Council Stories

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017


Changes to town's alcohol policy

Changes are coming to the Town of Petawawa's alcohol policy.

The 2010 policy was established to ensure the town remains free of liability when alcohol is consumed in and around municipal facilities.

While there have been no major issues with the policy, Kelly Williams, Manager of Parks and Recreation, approached council to discuss some adjustments. Changes to this policy mostly include housekeeping and language modification to improve its accuracy. The three main sections that were modernized include Special Circumstance Ticket Allowance, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Insurance Requirement and the Civic Centre Event Security.

There has been a demand for the ability to purchase more than six tickets at once, so a “father of the bride” clause was added, allowing individuals to purchase several tickets at once if their intent is to distribute these drinks to others.

According to Williams, the recommended allowance would have tighter than usual controls, be event specific and require permission from authorized town staff as part of the event planning process. Tickets would be dispensed prior to the start of the event through authorized municipal staff.

This allowance is intended to improve customer service and satisfaction, facilitate successful events while at the same time managing risks associated with alcohol consumption, he confirmed.

“This would not negate what the alcohol policy is trying to accomplish,” said Williams.

Event organizers have always had to show proof of insurance. Previously, it was recommended that this insurance cover $2 million in liability. The policy would now recommend that the minimum standard for general comprehensive liability insurance coverage by event organizers operating under a special occasion permit be $5 million. Door security could also be decreased from two people per door to one.

“We just found that for most of our events is that this is overkill,” said Williams.

North canoe rentals available

Petawawa has implemented a north canoe rental program.

“This will provide an opportunity to bring people on the river in larger groups,” said Kelly Williams, Manager of Parks and Recreation. “So there are a lot of program activities that come with that.”

Taking advantage of the town's location on the shore of the Ottawa and Petawawa Rivers, Williams and his team have built up a “use as you have” philosophy for outdoor recreational programming. Paddling activities offered by the town include lessons, rentals, group activities, school-based activities, summer day camps, SUP yoga, evening social paddles and the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival.

Three 21' north canoes available for rent would further these paddling programs, said Kelly.

Rental rules would follow those similar to the town's existing mobile stage rental program. It would allow other municipalities, community associations and organizations, school boards, government and non-government agencies and friends of parks and/or trails organizations to use the canoes for suitable activities after qualifying under the town's Standards of Use. All necessary equipment including tow trailers, paddles, life jackets and Transport Canada required boating equipment would also be part of the rental.

“The best way to preserve the legacy that was established many years ago would be to allow these boats to be used in a program and allow other municipalities and agencies to use them,” said Williams.

The canoes were donated by the Ottawa River Canoe Brigade in 2016 as a way to bring education and awareness to communities along the Ottawa River, inspire paddlers to connect with the river's history and potentially become ambassadors in protecting its natural beauty, ecology, and heritage designation.

New signs for Highway 17

Petawawa has decided on a new sign to erect on Highway 17.

The signs will be installed at the boundary of the town to welcome visitors and residents alike. They were given two options and chose one that sports the recognizable deer logo, the town's name and population as well as the slogan “Dynamic by Nature.”

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) initiative is part of a program launched in 2016 that allows municipalities to replace boundary signs. The new signs can include a logo and slogan. The MTO Coordinator Management office will conduct a review of all boundary signs to ensure they are consistent.

Due to this limitation, the sign had to maintain certain standards such as the font size.

“We don't have any say in that,” said Economic Development Officer Cyndi Phillips.

A review of population data has indicated that Petawawa is home to 17,187 people. This was rounded up to 17,500 on the sign.

Two signs will be installed later this year.

Making Renfrew County more accessible one business at a time

One woman is on a quest to make municipalities in Renfrew County more accessible.

Bonnie Schryer, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Partnership Coordinator for Renfrew County United Way, approached Petawawa council to discuss an accessibility initiative.

“What I want to do is make every county town more accessible by involving the community,” said Schryer.

She is looking for support and assistance from municipalities and the County of Renfrew accessibility committees, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Chambers of Commerce, non-profit organizations and business networks to identify three businesses in their respective communities that could benefit from a portable ramp and/or a portable doorbell. She then hopes to convince local schools to measure and build these ramps according to code. She also hopes to find a champion store that would be willing to donate the material.

Schryer is on a tight deadline. She hopes to have everything completed by September in time for the United Way’s Campaign kick-off.

“I need to find these stores quickly because schools are closing,” said Schryer.

Businesses or individuals interested in donating materials or getting involved can contact Schryer at 613-735-0436 or 613-401-3250.

CNL reps address concerns about near-surface disposal facility

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is assuring the public that the near-surface disposal facility will be safe and secure for residents and the environment.

This permanent facility is necessary to dispose of low-level and suitable waste. Over the past 65 years, the laboratories have accumulated liabilities and waste that must be dealt with.

“The site is safe now, but we want to ensure that into the future the site is safe as well,” said CNL President and CEO Mark Lesinski during a presentation to Petawawa council.

This facility will be composed of 10 separate cells, which are covered once filled, for a capacity of 1 million cubic meters. Ninety per cent of the waste will come from Chalk River Laboratories, five per cent will be from decommissioning Whiteshell Laboratories in Manitoba and other federal nuclear liabilities, and the remaining five per cent will come from other Canadian sources such as universities and hospitals.

Concerns have been brought up by the public, which Lesinki refuted.

“There have been … some non-scientific alternative truths put out into the media … talking about things that are going to happen if we build this facility,” said Lesinki.

CNL currently doesn’t leak radioactive material into the river, nor do they plan to do so in the future, he said. Even if there is an earthquake, global warming, flooding or any other disaster, the waste facility will remain untouched. CNL takes about 40,000 samples annually, and have been studying the site for more than six decades, he added. They are confident that this waste facility will be more than adequate for storage.

“We understand the movement of radioactive materials, how they act and behave and that science has been put into the solution that we are proposing within your surface disposal facility,” said Lesinki.

Long-term stewardship is also part of the plan.

“We are not going to create a mess and leave,” he said. “This facility is being designed, built and will be monitored and operated by people at the site, your neighbours.”

Construction should begin in 2018 and be complete in 2020 when the facility will begin operations. Estimates put 2070 as the end date. Monitoring and surveillance will occur over the next 300 years to ensure that nothing has leaked or contaminated nearby grounds or water. Once the facility is closed, it will resemble a grass hill measuring 16 hectares in width. It is not visible from the Ottawa River.

“It is not a dump,” said Kurt Kehler, Vice-President Decommissioning and Waste Management. “It is not a facility with seagulls flying around and the bears coming in. It is very tightly controlled.”

CNL has received an $800 million investment from the federal government for the revitalization of the complex. This investment will allow the company to be safer, more productive and more modernized.

Several public meetings were held by CNL staff in different municipalities to dispel some of the myths and to address any concerns. They will also hold an Open House on Aug. 12 at the complex.

For more information, to ask questions or to share any concerns about the upcoming waste facility, please visit www.cnl.ca/NSDF or contact CNL at 1-800-364-6989 or at communications@cnl.ca.

Kayak fishing for soldiers

Reel Kayaks and Real Heroes may be added to the Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival.

“It is a new event that we are currently working on in partnership with the PMFRC (Petawawa Military Resource Centre) to offer kayak fishing as part of a therapeutic activity,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Kelly Williams, adding Garrison Petawawa’s Integrated Personnel Support Centre (IPSC) is helping to organize it.

Both kayaking and fishing have been found to have multi-level therapeutic benefits, he said.

Organizers have contacted Soldier On for assistance, and are hoping to hear back in the next few weeks.

Funding for Summer Adventure Guide

The Town of Petawawa has received a $2,979 Summer Experience Program grant to hire an adventure guide, according to Parks and Recreation Manager Kelly Williams.

The individual will work in the summer months—nine-weeks in total--to assist with camps and run certain programs.

Petawawa to be scent sensitive

As a result of a barrier-free audit, the Town of Petawawa has drafted a scent sensitive environment policy.

The policy not only protects town staff, but also contractors, councillors, volunteers and members of the public. According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, scents can adversely affect people with sensitivities to the extent that it becomes a disability.

A policy would prevent those individuals from getting sick in the workplace, and avoid discrimination due to their disability.

Using the term “human rights” with regards to excessive perfume or body odour didn’t make sense to all council members.

“I think we need to put these things in perspective in terms of human rights,” said Councillor James Carmody. “This legislation is put in place so I don’t assault you with my scented hygiene products … at the same time, people in other parts of the world don’t even enjoy basic human dignities.

“This is really a small matter when it considers the indignities and the lack of human rights in other parts of the world,” said Carmody.

Deputy Mayor Tom Mohns also believed this policy was unnecessary.

“It seems nowadays that instead of dealing with the problem, we make another procedure, another policy,” he said. “ If there is an (issue), let’s deal with the person not make another rule to cover everybody else in the community.  I think we are just being governed to death.”