​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ALEX WALDER, COUNCILLOR HASTINGS HIGHLANDS

This website is being used for Council Work . It is totally funded at my expense. The views expressed are my alone and do not represent the views of the Municipality.  

Sept. 30, 2019
                               
 Around the Council Table
Affordable Housing; New Tiny Homes By-law  With the leadership of Deputy Mayor Tracy Hagar and cooperation and hard work of Staff, Council passed Bylaw 2019-076 to reduce The Minimum Square Footage of Residential Buildings within the Municipality. Contact HH Municipal Office for details. 613 338 2811.
Lake St. Peter Skating Rink In response to a delegation, HH Council changed the planed decommissioning of the LSP natural ice rink. In this decision, Council requested usage and related cost data for the coming 2019/20 season.
Rally of the Tall Pines will run a stage in HH. Council approved a rigorous “usage agreement” addressing the permission for the use of the parts of 2 of our roads in the 2019, Nov. 22-23 rally.
A Volunteer Policy was approved by Council to serve for the protection and in the best interest of our many volunteers who contribute their time and expertise. Many thanks go to those who help make HH a wonderful place to live, work and play.   
Ontario East Municipal Conference (OEMC) I was one of the four from HH to attend a conference for Municipal Council Members and Staff. During the three days I attended eight sessions and had one-on-ones with service and commercial representatives at their display booths. High lights for me included the keynote address by The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as well session on Best Practices: Accountability and Transparency, Municipal Workforce Development and Deployment, Technology Integration and Innovation, Understanding and Managing Municipal Risk.   
Property Standards Appeals Committee The Property Standards Appeals Committee had its first meeting on Sept. 25. The PSAC has 5 voting members (3 Members of Council and 2 members of the Public). I have the honour to be appointed as Committee Chair for the remainder of the term of this Council. Our mandate is to hear and make determinations in appeals to Property Standards Compliance Orders.
Education of Council re: developments on “At Capacity Lake Trout Lakes” At a Special meeting of Council on Sept. 25. Experts presentations from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and of the leading members of Hastings County Planning Department gave presentations which were followed by probing questions from Council, Staff and the Public. The text of the presentations may be viewed at: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/2EFAD12BA6064CE98B61CE08B526C498-Buffer%20Presentation%20Hasting%20Highlands%20Sept%202019.pdf  and https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/EED69CADF0BA41B99D41292EA7A466A4-HH%20Presentation%20for%20Spetember%2025,%202019.pdf
Strategic Plan Ready for Public Review After a series of 5 Council meetings, HH’s Draft Strategic plan is ready for the public. Everyone is invited to attend a meeting on Sept. 30, 7:00-9:00 PM to view, question & comment and to complete an opinion survey. Since the date and time for this meeting is after my self imposed posting time, I will report on the meeting in my next month’s posting.
Reconstruction of Maynooth’s Main Thoroughfare (Hwy 62) A public information meeting, hosted by HH Operations Dept. and D. M. Wills Associates Ltd., the project engineers,  is scheduled for Oct. 8, 6:00-8:00 PM in Emond Hall. More details are available on HH website at: https://hastingshighlands.ca/notice/public-information-meeting-reconstruction-of-highway-62-maynooth/  

                                   In The Community
Transparency and Accountability are not just words in HH! To that end, several initiatives are prominent practices.

1) The most comprehensive source of detailed information is our new and continually improving website (https://hastingshighlands.ca/ ). It serves to provide access to information of past and upcoming events. Give it a try!

2) Staff also publishes, both on the website and on social media, a to-the-point and visually attractive brief called “COUNCIL MEETINGS HIGHLIGHTS”. Look for it!

3) Since his inauguration, Mayor Bodnar has posted frequent accountings of his day-to-day activities on facebook under the title Mayor's Diary. Add your “like” to the almost 500 that’s been given to it!

4) If you’re reading this, then you are part of the large group of people who visit my monthly blog, posted on www.alexwalder.com. I welcome comments and shares!  
“Ah Yes, I remember it well” It has been 5 decades since I held a pool cue. The memories are vivid but the coordination to pocket the right balls has left me. I was accepted as a member of the ANAF and have started to “rack’em up” on Tuesday evenings playing in the mixed doubles. Thanks for the fun and the patience of the regulars.
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. We had some great games in the summer months with the participation of our seasonal resident friends. For the Fall, Winter and Spring it’s a fun time for our year round resident bridge enthusiasts. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or come to help others improve their game. 
Constituency Work:  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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Aug. 30, 2019
                                           
Around the Council Table
Strategic Planning Session #4: Council continued toward the goal of formulating a forward looking Strategic Plan for HH. The HH Strategic Plan’s Mission and Vision Statements were close to being composed. Being a “living document” it is expected that changes will be made as it matures. The appropriateness for some has already surfaced.  Session #5 is slated for Sept. 5/19 at 8:00 AM. Public welcome.
Lot Severance at Lake St. Peter Council picked up further discussion at the Aug 14 meeting for this severance application.  Various and numerous pieces of information continued to be presented to council, some at the very last minutes. I supported a motion to postpone to Oct. 2 meeting to give time to pull together all available input in order that Council may have a better opportunity to come to an informed decision.
Full Time Deputy Fire Chief for HH Welcome to Mr. Jason Post who has been hired to serve the residents of HH and to assist Chief Koroscil.
Affordable Housing A very informative and worthwhile presentation was heard by Council about creating affordable housing in HH. Later at the same meeting Council further discussed possibilities for the support of such initiative(s). No commitments were made by Council, however I’m very aware of the need and interested in further discussions. 
Rally of the Tall Pines Asked to be allowed to expand into HH. This year’s rally is their number 49. Safety, disruptions, infrastructure damage and insurance coverage were among the concerns raised by Council.  My comments dealt with the lack of exposure of “Hastings Highlands” in any of their promotional materials and websites. Receiving a commitment that this will be addressed for the 50th rally and the recognition that this event is valuable to the Greater Hasting Highlands Area, I supported it.
Seminar to Improve Council Meetings  On Aug. 15, Council welcomed Mr. Jim Lochrie, an expert and published author on Parliamentary Procedures. The members of Council, Staff as well as the Public were treated to Jim’s interactive seminar. I believe the consensus was that we all had the opportunity learn to be better at what we do in and for HH. 
                                             
In The Community
Pride Promenade in Maynooth kicked of the celebrations. A reported estimated 150-200 local and visiting participants took part in the walk followed by a party at the HH’s Maynooth Community Centre. I appreciated the organizer’s invitation and the many acquaintances’ and friends’ greeting of “Happy Pride”.     
HH Swimming Lessons Having overcome several hurdles, the inaugural season of swimming lessons was brought to a very successful conclusion with a fun beach party. Mayor Bodnar, Councillors and Staff hosted the event. Looking forward to next year’s program!  
Graphite Bible Camp Pig Roast The annual funds raising event was again a huge success. On the menu were the usual, fantastic food, friendship and entertainment. Each year the free will donations go to support the many children’s programs.  
Garlic Fest For the 3rd year in a row a fantastic event was organized by BASC and supported financially and in-kind by HH.
Maynooth’s Young Street Reconstruction is now completed with an additional section also done with Fitzgerald St. The short term inconvenience is well worth the long term benefit.
Maynooth Madness WOW!! 2019 MADNESS marks the  30th year! I hope everyone comes out to attend, I know it’s a sure thing for the Walder Family. Goto  https://www.facebook.com/mhhba/photos/pcb.2328917607203622/2328915053870544/?type=3&theater
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Had some great games in August, continued to learn a lot of new bidding conventions from some new expert players. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or come to help others improve their game. 
Constituency Work:  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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July 31, 2019
                                           
Around the Council Table
I Voted “No” on The Amendments to HH Flag By-Law.
I cast my vote opposing an amendment that focused on differences. I did so after many weeks of serious reflections and considerations that included hearing and reading from countless constituents, reviewing my role and obligations (as defined in the Municipal Act, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and HH’s Code of Conduct), became informed of numerous jurisdictions positions, sought local media opinion pieces, paid careful attention to social media posts and revisited my previously penned comments.     
Council Members’ Agendas Going Paperless At the Special Meeting of Council on July 10 Each member received a new laptop computer with which to work on Council matters. The initial layout of expenses (possibly covered by a Provincial cash transfer) will in the long run be a savings for HH.
Strategic Planning Session #3: Also at the Special Meeting of Council on July 10, Council continued toward the goal of formulating a forward looking Strategic plan for HH. During session #3 council formulated a Draft revision of the Mission and Vision Statements. Session #4 is slated for Aug. 6/19 at 5:00 PM. Public welcome.
2018 Audited Financial Statements Once again HH received a clear audit from Baker Tilly KDN LLP, our Municipal Auditors. For a view of the full, detailed look go to https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/4D6AD3C439FF414F818F34D4418ECF15 ATTACHMENT%201%202018%20FS%20PRESENTATION%20TO%20COUNCIL.pdf  

and https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/A84603ABE27C4DF79EAAB579F0D65C7B-ATTACHMENT%202%20DRAFT%20FS%202018%20Hastings%20Highlands.pdf
Lot Severance at Lake St. Peter Council postponed further discussion, till the Aug 14 meeting a of a severance application in order to await legal advice on some aspects of the matter.
Administrative Monetary Penalty System (A.M.P.S.) Policy and Procedures were approved by Council and our By-Law Officer was given the go-ahead to issue Compliance Order(s) with fines that could end up on property tax bills. An advertisement has been published in the local papers for a “Hearing Officer” to whom appeals may be directed for final decision.
Full Time Deputy Treasurer for HH Council approved the job description for a new position of Deputy Treasurer and instructed staff to advertise for applications for the position.  
Question From The Public x 2 Since “Questions From The Public” has been expanded to both before and after each meeting the participation has been terrific. Positive comments have been forthcoming about the multiple chances to interact with Council. The questioner’s name and question is published in the minutes.    
                                            
In The Community
HH Swimming Lessons The program has had a wonderful start! Great idea and follow through by or popular Mayor Vic Bodnar. Details and registration is at:  https://www.facebook.com/search/top/q=swimming%20lessons&epa=SEARCH_BOX
Affordable Housing in HH. Some time ago I joined a group of like minded people interested in responding to the need for affordable housing. As the focus became localized to HH, I came to the decision that a conflict of interest according to my obligations to HH’s Council Members’ Code of Conduct was emerging. Therefore, I stepped away from the group which meets regularly at the Community Trust in Bancroft. I look forward to sit at the HH Council table as this dynamic group will address Council.    
Maynooth’s Young Street Reconstruction is due for completion by the end of the month. Apologies to the residents for the noise, dust and inconveniences. Please accept the short term nuisance and discomfort that will lead to a new paved road that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Day and Community Reusable Goods Day Both events were conducted in the usual fantastic HH manner on Saturday, July 20. Congratulations to the organizers and to the participants.
Save The Dates: Maynooth Garlic Fest: Sat., Aug.17/19 AND Maynooth Madness:Sat. Aug. 31/19  
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Had some great games in July, missed one session but learned a lot of new bidding conventions from some new expert players. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or come to help others improve their game.

Constituency Work:  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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June 30, 2019
                                           
Around the Council Table
Strategic Planning for HH:Council is engaged in a series of planning meetings to establish a clear direction for the future, to identify priorities and key action objectives. I attended the 1st meeting on June 5, but had to miss the second due to an unforeseen family emergency overseas. I will review the reports of session #2 and will be present for the planned 3rd session.
Presentations and Deligations to Council:

Wood Stove Ash Recovery was the topic of the presentation by Dr. Norman Yan, Phd FRSC to council. He spoke of an important initiative to help replenish the depleted mineral, Calcium, in trees. See it in its entirety at:   https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/69942?preview=76894
Scott Stewart of Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) explained their role and the municipality’s obligations to the management of municipally supplied water that is  provided for public consumption in HH. Full details: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/C1D25582E25A419484D08666C8E94410-Hastings%20Highlands%20Presentation-2019-06.pdf
HH’s insurers, McDougal Brokerage, presented a detailed account of important guidelines with respect to Risk Management in the Use of Volunteers and Facility Rentals. Details of both are available on line at: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/CABB067EAD80433AA369657BD0FB81F9-Risk_Management_Considerations_Volunteers_Mun_0512.pdf  and at https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/E1D3A51AEDED4241AF6EDD6968B7579F-Risk%20Management%20Checklist_for_Facility_Rental_Guid.pdf
Capital Expenditures I was pleased to be part of approving specifics of the 2019 budgeted spending for capital improvements. Large sections of Hwy 62 and  Maynooth will be repaired. We also purchased 2 heavy duty vehicles for our Operations Department. These necessary expenses are in excess of $600,000.   
Supporting Residential Development: Council rezoned, for residential use, 4 parcels of municipally owned land for the development of 16 much needed dwellings. Each lot is listed for sale at market value. The impacts of this are: addition revenue generated from the sale, long term increase in our tax base, as well as supporting residential development in HH.
Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS): Council adopted AMPS, a rigorous instrument to give strength to the enforcement of HH By-Laws. If assistance and persuasion to comply with by-laws is exhausted, monetary fines will be issued. The recipient of the fines will have the opportunity for two levels of review. First to a “Screening Officer” and a final one to a “Hearing Officer” (both yet to be named). Contact the Municipality for the specifics of By-Law 2019-056.
Fire Department:  Council has authorized staff to advertise for applicants for the position of “Deputy Fire Chief”.
Library continues to serve HH with new and innovative ideas. This month, our illustrious Library CEO, Rod Moffitt, informed Council of yet another new service. Library member may sign out a Conservation Authority Pass for entry into Algonquin Park, Lake St. Peter Park and Silent Lake Park.   
HH Hiring Policy Revised: Council has revised the HH's policy for hiring to Non-Unionized Positions (hiring to Unionized Positions will remain as outlined in the existing contract) . Revisions to the Hiring Policy for Non-Union Positions will include Council representation in the selection process for i) the positions of CAO ii) all Department Heads iii) Deputy Department Heads. For other positions the hiring selection will be at the discretion of the CAO. Contact the Municipality for the specifics of By-Law 2019-048.
HH Offers More Access to Municipal Services: Council instructed staff to change the office hours during the months of July and August.  All administrative staff will work late one evening per week (specific late open day is yet to be declared). Watch for details to be published on www.hastingshighlands.ca and in the media.   
                                           
In The Community
My Apologies for not being out and about in the community this month. I had to make an emergency trip overseas to attend end of life services for a member of my family. Jet lag is over, I will continue to report on my Community Involvements for the month at the end of July.  
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help someone to do so. As noted above, I was forced to take a hiatus from participating, but will be back at the bridge table in July.
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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May 31, 2019
                                     
Around the Council Table
Supporting our Seniors  At the May 1st meeting Council in a recorded unanimous vote approved the free use of HH Centre’s gym and Lake St Peter Community Hall for fitness, wellness and falls prevention exercise classes conducted by the VON” (Victoria Order of Nurses). 
Expanding Accessibility to Council by HH Rate Payers  An additional opportunity for members of the community to comment on proceedings at Council was added to the Regular Meetings Agendas. Deputy Mayor’s motion to add an additional 15 minute question period at the beginning of meetings received approval.
More Accessibility to Council HH Council had an evening sitting on May 29. This was initiated to accommodate those who are unable to attend during daytime hours.
The Hastings Highlands Public Library Board is establishing a Student Bursary Fund to encourage students of Hastings Highlands to pursue post-secondary education, whether it be college, university or apprenticeship. The funds for the bursary will come from the HHPL Board fundraising and from  donations that will be specifically earmarked for the Hastings Highlands Public Library Student Bursary Fund (HHPLSBF)
Funds for Swimming Instructions Through the efforts of Mayor Bodnar HH received a grant of  $3,658.00 for a swimming instructor for the summer months. We will coordinate the program with Madawaska Valley. 
Saving trees, staff time and $$   Council will be moving to a paperless system for Council Agendas.  The budgeted purchase of laptop computers for all Members of Council was approved. As a result, operational efficiencies will be created. Upon implementation, the Municipality will see an immediate reduction in the amount of paper and photocopier toner being used, which will also produce immediate cost-savings.
Training Session on Parliamentary Procedure The Gerrow/Hagar (322-2019) motion passed where by Council will receive Training Sessions on Parliamentary Procedure and Procedure Bylaws. All in the name of continual better service to our constituents.
Tipping Fee Exemption for Flood Victims  Council supported a motion by the Mayor to  allows flood victim’s damaged household items be taken to the appropriate waste disposal sites and be exempt from tipping fees. This exemption will be valid until June 2, 2019. June 16, 2019.
Two things that scared me this month!  One was the presentation to Council by: Limerick Area Conservation Coalition (LACC) Monica Nikopoulos, Founder, Spokesperson. (I write of the other my In The Community section, see CSWB entry). Monica’s presentation is available by going to the following web site. Well worth the time to read it!  https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/F7723ABB336747F29CE92415092E76B2-Hastings%20Mining%20Explorations.pdf
Septic System Re-inspection Program For the sake of the long term health of our Eco-System, Council instructed Staff to prepare a report on an inspection program of septic systems. By all predictions to complete the inspection of all systems in HH will take many years (10++?) Every long journey begins with the first step. First Step, that is what this report is to be.
Tiny Houses  After having been approached by the North Hastings Community Trust the Mayor and several members of council who have expressed an interest in the concept will investigate the viability establishing a Tiny House project in our municipality. 
                                            
In The Community
Floods Damage to HH Roads The serious flood damage to many of our roads have all been repaired. Many thanks to our staff and crews for their relentless hard work!
Affordable Housing Coordinated through North Hastings Community Trust, I have been working with a group of like minded people, since last summer, to increase the availability of affordable homes in the area. The interests of this group and some members of HH Council is an excellent match. I will continue up dates from time to time.
Community Safety and Wellbeing Committee I attended a meeting of the CSWB Committee’s hosting of an information session about Human Trafficking. The presenter was OPP Detective Staff Sergeant Jennifer Patton of the Crimes Investigation Division. I was shaken by what I heard. Yes, the scourge of this crime extends into or area. Rural areas such as ours are the recruiting grounds of victims whose usual age range is 12-22.    
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help someone to do so..
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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April 30, 2019
                                           
Around the Council Table
Maynooth Community Centre is back in business! This is very good news to our community. Compliments to our staff for their vigilance for the safety of the users. Council approved the engagement of a structural engineering firm to inspect the facility. The building was found to be structurally “in good condition, with areas of regular deterioration occurring from environmental aging”. They suggested a schedule of repairs over the next two years as well as continued regular inspections.
Capital Budget 2019 Council approved a $3.088M Capital Budget for 2019. The highlights of the expenditures are extensive roads and bridges repairs, purchase of new rolling stock, the construction of a new sand storage dome and Fire Station #5 (Lake St. Peter). A more complete report may be seen at
https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/9D2866A607FB4766A3C120C87477DBD6-ATTACHMENT%202%202019%20DRAFT_Capital%20Budget%20Presentatio.pdf           All planned expenses are covered from current year’s revenues and reserves which will remain at a very respectable balance.
Provincial Funds A few days after the completion of the 2019 Capital Budget, HH’s Treasurer was informed of a “one-time” cash grant of $615,277.00 from the Provincial Government’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In order to allow due consideration of how this money will be used, Council moved it to the reserve for working capital for future use. Watch for further reporting.                        

Delegations to Council are important opportunities for Council members to receive information on a wide ranging issues and topics. On Apr. 3rd we heard presentations from three delegations.
1)
Ann Judson chair of the HH Interlake Association, an umbrella group for the HH’s Lake Associations. She spoke to us of the absolute necessity for cooperation. She emphasized the reality that “Hastings Highlands, which exists as a lake-based economy, recognition must be given to changing demographics, with many people moving from urban centres to waterfront homes in rural communities”. Ann challenged us to work together to “review of current bylaws, seeking input from the community…, [support] and [encourage] educational outreach, [work] as a team in a proactive.. mode, [to provide] early direct notification of proposed bylaws and/or amendments,…[and to view] the community as a whole”. Thank you Ann.      

2)Cindy Cassidy Manager of East Ontario Trail Alliance (EOTA) was next. We heard of EOTA’s significant role in the year round economic contributions to HH. EOTA is a long established successful Trails organization supported by Federal, Provincial, County and Municipal Governments. It is responsible for the Hastings Heritage Trail, a four-season, multi-use recreational trail that follows the old railway line running through the heart of HH from Lake St. Peter through Bancroft and beyond, linking us to points East and South. The Trail is open year-round and boasts a number of trail heads and access points along the route where HH small business owners profit year round from the tourist trade EOTA generates. 
3)
Carmela Ruberto, Hastings County’s EarlyON Coordinator, and Beverley Bell-Rowbotham of Children's Services for Hastings County Children’s Services spoke to Council of their 5 year Child Care and Early Years Services Plan. “Hastings County Children’s Services plays a critical role soliciting and maintaining in-depth knowledge about their community’s needs, planning and managing the child care and early years system, identifying and addressing services gaps and supporting service coordination.”  
Supporting our Seniors on April 17 in response to a request from an earlier delegation, lead by Brent Dalgleish, I was privileged to support the following motion: “Matheson/Hagar (234-2019) THAT Council support the new Valley Manor redevelopment by donating $5,000 a year for the next 3 years, for a total of $15,000 ($1.36 per household per year); and THAT Council directs staff to include this amount in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 budgets.”
Further,  I placed a Notice of Motion which is to be discussed and voted on during the May 1/19 Council Meeting. It read in part as follows: “THAT Council support our seniors population by providing free of charges access to HH gym and Lake St. Peter Community Hall for fitness, wellness and falls prevention exercise classes conducted by the VON” (Victoria Order of Nurses). Look for the results of the vote in my May report or earlier by contacting me or accessing the May 1 Meetings Minutes on HH web site.
Closed Session Council Meetings HH Council through numerous checks and balances promotes and conducts itself in a transparent and open manner. However, from time-to-time, in the best interest of the Municipality and the protection of the privacy of identifiable individuals, HH Council exercises its right to conduct closed sessions as permitted by the Ontario’s Municipal Act. On each occasion the closed session is announced in the public agenda. The following was stated in the Agenda for the Regular Meeting of Council – Operations, April 17 2019: “Closed Session - Council Rises to go into Closed Session.  THAT Council rises from the open session to go into Closed Session as permitted by the Municipal Act for the purpose of: Section 239.(2)(c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board; -potential sale of surplus land.”
To Better Serve Our Constituents  Although, I’m of the opinion that our constituents are well treated with courtesy and respect  by the Members of Council and Staff. But improvements can always be sought. With that in mind, April 30th in the Council Chamber, 1:00-4:00 PM is the, date place and time for a training session for Council and Staff on “Customer Service”. Thanks to Mayor Vic Bodnar for carrying trough on this commitment. Public welcomed. 
                                          
 In The Community
Floods! It’s the season for dangerous flooding. Take care and plan ahead. The past couple of weeks has had “all hands on deck” dealing with many emergency and potentially dangerous flooding issues. The entire Operations Department supported by the Hastings Highlands Fire Department worked tirelessly to deal with the situation. Much work still needs to be done. A few roads are still in need of major repairs and will remain closed. The closings are well marked. Take alternate routes, they may be longer but are safer.
Fire Fighters’ Fundraising Breakfast The annual fund raiser pancake breakfast held at the Bangor Community Centre was a big success. In spite of the closure due to the severe washout of Centreview Rd. people went around the long way via Papineau Lake Rd or Kamaniskeg Lake Rd. to support the HH Fire Service.  
Easter Egg Hunt  At the “invitation” of Maynooth Hastings Highlands Business Association, The Easter Bunny supplied her eggs for this year’s Children’s Easter Egg Hunt on the grounds of Maynooth Community Centre. Thank you to MHHBA.   
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help some one to do so..
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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March 31, 2019
                                           
Around the Council Table
AeroPon Leaf Canada Inc. Held their public meeting to announce plans for their planed move to Birds Creek. The old Flakeboard plant will be reconstructed to a cannabis production facility with research lab and retail outlet. A new brewery is also part of the plans as is an adult heath resort.  
Audio System for the Council Chamber My motion to install an audio amplification and recording system in the Council Chamber is moving ahead. On Mar. 14 a plenary meeting was held to discuss options. Hastings County IT consultant guided us through our needs and possibilities. We are at the design and costing stage following which specifics will be selected from the proposals. Look for updates here.

HH Fire Service was a focus of Council’s attention. Under the very able leadership of HH Fire Chief, Mr. Dan Koroscil, and with the participation of several of our District Chiefs, Council was educated about the status and needs of HH Fire Service. On Fri. Mar 15, a full day session was titled the Essentials of Fire service and dealt with the Provincial Statutes, our current By-laws, service levels and needed considerations. On Mon. Mar. 25, Council was taken on a tour of the six HH Fire Halls to be able to see and appreciate the situation in anticipation of upcoming Council discussions and decisions.
Emergency Management Emergency Planning Coordinator from the County of Hastings and representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services held a training session in Hastings Highlands on March 26th on the requirements for Senior and Elected Officials for Ontario Emergency Plan. In attendance were people from HH, Carlow-Mayo and Wollaston. 
Operating Budget 2019 HH Ad-Hoc Budget Committee and Treasurer David Stewart presented the committee’s recommendations the 2019 Operating Draft Budget to the full  Council. Committee Chair Councillor Dorothy Gerrow summarized the reasoning for committee’s recommendations for Option 2, which results in a Municipal Levy increase of 1.91%. Council approved the Operating Budget for 2019 with the increase of 1.91% in Municipal Levy, the only factor that Council has control over. It must be noted that individual property tax “bottom lines” will be subject to the impact of fluctuations in MPAC’s property value assessment, the Province’s Education Tax Levy and Hastings County Tax Levy. The full presentation can be viewed at: 

https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/BE96BCD495754F3DBF432032FD243413-A2%20DRAFT_2019%20Operating%20Budget.pdf     
Capital Budget 2019 HH Ad-Hoc Budget Committee will be presenting its recommendations to Council’s considerations at April, 3 Regular Public Meeting.
Provincial and Federal Funds The Provincial Government made a one-time cash transfer to 405 municipalities. HH is to receive $615,000 Provincial grant. During the same week, the Federal Government also announced a one-time cash transfer to Municipalities by doubling the Gas Tax revenues. HH’s share of the additional Federal funds is $123,700.
Land Use Planning I attended a Land Use Planning workshop sponsored by Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) on Fri., Mar. 22 in Peterborough. Among the numerous topics presented I was very interested in Provincial Policy Statement, Community Improvements through Zoning and Site Plan Controls and the role of Municipal Minor Variance policy.
Hastings Destinations Trails Inc. Is a newly formed organization initiated to establish and operate walking trails throughout Hastings County. The Corporation’s Chair, Cathy Trimble, came to HH Council seeking support (financial and services) to establish a trail on municipal property in Birds Creek. 
Miscellaneous Grant Program The 2019 HH’s Council allocations of the available $6000 funds were in recognition of the significance of  Seniors Groups, Arts and Culture and the Environment.   The responses to the applications was as follows: $1600 to VON in support of the exercise and fall prevention programs they run in Maynooth and Lake St Peter for HH seniors.  $950 to Bancroft and Area Stewardship Council in support of Maynooth Garlic Fest. $1050 to support the NH Community Fish Hatchery.  $900 to Peterson Pathfinders Snowmobile Club to support trail maintenance in the HH portion of their trails. $450 to Mineral Capital Concerts to support their summer concerts in Millennium Park. $200 to Lake St. Peter Community Centre Group to support their volunteer work in the area clean up. $100 to NH Music Festival to support of their work with youth of the area.  $400 to the Algonquin Arts Council in support of their work to promote cultural activities in North Hastings.  $350 to Golden Players Theatre Project to support their productions with ages 50 and over at the Village Playhouse Theatre.
                                                 
In The Community
HH Library was highlighted in Bancroft This Week Mar., 19 issue. Everyone should read Nate Smelle’s article. A wonderful article about a wonderful place! Nate’s piece about our Library is available online at:  http://www.bancroftthisweek.com/?p=9638
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help some one to do so..
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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Feb. 28, 2019

                                         Around the Council Table
My Apology:  On May 3/2017 Council passed my motion (seconded by Bert Cannon) to bring forth a staff salary grid. In response to the 2017 directive, on Feb 6/2019 after 20 month + 3 days, a salary grid was presented for Council’s information. Admittedly, I allowed my feelings to surface about what was presented and I was less guarded with my words than I should have been. I came to understand that my words were taken not as intended, by some very excellent and valued members of staff. To them, I offered my sincere and heartfelt public apology.
Cannabis Production is coming to HH. Mayor Bodnar has announced that Aero Pon Leaf Canada is planning to begin legal cannabis production facility in HH. Opportunities for employment and other ancillary operations are sure to follow. A public meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28, 5:00-7:00 PM in Emond Hall. Coincidentally, the timing is after my self imposed publication posting time of my reports (last day of each month). I hope for a very large community attendance to hear from the organizers of the meeting, the representatives of Aero Pon Leaf Canada.
Code of Conduct By-law for members of HH Council received final approval on Feb.20. Each Municipality in Ontario was mandated by the Province to establish such a policy. The full document is available from HH Municipal Office and website.
Code of Conduct By-law for members of HH Staff received final approval on Feb.20. The full document is available from HH Municipal Office and website.
Integrity Commissioner was appointed to evaluate allegations of breaches of the HH CoC by members of Council. Lawyer, Mr John Ewert of Peterborough received an interim appointment for a period of 90 days. During which time a selection process will take place for a permanent appointment. 
Tree Canopy Policy is a requirement from the Provincial government was passed by council as By-Law 2019-024. May be viewed in its entirety at: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/B92EF623212E4284BF1F738A4AE9E3EE-2019%20024%20Tree%20Canopy.docx

Health and Safety Policy An extensive Health & Safety Policy was approved by Council as Bylaw 2019-026. May be viewed in its entirety at: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/FileStorage/9EB76D87B19B41A2A692912A08102ED9-2019%20026%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Policy.docx
Waste Management Ad-Hoc Committee comprised of 3 members of Council and 2 members of the Public. The committee membership will be finalized at an upcoming regular meeting of council. Interested members of the public wishing to serve on this committee should contact CAO Pilgrim.
Questions from the Public has been a very important standard agenda item in our meetings for a long time. A Bodnar/Matheson motion to record and publish the questions from the public was carried. I believe that this is a significant move to enhance Council’s accountability to the public. 
A Strategic Plan for HH Municipal Buildings presented to Council by Tyler Peters of Greenview Environmental Management, a highly respected, local consulting firm. The report focused on status of our 20 active buildings/facilities (4 outdoor recreational sites, 6 fire halls, 4 equipment depots and 6 Community Centres). Council will develop an action plan to address the recommendations. Watch for future developments on this issue. Peterson’s presentation may be viewed at: https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/document/71929

​                                        In The Community
Winter Market was held on Sat. Feb 9 in Emond Hall. Lots of vendors greeted by a steady stream of visitors.
Hastings Destinations Trails Inc. held an information meeting on Feb. 11/19 to publicize the formation of an undertaking to create a non-motorized trail system in Hastings County. A 1.5 KM trail in HH’s Birds Creek is planned to be included.  (The meeting was held at Bancroft’s Heritage Museum; this was my first opportunity for me to visit this building. The facility is an important venue, conceived and cared for by Mary Kavanagh.  I highly recommend it.)      
Skate Maynooth is one of the cherished pleasures of winter life in HH. Each Friday evening (ice conditions permitting) 6:00 to 8:00 PM, everyone is invited to a pleasure skate at the Maynooth rink. Skate to music, refresh with hot chocolate, chilly, munchies and enjoy the camaraderie.   
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help some one to do so.
Save the Date: Mar.4/19 10:00 AM Budget Ad-Hoc Committee Mtg.
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.

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Jan 31, 2019
                                          
Around the Council Table
Decision on Retail Sales of Cannabis in HH On Jan 16, with a unanimous, recorded vote HH declared that “the Municipality is a willing host municipality for prospective cannabis retail store locations within its jurisdiction”.
Council Orientation on Code of Conduct and Integrity Commissioner On Jan. 11, Mr. Tony Fleming B.A. LL.B, LL.M. Partner, Cunningham Swan Lawyers offered an intensive orientation and opportunity for Q/A about Council’s responsibilities to the establishment of a HH Council Code of Conduct and the appointment and role of an Integrity Commissioner.  
Community Safety and Well-Being Committee On Jan. 14, I attended a regional meeting held in Bancroft’s Club 580 for the 7 North Hastings Municipal elected officials and CAO/Clerks. The principal presenter, Dr. Hugh Russell and Lianne Sauter, Bancroft’s Acting Clerk lead the session and Jeff MacKinnon - New Staff Sergeant of the Bancroft Detachment O.P.P. The attendees were brought up to date of the Provincial requirement for each municipality to initiate in 2019 and pass by 2021 a policy for the CSAW. I find this additional layer of bureaucracy a positive one. Great potential to reduce the call police involvements in non-criminal occurrences, which now consumes 65% of the OPP calls. More details will follow as they emerge.
Jan 16/19 Marathon Council Meeting Many issues were dealt with from 9:00 AM to 6:45 PM, yet some key items had to be rescheduled for future meetings. Some highlights follow:

  • Change to Comprehensive Zoning By-Law was passed to allow “Second Unit Dwellings” but not in Waterfront Residentially Zone. I supported this exclusion for environmental considerations.
  • A rigorous Code of Conduct for HH Council Members that went beyond the requirements of the Ontario Municipal Conflict of interest Act was passed. By the end of Feb/19, an Integrity Commissioner must be appointed to whom the public may address issues of CoC and MCIA violations.
  • Salary Wage Administration Policy was much discussed more information was required. Council amended the Salary Wage Administration Policy as presented and postponed further discussion on the Corporate Wage Grid to the February 20, 2019 meeting.
  • With an eye on the protection of our taxpayers funds, a HH Investment Policy was discussed and passed
  • Additional appointment of Council Members to Committees and Boards were made. Full list may be seen on the HH web site in the “Council” tab.
  • Updates to User Fees were passed. This is a very important source of “non-tax revenue”.

As I mentioned, the above are samples of how we spent 9.5 hrs. Full official minutes can be seen at  https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/69943
Ministry of Municipal Affairs Orientation More orientation meeting… This one was provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on Jan. 17/19 at he Dunganon Community Centre for the elected officials and CAO/Clerks of several neighbouring municipalities. Every Member of Concil and CAO/Clerk Pat Pilgrim and Deputy Clerk Suzanne Huschilt of HH attended and actively participated in these orientation meetings. To my best recollection, I am unable to say the same about some other municipalities.   
Darryl Kramp Our Provincial Member of Parliament attended a Special Meeting of HH Council on Fri. Jan. 25. Prior to the  meeting Council Members had submitted questions on a variety of topics significant to HH.  These may be seen at:  https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/69942?preview=71096https://hastingshighlands.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/69942?preview=71096   Daryl started his answers with the comment that he has "good news and bad news" As all may guess the list of "bad news" was much longer that the "good news". The "bad news" started with a statistic that currently Ontario takes in $40M less per day than in spends. One encouraging "good news" was in his reply to Councillor Gerrow's and my question about Hwy #62. Daryl repeated several times that of the project for our riding the repairs to our stretch of 62 is his "number 1 priorioty". 

ROMA, (Rural Ontario Municipal Association) Conference Sun. Jan 27 to Tues. Jan 29.  I attended a number of sessions. The highlights of some follow. I'd be happy to discuss them in more detail.

  • In Premiere Ford’s presentation he declared that we can count on him to be a partner for Rural Ontario. He and his cabinet members emphasized their willingness to listen and to cut red tape. 
  • Major Bodnar, CAO Pilgrim, Treasurer Stewart and I attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) 2019 Conference. On Sun, Jan 27, the four of us were invited to and attended a private meeting with the Minister of Infrastructure, the Hon. Monte McNaughton. Our delegation was one of some 50 to Minister McNaughton and 300++ to other Ministers. We made a strong case for the need for the Province's assistance with the revitalization of Hwy 62.
  • The Ministry of the Attorney General Representatives out lined some of the Next Steps in the role out of the retail sales of Cannabis. By April more retail licences will be issued. 414 municipal jurisdictions opted in and 77 opted out.
  • MPAC presented a very informative session about its role in property assessment and taxation.
  • The session on the changes to Labour Law as it affects Municipal Employees has deep implications for us.
  • I was impressed by the dialogue and commitments to rural areas made by 15 Cabinet Ministers who took part Q and A at a Ministers' Forum.  

All in all a very worthwhile 2 days.

                                      In The Community 
Raging Fire  in Maynooth A devastating and tragic fire totally destroyed a home in Maynooth. Two occupants escaped but their beloved pets, 2 cats, sadly perished. Our Volunteer Fire Service fought the blaze for hours in bitter freezing conditions and was able to contain it with out serious damage to the nearby next door residences. Supporting at the scene were members of our community, United Church congregation, local restaurant, residents and businesses prepared hot meals and sandwiches, Deputy Mayor Hagar arranged for and Mayor Bodnar shuttled the hot food, the nearby Community Centre was turned into a rest and warming venue. Since that day, others set up clothing drop off, local businesses began collecting cash donations, Memories Bakery and Tearoom, the Arlington Hotel and the ANAF (to held on Feb 6/19) held a fund raiser suppers, a GoFundMe account was set up. OUR HEROES ALL!!         
Skate Maynooth is one of the cherished pleasures of winter life in HH. Each Friday evening (ice conditions permitting) 6:00 to 8:00 PM, everyone is invited to a pleasure skate at the Maynooth rink. Skate to music, refresh with hot chocolate, chilly, munchies and enjoy the camaraderie.   
Bridge: (cards not infrastructure): Still going strong, every Tuesday 1:00 PM in the Library. Always ready to welcome new players. Learn to play, improve your game or help some one to do so.
Save the Date: Feb. 9/19 for the Winter Market  First Indoor Market for 2019. HH Centre Emond Hall 10 AM to 3:00 PM. Come to see and to support our local venders.
Constituency Work  Many of the initiatives with which I become involved are direct results of conversations with constituents. My preferred interaction is person-to-person contact. I can also be reached at 613 338 0028, send me an e-mail awalder@hastingshighlands.ca or by a pm on facebook Alex Walder. Please accept this invite as a sincere offer to listen and dialogue.