There was a good attendance at this council meeting with quite a number of people wanting to hear the update on the Bertold Park plans. Almost 30 residents were present.
Here is a summary of the main topics that were addressed:
A question was asked about there being nothing on the agenda in response to an earlier request to provide subsidised membership of the Arboretum in the same way that Ste-Anne does for its residents. The Mayor said that this was still under discussion and asked for a show of hands amongst those present as to how many there would take advantage of such a scheme if it was offered – lots of hands went up. We hope that this initiative will bear fruit.
The town is considering starting a support group for the house-bound and isolated seniors in the town. Regular visits for a chat, help with small problems, a bit of advocacy etc. Such schemes have proved popular and beneficial in other communities. Whether it takes off will depend on how many fit and able residents feel they would like to participate – if you are interested in this concept why not get in touch with the Mayor?
Correspondence – Trees and development
A letter had been received from a group of around ten residents concerned about the apparent increase in tree felling that accompanies demolitions and house building. The writers asked for details of the guidelines used by the town before giving permits. We were told that the bylaws require all new constructions to “preserve as many trees as possible”. If a tree has to be felled it must be replaced by a comparable species. Trees liable to damage must be protected during construction work and a fenced off area around the tree to protect roots from soil compression must be maintained (CM-note: that may be the intention of the bylaws but it is clear that the protected zone is not large enough and is not monitored adequately – see http://citizenmarat.sparroworks.ca/protecting-trees-1/) Cllr Ryan said that twice recently they committee had asked for plans to be modified in order to preserve trees.
A contract has now been awarded and work will commence in August, taking about three weeks. Phase one addresses the riverbank in front of the town hall. Appropriate plantings of native shrubs and small trees will be made along the bank such that views of the lake are maintained.
A grant, to be matched by the town, has been awarded that willl allow improvements to the urban forest to be made around John-Weir Park where a lot of ash trees have been lost. There will be a “community involvement event” on 13 October at which educational environmental workshops will be run by GUEPE (https://www.guepe.qc.ca) and it intended to create “Les Amis de Parc John-Weir”. Provincial and Federal environment politicians have been invited to attend.
Trees Again !!
Over 200 trees this year have been planted in the Industrial Park and the plan is for a similar number to be planted each of the next few years. Tremendous support for this initiative has come from businesses in the park.
Bertold Park (Dogs)
After about 150 residents attended the recent information session the councillors were inundated with communications and suggestions about how best to manage the future of Bertold Park – some 500 residents have offered ideas; perhaps, the Mayor said, the greatest community involvement the town has ever known.
After reviewing all the options, listening to residents and taking on board the report produced by the Parks and Recreation Committee it has been decided (by a majority of councillors, it was not unanimous) that Option #3 will be adopted (see the report posted here from the public meeting http://citizenmarat.sparroworks.ca/bertold-park-the-future-and-the-dogs/)
Thus, the future of the park will involve shared useage such that a “harmonious” use allowing for young and old, walkers and picnicers, as well as a demarcated off-leash dog run area can be maintained and enjoyed by everyone. The town administration have been asked to prepare detailed plans for setting this up and installing necessary fencing etc. Solutions will be found to encourage adequate enforcement of regulations, safety etc. The town admin will be talking to the various stakeholders and “best pratice” will be followed throughout. This is a very complex project and although it is hoped to be commenced in the fall it probably will not be completely in place before spring of 2019.
Note – no vote was taken on this by council so the final solution is still open to modification if necessary. Presumably they will wait for a proposal from the admin group before setting this in stone.
Stop signs will be placed at the junction of Churchill and Westchester following a couple of serious accidents due to speeding.
Plans for the reconstruction of path running across Fritz Park in front of the community building are being sought. This path is in very bad condition.
Tree felling Penalties
Council was asked if they would consider increasing the fines levied on people who fell trees without permits. Cllr Ryan sid that all fines are being revisited and this was certainly on the list to receive attention.