The first two regularly scheduled meetings of the newly elected Council were packed with routine business as local lawmakers hit the ground running in the new term. The first meeting of the new Council – which includes two brand new faces – took place on November 29. Mayor Tony Fraser opened the evening by announcing that it was an exciting night for him, owing to “new Council members, new energy, and new enthusiasm”.
Procedures followed during municipal council meetings are governed tightly by The Municipal Act, 2001. New Council members Matthew Uhrig and John Lennox appeared to have no issues adjusting to the formality of Council business, and everything flowed smoothly.
The first delegation for the new term of Council came from SDSG Member of Parliament Eric Duncan, a popular former Mayor of North Dundas who pointed out the humour and the irony of the situation during his introduction.
The business covered during the first meeting was routine. This business included budget amendments related to municipal drain maintenance, sidewalk replacements and sign reflectivity inspections. A closed session discussion also took place, with one of the items discussed being “proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board – specifically related to the Water Main Loop”. Members of the media and the public are not privy to closed session discussions for specific reasons. In this case, the reason was that the discussion contained personal information about an identifiable individual.
The agenda for the second regular meeting of Council on December 6 was a far busier one, with many items to discuss, including routine amendments to by-laws and a November 2022 Community Grant proposal. The impending expiry of the water and sewer allocations that were issued in early 2021 was also discussed, particularly whether an extension should be granted for expired allocations, or if these allocations should be revoked pending re-application. Given that the Township ran out of water and sewer allocations in October 2021, municipal staff recommended that Council announce that new allocations may be available in early 2023, allowing applications for new water and sewer allocations to begin coming in this month for the first time in over a year. This proposal was accepted. Council is sure to be under significant pressure this term to address ongoing water and sewer quality and quantity concerns.
Other business during the December 6 meeting included a 2023 budget update, and a presentation on how the controversial Bill 23 (More Homes Built Faster Act) will affect the Township. Continued consultation services for 2022 and 2023 for the Boyne Road Landfill and Mountain Landfill were approved. Councillor Gary Annable was nominated as the Counties Council alternate should Mayor Fraser and Deputy Mayor Bergeron be unavailable to attend a meeting.
One issue during the October municipal election was how to better include North Dundas residents in Council business. One easy way to stay informed – thanks to modern technology – is to watch meetings in their entirety from the comfort of home. The dedicated Township of North Dundas YouTube channel can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/@townshipofnorthdundas3550/streams.