Monday started with an early train to Toronto to meet with Vic Fedeli, the Interim Leader of the Provincial Progressive Conservative Party. Accompanied by several Wardens from the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, we apprised Mr Fedeli of several issues impacting Eastern Ontario and found him to be engaged and genuinely concerned.
Breakfast with the Mayor on Wednesday morning at the Cove was well attended by business owners. Councillors Brady, Huth and Schwinghamer and I listened to several points of view concerning parking in general and specifically strong objections to charging for parking in the Village. These opportunities for Council to consult with stakeholders are important and provide key information before decisions are made.
Village of Westport Historical Walking Tour Task Force also met on Wednesday morning after the breakfast. A great team of Christine Janeway, Cynthia Pringle, Kim Bonner, Rob Roberts, Councillors Brady and Schwinghamer have developed a new Historical Walking Tour booklet and app. Both will be available by May 24, 2018.
On Thursday, I went to Queen’s Park and made a delegation to the Standing Committee on Bill 175 Safer Ontario Act (bill to replace the Police Services Act). A Standing Committee is the opportunity for all three provincial parties to consult with stakeholders and the public between the 2nd and 3rd reading of a bill in the legislature. There are several concerns in the draft legislation that will have an impact on Westport and all of rural Eastern Ontario if passed in its current form. I am optimistic that our perspective was compelling.
The final work at the sewage plant is wrapping up, although the contractor will be back after the spring thaw to clean up the site. Once the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change gives its final approvals and the works is commissioned, I will let you know. That will be the time to celebrate!
Have a great week … call anytime … 9195
I am pleased to announce that within the next couple of months, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG) Social Services and Housing Departments are initiating a Community Engagement Strategy at three housing locations. Mountainview Manor on Bedford St in Westport is one of them. This collaborative new project aims for early conflict resolution and improving coordination and access to services.
A new position is being created, a Housing Case Manager. This person will be dedicated to these three buildings, bringing an in-depth knowledge of social housing and issues arising within the buildings. The Housing Case Manager will use his/her experience, leadership and excellent communication skills working with tenants and community partners to improve/develop:
- Enhance tenant relations and communication
- Promote collective responsibility in ensuring a safe environment
- Increase participation by tenants in resolving building issues
- Raise confidence of tenants so that they will come forward with their issues
- Educate about the process in dealing with behaviours; get to know who to call in the community, and what they can do when there is an issue
- More efficient service delivery and communication between agencies.
- Improve public perception of “social housing” buildings.
Community partners committed to working with tenants, Social Services and the Housing Department are:
- Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
- Country Roads Community Health Centre
- Leeds OPP
- Victim Services
- Upper Canada Family Health Team
The goal of this strategy is to create a welcoming and positive environment for tenants where they can meet one another to plan, build and grow together. The participation of community partners will provide opportunities to access other supports and services. To be successful, the Community Engagement Strategy could use our support. Perhaps community members and groups can consider how to support the tenants and community partners and help make this strategy a success. I will keep you posted on its progress.
Call anytime – 9195.
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
I sat down with Bob Perrault of Lake 88.1 yesterday and chatted about a variety of subjects. If you have a few moments, this will provide updates on several Village issues and some other topics. Have a great week-end!
http://lake88.ca/2018/02/02/in-focus-fri-february-2-2018/ (You may have to cut and paste the link.)
After the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville (UCLG) public works did some testing this past summer/fall on the Main St Bridge, I met with a group of community members who raised their concerns about the bridge. I followed that up with a discussion with the UCLG Director of Public Works and shared with him their concerns and in particular that the Village and the public want some input, through consultation, should the rehabilitation proceed.
Clearly, one of the concerns is the public safety issue for pedestrians in the absence of a sidewalk. I was surprised to read in this week’s paper that the UCLG Manager of Public Works indicated that a decision has already been reached about the rehab and that it does not include a sidewalk.
The first of the budget meetings to debate and approve the 2018 UCLG capital budget is scheduled for February 8. It is during this meeting, and any subsequent budget meetings, that UCLG Council considers staff submissions and either approves them or asks for additional information. Be assured that no decision on the Westport Main St bridge has been made by UCLG Council.
I have asked Mr Paul Snider, CAO/Clerk for the Village of Westport, to add this item to the agenda for the February 5 Westport Council meeting. This will allow the issue of the sidewalk on the Main St bridge to be discussed by Westport Council and that I am in the position to present to UCLG Council on February 8 any resolution passed by Westport Council. Westport’s Council meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. on February 5.
I have heard from many frustrated community members since the paper was published this week and hope this update provides information in regard to the proposed rehab of the Main St bridge. Please call if you have concerns. 9195