Mono Council approves tenders, discusses lifting restrictions, electric vehicles

March 17, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

Mono Council approved several Public Works tenders during their regular meeting last Tuesday (March 8).

A tender was awarded to W.G. Kelly Construction for the replacement of Bridge 9 on Hurontario street, north to Highway 9, at a cost of $1,540,000.

Another tender was accepted from Walker Aggregates of Barrie for gravel used in road maintenance.

The tender of Duivenvoorden Haulage Ltd was accepted, for 6,400 tonnes of winter sand at a cost of $17.39 per tonne for the 2022/2023 season.

The last tender went to Falcon Road Service Inc. for crack sealing of asphalt roads. the price will be $1.51 per metre.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix asked how the number of metre of cracks was determined, to which Roads Superintendent Mike Dunmore responded that a Town crew accompanied the repairs and measured all distances.

COVID restrictions lifting

Council then moved on to what would become a controversial matter, that of opening

municipal facilities following the Province’s recent announcement regarding COVID restrictions being eliminated. This would affect in-person council meetings and municipal rental buildings in Mono.

Council was torn with this debate, with some councillors feeling it was too soon for in-person meetings, while others wanted to move ahead on the issue.

Councillors were also split on whether to maintain vaccine mandates and masks before allowing resumption of meetings.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix said he felt strongly that the Council meetings should remain virtual until later in the summer.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow said he wanted to maintain proof of vaccination for admittance to Council Chambers and putting the responsibility of doing this on the renters of the municipal buildings.

At this point, CAO Mark Early brought up the issue of staffing, saying they would now be put in the position of enforcing these rules, while possibly having to deal with unruly and unvaccinated members of the public wishing entry to Council Chambers.

As well, he raised the point of putting staff who worked in the municipal buildings at risk of dealing with potential carriers in the general public

Councillor Sharon Martin said she’s in favour of returning to normal but suggested that the public not be allowed in Council Chambers just yet.

She said they could continue to attend meeting virtually, as could concerned councillors. Councillor Martin said she felt a show of solidarity was required at this time.

Councillor Melinda Davie felt perhaps security should not be handle by staff, but rather by outside security people, putting them at risk as opposed to staff members.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow seemed to agree with the hybrid meeting style, with some virtual and some in person participants. The CAO asked what Council wished for Town Hall. Would the staff be put at risk in day-to-day public encounters? He said currently, only passive screening is used for the public at Town Hall with no vaccine certificate requirement, but there is a plexiglass screen at the counter.

Councillor Martin agreed that there was a difference between two hours in a meeting and a brief encounter at the counter of Town Hall.

When asked how many members of the public would be allowed in Chambers, the clerk stated there was room for 12 with social distancing.

Mayor John Creelman concurred that a return to “normalcy” was required in his opinion, but perhaps the answer lays in holding a test meeting to determine if Council could meet in chambers comfortably, using masks and social distancing.

Following the suggestion, Councillor Davie said if they were not ready, why are they considering doing this at all? Councillor Manktelow said that with two councillors so dubious, they should not do it at this juncture.

The topic of community centres was equally difficult. Councillor Nix asked Director of Recreation, Kim Heaton, what centres in other municipalities were doing? She replied that Parks and Recreation Ontario was going strictly passive, with no vaccine proof requirements. Councillor Nix then asked how staff felt.  

Heaton said two of the four involved are fine with opening, but she had not spoken to the other two as yet.

Councillor Davie said masks are soon going away like the vaccine mandates did, so how is the town wrong by enforcing town policy? She repeated that it was just too soon to open up.

The Mayor suggested that they return to the question at the next scheduled meeting in two weeks and make a decision then.

Question Period

Following up with Questions from the public, of which three were of note. Resident, Bob McCrae asked what the Town intended to do about an illegal, in his mind, Air BnB in his residential neighbourhood.

Mr. McCrae was of the opinion that the Tows current Bylaw prohibited any such commercial enterprise in an RU Zoning area and wanted something to be done.

CAO Mark Early explained that the matter was under investigation and pointed out that residents were allowed to operate a conventional Bed and Breakfast in their residences and that the home in question needed to be confirmed to in fact be a commercial venture and that the owners were in fact not in residence when the rentals occurred.

Mayor Creelman concurred and reiterated that the issue was known by the town and being looked into. Allowed BnB’s have been a part of the Mono bylaws since the early 1990’s.

Next, Mono resident Joanne Murray asked if the bridge on the 7th Line north of the Nottawasaga River could be repaired as it was a “muddy mess”.

Public Works Director Mike Dunmore stated that bridges were inspected twice annually and that he would have this one looked at again.

He surmised, that the mud might possibly just be a run off caused by the recent warm temperatures.

Lastly, Mono resident Michal Penny pondered whether or not Council thought it prudent to purchase an electric pick-up truck at this time, considering it was a new concept and came with a $30,000 dollar price premium.

The Mayor noted that there was an item in the agenda dealing with this question and that perhaps Mr. Penny’s question would be better answered at the point.

Electric Cars

This brought Council, to the report on an electric pick-up. Director of Public Works Mike Dunmore said that he was not against the nod to climate change, but he was concerned about the Ford F150 being the first such vehicle available with no other comparisons on the market.

The base price of the Ford will be $68,000 and when totally outfitted this becomes $93,000 whereas the projected base price for the Chevy Silverado will be $57,000 and it will have a greater range, 600 Km compared to Ford’s 480km, at no extra cost. Ford currently has two battery options and the 480km one is at a premium price. Even though the Chevy will debut farther in the future, it appears to be worth the wait of a year or two.

The Chevy and a second vehicle coming available both offer a similar payload and hauling capacity to the F150, with a greater range. These facts highlight Mr. Dunmore’s concerns and also address those of Michal Penny’s question to council concerning buying the first truck available.

Mike assured Council that it will happen, but he thinks it is too early at the moment. Deputy Mayor Nix agrees with Mike and supports his decision to wait.

Councillor Manktelow agreed as did Councillor Davie, who noted that all prices were rising as will hydro, so a prudent delay is responsible.

Mayor Creelman agreed and said Mono does not want to be on the bleeding edge of new technology, but rather the leading edge. Council agreed to leave the decision to the Director of Public Works.

Land needs assessment

The next issue was a report on the County of Dufferin Land Needs Analysis. This was a report drafted by WEP Planning Consultants on behalf of the County for their Official Plan update. This report, mandated by the province, proposed growth numbers for municipalities and showed three shortfalls in Mono.

First was a shortfall of 69 gross hectares of required residential lands, second a residential dwelling forecast shortfall of 346 units from the suggested 509 and third, a surplus of 32.2 hectares of employment lands, formerly denoted as commercial industrial land. The County now wants feedback from the municipalities by the months end, before submitting their plan to the Province in July.

Council was notably concerned with the numbers. Fred Nix wanted to know where these 509 lots were to come from? Councillor Davie wondered if they were expected to build before people arrived or if they were to fulfil the demand, as it arose.

Mayor Creelman said such growth belonged in fully serviced municipalities, not rural ones like Mono, who rely on septic sewage treatment. He presented a motion to accept the report and that Mono could meet the demand proposed through existing plans and does not require any further action.

Deputy Mayor Nix, said he still could not understand the numbers but if the official plan allowed it, so be it. He felt that the report suggested that Mono convert Employment lands to residential.

This point was not supported by Mayor Creelman, who thought that not having employment land would lead to higher taxes.

Councillor Davie said people will want to work where they live and so converting employment land is a mistake.

Councillor Manktelow felt he could not support the motion because the demand was simply excessive and no option was presented for creating the said growth.

CAO Early said the study had not even yet seen any public debate and seeing it was so late in the process with a July deadline, this could possibly reveal large public objection

Mayor Creelman noted that The City of Hamilton and Halton Region were strongly pushing back on the provinces growth numbers also, so Mono was certainly not alone in objecting to the numbers.

The motion was passed over the concerns of several councillors who objected to the numbers and how they were achieved. However, the compromise was that the response from staff would be able to question the numbers and their method of acquisition.

Mono supports Ukraine

Moving on, Councillor Manktelow brought forth a motion in support of the Ukrainian people and instructing the Prime Minister and the Federal Government to continue all efforts to bring the current situation to a close, by whatever means necessary. The motion was carried unanimously by Council and the meeting was adjourned shortly thereafter.

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