Carleton Place Town Council held 2 meetings on Tuesday June 12 in reverse order from their normal process. The Policy Review Committee meeting convened first in the session with a full Council meeting following. The reasoning for the rare schedule change was that last Tuesday, June 5th, saw no meetings due to the number of councilors attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The evening started off with a visit from newly reelected MPP Randy Hillier who delivered his thanks to the residents of Carleton Place for demonstrating their support. This was the first of a series of meetings Hillier has planned to visit all municipal councils in his riding to outline his priorities for the upcoming Queen’s Park session. He stated his commitment to see the provincial government move on delivering “predictable and certain funding to municipalities for infrastructure investments” among other things. He confirmed that the Conservative caucus under Doug Ford was committed to “fixing the fundamental flaws in provincial municipal relations”.
A presentation followed from local property owner/developer Cheryl Batten regarding her position on unnecessary delays in the approval process for a multi-res unit slated to be built at 50 Allen St. Batten took the time at the beginning of her speech to remind everyone that building a multi-res facility was a condition of purchase imposed by the town, the former property’s owner when she bought it. She was seeking to move up the final council authorization to July 3rd stating she felt the delays were excessively unreasonable. Staff had planned on presenting their final report to the Planning Committee on August 7th. Municipal planner Joanna Bowes indicated that formal notices of the August meeting as well as a public input deadline of June 18 had already gone out to adjoining property owners and related third parties. The committee voted to keep the original meeting schedule without change.
A review of construction development charges was brought to the committee due to a request from the library for $200K in funding for increased resources due to the needs of the town’s growing population. This led to a lively debate on why development charges could be used for the library and not to help offset costs of change-room renovations/expansion at the Neelin Street Arena. Former town CAO and Special Projects Manager Paul Knowles explained that the rules on development charges spending are set by the province and are fairly restrictive. Both Mayor Louis Antonakos and Council Theresa Fritz found it hard to understand how the arena wasn’t facing the same population-growth pressures as the library and would therefore be available to receive the same funding consideration. Knowles replied that “no one had made the case to him that the arena change-room project was strictly growth related”. In the end a recorded vote called by Antonakos carried the staff recommendation to allocate the $200K to the library (and nothing to the arena) with only Antonakos and Fritz in opposition.