Highlights of the Cornwall City Council Meeting on April 30, 2024

Highlights of the Cornwall City Council Meeting on April 30, 2024
Mayor Justin Towndale at a Council meeting earlier in 2024. (Photo : Jason Setnyk)

Cornwall, Ontario – Members of Cornwall City Council met in the Council Chambers at City Hall on April 30, 2024, for its regular biweekly meeting. Councillor Carilyne Hébert and Councillor Maurice Dupelle were absent. Here are some key highlights from the meeting.

Lot Grading By-law Received

A new Lot Grading By-law was received for information, setting the stage for its future implementation. This by-law is intended to address common grading issues related to new and infill construction, ensuring proper drainage and compliance with established parameters to prevent future complications among neighboring properties. The by-law aims to provide comprehensive grading plans and enforce corrections through administrative penalties, ensuring developments meet community standards without imposing significant new staffing costs on the city.


Amendments to Parking Violations Fines

The City of Cornwall is set to amend its Administrative Monetary Penalty System By-Law to increase fines for parking violations, addressing frequent infractions such as parking outside designated areas, including driveways and school zones, and the incorrect display of disabled parking permits. The adjustments aim to better manage persistent parking issues that pose risks to public safety, particularly in school zones, where improper parking practices compromise children’s safety. By raising penalties and introducing new items in the penalty schedule, the city hopes to enhance compliance with parking regulations. These changes are supported by a three-week educational campaign (May 6-22) to inform the public before stringent enforcement begins, reflecting strategies that have succeeded in other municipalities.


Infrastructure Upgrades on Guy and Walton

The reconstruction of Guy Street and Walton Street was granted to Coalwater Excavation Incorporated, with a bid of $1,831,867.77, inclusive of HST. This capital project, funded through various reserves, including the Water Works and Wastewater Works Reserves, entails significant infrastructure enhancements such as the installation of new storm sewers, sanitary sewers, watermains, curbs, sidewalks, and the resurfacing of road sections. The total costs exceed the allocated budget by $290,500, which the Road Infrastructure Reserve will cover.


Enhancements to City Watermains

Foraction Incorporated won a $1,278,000.00 contract, including HST, to apply Cured-in-Place-Pipe lining to various city watermains. This bid slightly surpasses the budgeted $1,169,243.00. The project aims to rehabilitate aging cast iron watermains using Cured-in-Place-Pipe (CIPP) technology to improve water quality and system reliability. The process involves cleaning the watermains, inserting a liner, and then curing it with steam to create a new pipe within the existing one. This trenchless technology minimizes excavation, reducing disruption and operational costs whileaddressing key infrastructure challenges such as leakage, reduced chlorine levels, and fire flow capacity.


Traffic Control and Electrical Upgrades

Tender No. 24-T22 for upgrading traffic control signals and electrical works at two key intersections in Cornwall was approved and awarded to Black & McDonald Limited for $358,107.17, including HST, within the allocated budget of $400,000. The project aims to modernize the existing traffic infrastructure at Second Street and Augustus Street, and Thirteenth Street and Cumberland Street, by installing new traffic signal components, electrical systems, and decommissioning outdated equipment. This upgrade will enhance the reliability and compliance of the traffic signals with provincial standards, addressing aging infrastructure and reducing the risk of signal failures.


Community Improvement Plan Grants

Council approved two significant CIP grants for properties at 1005 First Street East and 224 Second Street West. These grants will aid in the facade and structural improvements necessary for the ongoing business operations and new developments at these locations, bolstering community infrastructure along key corridors. This was endorsed by the Planning Advisory Committee. Funded by the Heart of the City Reserve, these grants support vital property improvements—facade and structural upgrades for Bergeron Sleep Shop and renovation for a real estate office—aligning with strategic priorities for infill development and infrastructure enhancement. This approval will help these businesses meet community service needs without impacting the 2024 Operating Budget.


Support for Senior Activities in June

Council agreed to allocate $25,000 to support various community activities during June, celebrated as Seniors and Recreation & Park Month. These events are designed to enhance community engagement and promote healthy lifestyles among all age groups. A motion put forward by Councillor Dean Hollingsworth and passed 5-4, funded this via the working reserves instead of the grant envelope. This funding will encompass diverse activities, from public skating and yoga to music performances and wellness workshops, aligning with the city’s strategic goals of fostering community connections and enhancing public participation in local programs. This initiative coincides with the 40th anniversary of Seniors Month, emphasizing the importance of keeping older adults connected and active within their communities.


Comprehensive Housing Strategy Update

Council received a report reviewing updates on local housing strategies, including the Parisien Manor lease and assessing its renovation costs, and the suitability of the Massey Commons project for transitional/supportive housing. The report highlights the financial implications of these projects, strategic priorities under the “Housing for All” pillar, and a broader commitment to addressing housing needs across income levels and demographics. Additionally, the report discusses the engagement with school boards and the application of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to enhance safety and quality of life around these housing projects. Councillor Fred Ngoundjo and others expressed their desire to see the full report completed. Also, some discussion was held in-camera.


Strengthening University Connections

Councillor Fred Ngoundjo, seconded by Councillor Sarah Good, proposed a resolution for the City of Cornwall to collaborate with the University of Ottawa to develop a business case by October 1, 2024, for post-secondary courses and programs to be offered in Cornwall. This $60,000 initiative, intended to be funded from working reserves, was deferred. Councillor Claude E. McIntosh opposed hiring a consultant since a similar $80,000 study was conducted in 2010. He argued that if a post-secondary institution were interested in Cornwall, it would initiate contact. CouncillorDean Hollingsworth suggested a polytechnical institution might better suit Cornwall’s needs, while Councillor Denis Sabourin proposed exploring online options and expanding college diploma programs. Councillor Elaine MacDonald noted that merely desiring a university wouldn’t ensure its establishment. After the debate, Councillor Todd Bennett moved to defer, and it was seconded by Councillor Syd Gardiner.


Enhancing Municipal Governance

Councillor Sarah Good, seconded by Councillor Syd Gardiner, proposed a resolution for the City of Cornwall to support the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in urging the Government of Ontario to strengthen municipal Codes of Conduct. The proposed legislative amendments aim to enhance enforcement mechanisms, include updates for handling workplace safety and harassment, establish a flexible penalty regime, and increase training for municipal Integrity Commissioners. Additionally, the legislation would allow for the judicial removal of council members found in violation, barring them from holding office in the current and subsequent terms, thus addressing recent incidents of disrespectful behavior and harassment within municipal councils and improving public perception of local governance. The resolution passed after Councillor Sarah Good criticized comments by Councillor Elaine MacDonald.Councillor Good argued that situations such as domestic abuse are not always fairly or quickly resolved and urged council to support the motion and join over 200 other municipalities in pressing the Ontario Government to strengthen the municipal Code of Conduct.

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