Council report

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by Joselyn Morley

The Council of the Township of North Dundas held their regular meeting on November 23.

Four delegations presented to the Council.

Trish Edmond and Paul Smolkin, from Golder & Associates, updated Council on the Environmental Assessment of the Township’s Waste Management Plan. Council is frustrated that a municipality the size of North Dundas is treated the same way as a much larger municipality, without considering the unique needs of our Township.

Todd Lihou, from SDG, presented on the Historic Tour project undertaken by the United Counties Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry. Plaques identifying points of historical interest will be placed throughout SDG. The goal is to encourage tourism, and provide a comprehensive and linked experience, while formalising an inventory of historical sites and plaques, and a repository of historical information.

Cathy Ashby from the House of Lazarus presented on the state of housing in Dundas County. The Dundas County Housing Initiative is gathering information on the availability and affordability of housing in the county. Cathy painted a daunting picture for Council. Housing should cost no more than 30% of income before taxes in order to be considered affordable. The average household income in Dundas County is $78K. 30% of the average household income in Dundas allows for $1,955 per month for housing, with everything included. This includes mortgage, property tax, insurance, repairs, utilities, and maintenance. Only 11% of the homes sold in North Dundas fit this criteria in the last year. Grants such as “Ontario Renovates” only applied to three homes in Dundas County.
Ontario Works provides $825 a month. A basic one bedroom apartment costs at least $900 a month. ODSP provides maximum $1,200 a month, yet an apartment costs $1,100. Someone making minimum wage earns $1,960 per month. Homelessness is in our backyard. There are people in North Dundas living in camping trailers or cars, sheds, or sub-standard motels year round. The waiting list for social housing is five years. Individuals, couples, and families couch surf, living sporadically with various family or friends. A parent or guardian caring for a child is hesitant to speak out if they are in a precarious housing situation because of the risk to their children.

Finally, Mr Smirle updated Council on the state of the South Nation Conservation Authority. Only 2.4 cents of every dollar comes from North Dundas, and only 60% of the budget for the SNC is funded; the remaining 40% is obtained through staff finding and securing grants.

Departments at both levels of municipal government are planning for the 2022 Budgets. Whereas both federal and provincial levels of government can, and do, routinely run deficits, municipal governments are prohibited from doing so. A very large portion of taxes goes to maintaining roads at both the Township and Counties’ level. Waste management required $70k more than expected, due to recently implemented provincial requirements and studies, such as traffic studies on roads near landfills.

The next meetings include: a special meeting at 7 pm on December 9, where Council will discuss how to fill vacant council position following the resignation of Councillor Hoy; a Special Meeting on December 14 at 6 pm concerning the Development Charges Bylaw, and one at 6:30 pm concerning a garden suite zoning amendment; and a regular meeting on December 14 at 7 pm. Meetings are held in the Council Chambers. Registration is required to speak at the special meetings. It is your township, and your Council.

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