by Sylene Argent
Seeking assistance for demolition
Building owner Domingos Pereira, with Teresa Pereira, approached Council in hopes of getting assistance with the cost of a demolition for his building and relief from the Community Improvement Program (CIP) Façade Grant repayment obligation at 34 Queen Street in Harrow.
It was noted during the meeting that the building owner had tapped into the Façade Grant through the Harrow CIP program in 2014. But, he is now proposing to demolish the building.
Rita Jabbour, Planning Assistant, said under the agreement signed in 2015, if the building is demolished and the owner used CIP funding within the past five years, he has to provide that funding back to the municipality if he wants to tap into the demolition grant, which he has applied for.
Teresa said she understands the circumstances, but there was a change in the building.
Kevin Carter, Building Inspector, explained this was one of two times he has removed tenants from a building in his career.
He said he believed Pereira acted in good faith and did not know the structure of the building was not in good condition when he applied for the CIP funding a few years ago. An abutting building was removed, exposing Pereira’s building to high winds.
Several Councillors commented they believed Pereira acted in good faith and that the circumstance was unfortunate. Council would pass a motion that would waive Pereira from having to reimburse the Town back the CIP façade funding that was for around $6,100 in order to apply for the demolition grant.
Mayor Ron McDermott opposed the motion. He said rules are in place and agreements are signed for a reason. He said he felt sorry for the situation, but did not want to waive Pereira from having to pay back the façade grant money in order to tap into the demolition funding through the Harrow CIP program.
McDermott said there are procedures in place as the Town has made mistakes with agreements in the past and has been “slammed” on that issue as past contracts were lacking.
“I can’t support it because I follow the rules,” he said.
Councillors Sherry Bondy and Randy Voakes each called a Point of Order on the Mayor as he explained his position.
Voakes later said Council members have the power to make decisions. He didn’t think making this decision was breaking the rules. McDermott later said he was concerned about breaking policy.
Update on Harbour off-season ramp fee/bait shop
Council received the report “Colchester Harbour Off Season Ramp Fee Collection Update” and approved Administration’s recommendation to continue to staff the Colchester Harbour boat ramp for the 2017 season from May 1 to the October 8 weekend, like it has been operated in the past.
The report notes on May 2 of last year, Councillor Larry Snively said a large number of individuals use the harbour during the off season. Further, at the October 3, 2016 meeting, Council reviewed Community Services’ report that highlighted the Colchester Harbour off-season ramp fee collection. Council had approved Administration’s recommendation to continue to staff the Colchester Harbour boat ramp and bait shop on weekends only from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., until November 27, 2016 on a trial basis.
The report notes Administration scheduled a staff member to be onsite for a total of seven weekends between October 11 and November 27, 2016 from 6:30 am to 10:30 am. During this period, a total of 17 daily boat ramp passes were purchased at $12 each, totalling $204. The cost to have one staff on site during this period was $1,535.23 leaving a net loss of $1,331.23. Council also received the report “Colchester Harbour 2016 Bait Shop Operations Update.”
Council also approved Administration’s recommendation to continue to operate a bait shop at the Colchester Harbour for the 2017 season.
The report noted that During the 2016 budget deliberations, Council approved allowing the Town to operate a bait shop at the Colchester Harbour on a trial for the 2016 operating season. The bait shop offered the sale of minnows, worms, and tackle supplies.
An issue the Town experienced early in the operations was receiving minnows from suppliers in a timely manner, the report noted. The Town has been told it is near the top of the waitlist to receive a Commercial Bait Harvester’s License.
The bait shop was open for a total of 31 weeks last year, the report noted. The report continues in 2016 the bait shop revenue was $13,500, but expenses were around $28,600. This accounted for an around $15,000 loss. In addition, this loss does not include the $10,947.00 used for initial capital purchases and infrastructure work to have the bait shop set up.
The report noted that Administration anticipates in 2017 that revenues will increase as the bait shop will be ready to open at the start of the 2017 season. Administration is also look at reducing expenses.
Director of Community Services Doug Sweet said the finances were not where administration would have liked to see them, but said it was a new business and went throw growing pains its first year.
Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche said he hopes for better success of the bait shop in the future and hopes it will make a profit in 2017.
Snively wants to talk about Schoolhouse
Councillor Larry Snively said he wanted to talk about what Council is doing with the Colchester Schoolhouse.
At the March 21, 2016 Essex Council meeting, Council learned Essex has spent $510,745.68 on the property/schoolhouse. The estimated value of the Schoolhouse was appraised at $180,000.
Council moved that Snively could bring up the issue at the next budget meeting.
Council Notes for Monday, February 6 will be continued in the February 16 edition of the EFP.