Highlights – Town Council Meeting, January 12, 2021

(Held via webcast due to COVID-19 restrictions)Full recording and agenda of the Town Council meeting is available on the Town website.)

Mayor Ektvedt opened the meeting at 7:31 pm

 Question Period I

Questions sent prior to the meeting to the Town Clerk (as per instructions on the Baie-D’Urfé website).

  • Question regarding the maintenance of a winter walking path in the CRA (Canine Recreation Area) of the Bertold Park – Councillor Lowensteyn:  As stated previously in December, Public Works will not maintain a walking path inside the CRA for reason of safety and risk of damage to the grass; there was no walking path in the current CRA in previous winters, and hardly any demand for it.

 

SPVM Station 1  Report

Lieutenant Deslauriers:  an accident occurred in the early hours of the morning of December 17, on the Corner of Woodland and H20, as a vehicle hit the concrete wall on the corner of Woodland and H20, resulting in the death of its driver; the accident was deemed to be premeditated and affected the traffic until late in the morning.  With respect to the Covid situation, there will be an increased presence of the police to ensure all restrictions are respected, including the curfew and social distancing in the parks; all sports activities are restricted to members of the same family.  Mayor Ektvedt thanked the Lieutenant for the police presence on Allan Hill when many residents were there for sledding.

Mayor’s Report

1)Wished a happy new year to all residents and acknowledged the unusual nature of this holiday season.  Administration and Council worked together to send gift packages to volunteers in lieu of the usual Volunteer Recognition evening; the numerous heartwarming messages received in response to these gifts were overwhelmingly rewarding. 2) Inspiring acts of kindness in our community:  Maxwell Residence and VCops continuing to prepare and deliver meals to residents in challenging situations; a group of volunteers, led by the VCops leaders, prepared and delivered a Christmas meal to 20 residents in difficult situations; the meals were complemented with cookies offered by the Scout; many other gestures took place reflecting our community spirit.  3) Attended the Yacht Club AGM held as a Zoom Webinar – well prepared and well attended. 4) Attends the CIUSSS weekly meetings, now twice weekly. The vaccination process is going well with the Pfizer vaccine; 500-600 vaccinated daily and expected to reach 1000/day and to complete the vaccination of citizens 85 age and older by mid to end February. The situation is still critical and we all need to respect the rules in order to ensure the health of our citizens. 5) Welcome the new Community Coordinator Antonella Di Marino. 6) Correspondence sent to the Mayor and to Council members are always read and discussed; depending on the nature of the issue, they may be responded directly or redirected to Administration.

Councillors’ Report

Councillor Lowensteyn1) Skating rinks will be closing at 7:00pm during the curfew. 2) Due to various incidents in the skating rinks where regulations were not respected, the use of the skating rink is now restricted to members of one family at a time. If such problems persist, then hockey sticks and pucks will be banned on the rinks, as they are in Montreal.   3) Public Works will groom the trails for cross country skiing as soon as there is enough snow to do so without damaging the grass.  4) Request to residents to ensure that no litter is left behind during sledding and other activities in the town’s parks and woods. 5) Walking on frozen lake St-Louis may be dangerous as the thickness of the ice varies at different place due to temperature fluctuations and frequent currents. 6) For the  Lunch&Learn program, the January online session was cancelled as McGill closed its kitchen labs until February 8th; it is hoped that the February session will be held; updates will be posted in the next issue of the N&V. 8) Covid Task Force pursues its work:  seniors continue to have early access to Provigo every Thursday, 7:00am-8:00am for shopping; deliveries of groceries continue every Friday to residents who are unable to shop; meals continue to be prepared by Maxwell Residence and delivered by the VCops to residents in special situations. A big thank you to all volunteers who ensure these community services.

Councillor Phelps: 1) Overwhelmed by the thank you notes sent by the volunteers upon receiving the town’s Christmas packages. 2) Following the Premier’s announcement that libraries could open their doors for students to study, our library decided not to do so, as most of its desk volunteers are seniors; moreover, the need for that service is not significant in Baie-D’Urfé. 3) Will replace Mayor Ektvedt as the Chair of the Traffic Committee; its meetings will resume in January and will follow-up on outstanding issues, including speeding on Apple Hill and Morgan.

Councilor Gilpin: 1) Director of Communication is on leave for an undetermined period and the  DG is taking over in her absence, but is seeking a temporary replacement 2) Took over the Security portfolio which was previously under Mayor Ektvedt : Rescue Squad had tabled 310 volunteer-hours during December and well over 2,000 service hours during 2020.  The VCops are busy as well, reaching out to isolated residents, delivering meals to seniors, and patrolling; they were also present to ensure safety at Allan Hill when many families were sledding. With regards to safety on Allan Hills, importance of observing social distancing and exercising caution while sledding on the hill. 3) Finance: Covid expenses for the year amounted to $151,188, which corresponds to prior estimates.  With respect to transfer taxes, while they were lower than initially budgeted around October/November, the town ended up exceeding its budget.

Director General’s Report

1) During the closure of the town hall and public work buildings, the town is fully operational – residents can get in touch with any of the department as all employees are now connected wirelessly 2) Invite residents to attend the virtual meeting regarding the Town Hall renovation project – it will be structured as a Zoom Webinar, with only the panelists visible and with the attending resident able to ask questions. 3) Residents can still ask for help from Rescue Squad and VCops as their services were deemed essential and are not restricted by the curfew.

Correspondence

  • Letter asking 1) Why the town did not consider a 6-meter berm, instead of 5-meter one, as was initially proposed by the Environment Committee? – DG : The project was initially  estimated at two million dollars; in order to remain within that estimate, it was decided to add a 3.5m wall on top of an existing berm built a few years ago and whose height varies  from 1.5m to 2m, which would have ended up being a wall of 5m to 5.5m high. But as the town went to tender the cost turned out to be $3.9 million, well beyond the initial estimates; the cost of a 6-meter berm would have been prohibitive. In both Lachine and |Pointe Claire, the government paid for the entire 6-meter walls years ago.  2) Why isn’t the town doing infrastructure maintenance? – DG: In the 2021 budget, road repairs and infrastructure maintenance were included and will be carried out every year.
  • Letter by recent owners of a property on Oxford built in the 1950’s, requesting that the bylaws applicable at the time of the construction be applied to their house today to allow them to proceed with renovation work – Councillor Ryan – this is an unusual case and the Planning Advisory Committee will discuss the case and see how to address it. The Urban Department will be in touch with the property’s owners.

Administration

– Tabling of the register containing the disclosure statements regarding gifts, hospitalities or other benefits received by Council members in 2020.

– Tabling of the Report on the application of the By-law no 1068 on contract management for 2020.

– Amendment to resolution no 2020-12-215 – “Amendment to the Compendium on Working Conditions and Salaries for Management Employees for the position of Public Works Supervisor”

Finance

– Approval of the list of expenses for December 2020 ($707,134.25), expenses similar to those of last year.

– Tabling of the list of contractual expenses for 2021

– Ratification of the Assignment of the Contract for Professional Services granted to Goudreau Poirier Inc, transferring the contract to reflect the new corporate identity of the said company.

Public Works and Town Infrastructures

1)Authorization of an additional expenditure of $128,189.74 to FNX Innovation who needs to do additional work for drainage problems on Surrey. This will allow Public Works to address the flooding problems on Surrey and its connecting streets.

2) Award of the contract in the amount of $75,493.52  to SPACIA Construction Inc.  for the rearrangement of the reception area at the Public Works Building – this project is separate from and entirely unrelated to the town hall renovation; it ensures the safety of the employees at the reception area at the Public Works building.

Town Planning

  1. Approval of a request for a Minor Exemption at 20735 Lakeshore for a rear set-back to be 7.2 meters instead of 7.5m .

Citizen Services and Community Affairs

Approval of grants for local non-profit community organizations in 2021 in the amount of :

$292,122 distributed as follows:

                                                                                                                                                $

Library 135,000
Baie-D’Urfé Curling Club, emergency measures     5,000
Junior Squadron Sailing School     5,000
Fritz Farm Youth Gardening program     2,000
Lakeshore Minor Hockey Federation*   19,830
BKRA Ringuette*     2,292
Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence (previously West Island Palliative Care)   12,500
Baie-D’Urfé Citizen’s Association   33,500
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary – Québec    4,000
Lunch&Learn program    2,000
Baie-D’Urfé Community Buildings Club (CBC)  70,000
Junior Council    1,000
TOTAL 292,122

*Given the Covid situation, the amounts assigned to those two organizations will be pending on them resuming their activities in 2021

Meeting closed at 8:51 pm.

Nadia Bissada, reporting for News & Views