how it goes
After reconsidering the decision to allow catered weddings at Sunny Cove Camp, council agreed last night to honour the four bookings the town already has agreed to and then evaluate the practice before it accepts any more.
“I am very glad we are going to allow the four previously booked weddings to go ahead,” said Coun. Andrew Hallikas.
“I think the acquisition of Sunny Cove Camp by the town is an absolutely wonderful opportunity to expand the services that Community Services can supply.
“I was just hoping we would allow weddings for a year just to see how it goes,” he added.
“There was some comments made that we’d be competing with local business,” Coun. Hallikas noted. “The fact is, the town already has some competition with local business.
“But to me not that’s not the issue—the issue is about choice, and I think that we want to use that property to its full potential.
“And one of the ways that we can do that is make it available to weddings, with, of course, the proper precautions and liability waivers in place, so that people in our community . . . can do so.
“Really, we can’t evaluate the impact on local business without having some data,” Coun. Hallikas argued. “Trying for a year, and looking at it at the end of a year, will help us do that.”
“I think we’re doing the right thing here,” echoed Coun. Paul Ryan, pointing out the initial resolution council had passed to allow weddings at Sunny Cove stipulated it was on a trial basis.
“We can see how it goes, see if there’s any problems,” he noted. “When liquor’s being served, things can happen.
“We’ll get that data, and it will be something the next council will be considering next year,” Coun. Ryan added.
In a written report to council, Community Services manager George Bell noted there have been concerns brought forward about competition with business, damage to property, supervisions, and liability.
He added that discussions with the town’s insurance provider since then have indicated that since the town owns the property and also provides weddings elsewhere, they are insured at no additional cost.
Council approved a recommendation from the Community Services executive committee to limit the availability of the camp for weddings to the four current bookings this year, after which time they will evaluate the practice for the future.
Also last night, Coun. Ken Perry walked out of the meeting after being denied a travel expense claim.
Coun. Perry had made a request for payment consideration of a cancelled air flight ticket credit in relation to a return flight from last month’s Ontario Good Roads Association conference in Toronto.
Coun. Perry flew to Toronto, attended the conference, and then left from Toronto to a vacation in Las Vegas instead of returning back through Winnipeg.
Coun. Perry had asked to receive the money the town saved by the change in flight—$107.80—to help offset his return expenses from Toronto to Fort Frances.
But he was told he was not eligible because he did not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.
Also at last night’s meeting, council heard a library building update from Community Services manager George Bell, who said the project is 87 percent complete and will see substantial completion by April 30.
Joyce Cunningham, chair of the Fort Frances Library Board, spoke about funding from Ontario Library Services North for technology advancements to libraries, including $109,000 over two years for a technology co-ordinator for the new library and technology centre.
•approved purchase card expenses for CAO Mark McCaig in the amount of $305.98 (this stems from attendance at the Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference in Toronto last month;
•approved purchase card expenses for Mayor Roy Avis in the amount of $209.43 (for ground transportation at the OGRA/ROMA conference, as well as a luncheon meeting with the Ministry of Natural Resources);
•approved travel expense and per diem claims for Coun. Andrew Hallikas in the amount of $962 (this stems from attendance at the OGRA/ROMA conference);
•appointed Robin Payeur to the Business Improvement Association board for a term ending Nov. 30, 2010;
•approved a report on property at 319 Third St. W., referring a road-widening issue there to the Operations and Facilities division for clarification and conclusion (it also directed the preparation of a minor variance on behalf of the purchaser and directed that the minor variance be processed without fee);
•accepted a report on an inspection of the sewage treatment plant by the Ministry of the Environment (the report indicated no compliance concerns or required actions);
•authorized the mayor and clerk to execute a geospatial data licence agreement with Centra Transmission Holdings;
•received the February, 2010 drinking water systems monthly summary report;
•denied a request from G. Domanski to write-off a penalty (in the amount of $11.42) applied to an interim tax bill at 755 Riverview Dr.;
•agreed to a donation request for the 2010 Women’s Health Symposium in the amount of $100;
•accepted federal gas tax and federal public transit audited statements;
•received a report on 2009 capital fund financing;
•received a report on the 2009 year-end surplus; and
•reviewed and accepted the 2009 Schedule 22 (compliance) summary report, which indicates the water treatment plant has experienced no problems.