MNBP Council Recap— November and December Meetings

By John Francis

With the 2020 budget process, the Isthmus Bay Road improvements, Short-Term Accommodations, planning for climate change, managing geese at Lion’s Head beach and many more issues, it has been a very busy time at Northern Bruce Peninsula Council.

The Nov 25 Council Meeting included an appearance by Sgt Martin Murray, who is in overall charge of the OPP detachments at Chatsworth and Wiarton. His presentation is well covered in the Minutes of that meeting, on page 27 in this issue. 

Engineer Ross Slaughter of GSS Engineering attended to bring Council up to date on the proposed upgrade of Isthmus Bay Road. Planning of this project is proceeding but it requires detailed consultation with every landowner along the road. Council scheduled a Special Meeting for the morning of Dec 16 to explore the project in full detail. 

The Friends of Bruce District Parks made a (successful) request for support and funding for the renovation of Big Tub lighthouse (see story on page 2).

The Dec 9 Council Meeting began with Helen McFarlane making a presentation on behalf of the Sweet Shop in Tobermory. She talked about the challenges involved in expanding the production/wholesale business to a new site on Hwy 6. Her presentation will be summarized in the Minutes of the meeting in the next issue of this newspaper.

A joint delegation from Bruce Peninsula District School and Bruce Peninsula Environment Group asked Council to establish an Ad Hoc Climate Action Committee to find practical ways to fight climate change as a community. A summary of their presentation will appear in the next issue.

The Meeting’s Agenda began with a Motion from Councillor Smokey Golden to ask the province to dramatically increase penalties for stunt driving on Hwy 6. Council voted unanimously in support.

Councillor Megan Myles moved to establish a Climate Action Committee. After considerable discussion, Council voted unanimously in favour.

Treasurer Teresa Shearer and Bylaw Enforcement Officer Carol Hopkins presented a much anticipated report on revenue generated by Tobermory paid parking (see sidebar table). Councillor Golden wanted to see less money transferred to Parks & Rec with more money put into reserves or spent on capital improvements. “To be fair,” Mayor Milt McIver responded, “we had quite a discussion about this.” A lot of work went into deciding how to allocate the funds. Councillor Megan Myles also liked the idea of rolling parking revenue into assets. She was pleased that parking revenues from Big Tub Road more than cover the Municipality’s contribution to the Big Tub Lighthouse restoration.

CAO Jones presented a report on an Ontario Government program, “Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program — Green Stream Ontario Program” that seems worth pursuing. The grant criteria are a good fit for an expansion of Tobermory’s municipal water system. The objective would be getting a high capacity main across to Hwy 6 and then south to Nicholas Street. It would serve the Bradley Davis Seniors Centre, the Community Centre and the Firehall. Councillors noted that it would have excess capacity to allow extensions to other facilities such as the Parks Canada Visitor Centre and the municipal property on Brock Street. Councillors expressed enthusiastic support. An application will be prepared and submitted by the Jan 22/2020 deadline.

MNBP’s Dec 16 Meeting includes the long-awaited Short-Term Accommodation report by consultant firm Skelton Brumwell. The 63-page report summarizes the results of a survey and consultation process held last summer and explains the strategies and results achieved by other communities who are dealing with similar issues. To see the report, go to the municipal website, then go to Municipal Services in the bottom right hand corner and select “View All” which gets you to a page with a link to “Mayor and Council”. That gets you to “Agendas and Minutes”. Select Dec 16 Meeting, then “Agenda Package” to get all the supporting materials.