A number of important issues came forward to the Greater Napanee Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, including congratulations, complaints, and dates for coming events. The takeaway: prepare for good times ahead, but beware your water bill.
The final Town of Greater Napanee Corporate Strategic Plan 2022-2027 was presented by CAO John Pinsent and endorsed by Council as a guiding document for staff for the next five years. “What it does quite succinctly is in one document outline what we should be doing over the next four or five years at least,” Pinsent explained. “There are three years of detailed priorities… that staff can start using as a framework for the establishment of priorities, which we will set forth as we get into budget discussions.”
With the upcoming municipal election to be held on October 24 for the positions of deputy mayor and all ward councillors, Municipal Clerk Jessica Walters had a number of details to report: “Voter information letters went to Canada Post today [September 27], so residents should start receiving those soon, and we will continue to make additions, corrections, etc. up until 8 p.m. on October 24.”
Walters further reported that the Town is currently operating election services at 41 Dundas Street West, but on October 11 will be moving to 12 Market Square for greater accessibility. A voter registration booth will be available at the all-candidates forum being hosted by the Chamber of Commerce on October 6, and election details continue to be promoted through the Town’s media channels. And of course staff are preparing for the transition between the current and next term of Council.
Council approved a motion by Councillor Ellen Johnson recommending Council endorse the results of the report “The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track.” The motion also stated that Council “will provide a letter of support to the President of VIA Rail requesting the return of Train 651, with a copy to be sent to our local MPP; and further, that staff continue working with our regional municipalities to advocate for improved rail transit.”
Cortwright Christian and Grace Abrena made a deputation on behalf of the Napanee and District Multicultural Association (NDMA). “We are hoping to reignite the Multicultural Association Festival,” said Christian, who explained that they are asking the Town of Napanee to commit to $6,000 yearly toward the festival. Mayor Marg Isbester said Council would make note of this request and it would be considered in 2023 budget deliberations.
Annie Normile made a deputation thanking Council for the completion of work in Lions Park, saying, “It’s important for us to recognize the foresight shown by the Lions Club and the huge project they undertook when the park was first considered. At that time there was no Riverwalk, no Vyas Villa and no Conservation Park, as we know it today… how times have changed. Today the area is welcoming… we now have a lovely park on the north shore. The land has been preserved for the public; it is now more accessible and an asset to our town…You have my wholehearted thank you.”
Clive Shirley spoke to Council about an abnormally high water bill for a commercial property at 27 Kellwood Crescent: almost 10 times higher than the usual amount.
Shirley pointed out that he had contacted Napanee Utilities who blamed “water thieves.” He asked Council, “Are we really expected to believe there are water trucks roaming the streets of Napanee at night, avoiding security cameras and stealing water from an outside tap that trickles water? This is not a credible claim.” Shirley suggested Council consider an awareness campaign letting the public know that if they have a water bill, they carry that liability, “because the utility is unhelpful when there is clearly an error in their equipment.”
Unfortunately, according to Councillor Johnson, “Prior to 2013, the town had a policy where if somebody has a leaking toilet or something like that, you could apply for compensation,” but this is no longer the case.
No real solution was offered, with Mayor Marg Isbester suggesting, “You would have to either take it up with staff to get more answers… or fight it in a civil suit. But this Council certainly can’t say to you that we can forgive the bill… It is a policy that’s been on the books for a long time.”
The Community and Corporate Services report by Deputy CAO Brandt Zatterberg highlighted many important upcoming dates for community programs: a Trunk or Treating Event on October 30, an Indoor Holiday Market on November 26, and the Parade of Lights on December 3. They will also be seeking volunteers soon to help install the Big Bright Light Show lights in the downtown core.
Interim fire Chief Bill Hammond made his first Emergency Services report in his new position. Fire Prevention Week will run from October 9 to 16, with many events planned in the community, schools, and businesses.
Lastly, leaf and brush collection dates have been set for the week of November 21 in town and November 28 for rural residents.
For more details of Napanee Town Council meetings, including how to watch them live or view the recording later, visit the Town’s Meeting Information page.