Comments on Planning Regulation or Community Benefits Charges?

Certain Planning Changes

I discovered from a recent email from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario The Province of Ontario is seeking comments on proposed regulations under Bill 108 and issued this notice, which I discovered in a recent email from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario . You must provide your comments by the end of day on August 6, 2019.

If you are concerned about any of the following matters, please follow the link to read more and perhaps comment to the Province:

  • Expanding the grounds of appeal of a decision
  • Changes related to the community planning permit system (a framework that combines and replaces the individual zoning, site plan and minor variance processes in an identified area with a single application and approval process)
  • Additional Residential Unit Requirements and Standards – mainly changes related to parking requirements
  • Removing restrictions and prohibitions in respect of the municipal authority under section 37 (Increased Density) with inclusionary zoning

See the Provincial Notice here:

https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0181

Community Benefits Charges

There is also an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the new Community Benefits Charges, by August 21, 2019.

The Minister is proposing that the following types of developments be exempt from charges for community benefits under the Planning Act:

  • Long-term care homes
  • Retirement homes
  • Universities and colleges
  • Memorial homes, clubhouses or athletic grounds of the Royal Canadian Legion
  • Hospices
  • Non-profit housing

See this link for more information:

https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0183

If you have any questions about planning matters, please contact the Municipal Office at (613) 256-2064 and the planners: Director Nicole Dwyer at extension 259 or Planner Maggie Yet at extension 206.

Six Month UPDATE

July 2019

Rainbow over Almonte on July 5 201

In our first 6 months we…

  • saved Don Maynard Park
  • restored public parking on Sadler Drive
  • corrected late penalties on water bills; reduced by 8.75%, from 10% to 1.25%
  • reduced tax increases from 7% a year to 2.5% this year
  • established more opportunities for public participation in your municipal government including new advisory committees with more expert and representative membership, no conflicts of interest and a new petition policy
  • more communication, more often
  • established regular in-person availability of Almonte councillors (at the Library on the first Saturday of each month except July)
  • helped with flood mitigation and volunteer efforts (particularly Councillor Dalgity who personally sandbagged every day and established a volunteer coordinator)
  • recognized our youth several times (and their achievements are ongoing and outstanding in sports and academics)
  • hired a new Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Ken Kelly, with a wealth of professional experience in management, accounting and public works

Works in progress

  • improving audio-visual records of council and committee meetings
  • improving the Procedural Bylaw
  • new parks and recreation
  • working with the County to promote the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail and reporting any any negative impacts on residents of improper use to both the County and the Police Services Board
  • downtown Almonte parking study underway
  • commencing work on the asset management plan (a multi-year project)
  • refocusing Public Works on essentials
  • ensuring more accountable processes and reporting
  • pursuing new growth and economic opportunities
  • improving strategic, asset and fiscal planning to deal with past debt and future needs
  • building new partnerships with other municipalities and organization

Mill Run Subdivision Information

While I was visiting the Mill Run neighbourhood, a number of people asked me about the status of two neighbourhood features. As a candidate, I was allowed to obtain information from the Municipality. Here are my questions and the responses I received:

New Road Question: Please provide a detailed update on the progress of the road and public works going in behind Honeybourne Street from Paterson.

Answer from Town Staff: “Menzie Street is being constructed by the developer of the subdivision and being cost shared with the Municipality.  The works are well underway and expected to be completed by the end of October.”

New Park Question: Please provide a detailed update on the development of the 4-acre Park on one side of Horton at the end of Laroche Street.

Answer from Town Staff: “At this stage Council has approved the concept plan for the Mill Run park but no detailed designs have been completed. The goal in 2019 is to complete the detail design for the park as well as try and have some of the construction completed.”

Jan’s Comments: The “concept plan” was prepared quite a while ago.  Many more people have moved into Mill Run since then, and their views must be considered on a refreshed “detail design” for their park.  If you have thoughts on this, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Other Concerns:

I heard from about a dozen households that traffic control is still a concern. A four-way stop was suggested at the intersection of Sadler and Honeybourne and a three-way stop at Honeybourne and Maude. Several residents  complained of noisy stunt driving, often at night, behind the businesses along Ottawa Street.  A reduced speed limit of 40 km  in residential sections and by schools was also requested.

Residents on the side of Ottawa Street from Mill Run down to to Martin Street want better and safer pedestrian crossings, especially for school children, who must cross Ottawa Street to get to one of the two elementary schools on Paterson. People reported that parents drove their children to school because they think that crossing Ottawa Street is unsafe, especially at the Sadler intersection. I have written a separate post about crossing guards and school patrols.

A few people talked about the pond in the park, how it may be used and if it might breed mosquitoes; they wondered if aerating it in some way might prevent that. There are issues with ponds: do they function as  retention for run-off? Will they provide a degree of filtration for water destined eventually for the river (wetland); will weeds or algae be harvested, pests controlled etc. That should be something to be discussed at a public meeting on the park addressing the concerns.

Mill Run is a “Friendly Town” neighbourhood, with so many people who know each other. Thank you for your warm welcome!

Change

Am I the change you want? I want to:

Improve the Democratic Process in Mississippi Mills:

  • more public input into council and committee meetings
  • elections, not appointments, to be used for Council vacancies
  • see that residents’ fundamental freedoms and democratic rights under the Bill of Rights 1960 and Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1981 are supported
  • improve accountability through recording of all public and closed meetings (including committee meetings) as recommended by the provincial Ombudsman
  • amend municipal bylaws and policies to be consistent with public rights and freedoms under provincial and federal acts; remove any provisions that attempt to suppress them
  • implement a redress mechanism used by other municipalities that empowers citizens between elections

Improve the Service Experience in Mississippi Mills:

  • codes of conduct that deal with service to the public by Council and employees and a user-friendly recourse process
  • institute a hierarchy of response by elected representatives so that queries no longer fall through the cracks
  • promote problem-solving, time management, quality control, accessibility services and resolving issues to staff and train if necessary

Improve Roads and Public Works

  • seek input from residents on the future of sidewalks and roads
  • seek a heavy vehicle and dangerous good transport route through consultation with the public, commercial users, the province and federal government
  • pay attention to public needs, such as placing municipal trash receptacles in areas where people need them, not just downtown

Deal with Conflicts of Interest:

  • require annual declarations by council, public board and committee members, and employees of their pecuniary  interests and those of their family/conjugal relationships that may cause actual or perceived conflict
  • corrective actions for violations
  • support the new Integrity Commissioner and seek her/his suggestions

Improve Communication and Critical Information

  • ensure public access to recordings of Council and Committee sessions (except those closed under exceptions in the Municipal Act, which will be recorded for the purpose of potential investigation)
  • improve web services
  • meet with residents regularly
  • digitize and organize by-laws, policies and financial reports
  • allow public message access to non-profit community organizations

Improve the Business Environment

  • seek advice and vision from all businesses in Almonte and consult with our neighbours in Ramsay and Pakenham: what works? What doesn’t?
  • If expanding the settlement areas, where does business fit in? Is there a better place for more industrial-type use (instead of over the groundwater protection area)?

Improve the Fairness and Management of Heritage Buildings

  • allow opt-outs
  • establish priorities through municipality-wide consultation on support from public funds (such as community-owned, service organizations, commercial, residential)
  • encourage arms-length management and distribution of any financial heritage support and resources chiefly through owners, with municipal support as available and needed

Respect Parks and Recreation

  • no parks will be sold for residential or commercial development without public support
  • make park access, maintenance and development equitable
  • establish consistent and reliable information for residents on scheduled events and servicing

Utilize Volunteers

  • recognize and train volunteers who help the community by providing services and sitting on boards
  • seek advice from volunteer groups, including firefighters
  • Mentor young people in civic government through volunteering and shadowing

Enhance a Variety of Tourism

Tourism investment and support of festivals and the arts will be available and equitable to all in Almonte and Mississippi Mills.

Give You a Voice in Planning

  • As recommended by the Planning Department, over the next two years, look at expanding the settlement boundaries of Almonte.
  • Collect input from residents on what changes to the Community Official Plan they envision, and what requires clarity and certainty for their own future planning.
  • Discuss youth projections and needs with schools, parents and planners
  • Consider moving commercial and industrial business away from the groundwater protection area.
  • Explore transportation to Ottawa with neighbouring communities
  • Consult more formally with residents on senior services needed in future

Other
A community conversation needs to happen around drug hazards, addictions, policing and the effects of marijuana legalization in Mississippi Mills: what do we want from provincial services?