United Counties Council briefs 15-07-19

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
United Counties Council briefs 15-07-19
Councillors Byvelds, Smith and McGillis during the meeting (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

UNITED COUNTIES, Ontario – Many topics of interest were discussed during the SDG United Counties Council meeting on Monday, July 15.

One topic that was discussed for a portion of the meeting included the usage of road salt in the winter.

Some Councillors salty over $3 million road salt budget

Other topics include the following…

Waste Management 

Council discussed impending changes to waste management services through the Waste Free Ontario Act, as well as unique challenges regarding waste in each of the six United County municipalities.

Council is looking to fund a Regional Waste Management Review, potentially partnering with the City of Cornwall, to improve efficiencies, identify areas in which more collaboration should be implemented and review possible strategies for the future.

Frontenac County recently conducted a similar study, which outlined 33 short-term to long-term strategies, including the following objectives: reducing costs, increasing diversion, and reducing environmental impact.

“I’m fully in support (of a review). Twenty years in a landfill is not a long time,” said South Glengarry Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden.

CAO Tim Simpson believes that attaining funding for a review should be a main priority for council moving forward.

Winter Road Maintenance Plan

County-wide winter road maintenance has been a major topic at recent council meetings. After discussion and plan adjustments, a tentative finalization was reached on Monday, outlining a new plowing strategy aimed at more efficient maintenance during peak commuting hours.

Council was presented with three main options from Transportation and Planning Services Director Ben de Haan, including internal route revisions, adding more plows and adjusting shift changes/work hours. The recommended option was chosen, which includes a route length adjustment to better prioritize County Rd. 31, County Rd. 34 and County Rd. 2.

The plan will move forward on the condition North Dundas’ roads department take responsibility of maintaining County Rd. 3 and County Rd. 7. de Haan said that the plan will be finalized once a procedure policy is created and agreed upon with the municipality.

Land Acquisition 

Two land owners in SDG are looking for the United Counties to acquire portions of their property, one section of land in South Stormont on Edwards Rd. and the other in North Glengarry along County Rd. 10. Both properties have been assessed and County staff support the acquisitions, as one property is well-managed with substantial forest cover and wetlands, while the other may require a small investment to begin re-forestation. Both owners will be provided with a tax receipt for their donation.

“Staff have initiated an appraisal of the land, and, would be responsible for survey and legal costs. A full report would be prepared for Council in advance of finalizing the transfer,” confirmed a statement in the council meeting package.

Similarly, South Stormont has declared a 5.13 acre area of land around the ‘Newington Bog’ as vacant and requested the County take responsibility of the property for better preservation of natural habitats and ecological features.

“I fully support any land the County wants to take over,” said SS Mayor Bryan McGillis, who holds concerns with corporations clear cutting lands within SDG.

Council also briefly discussed the following items:

  • Santa’s Village wishes to implement sleigh rides through the forest to increase tourism and allow for further experience.
  • A new spa/cafe is looking to open in Moose Creek.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) board is not under imminent threat of regional amalgamation as proposed provincial changes are occurring at a slower than anticipated rate, according to NG Deputy Mayor Carma Williams.
  • Paramedic services throughout the region are looking to conduct a service efficiency study throughout the region.
  • SDG is facing long-term challenges with subsidized housing options.
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