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Mono Council discusses in-person meetings, parking, Winterfest

November 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

After postponing the regular meeting slated for Nov. 9, due to technical difficulties, Mono Council met on Tuesday (Nov. 16) to go through the agenda

In-person meetings

After an in-camera meeting, the first item of discussion was from resident, Bob McCrea, asking when Council planned on resuming “in person” meetings in the Council Chambers.

CAO Mark Early responded by noting that there were several issues with this, including double vaccinations, air quality, number of permitted attendees and the need to install protective barriers between all the Council members stations. He also noted that COVID numbers are again on the rise in Ontario.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix expressed his view that the current virtual meeting are working just fine and that he’s in favour of waiting until COVID numbers were down and the pandemic is under control.

Coun. Sharon Martin disagreed, she said that science is showing COVID is an airborne disease that is here to stay. She said she feels it is time to return to in-person meetings and that it made a difference for Council meetings.

Coun. Martin added that she felt the gallery could remain virtual, but that air quality was the definitive element and suggested HEPA filtration is the answer.

Mr. Early responded that at the present time there were no HEPA filters for the main building, however there was an air exchanger. He said Council would have to request HEPA filtration, to which Coun. Ralph Manktelow suggested Council should.

He went on to point out that cases are low in Mono, with only one new case in both Mono and Orangeville at the time of the meeting.

Coun. Melinda Davie said she’d like to err on the side of caution, saying she believed it was premature consider the move and that the current system is working, so why rush into in-person gatherings. Adding, she felt that the uptick in cases across the Province is worrisome.

Mayor John Creelman suggested the CAO Mark Early and Town staff could work on planning for a return to in person meetings, as costs could be high and logistics complicated. Mr. Early said they are looking at it and there are options to be considered.

Following the discussion on in-person meetings with Mr. McCrea, another resident, Anthony Hosein posed a question to Mono Council. First, he asked what Council’s plans are for diversity and inclusion in Mono, to which Mayor Creelman replied that discussions were ongoing to provide training for staff and council.

Blackcat speeding device

Next was a question about use of the blackcat speed control device on the Mono-Adjala Townline. The answer here was that it was up to the OPP when and where they would use the device but that it would certainly be applied to the road in question at some point.

The paving of the Townline down to Hickory Road was also questioned and Mr. Hosein was told the traffic on the road did not warrant paving.

There’s a volume of about 500 cars per day on the road, while the cost is estimated to be between $3.8 and $4.5 million.

Winterfest

The final question posed to Council by Mr. Hosein concerned what plans the Town had for the holiday season and would it be similar to the goody bags handed out to the children at Halloween.

Kim Heaton, director of recreation for Mono, said that was done because the Halloween Party had to be cancelled due to COVID, and that the traditional celebration of the holidays, was Winterfest.

Coun. Davie said there are so many celebrations around year end, that you cannot celebrate them all but Winterfest is a non-denominational annual celebration in Mono.

Mr. Early said there are a few issues with Winterfest, such as the public in town buildings and food service, but that if it was only outdoors it could work.

Coun. Raloh Manktelow liked the idea and suggested possibly using a large tent outdoors.

However, the budget would be problematic, as food and the Christmas Raffle were the events major fundraisers, their loss, would cut the budget by half.

Coun. Martin said Mono needs an event like Winterfest and it could all be worked out with proper planning. She said the event could be postponed until February as nothing else was going on and Ms. Heaton suggested they could include Valentine’s Day if they waited the extra month. Council directed staff to work on the plans for Winterfest.

Joint Water Management Agreement

The Joint Water Management Agreement between Amaranth, East Garafraxa, Orangeville and Mono was approved by Council. This agreement stipulated that the four municipalities meet regularly and consider whether the water allocation or development had increased beyond 5 per cent in their area. Doing so would signal the re-running of a study model to assess potential water shortages in the municipalities.

Mono experienced a water shortage in 2017 and water volumes are down in 2021, also. Mayor Creelman said that Mono’s pond was low for the first time in his recollection as was Island Lake.

Coun. Martin said this was something that residents needed to be made aware of to promote proper water usage and Mayor Creelman said he would like to see information on the new Town website.

Parking enforcement

The report on the Parking Enforcement Revenues and Costs led to a few raised eyebrows as most costs far outweighed the revenues. However, on closer examination, this may not be the case going forward.

This past year saw Council scrambling to deal with the influx of tourists visiting Mono Cliffs Provincial Park and the parking problems it created.

At the time, three bylaw officers plus Park wardens and the OPP were ticketing offenders, which added to the No Parking signs that had to be erected. The processing costs of the tickets issued and skyrocketed cost of enforcement led to high costs, being outweighed by revenues.

However, going forward, the OPP should not be required to come out and only two bylaw officers will be needed along with the Wardens, which will reduce costs substantially.

Regardless, Council voted to maintain the level of enforcement and looked at the issue as a cost of doing business. The ticket price has also increased to $90 from $20 and the town expects fewer visitors now that the word is out.

Tourism in Dufferin

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Fred Nix raised the issue of the County increasing its promotional tourism budget for 2022 from $150,000 to $450,000 during the Nov. 16 meeting.

He said this was contrary to the Town of Mono’s enforcement woes. He was reminded that the monies were for the entire County, including Orangeville, who contributes 50 cents of every dollar to County funds.

Coun. Martin said that promoting Broadway was a big difference from Mono Cliffs Provincial Park and that perhaps the County could be persuaded to quit using their brochures opening picture of the Park’s lookout and substitute some other County venue. She felt there were many other potential venues to promote. Mayor Creelman suggested that Council could probably find them a suitable image to use.



         


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