In This Week's Edition:
United Way four per cent to goal. Final push now on!
MapleFest is under way at McLean Berry Farm
Make it History
Daffodil month coming in April
Tree sauce? Vayda Lizares of Peterborough was checking out the maple sap bucket during MapleFest at McLean Berry Farm in Buckhorn on Saturday morning. MapleFest takes place weekends in March through March 25. More pictures on page 7.
by Terry Gillis
On Tuesday evening, at the invitation of Selwyn Township, CEO Ryan Moore and AFO Jason Watson, co-owners of Go Fibre, presented council with an outline of their telecommunications business and an open-ended proposal.
Ryan, the spokesman for the pair, said that two years ago, he and his partner Jason were motivated by available federal funding to begin a company that would bring fibre (optics) to rural residents and businesses. As he noted, there aren’t a lot of options for high speed internet for rural communities.
Go Fibre got off the ground with a 700 home project, some of which are in Selwyn, and all are, of course, in Peterborough County. They told council that although they are starting off with 700 homes, they are capable of servicing up to 6,000.
According to their website, Go Fibre’s mission is simple, to improve the lives of rural Canadians through increased connectivity to the world by installing state of the art High Speed Fibre Optic infrastructure in their communities. Go Fibre plans to deliver the best internet you can possibly get; competitive local and long distance phone packages and pay as you go broadcast quality television service.
Moore said that they were in Selwyn (besides being invited) to ask how they could help the township with their high-speed internet needs.
The Go Fibre CEO (Moore) began collecting data in 2014 on any and everybody who contacted them looking for wireless internet. From Selwyn alone, they received over 1,000 inquiries from people looking for faster and/or better internet.
So how can they help? Moore told council that some of the things that helps them help the municipality is, as an example, “if there’s something specific you would like Go Fibre to consider or start planning, ask us. Maybe we can sit down with you and work on a steering committee.”
Following the presentation Mayor Smith said that Deputy Mayor Senis mentioned that she had seen Go Fibre’s presentation at the County council meeting and thought it would be helpful to have them present in Selwyn so council members could hear what they are doing and are hoping to do in Selwyn Township.
Mayor Smith said that the township, through the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) project, stays very connected. She also made a comment, directed toward Angie Chittick, regarding the number of calls the municipality receives about internet access and cell coverage.
In response to Smith’s comments, Angela Chittick, Manager of Community & Corporate Services/Clerk said that, while working with the county, they are trying to identify gap areas in internet and cell phone service, and looking for funding and partnering opportunities to fill those gaps.
Go Fibre Presented to Selwyn Council on Tuesday
In this week's print edition
Provincial legislation concerns Selwyn
Go Fibre presents at Selwyn council
Hydro One ceases negotiations with PDI
Public meeting for proposed hydro project
Speed reduction on County Road 6
2018 County Budget approved
United Way four per cent to goal
Spring Safety message
First Nations and municipalities come together
Mayors for Meals
Regular Columns and Features:
Editorial by Terry McQuitty
Reflections by Terry Gillis
Bird Column by Rachel Lancashire
Book Review by Barry Mutter
@yourlibrary by Kacie Gardiner
Stargazing by John Crossen
Story Time at the Buckhorn Library
Golden Years Club Update
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United Way Campaign Chases Final four per cent
Provincial legislation causes concern for Selwyn council
by Terry Gillis
At Tuesday evening’s Selwyn council meeting, what is normally considered a routine matter, a consent to sever application, brought before council by Planner Jeannette Thompson, caused some problems for council members.
Under new provincial legislation, the property in question, 792 Listowel Line (Ennismore Ward), is now identified as Prime Agricultural land in the Agricultural Systems Map which was released by the Province of Ontario on February 9, 2018.
The property pre-dated the new legislation and the applicant was made aware that the mapping was going to be released, but that the time of release was not certain. The applicants amended their application and decided to push forward with it.
The Implementation Procedures for the Agricultural System in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe was also issued by the Province on February 9, 2018. The Province indicates that the implementation procedures take effect immediately. The implementation procedure states, “OMAFRA’s agricultural land base mapping, issued on February 9, 2018, applies to all GGH land use planning decisions.”
As per Section 126.96.36.199 of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014, the creation of new lots is not permitted in prime agricultural areas.
Thompson explained that because the mapping has the Listowel property identified as being within the Primary Agriculture (prime ag) area and the mapping is fully implemented, the Building and Planning Department is not able to provide the landowners with a positive recommendation.
In her report to council, Thompson recommended that Selwyn advise the County of Peterborough Land Division Committee that the Township does not support the Consent to Sever, and thus to deny the application.
Councillor Herron remarked that when an application comes to council, it is usually accompanied by some background information. He said he was concerned about “denying something that they (council) have very little information on.”
Gerry said that he understood that the agricultural stuff came out, “however, you did say that these people started before the mapping came out. There’s been exceptions to the rules already within Selwyn where they’ve allowed developments to go on after the agricultural mapping came out.”
Mayor Smith interrupted Councillor Herron saying, “Gerry, can we start with that piece.” She then proceeded to ask Planner Thompson if there have been exceptions since the mapping came out.
Thompson responded by saying that the property Councillor Herron may be referring to was on Chemong and that the Chemong property was in the “Candidate” area and not in the “Prime Ag” area and the township is permitted to treat that property as how it is designated today, which is residential, “so we were able to move forward with that application.”
Councillor Herron said that “I guess my concern is that with this whole agricultural mapping, everything is coming to a halt here.” He then said that he would like to see a deferral until “I see where the lot’s going to go and to see a full report rather than just a map, and just rolling over and playing dead for the province with their new agricultural map.”
Mayor Smith asked Jeannette to explain normal procedures for applications and comments from the municipality. Thompson replied that staff usually deal with comments however if there is anything controversial or if staff is recommending anything out of the ordinary, staff is required to bring the matter before council for direction.
Mayor Smith requested clarification on the location of the proposed severed lot. “There’s nowhere on the property, where the severance has been applied for, so there’s nowhere they could locate a severance that would not be in the prime agricultural land?”
Thompson replied that that is correct.
Councillor Herron repeated that he was not comfortable making a decision without enough information.
Councillor Ballantyne said that, “if the legislation is that black and white and it’s like a No, why is it even coming to us to say yeah or neigh. And as you know, we’re on the front line. We’re the ones that are going to get the phone calls. It doesn’t seem fair to me. It doesn’t even make sense to me that we have to comment on this because if we say no and land division will say no, and that’s the end of the story. I have a problem with that whole process.”
Angela Chittick suggested to council that perhaps since council is in a position where it’s advising something it has no choice not to advise, that “perhaps the wording in the resolution to make it a little bit more comforting to council would be that we just take that out. So we don’t say that council advises County of Peterborough, we could just have the report received for information and that staff provide comment on the severance and indicate that it understands that it’s in the prime ag area and therefore not eligible for severance.”
Following further discussion, Mayor Smith asked if there was a member of council who was willing to support the amended recommendation. No one was willing to support the recommendation.
Donna said she had a question then continued on to say “I’ve been on council for fourteen years now and I don’t want to vote yeah or neigh, is there the ability to abstain?”
Smith replied that Jeannette has to legally respond to this request for comment.
The Clerk told council that they could just delegate it to staff.
Smith said, “normally, we would not be involved in the severance response process. It’s simply that you wanted to make sure that council was aware of this.”
CAO Lavalley commented that if there is to be a recommendation not in favour of something, “in accordance with our procedure that is in place right now, is to come forward to council. So Jeannette is doing what she needs to do in accordance with our procedures. If council doesn’t want to deal with these applications, then we’d have to look at whether or not there’s an opportunity to delegate it all to staff regardless whether or not it’s going to be a recommendation for denial. And I would want to review the policy.”
Mayor Smith recapped the discussion thus far stating that “the recommendation here is for us to receive this information, and I believe all of council can support receiving the information, I would hope, because that’s what she has provided is the information about the process. And then the amendment to wording states that...”
Lavalley asked the Mayor if council could give the CAO and the Clerk “a few minutes to find the township’s delegation policy to have a look at clearly what it says.”
Deputy Mayor Senis asked if there was some kind of time restraint.
Thompson replied that they have until April 4 to provide comments. She said that she would like it to get done as quickly as possible because she would like the applicants to be able to move on.
Deputy Mayor Senis said that perhaps it would be “worthwhile to have a deferral to give you a chance to have a look at it and come back with something that is palatable to the rest of council because we all feel uncomfortable”.
Angie asked council if they could just give them (staff) a few minutes, “the problem is that if it is indeed delegated to you, we’re just going to be right back here having this conversation. So if we could just have a quick minute to look through it, we just want to know where we need to go to move forward.”
The mayor called a five minute break to give Angie and Janice time to read through the delegation policy.
Following the break, Angie told council that the entire thing is delegated to staff, “so we can just receive this for information. Council doesn’t need to give any direction either way.”
Mary asked staff if council wanted to make comment to the province “on the situation we find ourselves in, that would help to educate the province about how on the ground this is actually rolling out, and we could copy our MPP, would that be something that council would like to do as a separate motion?”
The final motions were 1) to receive Thompson’s report for information. Anita moved the motion and Sherry seconded it. Donna then asked for a recorded vote which was unanimous. 2) to make a motion that staff bring back a copy of a draft letter to the province. Gerry moved the motion and Donna seconded it. Donna then said she would “like it to be on the public record so that members of the public know what we’re having to deal with. I think it’s very important to have that.” The motion was unanimously approved.
"Unheralded" chronicles a week in the life of "The Lakefield Herald", a local newspaper published in Lakefield, Ontario. Whether writing about dog shows and 100th birthdays, or telling stories of citizen opposition and community loss - local news reporters have a difficult job, especially when the readers are their neighbours. "Unheralded" is an NFB-TVO Calling Card production.
Unheralded the documentary
Dam 25 Community Liaison Committee
The minutes of the June 20, 2017 Dam 25 Community Liaison Committee meeting are posted on the project website at www.lock25gs.ca should you, or any of your neighbours/colleagues wish to see them.