Highlights – Town Council Meeting, March 8, 2022
Meeting was held in person at Whiteside Taylor and was also offered by videoconference. These notes are a brief summary. – Full recording and agenda of the Town Council meeting is available on the Town website.
Mayor Ektvedt opened the meeting at 7:30pm.
The Mayor requests a minute of silence in support of the victims involved in war in Ukraine.
Question Period I
Four citizens were in attendance.
In person questions:
- A resident requested to have a shredding machine at the next semi-annual meeting for citizen’s use.
- N. Bouchard, Director General, responded one will be made available in the future. In the interim, if citizens have some shredding, they are welcome to go to Town Hall where a small shredder is available. For large amounts of shredding it is advisable to wait until the large capacity shredder is in place.
- A resident would like to know whether there are any initiatives or donations for Ukrainians provided by the Town.
- Mayor Ektvedt indicated that Council would discuss at their next Special Caucus meeting and that should citizens believe that there is a role for Baie-D’Urfé in this capacity, they are encouraged to provide feedback to Council.
Mayor Ekvedt acknowledges that citizens who ask their questions in person have the advantage to clarify their questions if something is not clear for Council. For online questions, should there be some clarification needed, Mayor Ekvedt will allow some time during the second question period for those questions to be clarified by citizens.
- Has Council considered using Public Works to provide office space for some of the increased number of staff?
- Mayor Ekvedt answers that this was discussed by the current Council and that it was decided that these employees need to be at Town Hall. Public Works needs considerable work and this project is in the PTI for further discussion by Council.
- Since there are no assigned portfolios to Council members, which elected officials have the biggest interest in addressing communications with residents?
- Mayor Ekvedt answered that citizens should feel free to reach out to any Councillor to address any issue. Mayor Ekvedt indicates that citizens can write a letter to all of Council or they may contact their Councillor of choice. In addition, Mayor Ekvedt introduced Philippe St-Aubain, a new specialist in Communications, who may also be of help. There is an open door policy and citizens are also welcome to speak to the Director General, Mr. Bouchard.
- A resident was surprised that there was no symbol of solidarity displayed at Town Hall for Ukraine. He understands that this was proposed by one Councillor and that citizens would support a statement of such support.
- The Mayor did propose an approach to show solidarity after consultation with the Administration. The majority of Council did not support this motion. Council agreed to discuss this again soon to see how it could best show its support for the Ukraine.
- Has Council considered a green barrier for Highway 20? The barrier would be composed of evergreens and would be more visually acceptable than a concrete barrier.
- Mayor Ekvedt made the distinction between a green sound barrier whose purpose is to absorb the sound and simply the planting of evergreens. The planting of evergreens would not have sound absorption as its primary purpose and although may have some effect along with some psychological and esthetic benefits this would be different than a green sound barrier. The development of a green sound barrier was not accepted by this Council, as well as previous ones. This decision was supported by the majority of citizens who wanted a sound barrier. In addition, the soil, the wind and salt would not be ideal for tree growth.
Commandant Couture Report
- Speed operations have been performed at the corner of Lee and the Trans-Canada Highway where several tickets were issued. The SPVM also managed a complaint on Surrey.
- Station 1 welcomed a new of Community Officer, who comes from Station 8 in Lachine. She has a lot of experience with community matters, schools and seniors.
- The SPVM is currently recruiting cross walk guards and indicated that if there is anyone who has some time and interest in youth to send their name to Station 1. Guards are needed during the morning, at lunch time and in the afternoon.
- The SPVM continues to have bicycle patrols in the winter using Fat Bikes. They patrol everywhere including parks and wooded areas. In Baie-D’Urfé, on weekends they are usually at Allen’s Hill. In addition, they were present February 24, 2022 for Winterfest.
- The SPVM sincerely thanks the citizens of Baie-D’Urfé, the V-Cops and Rescue Squad for their assistance in searching for a local 71 year old woman who had gone missing. All methods of investigation were deployed and unfortunately, sadly, her body was found on the shores of Baie-D’Urfé. The Commandant wants to sincerely thank all of those who helped in the search operation.
- There is a new crime trend related to on-line selling platforms such as Kijiji or Marketplace. No incident has occurred in Baie-D’Urfé but it has occurred on the West Island. The sellers meet the buyers at a designated meeting place and subsequently the sellers steal any items of value including money from the prospective buyer. The SPVM would like citizens to be vigilant when doing these types of transactions and advise to always know as much as you can about the seller, and to perform the transaction in a highly visible public place. The SPVM recommends not selling items of too great a value on these platforms. Moreover, the SPVM has developed secure locations with cameras for this type of transaction, however, the closest one is Station 4 in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. They are working to have a similar zone at Station 1 in the coming year.
- The Mayor spoke to International Women’s day and indicated that on her political FaceBook page she acknowledged, in particular, the women of Ukraine who are acting as soldiers and those women and children who are doing their best to stay safe in the Ukraine. In addition, the Mayor thanked the new Communication Coordinator, for the montage he did to celebrate the actions of women working in the town.
- Three Annual General Meetings (AGM) occurred in February.
- The Citizens’ Association (CA) had their AGM virtually and there was an incredible turnout to the event. There were new members elected and others shifted their positions. In terms of the leadership, Jack Toyota is moving from Chair to Vice-Chair and Betsy Williamson is now taking the role as Chair. Please refer to the March News & Views where the CA has done a summary of the new Executive.
- The second AGM that was held was by the Community Building Committee (CBC) in person at Fritz Farm on February 24th.
- The third AGM was the Library which was led by Cllr Nadia Bissada and held virtually on February 28th.
- The Mayor thanked the CA for their organization of Winterfest and the Rescue Squad for serving hot dogs and hot drinks provided by the Citizens’ Association.
- Councillor Bissada reviewed the withdrawal of funding from the Quebec government of Dawson College indicating that this puts the college in a precarious situation. Cllr Bissada encourages citizens to sign a petition that is located on the College website to reverse this decision that had been approved in 2020 and retracted in 2022. The deadline for signing the petition is April 11, 2022. Cllr Bissada also noted that for transparency, Dawson was her last employer before she retired.
Director General’s Report
- In February, the Administration had to go back to tender for the By Law Reform as the submissions were deemed non-conforming. The Administration pulled together all resources, on a tight timeline, to have a new submission for approval during this meeting. The Director General thanked Gabriel Hudon, Urban Planning, and Tania Lê, Town Clerk, for the work they did to make this happen. The new contract will be awarded this evening.
- The Environment Department at Public Works, is unexpectedly without any staff. One person went for a planned surgery and will be back in a few weeks and the second person resigned recently. This gap may cause some delays over the next few weeks and the Administration asks for citizens to be patient. The vacated position will be posted soon. The Environment Committee will move forward despite this gap. Council will review the list of interested citizens that have been submitted, and the Committee will be named at the April Council meeting.
- Cllr Ryan is authorized to lead a judicial file and any mileage expenses associated with this role has been approved. Other than as a file number, the judicial file was not discussed.
- Mayor Ekvedt and Cllr Lowensteyn are authorized to attend the “Assises de l’Union des Municipalitiés du Québec” (a provincial conference for elected municipal officials), which will be held in Québec City from May 12-13. In addition, authorization was granted for both the Mayor and Cllr Lowensteyn to attend the 2022 Annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities, (the federal conference for elected municipal officials) being held in Regina from June 2-5, 2022. Expenses related to these two conferences were approved.
- All Council completed the mandatory training and received the Certification of the Professional Development Program on Municipal Ethics and Good Conduct.
- Approval of expenses for the month of February in the amount of $8,088,644.74. This amount is mainly due to the payment of the first installment to the agglomeration.
- The Minister of Finance was approved to go to tender for the borrowing by-laws with the bank on behalf of the Town.
Parks, Recreation and Environment
- The Strategy Against the Emerald Ash Borer Program for the Town has been extended until December 31, 2022. Citizens will continue to have a rebate for the felling of their ash trees.
- Authorization for the partnership with GRAME and financial contribution for the tree planting in the Industrial Park. GRAME has the objective of planting trees on private property to increase the number of trees in these spaces. To help meet GRAME’s planting objectives it will approach industry, business and institutions in the Baie-D’Urfé industrial park to form a partnership to fund the planting of 200 trees per year for 4 years (2022-2025). At a maximal cost of $85 per tree, this will provide the planting of these 200 trees for a total of $17,000 per annum for the 4-year period above.
- A grant was requested to support the curling club due to the closing of the club because of COVID and for maintenance of the compressor, which has not been performing as it should. A grant was therefore approved in the amount of $7,789.67 to the Baie-D’Urfé Curling Club.
- The contract was awarded for professional services for the review and reform of the Urban Planning By-Laws of the Town of Baie-D’Urfé in the amount of $76,573.35.
- The proposed work to expand Town Hall was deemed by the majority of the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC) not to meet two sections (Section 5.5/Integration into the Surroundings and Section 8/Accessibility ) of the Site Planning and Architectural Integration Program (SPAIP) and therefore the proposed work was not recommended by the TPAC. However, Council did not support the reasons outlined by the TPAC for Section 5.5 but it did support the issues raised by the TPAC on Section 8 which involved providing a separate pedestrian path on the west side to improve the accessibility to Town Hall. The renovation proposed for Town Hall does involve removing more than 50% of the roof and more than 20% of the load-bearing walls and therefore it is considered a demolition and it will need to be brought forward to the Demolition Committee. Council advised citizens not to be alarmed if they see a Demolition hearing for Town Hall and reassures that this is not a complete demolition but rather is the process required to adhere to the current by-laws with the existing renovation plan.
Citizen Services and Community Affairs
- Financial Assistance was provided to citizens for the Senneville Summer Day Camp for the year This subsidy is available for Baie-D’Urfé citizens from June 27 to August 19, 2022 at a rate of $75 per week per child with the appropriate supporting documentation. Between 6-12 children from Baie-D’Urfé participated in the past year.
- Annual Requests for Financial Assistance for non-profit organizations for 2022 was awarded in the amount of $34,976.28 in total for a number of local organizations (listed in the Council Meeting Minutes).
- One third of the annual membership fees for the Morgan Arboretum will be defrayed by the Town for citizens. Citizens will no longer need to be apply at Town Hall for reduced fees as they will be automatically deducted at the Arboretum. It is important to note that currently, the Arboretum is at its maximal membership so it is not accepting new memberships at this time. Mayor Ekvedt stated that 80 residents took advantage of this program last year and it cost the Town approximately $2300.
Question Period II
When will work on the Town Hall begin? Mr. Bouchard answered the Town expects to go to tender in March 2022 for these services. The Demolition hearing will need to occur and based on this, work should begin in July-August and will last 1.5-2 years. Employees are expected to be moved from Town Hall in June.
Andrea Gilpin Reporting for News & Views