Notes-fullBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

  • The opening act, Miranda Miller's deputation about the overgrown former BCK property on 1st Ave. W, with a cameo appearance by the police chief and the chorus of councillors apologizing and promising action, went almost until intermission. That drama is well-reviewed elsewhere in The Hub.
  • It was gratifying to hear the Good Food Box promoted in another deputation. This simple, affordable, community-building method of getting fresh fruit and veggies into Owen Sound homes has always been close to my heart.
  • "The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is a part of the City of Owen Sound. The staff are City employees." How did I not know this? Anyway, not for long perhaps. Council approved in principal a proposal by the gallery that it form an independent, not for profit, charitable corporation to improve its access to more grants and artwork. The gallery has committed to stay in Owen Sound and continuing the benefits and pensions of its staff members. A lease on the building and other financial details have yet to be hammered out.
  • The TOM's permanent collection has been designated a national treasure, belonging to the people of Canada.
  • At council's direction, our mayor wrote to the Premier on the subject of industrial electricity rates, and a two-page reply came back from her minister of energy, Bob Chiarelli. Essentially he said that the Ontario government was committed to innovation and conservation as the most cost-effective energy resources. That's what our own environmental superintendent, Chris Hughes, has been telling us for years now.
  • So...if Councillor Jim McManaman does not file his papers to run for re-election, or if one of the incumbent councillors withdraws from the race, the council will find itself in a "lame duck" status. Literally referring to a water fowl unable to keep up with its flock, in politics this means having reduced power at the end of a term of office. If it is statistically impossible for the same council to return to the table after the October 27 election, the Municipal Act would not allow it to hire or fire city staff, sell off city property, or spend too much money in its last few months.
  • The new council will be on the run from its inaugural meeting December 1, keeping up with City Manager Ruth Coursey's ambitious schedule. Early in the term Owen Sound residents, staff and councillors will be deep in the process of developing a new strategic plan for the city, so be prepared to share your vision and your priorities or forever hold your peace.
  • Council gave a small but thoughtful group of your fellow citizens the job of figuring out just what our mayor and city councillors should be taking home in their pay packet. After all, their remuneration had not changed since 2008. The committee wanted to be sure the pay was enough to allow a broad range of people to run for office, not just professionals or pensioners. Their recommendation would still be in the lower range of comparable municipalities at $19,100 for a councillor and $44,500 for mayor, with no extra per diems for attending committee meetings. The council accepted the recommendation for the 2015 budget, with a plan to review the remuneration mid-term.
  • The federal and provincial governments are giving out money through new programs (I will spare you the acronyms), and this time Owen Sound is neither too small nor too big to qualify. The eligible infrastructure projects are constrained, and the timelines are very tight, and council just ran out of time to thoroughly discuss the options - a second digester in the waste water treatment plant, a commitment to the Marine Emergencies Duties Training facility at Georgian College, work on the River Precinct or a new taxi-way for the Billy Bishop Airport.
  • Council will reconvene its meeting today at 1 p.m to complete the agenda, including by-laws, streetlight conversion to LEDS and Councillor Purdon's motion to put in a freedom of information request for the Dillon hydrological engineering report on the state of our harbour.

Anne Finlay-Stewart is Community Editor of She can be reached at [email protected].


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