By Sue Tiffin
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a March 10 meeting of Minden Hills council held virtually.
Residents of Haliburton County will be able to drop their aerosol cans, batteries, fertilizers and paint at any of the lower-tier municipalities’ designated household hazardous waste days in 2022.
Through an inter-municipal agreement, the shared delivery of household hazardous waste event services enables residents to dispose of their waste in the closest municipality to them. Staff will be gathering data regarding the participation at each event to optimize them for future years.
“Cross-jurisdictional agreements, I hope this is the first of many in this form that come forward,” said Mayor Brent Devolin.
The household hazardous waste day events in Minden Hills take place on May 28, June 24, June 25, Sept. 10 and Oct. 15.
Cattle grate acquired
At the Dec. 9 council meeting, councillors were presented with a report on the Wessel Road cattle grate, and the challenges encountered with its replacement.
One of the points in the report brought to council in December sought council approval to pay the invoice for emergency procurement of the new grate, which had been ordered and built. Tara Stephen, acting director of public works, noted that “in the confusion of the conversation,” that part of the resolution missed being passed.
A single source procurement of a replacement cattle grate, at a cost of $39,995 plus $5,199 HST for a total of $45,194 was approved last week, staff proposing that project, which was not budgeted for, be funded from reserves in the absence of departmental surplus.
In the meantime, the hole has been backfilled on a temporary basis, until the township can find a company that will affordably install the required footings for the unit.
“That work has since been done, now we’re just looking for quotations for the footings,” said Stephen.
To date, a contractor to install footings has priced the job at upwards of $200,000, but staff is investigating alternatives.
“Obviously pay for what’s built and hopefully a report in the future can be done for less than a couple hundred grand,” said Devolin, who thanked the property owner who allowed the hole to be backfilled in the interim.
Acting director of public works moves on
Stephen announced her departure from the township while speaking to a report about OSIM bridge inspections, to ensure the work is completed in her absence. The inspections, which are to occur every two years based on provincial regulations, have in recent years been conducted by Tulloch Engineering, who had performed the 2016, 2018 and 2020 inspections on time. Tulloch has offered to provide the services again, at the same rates provided in the 2016 tender, with a zero per cent increase.
“It is very important that this work not be missed in the 2022 work plan,” said Stephen in her report. “At the time of writing this report, the current director of public works will not have time to prepare, issue and award a tender for a new consulting firm to provide this service. Given that the public works department is short-staffed and it is unclear when a director of public works will be hired, staff are recommending that the township accept the offer from Tulloch Engineering to ensure that the structural inspections are completed in time within the regulatory requirements.” The cost to complete the work is $12,350 including HST and falls within the 2022 draft operating budget.
“Thank you for thinking of us to have things in place, with your leaving,” said Devolin.
CAO Trisha McKibbin thanked Stephen for her work with the municipality, including “her stepping up in the acting director role these last six months,” saying Stephen went “above and beyond” in bringing forth a number of reports that day to ensure they were settled prior to her leaving.
Council approved the structure inspection renewal.
Canada Day road closure
Minden’s Canada Day is back on after two years of cancelled or virtual events, and council approved road closures on July 1 this year, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events will be advertised in local newspapers, and online via social media, and the road closures will be circulated to services such as EMS and OPP.
Ukrainian flag rising
Council received and supported two pieces of correspondence requesting the Ukrainian flag be flown at Minden’s municipal building during the month of March in support of Ukraine and the local Ukrainian-Canadian community.
County urges province to end postponed property assessment
Minden Hills council supported a resolution made by county council on Feb. 23 urging the province to direct the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to end a postponement of province-wide assessment updates for the 2022 and 2023 taxation years.
Property assessments for the tax years since the onset of the pandemic in 2020 have been based on Jan. 1, 2016 current values, unless there have been changes to a property.
The county recommendation notes that the county is aware of a significant increase in property values within the county caused by increased demand for housing in this community, that increased demand leading to an increased population, which results in increased demand for municipal services, and that the continued postponement of property valuation translates into a significant loss of taxation revenues for municipalities.
A copy of the resolution was forwarded to the councils of each municipality in Haliburton County, as well as MPP Laurie Scott.