- Roads Garage/Depot:
- There has been an ongoing debate and many costly studies relative to having a Centralized Roads Depot and the fate of the current road depots, what is your position on this?
- In addition, please state specifically what your position is on the Galway Roads garage/depot (rebuild, replace, improvements, or demolish)
Answers to 1a. and b.:
The Central Roads Depot proposal has been defeated. Resolution R2018-300 from May 15, 2018 Council meeting (ref #1 below).
Work has already begun to repair the Galway Roads Depot for use as a winter shelter in 2018/2019. This was directed by Resolution # R2018-412 from the July 17, 2018 Council meeting (ref #2 below).
Also, there is an outstanding action for the new Council to look at the optimum future role of the Roads Depot locations, Resolution #2018-413 from the July 17, 2018 Council meeting (ref #3 below). I support this and would invite comments form the Public on the proposal(s) that result.
**I believe there are important lessons to be leaned from how the Centralized Roads Depot proposal and studies were handled. The new Council should understand and learn from missteps or mistakes that were made – NOT from the perspective of assigning blame, BUT from the perspective of improving any future reviews of major capital projects. I would suggest a few missteps that were made:
- The structural repairs recommended in the November 2012 Genivar report were never implemented for the Galway Depot, estimated at a cost then of $255,000. Why?
- Chamberlain and then Greenview were engaged to design a new Centralized Public Works Depot structure, before a solid business case was provided that supported the option of a centralized depot.
- Consultants were not properly vetted before being awarded the design contracts. Further to receipt of the building design report from Chamberlain, one Councillor “presented findings from 2 Municipalities that used Chamberlain. Midland’s 24,000 sf depot was estimated in 2014 at $3M and updated in 2015 to $$4.2M, 2016 to $6.6M, and 2017 to $8.6M. Not complete and estimated total cost is $10M. Mapleton’s 21,000 sf building cost $5.5M and over Chamberlain’s estimate. Chamberlain’s estimate for Trent Lakes is $180 per sf. Realistic costs are btn. $210 and $250.”
- None of the consulting reports actually produced a comprehensive needs analysis and cost/benefit study comparing all aspects of a centralized roads depot vs. a continuation of decentralized facilities. Requirements provided to the engaged consultants clearly did not represent the necessary scope of the work to be done.
- Public input was solicited way too late in the process. Early and inclusive public input would have shortened the cycle time and saved money and resources.
- Transfer Sites:
- Given the County by-law restricting the number of bags per week (and allotted per week), what is your position relative to the current 48 bags limit and the quarterly allocation?
The reduction to 48 bags (from 52) and restricting their use to 12 per Quarter, is THE number one complaint I hear from cottagers! The argument is that they pay full year taxes, but only get to use 16 or so bags during the time they are at the cottage. Compared to their residence in the city, they feel that they get lesser services for their tax dollars. It’s really NOT a logical issue, since we’re talking about an extra $1 per bag, or a difference of $32 (48 minus 16 times $1). But, it is a visceral and emotional issue and it has become about the principle of the thing. Many say they now just take their garbage back to the City.
Having met with the County waste manager, it appears there may be some flexibility in addressing this concern. It’s not going away, and cottagers represent over 80% of taxpayers in Galway/Cavendish. While we don’t want to go backwards, since Trent Lakes has moved from having one of the highest per capita waste disposals to winning awards for waste reduction, I believe we need to acknowledge the voice of the public and make some concessions with the waste cards.
The County has a restriction of 2 bags per household per week. Trent Lakes chose to be more restrictive than this, for the right reasons, but underestimated the negative reactions of residents toward the abrupt transition. Options to be considered may include – bonus bags for the summer months, separate cards for cottagers, return to 48 or 52 bags with no seasonal restrictions. I don’t have the answer, but I would suggest Council direct the Waste Management Committee to seek further public input, meet with the County to understand the hard boundaries on Municipal policies, and propose options for Council to review.
- With the introduction of Clear Bags, there has been a significant reduction in waste going into the bins. However, Crystal Lake transfer doesn’t have an organics program which is the most significant for weight, mess and smell. What is your position on this, given Buckhorn site has the program in place and Galway residents have been advocating for it.
Organics are now the biggest component in waste thrown away, roughly 40%. This is the next biggest opportunity to reduce what goes into our landfills. The County is looking into organic programs, but Trent Lakes needs to keep the pressure on to expedite progress on this.
- Recycles such as hard plastics, styro-foam and mattresses are no longer available, what is your position on this?
I’m not an expert, but I understand some of this is driven by a change in policy of the downstream companies that receive these products. The question is always WHAT does, or can the County do with the recyclable materials it receives downstream from Trent Lakes. If this is an issue for residents, then I would again suggest the Waste Management Committee should take up these concerns and work with the County representative to bring recommendations forward to Council.
- Hazardous Waste Programs are very effective and successful, however they are only once per year (or every other year) at the Crystal Lake transfer site, yet Buckhorn has a HW hut on site. What is your position on this, as Galway residents would like to have HW on site, at a minimum have the HW program annual or twice per year.
Disposal of waste and recycling materials should be convenient and manageable for Trent Lakes residents. There is always a trade-off, however, between making this “easy” and the cost to do so.
As with concerns raised an a., b. and c. above, I would task the Waste Management Committee with gathering input from all stakeholders, having discussions with the County and Staff representatives on the Committee, and bringing forward recommendations for Council to consider. Cost permitting, this might be an easy fix by having more HW events.
- Residents (or family members) are denied access to the transfer sites for not having their access card (even a tax bill will not work). What is your position on this practice and would you do anything to change the current situation?
- The current by-law states there is zero tolerance to having recycling material in their clear bay, this rule is being strictly enforced. People are being forced to root through their garbage to retrieve one water bottle, otherwise their bag can be rejected. What is your position related to this situation?
Answer to e. and f.: Landfill attendants have received considerable training and are well versed in the entire waste management system. I would utilize this knowledge and allow them the discretion to make common sense decisions on site. Attendants are on the front lines and best equipped to make those decisions. IF they determine that any practices or behaviours are becoming a problem they should feel free to raise those with management and work towards a resolution.
- What is your position regarding the replacement of lost (or didn’t receive) access and “punch” cards for the transfer sites? And, what is your position on modernizing the administration of transfer site access and use?
Regarding access cards, we should return to the previous practice of having people requesting a replacement sign a form acknowledging it has been lost or never received, and issue them a new, prorated card. Period! Repeated requests will be obvious and if there are any real abusers, they will be identified through this process.
Any and all opportunities to improve transfer site operations and efficiencies should be explored, with consideration to costs/benefits, user experience, and service levels.
Similar to other Municipal operations, Trent Lakes needs to benchmark other Municipalities, use research from AMO and RAMO and continue to ensure it is employing best practices in delivering its services.
- Short Term Rentals:
Short term rentals play a vital role in the economy in Trent Lakes as tourists and visitors not only bring dollars into our area, but rental helps offset the rising costs to own a waterfront residents (property taxes, insurance etc.) Although, there are a few situations where the owners/residents are disrespectful, 99% cause no issues, and are respectful and are enjoying and recreating in the area. There are existing by-laws in place for noise, fire regulations, septic capacity etc. Any form of licensing/permitting will be onerous on residents and staff and will be costly to administer and enforce.
Given these facts, what would you suggest is a reasonable solution to deal with the few short term rental concerns?
The topic of short term rentals has brought out strong opinions, on both sides of the issue.
On the one hand, many cottage owners (especially new ones) rely on short term rentals to help toward mortgage payments, maintenance and taxes. Most owners are responsible renters. They do their due diligence to ensure renters are considerate people who understand and respect the nature of the lake environment. They provide guidelines and/or rules for respectful use of the cottage and property. In some instances, renters contribute to the local economy and might be potential future buyers, having enjoyed the cottage experience.
However, enough short term rentals turn into a nightmare situation for neighbours, that there has been a loud call for some type of action. Some of the reported incidents have been appalling. Everyone deserves to have a safe, healthy, enjoyable experience at their cottage. The question is HOW to manage the unacceptable and sometimes dangerous behaviour of certain rental situations, while not imposing overly burdensome and restrictive bylaws on all renters. I believe that, at a minimum, short term rentals that are operated as a business, should be regulated in a way similar to what Highlands East had proposed. Their proposal included licensing, inspections, a registry of complaints and penalties.
This is a complex issue involving the rights and privileges of different stakeholders. Trent Lakes needs to take a measured, open and transparent approach to resolving it. That doesn’t mean an overly lengthy process; it should target a resolution prior to the 2019 summer season. Council should:
- Invite public opinion and input from cottage associations, ratepayers’ associations, the OPP, and bylaw officers
- Review what other neighbouring Municipalities are doing
- Carefully consider regulatory options that address the health, safety, environmental, noise and respectful behaviour concerns of short term rentals, while not overly burdening owners who are occasional and responsible renters
- Ensure the ability to monitor and enforce regulations
- Work with local and provincial associations to provide education and resources to members
Trent Lakes needs to deal with the issue. It is not going away and is, in fact, a growing trend.
It would be premature to presume the optimal solution for Trent Lakes, but it is clear that the Municipality has a role to play in ensuring that health, safety, environmental, noise and other concerns are addressed in the short term rental market and in a timely basis.
- Peter’s Island Bridge:
The Peter’s Island Bridge load restriction has recently been reduced to 5 tons by Peterborough County. The Engineer Study indicated there are concerns with the steel beams. Repair/replacement of the bridge wasn’t budgeted, nor was TL staff/council aware of this very significant issue. There are approx 40 residents on Peter’s Island that are now effected by this restriction, and serious safety concerns. Specifically, Fire equipment/vehicles, hydro, fuel trucks, TL equipment (plow, sander, grader) delivery vehicles of building supplies and other. Not to mention inconvenience and ripple effect. Given this significant situation, what will you do to try and resolve this with permanent or temporary solution (ASAP)?
First, it is obvious there was a breakdown in communications between the County and the Municipality around this issue. That needs to be resolved going forward. Second, this situation could lead to some potentially serious problems for residents on the Island, if there is no access for fire trucks, snowplows, hydro trucks and other emergency vehicles, or for fuel trucks and other needed service vehicles. Given the immediate and serious nature of the problem, Council needs to work with the County on either identification of viable workarounds (e.g.; exempting emergency and service vehicles from the load limit) or prioritizing repair or reinforcement of the Peter’s Island Bridge.
- Hardtop Roads:
Many of the Municipal roads do not currently have hardtop on them (i.e. East Clear Bay Road), this causes wash boarding, ruts, pot holes (significant safety concern) AND excessive mud and dust. This requires additional staff time, and equipment maintenance and wear and tear for the periodic road work. We are concerned with the safety, increased maintenance and wear and tear on vehicles. What is your position on providing hardtop to many of the area roads such East Clear Bay Road?.
I can’t comment on this beyond saying that the roads department should (or perhaps already has) review the costs/benefits associated with putting a hard top surface on East Clear Bay Road. Initial costs, ongoing maintenance costs, service levels, and safety considerations should all be part of their review.
- Trent Lakes Website, Council meeting process:
The current website is a bit difficult to navigate, such as to locate Agendas, Minutes for Committees, and in some cases to locate By-Laws. What would you do to remedy this?
My understanding is that Trent Lakes outsources this part of its website to a third party. It is awkward and cumbersome to navigate. The general rule of thumb is that a user should be able to get to the information they need within three clicks. It takes a minimum of 6 on the TL site.
As a Council member, I would raise this and with Council approval, ask staff to investigate both opportunities for improvement with the current provider or explore opportunities for using another vendor with a more user-friendly platform.
- Ratepayer’s and Cottage Association Meetings:
The current Council are unable to attend these meetings, instead Executive members attend a more structured meeting in June at the TL Council chamber. What is your position on this?
Each of these associations holds an AGM. Council should assign one of its members to attend the AGM and report back to Council any ideas and concerns that arise in those meetings. Perhaps there should be an annual report that summarizes the input from these AGMs and identifies any actions Council plans to address them.
- Economic Development:
The EDC has been very active and has made a lot of progress in the Hamlet of Buckhorn. New signs, landscaping, grants for business’s, cleaning up ditches, and the most recent Grand Opening of the new Ode’naang Park (Heart of the Community). The committee has lots of plans for 2019 and beyond. What is your position on EDC and will you allow the committee to continue?
The EDC is vitally important to the growth and economic sustainability of Trent Lakes. We have many talented, accomplished, experienced residents with the desire and time to invest in economic development, and this Committee enables them to contribute their expertise. The progress in Buckhorn, as our only real “hub”, is impressive, and provides a solid basis for future initiatives. There has been feedback from residents that we need to look beyond Buckhorn and identify additional opportunities for improvements. I also believe Council needs to set a visionary goal for growth over the next 4 years, and the EDC can work with PKED and others to formulate a strategy to attract new businesses and residents, and assist existing businesses in growth.
- Community Involvement
Trent Lakes has a lot of Associations, organizations, special events, art shows, community centers and social gatherings on-going through out the year. The Community thrives because of the numerous volunteers that make these things happen. What has your involvement been and what are your plans for Community Involvement as a Council member?
As a participant, I have gone to and am a big fan of the Buckhorn Arts Festival (and think it could be an “anchor” for a more expansive and multi-faceted tourist event!), craft shows, markets, socials at the community centre, etc.
I have been very active in our Picard Lake Cottage Association – striking and chairing a Committee to develop and promote a Lake Plan, Vice President and President for over 5 years, member of the Block 20 Committee and the Executive recruitment committee. I serve on the Board of the Cavendish Community Ratepayers Association.
I believe in community involvement and volunteering my time and skills for local organizations.
I also believe volunteer involvement makes a community more vibrant, attractive to newcomers and attentive to its most vulnerable residents.
Council needs to ensure there is an open, two-way channel of communications with all these associations, continue to assign Council members to sit ad hoc on the boards of key organizations, and schedule at least one annual meeting for an open forum with organization representatives.
- Adopt a Road
Previously we had a Master list of area residents that were “adopt a road” volunteers. As they were registered, they were given the ability to pick-up garbage on the road sides, camp sites, etc. and take it to the transfer site on an adhoc basis (unsorted). This has now changed and only organized “clean-up” days are recognized. Outside of these days, if people see garbage on the road sides it must be reported to Twp. staff who will come and pick it up, which is costly, restrictive and doesn’t allow the community to participate easily in on-going road clean up. What is your position on this practice?
Trash pickup along roadsides is not a responsibility of the Municipality – for whatever reason. It falls to conscientious individuals to do that. Unfortunately, careless and irresponsible people continue to throw trash from their vehicles, dump garbage bags on roadsides and otherwise litter our beautiful area.
I agree that the Adopt A Road program has become a little too restrictive, (a County program by the way), and requires volunteers to sign up and commit to annually clearing trash for a stretch of road. I have organized road cleanups for our cottage association for years, but no one is willing or able to sign up for an ongoing commitment. They are, however, very eager to pitch in if available.
I have been pushing for Trent Lakes to be more proactive in road cleanup. They did approve the following, on June 6th, 2017:
Resolution No. R2017-272 Moved by: Councillor Raymond Seconded by: Councillor Lambshead That Council receives the report from the Clerk regarding the clean-up of public lands; and further That Council authorizes office staff to provide a onetime waste pass to an individual or group on a case by case basis meeting certain criteria for the clean-up of lands not owned by the Municipality. Carried.
I’m not sure how or if this was communicated to local associations.
My suggestion is to have Council promote a designated road cleanup weekend every year, work with cottage, road, snowmobile and ATV associations to participate, have road crews pick up collected garbage and recyclables at the end of each day, and organize some type of recognition event for all the volunteers at the end of the weekend– perhaps a BBQ or at least an ice cream social. This would serve to clean up our roads, make a statement for potential litterers, bring the Municipality, associations and volunteers working together for a common cause, and start a tradition for future generations.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond! If you have questions on the above, please call me at 705-488-1434
Ref #1: Resolution No. R2018-300
Moved by: Councillor Raymond
Seconded by: Councillor Persson
Whereas a centralized public works depot for the Municipality of Trent Lakes is not a viable option at this time;
Therefore be it resolved that the public works depots remain status quo; and further
That Council directs staff to provide a report to Council that identifies the necessary repairs, costs of repairs and recommended improvements costs for the Buckhorn and the Bobcaygeon depots to meet operational needs now and for the future which may include additional equipment storage space; and further
That Council directs staff to provide a report to Council that identifies solutions and estimated costs for a seasonal structure for Galway to meet operational needs now and for the future.
Mayor Matthews requested a recorded vote. The vote was cast as follows:
Councillor Raymond – yes
Deputy Mayor Windover – yes
Mayor Matthews – no
Councillor Persson – yes
Councillor Lambshead – yes
The motion was carried.
Ref #2: Resolution No. R2018-412 Moved by: Councillor Lambshead Seconded by: Councillor Persson That Council direct staff to notify bidders that Q-01-2018 will not be awarded as the project is not moving forward; and further That Council repeal Resolution No. R2018-137 and do the necessary repairs to use Galway Depot as a winter shelter only for the 2018/2019 winter; and further That the Director of Public Works is directed to get a minimum of three quotations for the cost of work to repair the Galway Depot and provide to the Purchasing Coordinator to review; and further That Council approve the awarding of the quotation to the bidder who best meets the time and price constraints; and further That the Director of Finance/Treasurer be directed to use funds from the Roads Capital Reserve for this project. Carried.
Ref #3: Resolution R2018-413 That Council directs staff to advise the Incoming Council (2018-2022) to engage & hold in-depth review(s) with Public Works Department Management team to identify the optimum use of funds for Repairs, Upgrades & Improvements to Public Works Depots to meet current & future operational needs and to allocate the necessary funding in the 2019 budget and for the works to be done ASAP and further That to properly deal with the Roads Depots Council needs to account for the operational needs and long term pressures of the new 407 and the future growth in our settlement areas. Carried.