​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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.  

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.