Jason here. In analyzing the reason for short meetings one is left with the inevitable conclusion that the deeply conservative mayor and the left leaning Council have not yet come across a divisive issue. There are many potential ones but most obvious are the issue of intensification vs neighbourhood concerns. Perhaps they need Councillor Glover to shake things up! On the other hand, the self-muzzling of Councillor Neill has been a great improvement- ‘never use one word when 100 will make your point better’ add to this a mayor who doesn’t feel the need to speak on too many items(unlike the last mayor)- although he does speak on some, where his voice is respected. Could it be because he does not use it often?
High on the agenda was the solar farm in Countryside district and the staff response to solar farms in general as they will present it to the Rural Advisory Committee. This district has seen a great turnover in representatives. Perhaps Councillor Allen has more staying power… Anyway the merger of the Ontario Power Authority and the -Independent Electricity Systems Operator has left the municipalities with more power to object- just. – Not the power of the Planning Act- in zoning matters they could say NO. Clearly the province doesn’t want that or no solar or wind farms would be built. So instead they have given points for community support. In this case staff has relied on a previously prepared report on landscaping and site design, which, although it contains no support for decommissioning a solar farm (Perhaps this is part of the environmental assessment) is very comprehensive and no doubt in use across the province. What will the Rural Advisory Committee make of all this? I think, among other things that they will feel important- something that has been missing in Rural issues.as Councillor Allen is quoted as saying- Countryside gets all the things no one else wants- garbage mainly.
Another issue was that of the Sustainability agreement for the future. What is the level of community involvement with which the Sustainability group has been charged? It is not great, I think. In spite of the very impressive list of community sponsors, much needs to be done to make Sustainability a community endeavour. Welcome though the four pillars of sustainability, economic, environmental, social and cultural, were, can economic sustainability exist when most people just want the snow shovelled? Maybe the problem is with the word ‘ sustainability’
The city has gone out on a limb and funding it-creating a separate stand-alone group rather than taking it in to the municipality. The funding will decrease as time goes on, so the group will have to rely on funds from others. There has been impressive thrust on the cultural front when the city realized that the city did not even recognize one of the pillars-culture. Also on the agenda was Arts Funding- something that did not exist a few years ago. Today the funding stands at over $500,000 disbursed by the Arts Council on behalf of the city.
It was a meaty meeting – there were five presentations- two from Blue Dot (which Jason had never heard of) one from Sustainability Kingston and two others which remain forgettable, plus a petition from Lisa Osanic’s constituents.