ND Council meeting report

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The Council of the Township of North Dundas held its regular meeting on March 23. Jackie Pemberton, Director of Zone 11, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and Ryan DeVries, newly elected president of Dundas Federation of Agriculture (DFA), presented to Council remotely due to the pandemic.

The Council Chambers provide plenty of room for distancing for Mayor, council, staff, and press, but two out of three delegations on Tuesday evening were presented remotely.
Farmers ask for Committee of Council

Jackie Pemberton spoke about the role of the OFA as working for landowners, but also as working for rural municipalities. The population of rural and agricultural areas is older, and declining. Agriculture isn’t necessarily represented at municipal tables, as there are fewer people involved in agriculture now. Jackie encouraged the Council to engage with farmers early and often because they are affected by much of what the municipality controls.

Jackie said that many municipal councils have Agricultural Advisory Committees, and there is already a formal process for striking a committee should this Council wish to do this. She reminded Council that the request that Council establish an Agricultural Advisory Committee was made in March of 2016. Many decisions made by Council affect the farmers of North Dundas. She would like to see regular communication between the OFA, the DFA, and the Council.

There is an expected shortage of 47K agricultural workers by 2025. The Foreign Workers Program started in the 1960s was never intended to be permanent. Jackie introduced two new online resources: Feeding Your Future website, focusing on connecting people to jobs in the agri-food industry, and Always in Season project which presents a tool kit intended to help market local food. She reminded Council that OFA is there to help council, including in obtaining provincial funding for rural or agricultural infrastructure development.
New rules for SNCA

Bill Smirle, Past Chair and current Public Representative for Stormont Dundas Glengarry, South Nation Conservation Authority, presented his report in person. The Ontario government made some arbitrary changes to the Conservation Act, which stipulate that the majority of the local representatives on the Boards of the Conservation Authorities must be elected representatives. Up until now, the Council has been allowed to appoint representatives from their residents. This often meant that the person going to represent the area was well versed in conservation issues, which not all municipal councillors necessarily are. One or two representatives who are appointed by a Council are still allowed, but a letter must be written to the Minister, and specific permission obtained, to allow someone knowledgeable such as Bill Smirle, to continue serving as representative on the South Nation Conservation Authority’s Board.

The Natural Heritage Study currently being developed as a joint project with SD & G and Prescott Russell, by South Nation Conservation, is the first one in Ontario involving two municipalities. It is considered by the province to be an example to be followed going forward. The study is identifying and mapping core natural heritage areas and wildlife corridors. Chesterville Dam is the largest such structure on the South Nation River. This year a planned $80K project to replace and update the log lifters is being undertaken.
2.1% decrease in taxes

The 2021 Budget was passed. There will be a 2.1% decrease in taxes this year for the residents of North Dundas. This will be shown in the municipal portion of the tax bill. A homeowner with a $400K home will see a decrease of $34 on their municipal tax bill. Property values are currently skyrocketing. The next MPAC assessments will most likely reflect this dramatic increase, which will subsequently translate into higher assessed values, which will mean a higher tax bill.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I hope the community is watching and observing how Jackie, Bill and others are advocating for our entire region. We will have opportunity to grow naturally while resisting unsustainable development. There will being housing developments. And there will also be rural housing developments. People will naturally grow there. Allow families to ask for the space they *NEED* and leave space for others to meet their needs. Every field could be a farm. Imagine what that might be like… When fields near to town become farms, how might that would truly boost the local economy? Allow the rural communities to invest back into themselves. It is not for the government to limit our growth within our own homes.

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