municipal council – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Sun, 22 Apr 2018 15:09:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Trial by fire http://www.ngtimes.ca/trial-by-fire/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/trial-by-fire/#respond Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:53:46 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=11087 Monday, February 12, was quite a day for the North Grenville Fire Service. At 5:00 pm they hosted a grand unveiling of their brand new Rescue Pumper Truck that they had waited a year and a half for. After Municipal Council and local media were given a guided tour of the new vehicle by Fire […]

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Monday, February 12, was quite a day for the North Grenville Fire Service. At 5:00 pm they hosted a grand unveiling of their brand new Rescue Pumper Truck that they had waited a year and a half for. After Municipal Council and local media were given a guided tour of the new vehicle by Fire Chief John Okum and Deputy Chief Randy Urslak, the two were eager to get their new crown jewel loaded with the equipment it would need (from the old one) and get it into service.

They must have just completed their work when, at 7:53 pm, the Fire Service was called to the site of a residential fire at 853 Rock Road in Oxford Station. Initial dispatch reports were confirmed, heavy flames were visible coming from the residential structure which was set back approximately one hundred feet from the road.

Many volunteers were able to respond quickly, as they happened to be participating in training at the North Grenville Fire Service station in Kemptville. It seemed that the entire station emptied, as multiple fire vehicles responded quickly, loaded with a large contingent of volunteers. Upon arrival, crews observed “a fully involved residential structure fire”, and were quickly able to confirm that all occupants had safely escaped the blazing building. A rapid defense fire attack was initiated by the crews, and a request for mutual aid was made as the flames had already spread throughout the single family home.

A family of four lived at the residence, with one member not home at the time of the fire. The male homeowner was able to retrieve the family dog, but it was believed at press time that the family cat may have been unable to escape and may have died in the fire. The male homeowner was taken by Leeds Grenville Paramedics to Kemptville District Hospital for smoke inhalation, but was released shortly afterwards. A volunteer firefighter was also taken to hospital for precautionary measures, after receiving a minor injury resulting from a fall at the site.

The home was completely destroyed by the fire, with crews remaining on-site until 2:00 am. Victim Services were requested to attend and provided emergency shelter for the family. Smoke was still visible the next day at the site, and the home was quickly fenced off so that no one could enter the fire site. The home was confirmed as being insured. The names of the homeowner and other family members were not released as of press time.

According to Chief Okum, the fire service can confirm that the fire started in the attached garage which sheltered a vehicle and an all-terrain vehicle. The occupants of the home were alerted to the fire by a small explosion and the smell of smoke. At press time, the fire was under investigation.

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Chamber makes presentation to Council http://www.ngtimes.ca/chamber-makes-presentation-council/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/chamber-makes-presentation-council/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 19:29:54 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10911 The Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce made a presentation to the municipal council last Monday night in an effort to improve their relationship with the Municipality. Chamber President, Karl Feige, was the spokesperson at the meeting and began his presentation with a brief history of the Chamber of Commerce in the Municipality. In 1988 […]

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The Merrickville and District Chamber of Commerce made a presentation to the municipal council last Monday night in an effort to improve their relationship with the Municipality.

Chamber President, Karl Feige, was the spokesperson at the meeting and began his presentation with a brief history of the Chamber of Commerce in the Municipality. In 1988 the Village saw something of a revival, with many of the stores that are currently lining Saint Lawrence Street opening their doors. “The economy of the village really boomed at that time,” Karl told council. “At that time, the Chamber found its legs as well. We would do things like put up the posts that line St. Lawrence Street.” They also put in the parkette behind the Blockhouse, which was done without using public money. “The Chamber really has a history of not coming to the municipality for money, we really did these things on our own,” Karl said.

According to the Chamber, the Village has seen an economic downturn over the past 10 years. “We have a situation where some of the major businesses have closed, turnover is high, and businesses are reporting slow sales, slim margins, and drop off in traffic,” Karl said. To rectify this, the Chamber has tried to revamp itself, with a smaller executive and larger member-base. It put together a brochure and distributed 30,000 copies from Kingston to Montreal and from Ottawa to the Upper New York State area. “We’ve had reports of people coming on bicycle from Quebec with these maps in their hand,” Karl said.

As much as the Chamber has worked at revitalizing the Village, they feel that they have been let down when it comes to cooperation from the Municipality. Karl presented a laundry list of areas to council where he feels that their support is missing. This included not having a Chamber of Commerce member on the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, being left out of the Teeny Tiny Summit and a dinner held for a Chinese business delegation, and council’s decision not to go ahead with the Lion’s Club’s initiative to build a public washroom and information centre in Merrickville. The Chamber is also not happy with the slow progress of a review of the sign by-law, as well as the decision made by the Municipality not to let them put up flags along St. Lawrence Street because of liability issues.

After Karl’s presentation, Councillor Chuck MacInnis clarified a number of the points which he felt were not warranted. “We have done nothing to put the Chamber at a disadvantage,” he said. In fact, he brought up the point that a representative from council was asked not to sit on the Chamber board, which would have helped facilitate the communication between the two groups. He also pointed out that the report about the sign by-law would be coming out in April, and that the decision not to go ahead with the public washroom was a financial decision. He noted that the municipality has opened and signed several other washrooms in the Village to help mitigate the issue. Deputy Mayor Anne Barr spoke to the alleged banning of the Chamber from the Teeny Tint Summit and the Chinese delegation dinner, saying that both were organized by outside entities and it was not the responsibility of the Municipality to decide who was involved or invited to those events.

Mayor David Nash says that two notices of motion will be put forward at the next council meeting to address a couple of the Chamber’s Concerns. The first will be to allow the Chamber to put up flags along St. Lawrence Street, without Municipal involvement, and the second will be to appoint a member of the Chamber of Commerce to the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. “We will continue to try and work with you to improve our relationship,” David said.

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Losing touch with reality http://www.ngtimes.ca/losing-touch-reality/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/losing-touch-reality/#comments Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:59:27 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10099 Something very strange happened at the Municipal Council meeting on November 27. The meeting opened with a statement, read by Mayor David Gordon, in response to an article we had published on November 22, five days earlier. The article reported that a group of local business people had been in touch with the Province with […]

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Something very strange happened at the Municipal Council meeting on November 27. The meeting opened with a statement, read by Mayor David Gordon, in response to an article we had published on November 22, five days earlier. The article reported that a group of local business people had been in touch with the Province with an offer to invest millions of dollars in the Kemptville College property. Although the Mayor’s statement was a response to the article, it seemed that he (or those who actually wrote the statement) had not actually read it.

I have no doubt that David Gordon did not write the statement he put his name to, more likely it was the work of CAO Brian Carré, the person who has been negotiating with the Province for almost three years.

The statement denied the content of the article, claiming “that the author’s inference is out of context and unsubstantiated. I can confirm with you that no attempts were made by the North Grenville Times or the author of the statement to corroborate this presumption, either with the Municipality of North Grenville or the Province, prior to the statement being printed”. Now the article did not infer anything: rather it quoted extensively from a letter sent by the business group to the Province. Hardly unsubstantiated, though what “out of context” means in this regard is unclear.

We did not “attempt…to corroborate this presumption” with the Municipality for two reasons. First of all, it was not an assumption, it was a documented fact. Secondly, the Municipality was not relevant to the article, so why ask them to corroborate something they did not even know was happening? That was a rather arrogant assumption by David Gordon and Brian Carré: that anything to do with the College should be referred to them. They, and whoever else on Council inspired the statement, seemed to be offended that there could be any contact between the Province and anyone other than them.

The article said that the business group “have made representations to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Jeff Leal to purchase the entire site”. It did not say that they were actively negotiating with the Province. Though this seems to be the misapprehension under which Brian Carré and David Gordon are labouring. And this misunderstanding on their part appears to have hit their egos rather hard. Because, in addition to making the statement at Council that evening, a press release was issued by the Municipality at 7.35, while the Council meeting was taking place, again declaring that the article was wrong.

This release was sent to JuiceFM and the Advance, and was designed “to caution readers of the North Grenville Times”. The Advance immediately posted the release on the on-line platform, while JuiceFM had the good manners to also refer to my response to it. I believe the article in this issue, “Facts are Facts” explains the background to the story and what I want to focus on here is the role played by David Gordon and Brian Carré in this mess.

We are condemned for not referring the article to them before publication, even though it had nothing to do with their talks with the Province, yet they sat on the article for five days before issuing their statement and press release without ever contacting us to get the “context”. The release was drawn and ready to go once the Mayor had read it out in Council. This was premeditated and completely inaccurate in its accusations. I understand that the Mayor had received a copy of the letter from the business group to the Province before he read out the statement: meaning he and the CAO must have known what the facts were.

This paper has only ever said positive things about David Gordon and Brian Carré individually, whatever we may think of the policies and actions of municipal council and staff, so this statement came as an unpleasant betrayal. To add insult to injury, the statement actually contains this preposterous claim: “Council and our CAO have been clear, transparent and on the record when providing details of the negotiations with the Province of Ontario”. Neither Council nor the CAO have provided the people of North Grenville with any information whatsoever, before the recent incomplete and preliminary announcement that a deal was being reached. Instead, we were told of gag orders and the Municipality not being allowed to say anything about how negotiations were going. Instead, after three years of “negotiations”, the CAO managed to get the Province to tell us how much of the College lands we could have, but not the purchase price. The Mayor’s promise that no taxpayers dollars would be used to buy the land remains unfulfilled. In addition, Brian Carré managed to get the Province to delay any final announcement until a few months before a provincial election: a wonderful achievement.

It doesn’t really matter what they may have been told by the Minister and his staff: the documents are there to be read. The group of businessmen did contact the Province. They did offer to invest millions of dollars in the College. They did assure the province that, if the deal with the municipality fell through for any reason, they were still willing to go ahead themselves. No inference there. No “unsubstantiated and out of context” claims. No false news, as the Mayor and CAO have claimed. Just the facts. Now they should apologise and issue a press release acknowledging their error. If you’re going to attack the integrity and credibility of the NG Times, at least criticise us for what we actually write. It is not our integrity that is in question here.

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Redemption song http://www.ngtimes.ca/redemption-song/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/redemption-song/#respond Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:00:01 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=8129 The times may be a-changing after all, who knows? The Municipal Council passed a resolution at their last meeting to have the Franco-Ontarian flag raised on the flagpole outside the Municipal Centre on September 25. This was in response to a request by the Conseil des ecoles publiques de I’Est de l’Ontario, and will mark […]

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The times may be a-changing after all, who knows? The Municipal Council passed a resolution at their last meeting to have the Franco-Ontarian flag raised on the flagpole outside the Municipal Centre on September 25. This was in response to a request by the Conseil des ecoles publiques de I’Est de l’Ontario, and will mark Franco-Ontarian Day. This is an official day in the Province, and the flag was officially recognized by the Ontario Government as the emblem of the Franco-Ontarian community in the Franco-Ontarian Emblem Act of 2001. Eastern Ontario has one of the largest concentrations of Franco-Ontarians in the province.

All this may seem straightforward and uncontroversial, but it was not always thus. In fact, when two residents requested Council to raise the flag in 2010 to mark the first Franco-Ontarian Day, Council refused. Believe it or not, the mayor and council thought it inappropriate to favour one ethnic group over another: if the French got their flag, maybe the Spanish, or Japanese, or Irish would want theirs too! Tim Sutton, Councillor at the time, stated: “Any flag that would put one ethnic group above another – I don’t know how proper that is. We already have a provincial flag for all Ontarians.” Given this pathetic ignorance of Canadian History, it was not surprising that the mayor also saw it as an insult to Canadians to have a hyphenated flag.

Councillor Tobin, the only one still on Council today, came up with the compromise of flying the flag – inside the Municipal Centre. This rather dishonourable stand has now been officially reversed by the current Council, and means that, perhaps, we have finally moved away from the traditional anti-French attitudes that were once personified in G. Howard Ferguson, local boy made Premier. In his day, he fought very hard to restrict the rights of francophones in Ontario to have french language instruction in their own schools. Many today still remember Regulation 17 with distaste, if not anger.

Maybe Canada is growing up in its 150th year. The Trudeau Government have announced plans to reorganise the Indian Department and, eventually, do away with the Indian Act, a piece of legislation which former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, has called racist. This is a word with which no-one familiar with that piece of apartheid-style law would disagree. Speaking of ethnic origins: how would you feel if a piece of Canadian legislation defined and restricted your identity? If you are of British extraction, or birth, would you like it if the Canadian Government decided for you whether your children were really British, or Canadian? What if bureaucrats in Ottawa had the right to decide where you could live, what language you could speak, whether you owned your own home?

There are children in this country who cannot drink the water coming into their homes because it is polluted, who have no chance of a decent job, housing, education, or even the hope of a healthy life. This is not because they won’t take care of themselves, it’s because their ancestors were forced to settle on land that was no good for anything, with no economic development potential. Land that no-one else wanted. But they had no choice, because the Indian Act wouldn’t let them live anywhere else and still maintain their traditions and culture.

In this anniversary year, Canadians have a great deal to be proud of. They have a reputation for compassion, integrity, fairness and generosity to the less fortunate. Yet, hanging over Canada 150 is the enormous stain and shame of the Indian Act, the Indian Department, and everything they represent. Can you imagine a Jewish Department, a Catholic Act, that discriminates in law against people on account of their religion or culture? The situation we face is not new, and will not be solved easily. It is the product of almost two centuries of the White Man’s Burden, colonial and imperial racism enshrined in law. Sadly, most Canadians have no real idea of how and why we got into this disgraceful and shameful situation, nor have many tried to find out. Far easier to perpetuate racists stereotypes about Indians, than to learn the facts.

We are all human beings, none of us perfect, whether indigenous or settler. There are those on all sides who have learned to use the system to their advantage. But that should not deter us from knowing the truth, and doing something about it. It is even more important than agreeing to raise a flag: it is a question of our soul as a nation, as a people, as individual human beings.

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Survey – The Size Of Municipal Council http://www.ngtimes.ca/survey-changing-the-size-of-our-municipal-council/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/survey-changing-the-size-of-our-municipal-council/#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:17:08 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=7064 This survey is designed to seek input on ways to improve political representation for residents of North Grenville. We’ll explore two subjects in the next two surveys: the possibility of changing the size of our municipal council and the possibility of creating a ward system. Please be sure and complete both surveys. START SURVEY

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This survey is designed to seek input on ways to improve political representation for residents of North Grenville. We’ll explore two subjects in the next two surveys: the possibility of changing the size of our municipal council and the possibility of creating a ward system. Please be sure and complete both surveys.

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The neverending story http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-neverending-story/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-neverending-story/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 00:15:55 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=5374 The culmination of two years of work on the part of the Oxford Mills Community Association [OMCA] may have been finally validated at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting. North Grenville Municipal Council voted unanimously to approve the OMCA’s request to build a new gazebo on a specified site in Maplewood Park in Oxford […]

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The culmination of two years of work on the part of the Oxford Mills Community Association [OMCA] may have been finally validated at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting. North Grenville Municipal Council voted unanimously to approve the OMCA’s request to build a new gazebo on a specified site in Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills. It’s been two years since OMCA expressed their interest in seeing the gazebo replaced. The previous gazebo was torn down in 2015, due to its advanced state of deterioration, but had not been replaced by the Municipality.

Maplewood Park is a special gathering place and a source of pride for the community of Oxford Mills. The gazebo itself had been the site of many weddings, wedding photo sessions, and community events, and OMCA felt that it was important to see it replaced, and so offered to pay for the construction of a new gazebo, knowing it would become property of the Municipality of North Grenville.

What has occurred over the past two years has been a frustrating mix of confusion, lack of communication, and a series of conditions imposed on OMCA by the Municipality which could be considered either obstructive or necessary due diligence, or both, depending on your vantage point.

Last week, OMCA made a presentation to Council on the second version of gazebo drawings they had commissioned. This version of the plans had been approved by the Municipality’s Building Department, as one of the conditions OMCA was required to meet. Mark Guy (the Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture), then followed OMCA’s presentation and tabled a very positive report, supporting the request and recommending that Council vote to approve the build.

The report stated it is not recommended to reject the design and construction of the gazebo because “the Oxford Mills Community Association met all conditions set out to them for the gazebo project at Maplewood Park.” In addition, citing a link to the Community Strategic Plan, Mark Guy added: “the project is a perfect example of the Municipality working with community partners to address recreational needs”.

There was some discussion on the matter, mostly by Mayor Gordon and Deputy Mayor Tobin, on some extra wording that was contained in the gazebo drawings. The wording was obviously not intended to be specifically for the gazebo, but was, rather, general construction comments (or ‘cut and paste’ type of comments). It was explained to Council by local business owner Corey Lockwood, of Lockwood Brothers Construction, that, in his experience, this type of wording is common on drawings.

Although OMCA may get permission from Council to build, the project has the potential to still get tied up in conditions. Originally, Mark Guy wanted the gazebo to have 8′ of clearance, instead of the standard 6’6”, but, at that additional height, the builder will not be able to assemble the gazebo in advance and transport it to the site. Assembling the gazebo on site will cost significantly more. OMCA is trying to get an exception on that condition, but the matter has been referred to the building department. That department also wants a stone dust pathway and landing area from the parking lot to the ramp of the gazebo. Mark Guy also had concerns about enclosing the roof of the gazebo to avoid birds nesting. Ground anchors have been added to the conditions, so that the wind won’t be able to lift the structure. A railing for the ramp of the gazebo is another addition and, finally, due to the gazebo being built for weddings and photos, the gazebo has now been classified as an ‘A2 assembly occupancy’, which means that the drawings must be reviewed and stamped by an engineer or architect (the gazebo will not be nearly big enough to host an entire wedding in it). OMCA is currently using an architectural consultant for the work on the drawings. All of these conditions represent possible significant additional costs for OMCA. It was originally hoped that the new gazebo would be in place in time for Canada Day activities in Maplewood Park this summer. With the additional costs and conditions imposed, OMCA will now need the help of residents more than ever to help fundraise the money needed to complete the project. The original cost estimate was $10,000.

I have to say, this entire situation should never have reached this point, or taken this long. OMCA should never have been put in a position where they had to become general contractors for a project that should have been completed and paid for by the municipality itself (who did have this as a budget item in 2015, until it was dropped). How often has the Municipality seen a community group step forward like this, willing to spend thousands of dollars on something to beautify their community, that they would then just hand over to the Municipality? To my mind, this once again demonstrates a lack of leadership on the part of Council. Had a member of Council stepped forward and brought a motion to Council and championed this project, would we still be talking about it? Had council directed municipal staff to work cooperatively with OMCA to get the gazebo built, would the gazebo have already been in place last Canada Day? Would certain negative forces on Council have still tried to block this project, even if another member of Council did bring a motion of support forward?

On the bright side of all of this, maybe this ordeal will have helped to establish a path that will allow other community organizations to come forward with their own initiatives and work more efficiently with the Municipality. Do any of the hamlets need a new flagpole?

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A period of transition http://www.ngtimes.ca/a-period-of-transition/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/a-period-of-transition/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 00:12:38 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=5198 The current municipal council is in the third year of its term, and may be beginning to think about the election coming up at the end of 2018. Will they run again? Should they go for the same job, or perhaps think about being Mayor next time? There have been some fairly clear hints here […]

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The current municipal council is in the third year of its term, and may be beginning to think about the election coming up at the end of 2018. Will they run again? Should they go for the same job, or perhaps think about being Mayor next time? There have been some fairly clear hints here and there from a few of the current crop, but, of course, no-one knows who might throw their hat in the ring and surprise everyone. But, looking at the council as it is today, what can we say?

As you will see in Deron Johnston’s article in this issue, there is a clear difference between the older member and the more recently elected ones. Councillors Bertram and Arnaud have been active in their roles, discovering something that had been lost in previous years: that Councillors can achieve things. It is really astonishing that Jim Bertram was the first Councillor in the history of North Grenville to actually introduce a Resolution to Council. He has since been followed by the even more recently arrived Donovan Arnaud, who not only initiated the renaming of the old Armoury building to commemorate Blake Williamson, he has been working at reinvigorating the Economic Development Committee, which had become something of a damp squib under Tim Sutton.

Jim Bertram and Donovan Arnaud have worked well with Mayor David Gordon to bring a sense of purpose and energy to our municipal council, whatever you think of the individual results. Councillor Bertram’s move to call a Rural Summit last year was fundamentally undermined by changes made to his idea, but the precedent has been set, and agricultural issues will not be so easily ignored in future. Last week’s moves to pass resolutions of support where requested by other municipalities, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, show that the three men are working in a broader context than simply our local government, and that is good for the kind of networking and mutual support that is becoming more and more important as municipalities face cutbacks in funding by the province.

Councillor Tobin gets some severe criticism from Deron Johnston this week, but she does represent an older approach to governance that she learned from a previous mayor of North Grenville, where juniors should know their place, the public should mind their own business, and running the municipality should be left to our betters. It seems the only initiative Councillor Tobin has ever taken has been to install an automatic reply feature to her e-mail account, to make people think she is actually interested in peoples’ concerns. She is, and always has been, a negative force on council. Fortunately, she is increasingly isolated in that position.

For this is a period of transition in municipal politics in North Grenville. We are moving away from the condescension and arrogance of previous councils, and finding our representatives interested in hearing our concerns, our ideas and, yes, even our criticisms. The right of taxpayers to be upset with what is happening in our community is finally being recognised by the majority on council. Criticism does not have to be taken so personally, it is, in fact, part of the job they’ve taken on. It has been hard, up until recently, to convince members of council that the people of North Grenville have a role to play in running their own affairs. Given our increasing population, and ever more complex issues facing council and staff, it is unreasonable to assume that they could not benefit from some input from the public.

I have sometimes been accused of being negative about things: I disagree. I have enormous faith in the people of North Grenville, and great pride in what we have achieved together. I also believe that this period of transition, if allowed to continue through the next election, will be the most positive development since amalgamation. We have an excellent CAO in Brian Carré and the leadership he has shown, in conjunction with David Gordon, has been of real value to the community. Now we find two of our Councillors are active and open, using their position as Councillors as designed to be used, and not content simply to occupy a seat for a decade without actually achieving anything.

The fourth member has yet to exhibit any of the same kind of initiative and energy, and that is both disappointing and sad. Much more was expected. But more than half way to the next election, we can start to see the choice we have in the future between the old and the new way of serving North Grenville. This “report card” can alternately read: “shows great promise”, and “needs to work better with others”. Apply as appropriate.

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Your ideas and Council : Committee of the Whole http://www.ngtimes.ca/your-ideas-and-council-committee-of-the-whole/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/your-ideas-and-council-committee-of-the-whole/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:06:14 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=5362 by Jim Bertram Over slightly more than two years now, I have spoken with North Grenville residents in informal conversation about numerous subjects. The talks cover a wide range of topics of greater and lesser import, often including the everyday matters that come up in friendly discussion. I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the […]

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by Jim Bertram

Over slightly more than two years now, I have spoken with North Grenville residents in informal conversation about numerous subjects. The talks cover a wide range of topics of greater and lesser import, often including the everyday matters that come up in friendly discussion. I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the possibility of interaction with so many citizens and the discussions which ensue.

Sometimes, however, a subject arises which could well be presented to our municipal Council for various purposes. At times, information which is of public interest, about events, or occurrences in the community, would be prime subjects for presentation at Council. At other times, topics of concern which might benefit from some manner of action on the part of the municipality would be candidates for presentation. The range of possibilities is fairly extensive. While we do get a good number of presentations at Council, it seems, from these discussions, that many residents are unclear on what they should do if they should wish to present to Council.

First of all, it should be emphasized at the outset that most questions and problems are relatively straightforward and are resolved with a phone call or an e-mail to the appropriate department, or to a Councillor who will undertake to be of assistance. But, if a subject is of greater than usual “dimensions”, you may decide to bring it to a meeting of your municipal Council.

So, how should you proceed? First of all, you are going to want to bring it to what is called the Committee of the Whole, which is held every two weeks, usually on Mondays, in municipal chambers. To arrange for a place on the agenda, you must call the Municipal Clerk’s office and explain what you wish to do. The Clerk will make appropriate arrangements and ensure that you know how to proceed. If technical supports are needed, he will discuss this with you.

When you come to Committee of the Whole on the appointed day, you will be seated in the spectator area and will wait until your part of the agenda, when you will be called upon to present. Your presentation should clearly state its main points and arguments in support. It may include a petition. It should include a statement of what you believe would be a reasonable action to resolve any difficulty which concerns you. At the end of your presentation, members of Council may ask questions. At times, municipal department heads may make a contribution to the discussion following your presentation.

If a presentation has been made for information, you will be thanked by the Mayor before you leave the presentation table. If you request action of some kind on the part of the municipality, Council may refer the request to municipal staff for research into the matter for decision-making purposes. Sometimes a Councillor may present a motion regarding the topic, if it seems practicable to do so in the context of the particular situation.

However the matter resolves itself, you, and perhaps other residents who share your concerns, will have had a good opportunity to express those concerns and, hopefully, find suitable resolution to them. You may also have presented information and points of view to Council and the greater community which were previously not well known. In so doing, you help your community become a better place by bringing concerns forward which may also have an impact on other citizens. All in all, the process will be a learning and problem-solving experience for all involved. With that in mind, I look forward to seeing you there if you wish to bring a matter forward which you judge to be significant.

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School unveils a new logo http://www.ngtimes.ca/school-unveils-a-new-logo/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/school-unveils-a-new-logo/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:36:21 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3691 Last Thursday marked the inauguration of the new public French school, École Rivière Rideau, at the Kemptville College Campus and the unveiling of their new logo. MPP Steve Clark, Mayor David Gordon, CAO Brian Carré and all municipal council were on hand to offer their congratulations. “This is one of the most progressive school boards […]

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Last Thursday marked the inauguration of the new public French school, École Rivière Rideau, at the Kemptville College Campus and the unveiling of their new logo.
MPP Steve Clark, Mayor David Gordon, CAO Brian Carré and all municipal council were on hand to offer their congratulations. “This is one of the most progressive school boards I’ve seen,” said Mayor Gordon. “We are very proud that you have decided to expand your horizons and come to green and growing North Grenville.”
Linda Savard, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Conseil des Écoles Publiques du Centre-Est (CEPEO), announced that the school will be expanding to include grades seven and eight in September 2017, and grades nine to twelve in 2018. They will also be acquiring two more of the campus’ buildings in their long-term lease, Rorke Hall and the Administration building. “The school is in constant evolution,” she says. “This is a growth area for French families and it is important to have the choice of a French education.”
The logo, which was presented by grade four student Mabel Roberts, has a blue “R” that symbolizes the river, and a tree whose trunk and roots look like children, to represent the students and the nature that surrounds them at the Kemptville campus. Director of Education for the CEPEO, Edith Dumont, says the logo and the school’s name tells people where they are and where they are going. “This inauguration signifies much more than a building in a given community. Today’s ceremony proves our school board is committed to providing high quality French education.”
The school, which opened its doors in September with 31 children, is now up to 44, with children enrolling late last year and early this year. “That is a 25% increase,” says enthusiastic Principal, Josée Bédard. “I am convinced that the future of our school is full of success.”

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Teach your children http://www.ngtimes.ca/teach-your-children-2/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/teach-your-children-2/#respond Wed, 25 Jan 2017 19:52:05 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3395 Early in 2016, an article was written about some ideas which the author hoped the North Grenville Municipal Council would consider implementing for the good of all residents of North Grenville. One of these ideas recently came up again in conversation with a member of council. The idea in question was for the municipality to […]

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Early in 2016, an article was written about some ideas which the author hoped the North Grenville Municipal Council would consider implementing for the good of all residents of North Grenville. One of these ideas recently came up again in conversation with a member of council. The idea in question was for the municipality to develop a Youth Council that would allow young people to contribute to decisions that are made by council.

Last Fall, Councillor Jim Bertram visited both local high schools, North Grenville District High School and St. Michael Catholic High School. On his visits, he talked about the role of municipal government and how it affects the daily lives of residents of North Grenville, including the young people. He spoke briefly with administration at both schools about the possibility of some students becoming part of a youth council.

While reading a book called “13 Ways To Kill Your Community” by Doug Griffiths, the author dedicated chapter three of the thirteen-chapter book to the subject of “Don’t Engage Youth” as one of the thirteen ways. The author pointed out how youth (age 35 and under are considered youth by the author) should be disengaged to ensure the death of your community. He believes that, sometimes, communities don’t recognize that youth have an abundance of energy, creativity and passion without being jaded by bad experiences, failures and the negativity of others. He added that, when chances for youth to contribute are limited, or if residents talk negatively about youth, then they’re on the right track to ensure that the best and brightest youth look to leave, and the future of your community will leave with them.

A youth council would be a great way to engage young people (let’s say 30 and under), show them that we do believe that they have a lot to contribute, and give them a way to directly impact the future of the municipality. People who are engaged and personally invested in something are much more likely to ensure that the “something” becomes successful, no matter what age they are. Let’s allow our young people to use their imaginations, skills and their energy for something truly meaningful.

So how do we make this happen? Let’s for a moment consider filling this council with two students each from the two local high schools, with the schools themselves deciding how the students get chosen. Then we add three other young people who could apply and be chosen by a committee. At that point, a youth mayor could be chosen by vote of the youth council itself, which would mean six councillors and one mayor. The young people who make up the council could learn how local government works, how to conduct meetings in a professional environment, how to work together to forward ideas, how to read formal reports and how to communicate effectively in a formal setting. The youth council could meet weekly, biweekly or monthly in the North Grenville Council chambers and discuss and vote on key council matters that might directly affect young people, or that might impact the future of the municipality. From these meetings, formal recommendations could be made that would be forwarded directly to regular council and be discussed the same as recommendations from other committees of council.

Quite often, politicians make generalized statements about the importance of youth in their communities, regions, provinces and countries. For some of them, their actual support of youth begins and ends with those statements. This is a rare opportunity to truly make a profound effort to be inclusive and recognize that youth play a vital role in not only our future, but also in our present. Tomorrow’s great ideas could be grown in our community today. Let’s give them some sunlight.

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