Council meeting covers firearms, code of conduct, and city land sale strategy

By Kirk Winter

Kawartha Lakes council used their first regular meeting of 2022 to recognize people in the community for jobs well done and move forward on the city code of conduct, the city land sale strategy and a bylaw that will regulate the discharge of firearms within the city.

Deputy-mayor Tracy Richardson began the meeting recognizing the Bethany Athletic Association for opening an outdoor rink in the village.

“The community has come together to open this outdoor skating rink,” Richardson said. “This facility offers healthy options for people in the community. It is wonderful to see people come together for a project like this.”

Richardson took a moment to pass on “many accolades” shared with her regarding the great service provided by city plow crews cleaning up from the massive snowfall Kawartha Lakes received the week of Jan. 17.

Richardson also had high praise for the Kawartha Lakes Fire Service members who braved the bitter cold on Jan. 24 fighting a million-dollar blaze at the Young’s Aggregates Inc. site in Pontypool.

Councillor Pat O’Reilly announced that January is Crimestoppers month in Ontario. O’Reilly complimented the work done by the volunteer organization and suggested that any donations of time or money to the local chapter would be much appreciated.

Councillor Ron Ashmore reminded Omemee residents of the upcoming consultation regarding the re-design of downtown Omemee, and encouraged those interested to get involved in the planning process. Ashmore also said that the Dunsford Lions Club will be hosting a snowmobile radar run at Pleasant Point on Sturgeon Lake on Feb. 20.

Code of Conduct

Councillor Ron Ashmore wanted more information from the city clerk regarding a proposed change to the city code of conduct.

The clerk, after consultation with the Integrity Commissioner, was looking for approval to change a piece of the code governing complaints made by members of the public against city officials and council members. The old code stated a signed affidavit had to accompany the complaint identifying the complainant. The proposed change eliminated the need for the affidavit, and Ashmore feared frivolous or malicious complaints multiplying exponentially with no affidavit needed.

“I am looking for something official from the clerk that says that affidavits will no longer be needed to accompany complaints against city officials,” Ashmore said. “I can’t make a decision on this till I see something from the Integrity Commissioner.”

“I have had a number of phone conversations with the Integrity Commissioner,” replied clerk Cathie Ritchie, “and the commissioner has reviewed, provided comment and sent back this change approved.”

Upon hearing that information, Ashmore relented and the code of conduct received unanimous approval from council.

Updated land sale strategy

Ashmore also brought up the city land sale strategy for additional discussion and debate.

“The report says it typically takes two, three or even four years for the city to sell a property. Can local realtors help us out and get some of these properties sold?” he wanted to know.

Sheri Dyer, manager of realty services for the city said a local realtor is assisting with the sale of city properties, noting that Jeff Reid is employed by the city to help with sales.

Ashmore was satisfied with the answer and council voted unanimously to approved the land sale strategy report.

Discharge of firearms by-law

Ashmore had a number of questions for Aaron Sloan, manager of municipal law enforcement, regarding the new proposed by-laws for discharging firearms in Kawartha Lakes.

“I know people are tired of hearing me talk about this issue,” Ashmore said, “but it is important that we get this right.”

Ashmore wanted to know if the city has ever sought advice from either the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of the Chief Firearms Officer for Ontario about crafting the bylaw.

“This is a local bylaw only,” Sloan responded. “The authority to pass this bylaw comes from the Municipal Act. We have consulted with the Kawartha Lakes Police Service but this bylaw only deals with where you can use them, not the weapons themselves.”

Ashmore, concerned about the lack of public consultation in crafting the bylaw, asked that the draft bylaw be put aside until a public meeting could be held sometime in early 2022.

Ashmore was hoping for some discussion on his proposal, but was informed by Mayor Andy Letham that because the draft bylaw has already been passed by council, a deferral was not debatable but could be voted on by council.

Ashmore put his proposal for a public meeting to council and his motion failed 5-3. Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan and Councillor Emmett Yeo supported Ashmore’s proposal.

City buys land in Bobcaygeon

After a discussion in closed session, the city has agreed to buy land along Canal Street in Bobcaygeon to expand the roadway. Seymour-Fagan had to declare a conflict of interest beforehand, and did not take part in the deliberations or vote, since she owns a piece of one of the buildings the city ended up purchasing.

1 Comment

  1. Sherry Harpell says:

    Can you please clarity the discharge of weapons while duck hunting from a boat along the shoreline of Shadow Lake. I had 2 hunters last year fire their shotgun towards my home not more than 10’ from my dock.
    When I confronted the men I was told to f…off and go chill

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