Boats to Budgets

Buck Lake Boat Ramp

The redevelopment of the Buck Lake boat ramp was discussed at the September public services meeting. 

The Public Services department would like to start making detailed plans for the project but wanted clarity on whether the Committee thought the ramp should be at its current location off of Perth Road at the bridge or whether the Township should again try to purchase the old Schofield camp for a new public access point.  The committee gave direction that the ramp should be replaced at the current location and to not proceed with the Schofield property.

2021 Budget

We are entering the 2021 budget preparation season. The budget will be about thirty million dollars. Usually Council would pass the 2021 budget before 2020 ends, but delays caused by COVID have pushed the projected passage date into early January 2021.

For the past few years Council has had a policy of increasing the budget approximately 2% a year.  These increases have maintained very sound Township finances and allowed for the expansion of programs as our population has increased.

Council seems inclined to provide this direction to staff again: develop a draft budget with a 2% increase.  The first staff proposal for capital works will be coming to Council in November. Now is the time to start making comments on what should be included or removed from next year’s budget or general comments on how the Township raises and spends money.

After the full draft budget is presented to Council on December 1 there will be a special meeting for public deputations on next year’s budget: tentatively scheduled for December 8, 2020.

Community Safety Zones

A proposal will be coming to Council to create “Community Safety Zones” on roads adjacent to St. Patrick, Harrowsmith, Prince Charles and Loughborough public Schools and Sydenham High school.  Fines will be doubled for violations in these zones. 

While this is a good idea, it will not likely have a great impact on speeding.  In Ottawa, when they put speed cameras in school zones, many of which are community safety zones, in the first two weeks of operation the cameras produced 7645 tickets for speeding with the highest speed being 89K in a 40K zone. It will be interesting to see if the presence of the cameras significantly reduces that number in a few months.

If we want to control speed, an increasing Township-wide problem, we will need more than signs and fines.  Without some sort of structural change, like speed cameras, speed bumps, or other traffic calming measures, many will still speed. 

Open Air Burning Permits

At the August Council meeting the Fire Chief proposed establishing a permit system for open air burning. Click here to see the Chief’s presentation.

The problems he identified that would be reduced with open air fire permits were confusion among residents and visitors about fire ban restrictions, the open-air burning bylaw, and the hazards of open air burning.  Last year there was also an increased number of complaints about fires and an increased number of uncontrolled burns with a significant cost and danger to the Township and firefights, and very high potential costs to individual residents.

The proposal is to create and automated system to issue permits for all open air burning in the Township.  There will be an annual small cost for a permit and automated phone system to register before residents burn.

The system will allow for fast dissemination of restrictions on burning, an ability to apply different restrictions in different areas and an easy way of communicating what residents’ responsibilities are while they’re burning. 

New Garbage and Recycling Contract

After much drama and last-minute negotiations Percy Snider has a three-year contract to collect garbage and recycling for most of the Township.  In-house Township staff will collect on the other routes. The cost is $62.50 per household for garbage and $62.50 for recycling. 

About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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