Napanee Council looks to the future

Much was discussed in the nearly five-hour-long meeting of the Greater Napanee Town Council Tuesday night, Oct. 12, 2021. Along with follow-up talks about remediation efforts for the Mayor’s recent misconduct, topics considered included a report from the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), a proposal by the County to add more affordable housing, and an agreement on the placement of a new sports pad structure.

Napanee Town Council Meeting, Oct 12. Greater Napanee YouTube channel screenshot.

New CAO John Pinsent came out of the gate strong with his Initial Observations And Actions Report. “Over the course of the previous three weeks, we have assembled the Senior Leadership Team (General Managers and Clerk), we have introduced the concept of the leadership team (all managers), and all staff meetings have been conducted,” Pinsent stated, noting that as a result of these discussions, observations, and previous discussions with the council during the interview process and a cursory document review, several changes to the organization and modifications/improvements to processes are currently under way.

CAO John Pinsent. Public Profile Picture LinkedIn.

He began by discussing Organization Realignment, and said the search has started for a new full-time Human Resources (HR) Manager. “The current executive assistant / HR coordinator position would move to support that HR management as continuity and help build a comprehensive HR framework,” Pinsent said. The HR management function can now move from the CAO’s office to Corporate and Community Services and will oversee Health and Safety.

He recommends a new Executive Support Position to support the CAO in the management of the executive level services and to “be a bridge between the executive and legislative services of the Town.” That position, Pinsent emphasized, will be more than administrative; its duties will lean heavily on supporting the CAO’s corporate-level priorities.

He also supports moving “Facilities” to Corporate and Community Services, explaining that “the management of facilities and the provision of recreation services can be improved by synchronizing those activities in one organization and having access to Community Engagement to promote recreation in the Town.” 

Pinsent also highlighted some areas of a new and renewed focus to better support the corporation. “Our back-end infrastructure is vulnerable in its current state and is not positioned for long-term success. Information Management and Technology (IM/IT) should be managed corporately and focused on data management. We currently manage hardware and some service desk options with a limited staff,” he said. 

Pinsent also called for the town to Increase its emphasis on both internal and external communications. The focus should be on synchronizing and maximizing communications to ensure transparency and to get messages out quickly and in a way that residents can easily absorb, he said.

Affordable Housing Proposal by the County

Brandt Zatterburg, General Manager Community and Corporate Services, submitted a Staff Report, “Affordable Housing Partnership with Lennox and Addington County – Opportunity.

The report recommended that the Council first recognize the East Ward Park Lots (former Suddard subdivision north of Richmond Park) for mixed-used residential housing to include home-ownership programs, affordable housing builds, and public-private partnerships. It also recommended that Council support the transfer of ownership of two acres within these East Ward Park Lots to the County of Lennox and Addington for $1.00 for the purposes of Affordable Housing, while committing to meet the zoning requirements for two four-unit complexes within the bounds of the East Ward Park Lots prior to December 31, 2021.

Councillor Dave Pinnell called the plan “forward-thinking,” explaining that since more density can be achieved on the acreage being requested, it is likely that, down the line, more units would be added. “Right now, they only have the funding for these units, but as more funding comes in and they already have the land allocated them, it probably would be easier just to put the housing on there… I think that they just want to secure this amount of land so that they can expand on it,” he said.

Councillor Ellen Johnson asked that the County provide “their best wishes timeline for when and how they would like to develop the rest of the site.” She acknowledged that much was dependent on higher-level government funding, but getting more details about the proposed direction would lead to a more informed decision.

Councillor John McCormack submitted, “I hope that if we go ahead with this, somehow the workers of Greater Napanee get the benefit from working on the construction.”

With these stipulations in place, the motion carried.

New Location of the multi-court sports pad. Screenshot from presentation to council.

New Multi-Court Sports Pads

In July, Council voted on a resolution to develop multi-sport pads at three existing locations: North Fredericksburg, South Fredericksburg, and Kinsman Park. The 2020 Budget included $211,000 as a municipal contribution to develop the project in partnership with Jumpstart. 

Wayne Taylor, Director of Public Works and Facilities, explained that “the two out-of-town locations are progressing well; however, the location at Kinsman Park resides above the historic landfill site and is environmentally sensitive to disturbance and politically sensitive in our relationship with provincial regulations. The site disturbance would most likely not be approved.”

Taylor said that to keep in the spirit of having a multi-sport facility in the urban core, King Street Park has been selected as the alternative location; it has existing infrastructure in place, is accessible, and has space for the full-sized soccer pitch, the proposed four pickleball courts, a basketball court, a tennis court and practice wall, and a hockey accuracy training wall.

To find out more about the discussions and decisions listed here, and others, you can visit the Greater Napanee Civic Web and YouTube Channels.

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