Changes to daylight savings up for debate

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

A new slate of members and returning officials attended the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Rainy River District Municipal Association (RRDMA) in Chapple last Saturday, which saw multiple members elected to new positions and a handful of topics both presented and discussed for future consideration.

The meeting of the RRDMA began at 8:30 a.m. at the Chapple Recreation Centre on January 14, 2023, the first such AGM of both the calendar year and the new municipal term. As a result, while many attendees of the meeting had served the association and attended meetings in the past, for many others it was their first time attending the RRDMA AGM.

Longtime association president Deb Ewald led the meeting, beginning proceedings with opening remarks, land acknowledgements, and a brief greeting from Chapple reeve James Gibson. After that, it was on to the business of a busy day. The RRDMA members approved the meeting minutes of their previous September 21, 2022, general meeting, as well as both the treasurer’s report and a collection of written reports from various board and committee representatives. The RRDMA also approved and authorized a $5,452.76 levy payment to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), as well as increased RRDMA secretarial mileage rate from $0.50/km to $0.68/km in keeping with the rates set by the CRA. Wording was included that will tie that mileage rate to the CRA rate going forward to avoid the issue coming up for discussion year after year.

The next item on the meeting’s agenda was to discuss any resolutions from the association intended for discussion at the next NOMA meeting. While no items had been pre-submitted for discussion, two items were brought up by association members during the meeting itself. The first, raised by Gibson, was in regards to errant elk who are causing nuisance and destruction to area residents and farmers, particularly when it comes to hay stores. The motion is asking the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to look into the nuisance animals and come up with some plan to deal with them, or compensate affected parties. The second motion was raised by Rick Neilson of Chapple in regards to Daylight Savings Time and the potential of abandoning the practice within the Rainy River District. While Neilson noted that studies had shown a historic increase in traffic accidents and medical emergencies following the time changes around Daylight Savings Time, most of the discussion that followed centred around what, exactly, the new time zone for the area would be. While some attendees argued for the region joining with Thunder Bay and moving to the Eastern Time Zone, others felt remaining part of the Central Time Zone would be best, while others still argued the district could fall in line with Atikokan. Some concerns were raised regarding doing business with entities outside of the area, or even what the impact could be on those who travel here throughout the year to conduct their own business. While there was general support for the idea of moving away from changing the clocks twice per year, it was decided the issue was too large to be dealt with on the floor of the RRDMA, and that municipal businesses and organizations should also have their say in the matter. To that end, the topic was tabled and will be brought back for discussion in May of this year, allowing each municipality to conduct research and gather public opinion on the issue.

Once resolutions were dealt with, the meeting turned to elections and appointments to the RRDMA board and other boards and committees in which their members have a stake. Earlier in the meeting Ewald has notified the attendees she would be serving her last RRDMA meeting as association president, along with vice-president Peter Spuzak of Alberton Township, and so both positions were up for election that day. Following a vote for the vice-president position, Doug Hartnell, Dawson Township mayor, was acclaimed as the new RRDMA president, and Mike Behan of Fort Frances was voted the association vice-president. Other appointments included:

  • NOMA Board Municipal Council Representatives: Wendy Brunetta (Fort Frances) and Lisa Teeple (Emo)
  • NOMA Board Municipal Staff Representative: Jason Young (Atikokan CAO)
  • Rainy River District Vet Services Committee: Trish Nielson (Chapple)
  • Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society: Phil Strachan (Chapple)
  • Rainy River District Stewardship: Rick Nielson (Chapple)
  • Safe Communities Rainy River District: April Chojko-Bolec (Lake of the Woods)
  • Northwestern Health Unit (Township of Alberton and West): Caitlyn Cottam (Lake of the Woods)
  • Northwest Training and Adjustment Board: Tyson Dennis (Alberton)
  • Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee: Phil Whatley (Emo)

The next general meeting of the RRDMA is scheduled for May 2023, and delegates will also be attending the 81st Kenora District Municipal Association (KDMA) Conference once a date and location is set for that meeting, likely to be sometime this summer.