Highlights – Town Council Meeting, March 09, 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 7:30pm

Question Period I

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

1) Question regarding the groomed trail for cross country skiing at Fritz Farm.  Councillor Lowensteyn: The trail has been successful in terms of its use and next season’s equipment will be better.

2) Question regarding the Bertold Park flag.  Mr. Bouchard: A mechanism was installed to allow the flag to be lowered, however due to winds, the hoist is now jammed at its highest position.  The repair company is closed until the end of February, Public Works will get in touch with them.

SPVM Station 1 Report

Lieutenant Deslauriers: 1) Two officers will be patrolling parks and walking paths during the spring to ensure proper physical distancing.  2) On April 29 from 10-11am in Senneville (corner of Elmwood and Senneville), a commemorative ceremony will be held for Constable André Lalonde who died in service 25 years ago.  3) Reminder that red zone rules still apply – curfew from 8pm to 5am and a limit of 8 people for outdoor activities.

Mayor’s Report

1) Covid-19 information: vaccination campaign started March 1st.  Closest mass vaccination clinic is the Bob-Birnie Arena in Pointe Claire.  Beginning next week, the CLSC will be going to homes providing vaccinations for individuals over 60 who are unable to leave their homes.  By the beginning of next week, we should know which pharmacies will be involved in the vaccination campaign.  Baie-D’Urfé has 0% positivity of cases.  March 11th is the national day of remembrance for victims of Covid-19 and their families; Quebec will honour a moment of silence at 1pm; the symbol is a white rose.  2) Volunteers: Thank you to the Rescue Squad who have been patrolling and stationed at Allen’s Hill this season.  Thank you to the Covid Response Team who delivered over 200 packages of cookies to health care workers.  Thanks to Nadia Bissada and Suzanne Dutoy, from the Citizens’ Association, for organizing a week of webinars to celebrate International Women’s Day.  March 13th, the Miracle Montreal food drive will take place – leave a box of non-perishable foods on your doorstep by 10am and volunteers will pick them up.  March 20th will be the Baie-D’Urfé Chocolate Hop organised by Oana Silaghi.  3) Administrative and Town Council items: See the Town website for FAQ on the Town Hall renovation.  Congratulations to Darlene Ward for celebrating 15 years of exceptional service to the Town.  Council extends their sympathy to Councillor Doherty for the loss of his sister.

Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Gilpin: 1) Security: Coast Guard is preparing for end of April launch with the rescue boat and are expecting increased water traffic.  Refer to the News and Views article on Ice Safety.  V-Cops – incident whereby a senior had to be rushed to hospital, please wear reflective clothing at night.  V-Cops received their new patrol vehicle. Rescue Squad has done 252 volunteer hours in February, director Wayne Belvedere was one of the judges in the Snowman/Snow sculpture contest.  2) Finance: while it may seem that there are more houses selling in the neighbourhood, there were only 6 certificates issued this year (compared to 5 last year).  Renovations of public works reception area are underway.  Berm study was done.  Arboriculture services were completed.  3) Youth: Junior Council continues to meet monthly.  First virtual games night will be March 19th.  RSVP by March 18th to receive the link.

Director General’s Report

Town Hall Renovation: January 19th the Town Hall restoration plan was presented via zoom.  Around 40 citizens attended, and the presentation is available on the Town’s website.  Questions and comments were collected, and a FAQ page was posted on the Town’s website.  The reports on the structure of the building and the presence of mould are also posted providing transparency.  The Public Works building is also at the end of this useful life and it will also need major work in the coming years.  It is therefore not feasible to move all employees of Town Hall into the Public Works building.

Correspondence

1) Letter requesting an explanation for pulling the funding of the sound wall and expressing concern about the increase in noise as well as concern that large sums are being put to Town Hall renovations and parks which seem to be for aesthetics only.  Councillor Lowensteyn: The decision to pull the funding was not easy. Recent developments identified complications concerning drainage and the efficacity of the sound reduction which would have completely modified the design.  A part of the increase in cost would not have been covered by the minster of transport.  Once we have more information, we will plan to meet with citizens.  Council faced a limited budget with several large projects requiring attention including road work and building renovations.  The Town Hall renovation is one of these projects and its purpose is not for aesthetics, but to render it accessible for all and for the health of the municipal employees.  The funds for parks are for improving the parks’ services to citizens, parks which are important to citizens’ health.

2) Letter regarding the renovation of Town Hall and states that the council was not given this mandate and has no role.  Mayor Ektvedt: This project has been in development since at least 2012 and was clearly identified in the budgeting process for many years.  In 1970’s previous council approved building a temporary annex.  50 years later, there continues to be a need to improve functionality of this building.  End result for the project came from various differing opinions and views.

Administration

1) Mandate Espace Stratégies Inc. for a strategic planning and action plan for the Town at a cost of $52,888.50.  There are four steps: planning, internal consultation, meeting with stakeholders, course correcting and the final plan.  Expected to finish by year end.  Council is intending to include citizens in the process.

2) Mandate Affleck de la Riva Architecte to prepare plans and specifications for the Town Hall restoration project at a cost of $93,126.

3) Mandate EXP for professional services in multidisciplinary engineering – preparation of plans and specifications (structural, mechanical and electrical engineering) and work supervision for the Town Hall restoration project at a cost of $98,219.69.

4) Adoption of the Policy regarding sympathies of the Town of Baie-D’Urfé.

5) Awarded damage insurance contract to BFL Canada and to La Capitale payment of premiums 2021-2022 at a cost of $34,393.87 for the premium and $10,421.20 for deductible guarantee fund.

6) Appointment of Viviane Bilodeau as Secretary in the Town Clerk’s Office.

Finance

1) Approval of the list of expenses for February 2021 ($538,048.88), similar expenses to those of last year.

2) Transfer of funds ($25,000) – COVID-19 expenses.

3) Adoption of By-law no. 1043-9 amending By-law no. 1043 concerning delegation, control and budgetary monitoring – the addition of certain positions with a power to authorize expenditures.

 Parks, Recreation and Environment

1) Award of contract to Les Serres Riel Inc. for the purchase of annual flowers for the gardens in the amount of $25,275.41.

2) Award of contract to Pépinière Dominique Savio Ltd. for the purchase of trees for 2021 for the Tree Donation Program in the amount of $14,279.52.

3) Authorization for the financial contribution within the framework of partnership with GRAME – Planting of trees in the Industrial Park in the amount of $15,000.

4) Extension for the year of 2021 – Strategy against the Emerald Ash Borer of the Town of Baie-D’Urfé in the amount of $15,000.  This will likely be the last year of the ash tree treatment subsidy for private properties as the battle to eradicate the emerald ash borer is not being won and the trees are dying within a few years of treatment.

Public Works &Town Infrastructure

Awarding of contract to purchase a 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter WB 144 High Roof from Silver Star Mercedes for $65,703.61 for the Carpenter.

Town Planning

1) Appointment of the Director of Urban Planning, Gabriel Hudon, as Municipal Building Inspector.

2) Notice of motion and filing of draft by-law no. 1060-3 concerning the demolition of immovables – increasing the fees for a demolition permit from $500 to $10,000 and to authorize the demolition committee to request an independent inspection of the property to be demolished if the committee feels the report provided by the applicant does not provide sufficient information.

Citizen Services and Community Affairs

1) Donation of $150 to Nova West Island in memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Doherty Dawson.

2) Financial assistance to parents enrolling their children in Senneville Summer Day Camp for the year of 2021 in the amount of $66/week/child.

Question Period II

Question concerning the restoration of the Town Hall:  Why were the FAQ and the inspection reports not available sooner and how to you intend to direct citizens to the publications to counter the spread of false information?  Mr. Bouchard: The two technical reports were added for transparency following the presentation.  We want citizens to have access to information.  We encourage all citizens to view the documents.  For the moment, we do not feel there is a need to announce the documents on MailChimp.

Meeting closed at 9:01 pm.

Cindy Giroux, reporting for News & Views