Gravenhurst Council Highlights - Oct. 17, 2023

Council reviews hybrid meeting policy practices 

Council began its meeting by holding a working session to discuss the possible creation of a hybrid meeting policy.  

Kayla Thibeault, director of legislative services, provided council with an overview of hybrid meeting practices, including approaches the town took to hybrid meetings during the pandemic.  

Council members indicated an interest in having a policy allowing remote participation.  

Thibeault will consider the comments from the discussion and prepare a draft policy for council to review and determine next steps.  

Town staffer receives Ontario Municipal Law Enforcement Long Service Medal 

Kristen Ford, manager of bylaw services, was presented with the Ontario Municipal Law Enforcement Long Service Medal.  

Deputy Mayor Randy Jorgensen, chief building official Andy Jones, and director of development services Melissa Halford presented Ford with the medal 

Ford has worked in the municipal law sector since 2005.  

On behalf of council and staff, Deputy Mayor Jorgensen congratulated Ford and thanked her for her contributions.   

Resident raises concerns about summer camp noise 

Janell Speers spoke to council about noise from Camp Shalom on Lake Muskoka.  

She said the noise during the summer disturbs neighbouring property owners and asked that council take steps to resolve the matter.  

Company asks for sign bylaw exemption 

Bert Bongers of CedarCoast Timber Homes requested an exemption to the town’s sign bylaw.  

The request is regarding a replacement sign that the company wishes to erect at its Highway 11 location.  

The proposed sign design includes parameters that require an exemption from the bylaw 

Watch the presentation to learn more 

Third quarter update 

Council received the Third Quarter Update Report, which shows the town’s finances remain in good shape 

“Administration concludes that operations and capital spending are expected to fall within parameters approved by council in the 2023 budget,” deputy treasurer Theresa Trott said in the report.  

MSDC report received for information, council OKs waiving town’s share of surplus 

Council received the Muskoka Steamship and Discovery Centre (MSDC) Operating Surplus Report for information 

They also agreed to waive a requirement for the centre to share its 2022 operating surplus with the town, as per the current operating agreement.  

The waiver is for a one-time basis due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the centre’s 2022 operations. 

Subcommittee Policy updated 

Council received the Subcommittee Policy Update Report for information and approved changes to the policy.  

“The notable update to the Subcommittee Policy is the inclusion of language explicitly stating affiliate members are subject to the same policies and legislation as appointed members, such as the town’s Code of Conduct and Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. This revision follows a recommendation from the town’s integrity commissioner,” deputy clerk Jonathan Gilston said in the report.  

Road renaming approved 

Council approved renaming a local road known as Severn River Shore to Lantern Trail PVT.  

The renaming is part of a request council first dealt with in August.  

Area residents have requested the name change to be more in keeping with other nearby road names 

“Administration concludes that the proposed renaming of Severn River Shore to Lantern Trail PVT appears appropriate and that no formal objection was received in response to the proposed name change following a two-week consultation period. Further to this, the District of Muskoka continues to affirm that the new road name would not pose any conflict with other naming conventions within the boundaries of Muskoka,” infrastructure clerk Jennifer Kyle noted in the related staff report.  

CAO verbal update 

Scott Lucas, chief administrative officer for the Town of Gravenhurst, provided an informative verbal update on several ongoing and key items for the community 

Lucas provides the verbal updates quarterly.  

Business Licensing Bylaw Update Report  

Gravenhurst council members received the Business Licensing Bylaw Update Report for information 

In addition, they approved reviewing the vehicle refreshment bylaw to ensure that it includes revised parameters that support and streamline the application process.  

Robinson Haulage successful bidder  

Council received for information a report outlining a revised recommendation for the award of two tandem axle plow units.  

The town’s procurement policy states that tenders shall be awarded to the lowest compliant bidder.  

Based on a review of the documents, staff subsequently recommended awarding the rental of two tandem axle plow units to the lowest compliant bidder, Robinson Haulage Inc., for $269,000, excluding HST.  

Robinson will provide the vehicles to assist with winter maintenance of roads in Gravenhurst.  

The contract will allow the town’s winter maintenance fleet to focus primarily on local roads.  

The District of Muskoka provides budget money for the contract.  

Single-source procurement approved for fire dispatch services 

Council members received the Single-Source Procurement of Fire Services Dispatch Agreement Report for information 

They also authorized the fire chief to enter a five-year dispatch contract with Tillsonburg Fire Communications Services at an initial year cost of $71,443.70, plus HST.  

The operational portion of $47,365.40, plus HST, will be funded from the 2024 operating budget.  

The required capital portion will be funded from the Fire and Emergency Reserve over 2024 and 2025 capital budgets at $24,078.50, plus HST, each year.  

Single-source procurement is permitted under provisions in the town’s procurement policy.  

“Recent developments surrounding our current provider for dispatch services, the City of Orillia Fire Communications, made it necessary for FES (Fire and Emergency Services) administration to seek out another fire dispatch service to work with,” Fire Chief Jared Cayley said in the related report.  

Procurement of fire services software 

Council received the Procurement of Fire Services Software Report for information 

In addition, they approved the purchase of software to replace multiple, aging, unsupported systems.  

As well, they authorized the purchase as a single-source procurement, as per provisions in the purchasing policy.  

Council authorized staff to purchase software from Locality Media/First Due Software, funded from savings in the Master Fire Plan and Community Risk Assessment Capital Project.  

Staff are authorized to purchase the goods and services required from First Due Software at an upset cost of $14,760, excluding HST.  

Currently FES (Fire and Emergency Services) is operating a myriad of software programs that deal with different segments of the department’s operations,” Fire Chief Jared Cayley said in the related report, later adding that: “The need to procure this software has now become a necessity, as FES is anticipating a switch of dispatch providers. Our current programs are antiquated and do not communicate well with many dispatch center's systems or simply are not supported. For a smooth transition to a new dispatch arrangement, the new software needs to be in place as soon as possible, prior to the changeover to a new dispatcher. 

Muskoka Watershed Council Report 

Councillor Sandy Cairns, on behalf of Councillor Peter Johnston, provided an update on the Muskoka Watershed Council.  

Deputy Mayor Jorgensen update 

Deputy Mayor Randy Jorgensen provided an update on his recent activities, as Mayor Heidi Lorenz was absent from the meeting 

Council pauses Sustainability Advisory Committee 

Council passed a resolution directing staff to review the mandate and responsibilities of the Sustainability Advisory Committee’s terms of reference.  

The purpose is to confirm the committee’s terms of reference are worded and scoped appropriately for goals, projects, and initiatives within the town.  

Following the review, staff are to report to council with recommendations, if any, for consideration.  

Committee membership is inconsistent and low.  

As a result, while the review is taking place, the committee will pause its activities although the organization’s ongoing efforts for climate adaptation and mitigation will continue 

Watch the discussion 

Council Highlights

Council Highlights is prepared as an overview of the council meeting. For the official record, please refer to the agenda and minutes on the town website at www.gravenhurst.ca.

Watch the meeting: