By Chad Ingram
Published Feb. 1 2018
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Jan. 25 meeting of Minden Hills council.
Minden Hills’ deductible for flood damage will increase from $50000 to $100000 for each flood loss under a renewed insurance policy.
Representatives from Jardine Lloyd Thompson Canada Ltd. visited councillors to talk about municipal insurance.
The Township of Minden Hills declared a state of emergency during extreme flooding last spring making it the second time in four years a state of emergency had been declared due to flooding in the community.
Councillor Pam Sayne said with flooding and other extreme weather events becoming more frequent associated costs would increase for municipalities.
“One size doesn’t fit all . . . so we really do want to work with all municipalities” said Meghan Callaghan of JLT indicating that insurance companies are moving to work with municipal governments to prevent and mitigate losses.
Community Living proposal
A proposal from Community Living Haliburton County would see clients of the social services agency performing some work for the township.
“We can offer county-wide services and would like to offer Minden Hills the opportunity to participate” read a letter from Tim Tofflemire of Community Living Trent Highlands/Job Quest. “This is a program designed to give participants hands-on experience in areas of employment as well as working towards their Grade 12 diploma in partnership with the local high school and adult ed. All profits from from contracts are used to support wages of the participants and related expenses.
Tofflemire told councillors it would cost township about $250 a day to a have a cleanup crew come and clean up along Scotch Line Road for example.
He noted that the Municipality of Dysart et al as well as organizations such as the Haliburton BIA have been using the program for 20 years.
“The concept of what you’re offering I don’t have a problem with” said Mayor Brent Devolin.
Devolin said that issues such as insurance implications and collective agreements would need to be investigated by staff.
“We certainly hope our unions aren’t preventing community engagement” said Councillor Pam Sayne.
A staff report on the proposal is to come back to council.
No to private sidewalk maintenance
Roads superintendent Travis Wilson told councillors the township had received a request from a downtown business owner asking that the township only remove snow from the sidewalk in front of the business and that salt or sand not be applied.
Wilson told council the business owner had concerns about sand getting tracked in on the floor of the business.
“Staff do not object to any businesses or homeowner providing additional salt or sand in addition to what is required through the minimum maintenance standards; however when requested to not perform the maintenance activities in one specific location could leave the township at risk for potential litigation” read a report from Wilson.
“Many municipalities have passed a bylaw stating that sidewalks are to be maintained by businesses and private dwellings that abut a sidewalk; however there have been several tort cases that determined the municipality would be still be 100 per cent at fault regardless of requirements outline in a bylaw.”
Councillors were too concerned about liability to consider any such agreement.
Pot to cost townships
Mayor Brent Devolin told councillors there would be municipal costs associated with upcoming legalization of marijuana across the country.
“There was a clear acknowledgement that none of this is going to happen before July” Devolin said referencing conversations that had taken place during the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto in late January.
“Municipalities are going to get caught in this in terms of enforcement” Devolin said adding that among other things officers would have to be trained on the new laws.
He said municipalities are advocating for funding from upper levels of government to help with the transition but it is unclear whether such funding might be ongoing or come in a one-time installment.