Emo council seeking feedback on water usage

A public meeting has been set for Aug. 22 for the residents of Emo to discuss user fees, utility fees, and water usage in the township.
The issues were mentioned during last Tuesday’s council meeting, with a suggestion to raise water dispenser fees at the municipal garage and limit the watering of non-essentials (lawns, gardens, and flowers) to evenings only—after 7 p.m.
The latter would mean an amendment to the current by-law, but acting Reeve Ed Carlson noted he’d first like to hear from those it will affect.
“It would be nice to hear from the ratepayers,” he expressed, stating any changes regarding water usage affects each individual differently.
Reeve Carlson explained since the township’s water dispenser fees are significantly lower in comparison to other parts of the Rainy River District, people are constantly hauling water outside the municipality.
“They shouldn’t be able to take all that water just to fill their pools,” he stressed. “This needs to be addressed and we should bring the fee up to a competitive rate.”
Councillor Gary Judson agreed, adding something needs to be done and shutting off the dispenser is not the answer.
“We don’t know who relies on that water,” he remarked. And regarding the limitations of outdoor watering, Coun. Judson noted he doesn’t like the idea of fining residents for using water outside the allotted time.
“The plant can’t keep up,” Reeve Carlson pointed out.
“But if people knew that, they would be sensible,” Coun. Judson countered. “We need to educate them, not fine them.”
The public meeting will be held upstairs at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre beginning at 7 p.m.
In other business at last Tuesday’s meeting, council heard delegations from three locals on separate issues.
Nico Veldhuisen informed council about the change in formula of the livestock valuation policy, while Ken McKinnon discussed the Municipal Drain Maintenance Program.
“I want council to authorize work on the drains,” he specified, citing the location at the Szeder’s and the Hendrikx’s.
A grant worth $4,590 had been allocated for the project and council agreed to continue with the drain management program with McKinnon at the head.
Consequently, Wendy Judson addressed council regarding a long-standing issue stemming from the proposition of Echo Lakes Estates subdivision and the installation of a drainage ditch nearly ten years ago.
Several matters were brought to the table, such as why the township’s lawyer, Alan Jones of Thunder Bay, insisted upon have satisfactory soil tests repeated at the cost of the developer and where his expenses in the amount of $99,293.04 arrived from?
Judson noted she recently requested a meeting between herself and the township and received no response, but council expressed they are interested in further talks.
“It would be great to get this matter taken care of,” Coun. Gary Judson stressed.
A meeting date was not set, but both parties conveyed willingness to handle the matter as promptly as possible—hopefully before the municipal elections in November.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council:
•heard a report from Public Works Superintendent Peter McQuaker and accepted the equipment rentals as per Tender #2006-07;
•passed a resolution agreeing to hire Kelly Berg as program co-ordinator at the Emo Toy Library/Resource Centre beginning Aug. 14;
•authorized signing rights to Reeve Carlson;
•agreed to provide a donation to the Northwestern Ontario Medical Education Award Fund established by the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association;
•agreed to donate the budgeted amount of $5,000 to the Donald Young School Nourishment Committee;
•tabled a request for a Contact North location in Emo until a suitable placement can be found;
•consented to support the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in their efforts to improve the efficiency of the “blue box” program;
•passed a resolution for a repair invoice of $1,813.34 to repair the handi-transit van damaged during Emo Spring Fever Days;
•agreed to support the municipality of Alberton in the establishment of District Emergency Control Group;
•authorized reimbursement of $9,311.65 to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs due to overpayment of OSTAR funding; and
•agreed to send clerk Brenda Cooke and Coun. Judson to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association 24th-annual regional conference on Sept. 21-22 in Thunder Bay.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006 after the aforementioned public meeting.