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Bracebridge General Committee notes
Town wants drive-thru garbages
The Town of Bracebridge is weighing their options when it comes to waste receptacles at drive-thru restaurants.
The discussion was sparked by a move earlier this year which saw Tim Hortons pull their waste receptacles from drive-thrus across Canada. At the time, Tim Hortons said they made the switch to allow customers more time to sort through their trash and recycling, and put them into the appropriate bins.
However, Bracebridge councillors expressed surprise and disappointment over the move during their most recent general committee meeting.
“It’s a backwards move,” said Coun. Archie Buie. He suggested council leverage bylaws or site planning restrictions to ensure drive-thrus install garbage receptacles.
Coun. Rick Maloney, who sits on the Town’s environmental advisory committee, said those moves are currently being discussed and staff is investigating the matter. He said he will also personally be speaking with the owner of the local Tim Hortons for more information on the subject.
“It was disappointing because we had been moving forward,” said Maloney. “They essentially pulled the plug on their waste diversion receptacles, and it’s causing a bit of a challenge.”
Town considers inmates for graffiti removal
During the latest Bracebridge general committee meeting, councillors heard about a potential plan that would use inmates from the local correctional facility to find and help clean up graffiti in Bracebridge.
“You don’t have to drive very far around town to see various areas that have been tagged,” said Coun. Rick Maloney.
He said the town has partnered with the Beaver Creek “work gang” for a number of projects in the past, such as the outdoor ice rinks, and there is interest in bringing them in to help clean up the streets.
Discussions are ongoing.
Mayor calls CNR bill “outrageous, egregious and preposterous”
During the most recent Bracebridge general committee meeting councillors were less than enthusiastic to be handed a bill for $300,000 from Canadian National Railway (CNR) for a service they never actually had to use.
The bill was for a flagman to help with train safety during the reconstruction of Bird Mills Mews in downtown Bracebridge. The cost amounted to $2,000 a day, and the flagman never actually had to flag down any trains, as the reconstruction work didn’t affected the train tracks, according to Walt Scmid, the town’s director of public works.
“It’s certainly a frustrating and expensive situation,” said Schmid.
Mayor Graydon Smith said the Town was effectively being “held hostage,” and he said it was time for some pushback in the form of letters to upper tier government and CNR.
“To borrow a line from Seinfeld: It’s outrageous, egregious and preposterous,” said Smith.
Council wrestles with Theatre’s bad debt
It appears that there’s little hope left that Bracebridge Arts Council (BAC) will ever pay off the outstanding debt of roughly $800,000 for construction of the Rene Caisse Theatre.
That was the consensus during the most recent Bracebridge general committee meeting, wherein councillors decided to begin paying off the debt by placing $39,000 in the draft 2017 budget. They will then pay off a similar amount every year for the next 10 years, which should pay off roughly half the debt and leave another $400,000 outstanding. According to staff, the remaining debt will be dealt with at that time.
The BAC borrowed $2.3 million in 2005 for construction of the theatre, but staff said it has become clear that the BAC will likely never be able to pay off the entire debt.
Under the current seat levy repayment plan, the BAC would pay off the debt in 129 years.
Mayor Graydon Smith said the situation of the outstanding debt had become unpalatable.
“These aren’t the cards that council asked for, it’s the cards they were dealt,” said Smith. “The responsibility ultimately and sadly falls to the taxpayers of Bracebridge.”
Council stands pat on development cuts
During their latest general committee meeting, Bracebridge councillors decided to stay the course when it comes to cuts in development charges.
As part of a move to help spur development, two years ago council voted to cut development charges in half. During their latest meeting, they voted unanimously not to increase the charges, even for the rate for inflation.
Cheryl Kelley, the Town’s director of planning and development, said they don’t have hard statistics available on whether the cuts have actually resulted in more development, but she said it has been a positive selling point to offer businesses considering the area.
Mayor Graydon Smith agreed that it was difficult to say for certain how effective the cuts were, but he said that development seems to be on the upswing in recent months.