Council update – corrected


RE: “Council update” Nov 2, 2023
The Times wishes to correct an error printed in the last edition’s “Council update”. The article incorrectly identified ZanderPlan as the owner of two Chesterville properties that have recently been the subject of zoning by-law amendment requests. This was incorrect. The properties are in fact owned by a numbered company, and ZanderPlan is the planning company hired to file the zoning amendment requests. The Times apologizes for this error.

The most recent meeting of North Dundas Council on October 17 began with a public meeting to consider a zoning amendment for a property in Chesterville. The application for the amendment was made by ZanderPlan to change the property from “general commercial” to “general commercial, exception 14”. This exception would be used to allow no more than 40% of the rear ground floor to be used as residential space. 

No comments were received from members of the public prior to the meeting, and no one came forward to speak when the invitation was extended during the public meeting portion of the Council session on October 17. However, Councillor John Lennox asked the representatives from ZanderPlan, who were in the audience, to come forward so he could ask a question. 

Councillor Lennox alluded to the fact that several Chesterville properties owned by ZanderPlan have been operating contrary to their current zoning, with residential tenants occupying the ground floor of the buildings despite them being zoned as commercial. He referred to the tenants who will be forced into eviction now that ZanderPlan will be following proper zoning rules, and urged the organization to help these tenants find housing during this transition. Councillor Lennox told the Times that ZanderPlan has been fined in the past for violating zoning rules. 

The ZanderPlan representatives noted that it is difficult to find commercial tenants for Chesterville properties, especially without knowing what type of business may open within them. The example of the former Harmony Drop In property was given as an example – it is currently not renovated for a business to move in because ZanderPlan is hesitant to renovate it for one type of business (such as a butcher shop) only to have an owner of a different type of business (such as a clothing store) become interested. 

Following the adjournment of the public meeting, Council heard a presentation from the South Nation Conservation Authority regarding upcoming watershed programs and services, and learned of new requirements for certain programs to be approved by the Township before they can proceed. This was approved later in the meeting. 

Housekeeping items came next. Such items of routine business included those related to the Township’s overtime and time-in-lieu policies, as well as the creation of a new Assistant Administrator/Human Resources Manager position. 

Next, Council was tasked with making a decision regarding a property situation similar to the one discussed in the earlier public meeting. The property under consideration was the subject of its own public meeting earlier this year, with some revisions made on the proposal, and an agreement that it could go before Council for a final decision without the need for another meeting. However, there was one sticking point for Councillor Lennox – the proposal was for 52% commercial space and 48% residential space. In the previous public meeting, Council had discussed the necessity for more commercial space above and beyond the proposed 50%, and Councillor Lennox stated in the current meeting that he feels that the 52% proposal is simply the bare minimum to satisfy the request but is still too low. However, Councillor Lennox lost the vote to his colleagues in the matter – the zoning amendment was passed 3-1 (the Mayor does not vote except to break a tie). 

Councillor Lennox told the Times, “Developers are placing the Township in a tough position of having to balance the tenant’s needs, long term planning, and trying to compromise with the business owners. I fear that the tenants will be impacted negatively.”

A return to routine business followed. An interim Deputy Chief Building Official was appointed – Jason Forget, upon the departure of Jacob Forget – and in a mysterious moment, Mayor Tony Fraser asked CAO Angela Rutley an aside question about how he could request a change to the hiring process, leaving his fellow Council members with looks of interest. The business quickly returned to agenda items, including the awarding of $400 community grants to Naomi’s Family Resource Centre and the Winchester Lions Club. A proposal for an outdoor skating rink in Harmony Park was met with much enthusiasm from Council. 

Mayor Fraser announced that his term as SD&G Warden is coming to an end, and that North Glengarry Mayor Jamie MacDonald will be taking over for the coming year. Council gave its approval to support a motion put forward by other area municipalities to urge Premier Doug Ford’s provincial government to mandate stop arm cameras on all school buses as a means of enforcing traffic violations regarding the passing of stopped school buses. 

Finally, at the request of Mayor Fraser, a change was made to the hiring process for the CBO that puts “the Mayor and one other member of Council” on the hiring committee for the new CBO. Councillor Matthew Uhrig volunteered to be the “other member of Council”, and the motion was passed unanimously. It seems apparent that Council was worried about bias or unfairness in the CBO hiring process, though this was not discussed during the meeting which ended after just over an hour-and-a-half. 


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