Highlights – Town Council Meeting, February 11, 2020

Mayor Tutino opened the meeting at 7:30 pm.  12 citizens attended.

Question Period I

– A resident’s question regarding the septic system problem at Joseph Henrico and the progress made on that file – Communication ongoing; it is now up to the school board to contact the provincial government and obtain authorization and to start the work; information and updates available on the Town’s website; DG would meet with the resident and discuss in more details.

– Can a fence be installed to stop the many trucks used by the next-door construction site from encroaching on the resident’s property lines and damaging its lawn and driveway? – To be verified with Public Works as to what is permitted and under what criteria.

– Request to add some additional light to the skating ring behind the Red Barn – will be looked at and followed-up.

– The owner of a recently built house was asked to move his heat pump as its current position contravenes with by-law 3.4.D. – the issue will be addressed in a separate meeting with all players present.

– The existing $900 fine imposed for cutting trees is not high enough to be a deterrent. Could the decision to increase significantly that amount be made without further delay, since the issue was raised a few months ago? – Suggestion to create a new bylaw that would encompass all  tree-related issues.

– Why is the electronic billboard being replaced at a replacement cost of $60,000? – The lifespan of the existing billboard is coming to its end, hence its effectiveness and accuracy is decreasing.

– Request to announce a community event via the electronic billboard and the town’s mail chimp – Needs to  follow the established procedure, by phone or online.

– Thanks extended to the Town and the Council for: 1) the improvement of the hockey skating rinks;  2) for the quick clearing of the snow during the last snow storm; 3) for the continuing support of the Coast Guard.

 SPVM Station 1 – Commandant Bigras

As a replacement to Commandant Breton during his extended sick leave (due to an off-duty injury), Commandant Bigras wanted to assure residents that there is no disruption to the quality or level of services provided by the SPVM. While Baie-D’Urfé continues to enjoy a low rate of accidents and/or criminal activity; there has been a relative increase of break-and-enter recently (two in January and three in the last couple of weeks). The police are analyzing the facts; it seems the break-and-enters occur mostly late afternoon/early evening and penetrate from the backyard. Residents are reminded to notify the police station or call 911 if they observe suspicious activities. They are also reminded to keep front and back doors locked, have enough lighting and, if they are to go away, to ensure that friends or neighbors or others are keeping an eye on their home.

Mayor’s Report

1)  With respect to the Berm, as it was previously reported, the MTQ accepted to finance 50% of the cost of the project provided the length of wall is extended by 65m, from 850m to 915m, with an estimated cost of over $5 million. The 50% financing will apply retroactively, i.e. the Town will  recover half of its earlier expenditures on this project. Under the new scenario, the Town expects to go to tender towards the end of 2020. 2) Regarding taxation, the Town budgeted  $18.1 million in taxation revenue; it actually received $18.5 million due to evaluation changes in the non-residential property; hence a surplus of $400,000 3) As the Curling Club celebrates its 60th anniversary this February, it is fitting to talk about its role in the community over the years and its recent rebound, with 200 members, becoming once again a center for sporting and social activities; residents are encouraged to join and discover this great winter sport.

4) The Commission sur l’eau, l’environnement, le développement durable et les grands parcs is a joint group which includes the City of Montreal and the demerged cities and Mayor Tutino is VP for the demerged cities. The commission is looking at waste management with the objective of achieving a zero waste goal by 2030. To that effect it held a large number of public consultations, and heard numerous presentations (resident Susan Hawker was among the presenters). The commission will review its findings and proceed to issue recommendations and submit the document to the City of Montreal and the demerged cities. Achieving a zero waste by 2030 is a difficult goal for some demerged cities, and an impossible one for the City of Montreal. 5) The National Assembly had just adopted Bill 40 with respect to the Service Centres, replacing school boards for elementary and high schools. The bill stipulates that these Service Centres will be allowed to require from any local municipality a given property, free of charge, to be used as a school or centre, which could mean that a Service Centre could take over any of our town’s green spaces and  build on it.  The cities are planning to regroup and fight the bill and its implications.

Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Lowensteyn: 1)  On February 10th attended a meeting organized by resident Susan Hawker and attended by 11 residents from different cities (Baie-D’Urfé, Senneville, Lachine, Beaconsfield, Dorval, Pointe Claire, Westmount, Ste-Anne de Bellevue) to exchange ideas about recycling and best practices.  2) On February 12th at Provigo, distribution to residents of reusable cotton bag with the Baie-D’Urfé logo. Bags will be distributed again at other events. 3) On March 8th, the Citizen’s Association will celebrate International Women’s Day for the second year – the event’s theme:  “Caregiving and Self-Care”. 4) Winterfest is scheduled for Saturday, February 15, offering lots of fun activities for all ages.

Councillor Ektvedt :  In the absence of Councillor Phelps, attended a public demolition committee meeting; both the Interim Director of Town Planning and the applicant made a presentation; meeting quite informative and well handled.

Councillor Doherty: 1) Following-up on an earlier request,  Hydro Quebec has confirmed a date for a presentation to the VCops to help them identify problems that may result in power failure,.  2) With respect to snow clearing, Baie-D’Urfé was among the first cities to clear the way to its hydrants.

Director General’s Report

1) With respect to the CPE, there were meetings with the architects and a first sketch of the new daycare will be submitted to the council in February, followed by a public consultation, probably in March. 2) First draft of the renovations/extension of the Town Hall submitted to the Council who requested modifications; a new version will be submitted in February, and if approved information will be made public and will be published on the town’s website. 3) The septic system will be replaced at the Yacht Club this year, and then at City Hall. 4)  Had initiated a dialogue and is now a member of a Strategic Development Committee to prepare for future installation of 5G; the new technology requires a very large number of antennas installed with 100m distance between each, with significant ramifications. Montreal is trying to control such installations before allowing companies to proceed.

Correspondence

1) Letter informing the Town that Joseph Henrico school will open a pre-garden class for 4-year-olds in September 2020, offering a free daycare option to parents. 2) Complaint about excessive lighting 21 Sunny Acres – Complaint will be dealt with separately, but excessive lighting has become an issue to be addressed by the Council at a later date.

Finance

Expenses tabled for Dec. 13, 2019 and January 2020,

Parks, Recreation & Environment

Approval of contract in the amount $21,495 to prepare plans and specs for the construction of a pedestrian path, with a picnic table, 2 benches, 2 garbage cans and 1 water fountain,  at the canine area of Bertold Park.

Public Works &Town Infrastructures

Approvals of: 1) Contract for professional services of a land surveyor for the construction of the new CPE in the amount of $24,604. 2) Purchase of an electric vehicle for an amount of $32,856. 3) Adjustment to the snow removal contract to reflect cost of living increases. 4) Cancellation of contract for the repair of the A-40 service road and Morgan Blvd., as more thorough repairs are needed and will be undertaken next year.  5) Purchase of an all-purpose tractor for the sidewalks. 6) To sign a letter of agreement with Ville de Montréal, to allow Baie-D’Urfé to access Montreal’s geospacial data and add its drainage plan to the network’s geomatic map.

Town Planning

Authorization, by majority vote, to install a temporary building at 53 Lakeview to be used as trailer/shelter by the construction workers in winter.

Citizen Services & Community Affairs

Approvals of:  1) The request by Dorset school to use the Rhian-Wilkinson Park, the green space, and the Fritz Farm for the annual LBPSB XCountry Run, May 11-12, 2020; 2)  A subsidy to parents whose children will attend the 2020 Summer day camp in Senneville, in the amount  of $46/child/week.

Question Period II

– Is the Council going to revisit the idea of holding a Summer Camp in Baie-D’Urfé in the future? – Will wait to see and evaluate this summer with the Senneville summer camp option.

– How many spaces would be available at the Joseph Henrico pre-school class for 4-year-olds, and what would be the implication for the new daycare? – The number of spaces is not known yet, and it would not have an impact since not many children come from JH school and demand is mostly for younger toddlers.

– Would the 5G antennas present a health risk to residents? – Under  Federal jurisdiction and governed by Santé Canada and have to comply with its safety code. However the technology is quite invasive and raises a lot of concern.

Nadia Bissada, reporting for News & Views