By Sue Tiffin
The following are brief reports from a Minden Hills council meeting held virtually on April 14.
The community is invited to an official opening event of the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Community Centre, to celebrate the new recreation facility.
In his report to council, Craig Belfry, community services director, notes the pandemic resulted in a delay in the official opening of the centre.
“With the lifting of many of the restrictions for the facility, the whole community is now finally invited by the township of Minden Hills to the official opening of the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and Community Centre, on Saturday May 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” said Belfry. “Beginning at 11:00 am., this exciting day will include a piped-in opening ceremony, ribbon cutting, and recognition of the many volunteers that contributed to the project.”
Other activities will include a Minden skating show from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., a Highland Storm scrimmage from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and public skating with the Huskies from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Contests, “try it” stations, demonstrations, dressing room tours and Huskies player meets, a scavenger hunt and BBQ will be included at the event, which takes place both inside and outdoors.
“It’s a wonderful day,” said Mayor Brent Devolin. “For some of us, this journey started in 2016.”
He asked that everyone involved “along the way,” who had a formal hand in the arena project – staff, volunteers, construction committees, first and second fundraising committees be invited.
Councillor Jean Neville, who sits on the events committee, said community organizations who use the centre are being offered space – a 10 x 10 area with a six-foot table and chairs – for promotion at the event. She asked that anyone with old Minden Monarchs jerseys or current-day jerseys wear them “with pride.”
Sedgwick Bridge replacement tender awarded
Sedgwick Bridge will be replaced under budget, which Devolin called “ a good news story.”
In June 2021, all bids for the replacement of the bridge had come back “well over budget,” according to CAO Trisha McKibbin and the tender was cancelled.
“Bids were presumed to be high due to material and staffing shortages caused by COVID-19,” she told council in her report.
On March 1, the tender was issued again and by March 28, six bids had been received.
The lowest bid, which was accepted, from 2274984 Ontario Ltd. was $1,185,270, excluding tax, and the highest was from NUROAD Construction Limited at $1,899,329, excluding tax.
The item is in the township’s 2022 budget, and ICP funding is available for it.
“This is a good news story,” said Devolin. “It’s a heck of a lot better-looking of a proposal than a year ago, that almost $1 million is not coming from Minden Hills taxpayers, there’s pennies from heaven and the fact that there’s six bids is wonderful because that certainly wasn’t the case last year.”
Cattle grate footings approved
The cattle grate located on Wessell Road will be completely installed at a much lower cost than was previously estimated.
At meetings in December 2021 and March 2022, township staff reported challenges finding a contractor to install footings on a cattle grate, for which a longstanding agreement exists that the township will maintain it in perpetuity, the estimated cost for the replacement of the grate being $283,000.
In March this year, staff requested that council proceed with the manufacturing and installation of the grate.
Manufacturing and installation services of the grate for a total amount of $45,194 by JSW LTD was approved at the March 11 council meeting.
Four Brothers responded to an invitational quotation request for footings installation with the lowest bid, that being $34,465 including HST.
After approval from council, the associated costs of the project are estimated at $81,659, which includes restoration of the site at a cost of $2,000.
The director of finance recommended funds be allocated from reserves in the absence of a departmental surplus.
A plea for patience
“A word to all,” said Devolin in his mayor’s report. “We had 13 days this past winter colder than the coldest day of the year before, and you mix in a little rain, our roads here, Minden Hills, the county and I’ve been around most of Central Ontario in the last couple of weeks, are a mess.”
“Staff is out every day trying to resolve this, just have some patience,” said Devolin. “Some of these roads are still wet and haven’t dried up and the frost completely out of them. It’s a difficult time of year after a difficult winter, and looking out a day like today with some more rain, it’ll slow down the drying out some more.”
As per approval by council at last month’s meeting, a land acknowledgement statement was read prior to the meeting beginning.
“A land acknowledgement statement is one that acknowledges and respects the territory and Indigenous people as the millennia-long stewards of land in a particular geographic area,” reads a report to council from March 31. “Many municipalities, organizations and institutions in Ontario have adopted land acknowledgement statements in recent years.”
The township forms part of the lands covered by the Williams Treaty. The land acknowledgement was developed by Curve Lake First Nation.
Minden meeting recordings available to public
Video recordings of council meetings will be available on the council’s YouTube page after meetings end for one week, giving after-meeting access to the public as has been offered by other municipalities in the county.