January saw Midland Council implement its new format moving meetings to the first and third Wednesday of each month & we have two meetings on which to report.
January 9th’s meeting saw the passing of a Bylaw allowing for the future possibility of retail cannabis stores opening within the Town of Midland. It needs to be repeated that the Town has very little input with respect to the location of these types of outlets, as this is something almost entirely controlled by the Province at this time. It should also be noted that provincial licenses for communities with a population of fewer than 50,000 would not even be considered, along with a variety of other restrictions. Midland simply isn’t even in the running for a cannabis retail store; however, by adopting the “opt in” provision, the Town will immediately share in a upfront transition fund to assist with anticipated expenses relating to increased cannabis awareness & education, possible increased health & policing costs, etc. Those communities who voted to “opt out” do not gain access to these funds.
Three deputations were delivered, the first presented by the President & CEO of Waypoint Ms. Carol Lambie. Ms. Lambie provided an update on the current status of the new CHIGAMIK/Waypoint Health Hub currently under construction and also announced once operational, the new facility will house a Youth Mental Wellness program – one of only 10 in the province.
Next was Mr. Fred Hacker on behalf of the Midland Culture Committee. Mr. Hacker discussed how the group was moving forward on the proposal put forward last year that culture should be viewed in a broader community fashion, and that the four municipalities of Tay, Tiny, Penetanguishene along with Midland, should be involved on an equal footing in supporting the committee’s work. Mr. Hacker was seeking a $10,000.00 commitment from Midland Council in the 2019 budget contingent upon the other 3 communities contributing like amounts along with staff support.
Third at bat was Mr. William Taws who made a presentation to Council on behalf of a local contractor regarding the legality of specific snow clearing equipment. Council directed administration to review the matter and report back.
Perhaps the most contentious discussion of the evening surrounded the motion brought by Councillor Gordon regarding his insistence of being provided an immediate update with respect to outstanding legal actions against the Town. First, it must be noted that such matters must be discussed in a ‘closed session’ – something Mr. Gordon took issue with on the campaign trail, and in some cases, rightfully so. Second, as any budding legal student will tell you, most civil actions initiated by any lawyer worth their weight will always name the jurisdiction in which the matter occurred as a defendant regardless of whether there is any liability. That could mean that the Town is involved in literally hundreds of cases in which there is absolutely no legal exposure. Lastly, the Town has an insurance carrier that deals with these matters & decides how and when such matters are dealt with and settled.
Several of the more seasoned Councilors who struggled to understand the benefit or the motivation, labeled the motion “unnecessary” and “an insult”.
Given the resistance by Council members, the motion was easily defeated.
January 23rd’s meeting of Council witnessed multiple closed session matters to include Board and Committee appointments, Labour Relations updates, and a host of other topics that were discussed given the nature of the discussion concerned ‘identifiable individuals and/or possible litigation’.
With respect to board and committee appointments, we’d like to acknowledge and thank all residents who applied for these important volunteer positions. Midland residents once again lead the way with their commitment to community service through their unrelenting passion to create a more complete community.
Following the Mayor’s report out from closed session, we heard two deputations. The first regarding some impressive stats from the Library to include an update on ‘Maker Space’ and the second concerning Hugel Avenue reconstruction as it relates to the issue around having single or dual sidewalks.
Finally, we witnessed Council appoint Midland’s integrity Commissioner (Principles Integrity) required to ensure that Council and staff always act in a responsible manner in accordance with the ‘code of conduct’ standard.
The Integrity Commissioner’s main duties follow:
All elected officials are required to follow the Code of Ethical Conduct for Members of Council. The Integrity Commissioner’s primary role is to ensure the code is followed, which includes:
– Addressing any violations made against the code
– Assessing requests and complaints made by a member of the public or Council
– Educating Council Members on the code
– Outlining recommendations to deal with any violations
Council has received the requisite training regarding the role of the integrity commissioner. The contents of the Code of Conduct that triggers the integrity commissioner’s engagement will be deliberated and affirmed at February’s Council meeting.
Safe travels Midland!
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