On Tuesday, Nov 27, the members of the outgoing Carleton Place Council held their final Policy Review Committee meeting and full council session with all in attendance in front of a full gallery of residents. An abbreviated Policy Review agenda came and went with barely 5 minutes elapsed under the direction of chair Councilor Brian Doucett.
A planning department recommendation to extend a subdivision draft plan approval to Dec 2019. The developer making the request was Thorbjornsson Group Ltd. for a property on Taber Street. This was approved with little discussion. Outgoing Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn put forward two items; one related to the museum and one regarding a memorial to a past town employee.
Flynn’s request on behalf of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum was to consider making the curator a municipal employee or at least extending the town’s benefits package to that position. The committee passed this request onto the new council for consideration in the New Year’s budget. His second presentation related to completing a commitment to create an appropriate memorial for former public works employee Keith Lesway who died in June of 2007 as a result of injuries sustained on the job. The committee approved the recommendation for Flynn to work with town staff and longtime friend of Lesway, Colin Hines in completing the project.
During the council session Mayor Louis Antonakos spoke against the proposed new procedural bylaw which governs how council and committee meetings are run. He stated he felt that the move to halve the number of committee meetings with a new Committee of the Whole (COW) system would reduce public input and transparency as well as accountability. He stated he had received several emails from residents concerned with the reduction in time for access to municipal governance operations. He also noted that the requirement for persons to register to speak on any particular issue would reduce their participation. Deputy Clerk Stacey Blair mentioned she had also heard comments from the pubic and reminded council members that the new bylaw was a living document subject to change and amendments at council’s discretion. In the end, a recorded vote called by Antonakos the new bylaw was passed with only Antonakos voting against it.
Council received and accepted current Clerk Duncan Rogers’ letter of retirement effective Dec 31. Members warmly thanked him for his 38 years of service to the town.
Antonakos took his last opportunity as mayor to recognize volunteers in attendance for their valuable service to the community. Carleton Place’s Environmental Advisory Committee’s members Bill Slade (charter member and chair) and Margo Willmot received certificates of appreciation for their work. The committee recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and Antonakos took the time to cover the highlights of its work including diverting over 98 tons of electronics, small appliances and white goods from landfills over a 5 year span from 2010 to 2015.