena or park. The volunteers who make up the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Arena spend hours fund raising and rolling up their sleeves to get the work done. It takes vision, commitment and love of our community to accomplish what has been achieved at the arena and park. Thank you to ALL of the volunteers who work on behalf of the Village and to those of you who give so generously when asked to buy a ticket, bid on a silent auction, attend a fundraiser and so many other events. Working together, members of Council and the public, we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to. I am so proud to be your Mayor.
The annual conference for Mayors is taking place in Ottawa. Lots of interesting speakers and timely information. Had the opportunity to meet with Minister Chiarelli to update him on our progress with building the new waste water system and to remind him of our financial challenges. He continues to be receptive.
Last Friday, CAO Snider, Treasurer Koiner and I had a teleconference with a staff member from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), to discuss the short comings of our OCIF3 application. It was during this discussion, that we learned that the launch for the next round of grants – OCIF4 – will be before the end of spring 2017. This is significant as previous OCIF launches have been in the fall. One of the conditions of the OCIF grant programme is that eligible expenses date back to the day of the launch. What does this mean for Westport? If we are successful getting OCIF4, all eligible expenses after the launch date (June 21) will the covered.
Accordingly, the work schedule has been adjusted by one month, so that work begins mid-June rather than mid-May. We are, once again, applying to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for approval to spray irrigate in order to avoid hauling.
The advocacy with the government, on behalf of the Village, continues. I have a meeting with Minister Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure in Toronto on Thursday and continue to be in contact with the Premier’s office, pushing for a meeting with her.
Thank you to everyone who sent letters and emails to members of the Ontario government. I can assure you that they have not fallen on deaf ears.