Council's approval of a site plan agreement will move Veterinary Purchasing closer to the 38,000 square foot addition they are planning. CAO Brendan Ginty was on hand to explain the company's plans to add space onto the back of the existing building and move receiving functions to that new area.
Ginty explained that the primary purpose of the addition is "a requirement for space for the product we have," but suggested it might also involve bringing in some new technology at some point. It is not expected to increase the number of employees.
Ginty shared with council that Vet Purchasing is now the largest company of its kind in Canada and the fourth largest in North America. One of its unique features is that operations exist all on one site where other competitors have numerous sites that are spread out. He sees this as an asset. He also expects this new expansion will "last a minimum of 10 years from a warehouse point of view." If the company keeps growing they will run out of space. "Nobody would have believed it would have gotten this big," observes Ginty.
OPP budget increase
An increase of 1.7 per cent is what the town can expect to pay for purchasing policing services in 2006. Bill Galloway, chair of the Police Services Board, explained at the April 11 council meeting that 99 per cent of the budget is controlled by the OPP, costs that the town currently contracts out. "We are slaves to what the OPP says," he said.
There has been very little change from the 2005 budget and salaries have remained stable. This, Galloway indicates, is largely due to the fact that the OPP is now negotiating a new labour contract. The small increase reflects changes such as higher telephone costs.
Galloway pointed out a hefty $92,000 credit in 2005 that St. Marys was reimbursed for officers' time spent working in the county. He was clear there is no way to predict any similar credits in the future.
Coun. Gerry Teahen had a question about the OPP's role in enforcing town bylaws saying, "it's been a contentious issue for me. We don't have a bylaw enforcement officer, so who enforces them?" Teahen wanted to know what the 11 bylaws are that the OPP contract identifies as part of their responsibility.
Sgt. Doug Ashbourne noted that "the noise bylaw and parking bylaws are the two most frequently dealt with." The 11 also includes ice removal from buildings, clearing sidewalks of snow downtown and the smoking bylaw as it applies to the arena. The OPP does not get involved with any bylaws dealing with animals such as pets running off-leash or exotic animals. They do, however, have a role dealing with persistent barking under the noise bylaw.
New street in town
Grahlyn Avenue will become the new official name of Jones Street west of Pellissier Street on April 21. The request had come from residents who had concerns that confusion over Jones Street not continuing between Warner St. and Pellissier streets was causing issues for emergency and delivery vehicles. Residents can make arrangements to have address changes made to their personal documents.
Building permit fees to rise
Council passed a new building bylaw which will see building permit fees increase. The bylaw passed its first reading two weeks ago but chief building official Grant Brouwer wanted time to consult with local developers and builders. He told council that although most would rather fees didn't go up, "they realized these things are going to happen and they think the by-law is fair." The bylaw and new fees will come into effect on May 1.
New pool bylaw
As part of a systematic review of town bylaws, council approved a new and improved swimming pool bylaw. The bylaw that has been in use was created 17 years ago and Grant Brouwer informed council that "we saw a lot of deficiencies in the old one." The new version is "more clear and concise." One addition is that any item holding 24 inches of water or more will require proper fencing. The by-law does not apply to hot tubs as long as they have a "substantial, structurally adequate cover permanently attached." Also exempt are storm water management ponds because as CAO Bruce Grant explained they are designed with a very gradual slope that someone can walk out of.
New stop sign
Council will replace the yield sign posted at the intersection of Brock Street and Elgin Street East with a stop sign. A letter to the town said "the close calls that residents of the area had witnessed," and OPP staff agreed that a stop sign would improve the situation after their inspection.
Sidewalk to be removed
The sidewalk along the west side of Peel St. North between Station and Widder Streets will be removed. Kevin Luckhardt, director of public works, reported that the location "exceeds current policy" because there is sidewalk on both sides of the street. Municipal staff had looked at removing the west sidewalk in 2005 because of its poor condition, but council decided to re-evaluate the issue in 2006.
Luckhardt noted that the sidewalk on the east side is "relatively new" and that to replace the west section would cost $15,000.
Property owners on the west side are in favour of the removal, according to Luckhardt. The cost of removing the sidewalk and replacing it with sod on the steep parts and seeding on the rest is expected to come in at $1,500.
Grand Trunk agreement delayed
A subdivision agreement with Grand Trunk Countryside Estates was delayed until the next council meeting. The agreement will satisfy all servicing, financial and other requirements of the Town including provision of roads, sanitary and storm sewers, drainage and boundary fencing for the new Lady Court.
Council was unable to sort through one particular boundary fencing issue along James Street North. The fencing, which would be required by the agreement, was originally put in place when a park was anticipated, now, however, building lots have replaced it. Coun. Dave Cunningham opined that safety is still a concern in the area. However, as Coun. Marg Luna pointed out, the developer has not been required to erect a fence along other parts of the development along James Street.
Stan Fraser of Grand Trunk Countryside Estates was on hand and asked council if they would be requiring all other developers to do the same thing. The fence could cause a maintenance issue as well making it difficult for residents to cut grass on the boulevard next to James Street.
Councillor absent at budget meeting
During his report to council, Coun. Bill Osborne wanted to explain why he will not be present at the then-upcoming public budget meeting. A trip that he booked in January was carefully arranged so as not to conflict with the town's budget process, however the original plan to hold the meeting on April 13 fell through when it wasn't advertised.