An update on the closure of the Richmond Landfill, the approval of the Downtown Advisory Committee’s $31,500 budget proposal and the formation of an ad hoc Trails Committee were some of the highlights of a busy May 23 Greater Napanee council meeting.
Speaking on behalf of the Concerned Citizens Committee of Tyendinaga and Environs (CCCTE), Ian Munro raised issue with Waste Management’s proposed plan to pump contaminated ground water from the now-closed Richmond Landfill.
First opened in 1950, Richmond Landfill was ordered to close in 2012. For decades the CCCTE has objected to the original placement of the landfill and has been monitoring the property, which has been found to contain contaminated ground water beneath its surface.
Munro’s purpose of his deputation was to inform council of Waste Management’s water pumping proposal in the hopes council would join the CCCTE in filing an appeal to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MCEP).
“The concept is to pump the contaminated ground water out of the ground, put it through a pipe and dump it directly into those storm water ponds which ultimately drain into the Beechwood ditch and eventually across private lands and into the Marysville Creek,” said Munro. “What we know at this point is that these applications still do not address our concerns, the ones we’ve expressed and the expressed problems identified by our hydrogeologist and there’s a serious threat to human health and the environment posed by these proposals. In spite of that it seems MCEP is on the verge of approving this applications.”
Munro noted the pumping could begin within 15 days of the approval.
Munro encouraged council to reaffirm previous council’s stance on the matter and declare the town an unwilling host for the landfill.
Council voted to note and receive Munro’s deputation.
-In a follow up to the special meeting held at the SPC on May 11 regarding a potential walking trail, council voted to form an ad hoc Trails Committee.
Council also voted to defer any further decision regarding the potential disposition of the land, a portion of a former CN rail line, which had earlier been declared surplus.
Members of the committee are expected to be added at the June 6 regular council meeting.
The May 11 meeting at the SPC was a chance for members of the public to offer their input on the notion of turning the old CN rail line into a walking trail. The idea was initially met with resistance from farmers whose property line abuts the proposed trail, who expressed concern over possible trespassing and vandalism to their crops and property. At the meeting both sides expressed a willingness to attempt to find a resolution that would suit both parties.
-Council approved sending $31,500 worth of the town’s capital reserves to the Downtown Advisory Committee, which is taking on the tasks that were previously handled by the now disbanded BIA.
Those funds will be used to hire a social media/communications/event coordinator as well as covering the cost of beautification of the downtown.
Councillor Dave Pinnell Jr. opposed the idea, registering the lone ‘no’ vote on the otherwise successful motion.
“When we were doing our budgets we went to the departments and we asked everybody to cut, cut, cut,” said Pinnell Jr. “With that being said, we took money out for relevant equipment, maintenance, I mean we have roads that are deteriorating…I don’t know how I can be in favour of such dollars when I’ve asked staff to cut so much and still be true to all the other taxpayers out there.”
Councillor Angela Hicks, who is council’s rep on the committee, said the funding was necessary in the absence of a BIA levy.
“We need to help get people back into Napanee and see what a vibrant little town we are,” said Hicks. “The way to do that, the Downtown Shopping Party has always been a success, beautification is absolutely necessary, look at what you see when you drive in from the east end of town. We need something so that when they get to the end it was worth that little drive.”
Mayor Terry Richardson was in favour of providing the funding from town dollars for this year, but wants to explore the option of introducing a levy next time around.
“I agree that 2023 is a bit of a transition year,” said Richardson. “We were all expecting that maybe possibly that the BIA was going to be resurrected and then we wouldn’t be having these conversations because there would be a levy. Unfortunately that’s not what happened and we’ve defaulted to a certain extent. We’ve gone from a Business Improvement Area, which was a board of council, to a Downtown Advisory Committee that is a committee of council. So obviously there was no funding so the only avenue for any kind of funding for that committee to get is to come back to council. The plan that we’re seeing tonight is not sustainable. It’s something that we might be able to do for 2023, but it’s not sustainable going forward.”
-Council approved $100,000 in spending to replace CCTV cameras located within the downtown core.
That funding will be put toward a grant application offered through the Ontario Provincial Police, which if successful, will be matched to allow for a $200,000 budget to upgrade the outdated cameras.
-Council voted to approve a pair of declarations, proclaiming June 18 to be the Longest Day of Smiles within the town while the entire month of June will be recognized as Deafblind Awareness Month.
The Longest Day of Smiles encourages community ambassadors to raise awareness and funds to help a child born with a cleft condition smile and change their life with free, safe, cleft surgery and comprehensive care.