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Council to prioritize capital projects, remain ‘nimble’ in wake of provincial changes

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Council met on September 17 and 18 to hear from staff across all departments about the driving forces shaping the 2020 budget. The main themes will be prioritizing the timing of capital projects and remaining resilient in the wake of known and potential funding cuts and reorganization of service delivery by the province.

Ron Taylor, CAO, summed up the discussions by noting, “We have a 2020 capital budget that is very ambitious at almost $50 million. It includes a number of new and significant projects that invest in our roads, downtowns and parks. Council has acknowledged the need to prioritize projects in light of many unknowns at the provincial level. The timing of capital projects will be critical to ensure we stay on course with our financial plan in order to keep services affordable for residents.”

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Council eyes tear-down of east-side historical properties to allow for apartment building

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The historically significant land overlooks the river, right on the Rotary Trail. Photo: Roderick Benns.

It’s a property with a now well-documented past but an uncertain future. There are competing interests and City Council and its Planning Advisory Committee have some decisions to make.

You can see the property for yourself if you turn off King Street onto St. David, towards Logie Road. Number 3 St. David, one of the property’s two houses, will be on your right. It’s a large red-brick, gable-front Victorian with a wrap-around porch, set back from the road on a well-treed lot (there’s a towering walnut, some maples and others).

Take the first right onto the extension of Riverview and past a line of mature pine trees you’ll find 4 Riverview, the second, smaller house — a typical Ontario Gothic cottage.

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Council reviews High Water Bill Adjustment Policy

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At the Committee of the Whole meeting September 10, Council recommended changes to the High Water Bill Adjustment Policy be forwarded to the Regular Council Meeting of September 24 for adoption.

At the July 16 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council heard a presentation from Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services on the purpose of and related areas of concern within the High Bill Adjustment Policy. Those concerns have been incorporated into the new policy recommendations.

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Conservative cuts to library system now mean user fees for some book loans

in Community/Municipal/Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
Conservative cuts to library system now mean user fees for some book loans

Free inter-library loans are back at the Kawartha Lakes Public Library system, even after the Ontario Conservatives slashed budgets across the province. But ‘free’ comes at a cost, as this will now impact the collections budget and has also created a new type of user fee for books that come from universities.

In April the Advocate reported that funding for two key services – the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and the Northern Ontario Library Service (NOLS) were cut in half. SOLS – of which Kawartha Lakes system is a member of — supplies courier service that moves material between different systems. About 200-250 items per month for local patrons are moved about through other libraries, showing the popularity of the system.

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City launches new online platform to gather public opinion

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Al Macpherson. Photo: Mallory Cramp-Waldinsperger.

For Al Macpherson, a 70-year-old Lindsay resident, city council has not been the most inviting place. “I’ve been to council meetings a few different times, and I prefer not to be,” says Macpherson, “It’s very intimidating.”

According to Hannah Scott, communications and marketing officer for the City of Kawartha Lakes, Macpherson is not alone. A new online platform for citizens to share their opinions, Scott explains, might be the solution.

Jump In, a website launched in mid-June will be used to gather and process information from local residents such as the city’s upcoming 2020-2023 strategic plan.

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Lower speed limits may be coming

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During the July 16 Regular Council meeting, municipal staff brought forward recommendations to Council surrounding speed concerns across Kawartha Lakes.

Council was presented with four options:

  1. Maintain the current community speed zones in place while using current traffic calming management strategies on a case by case basis
  2. Enforce municipal-wide community speed zones at 40 km/h
  3. Designating five urban settlement areas that would enforce the 40 km/h
  4. Designating three major urban communities that would enforce the 40 km/h

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City says it’s ‘turning a corner’ on affordable housing supply

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Housing Services proposing aggressive targets for new affordable housing

During the June 4 Committee of the Whole, Housing Manager Hope Lee, CAO Ron Taylor and Policy Planning Supervisor Leah Barrie provided an update to Council about the ongoing housing initiatives in Kawartha Lakes. The presentation included an overview of municipal, provincial and federal housing legislation and initiatives as well as a summary of how Kawartha Lakes will continue to grow affordable and attainable housing in the coming years.

“Affordable housing is essential to our municipality, and it’s important that Kawartha Lakes and Council continue to develop this sector,” said Ron Taylor, CAO of Kawartha Lakes.

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City loses $620,000 for licensed childcare in PC cuts; more kids for less staff expected

in Community/Municipal/Poverty Reduction/Provincial by

More than $620,000 in funding has been lost to the City of Kawartha Lakes for licensed childcare spaces due to cuts from the provincial PC government.

Within that pot, nearly $258,000 was for general allocation funding. This money is used for child care fee subsidies for low-income families and general operating costs.

The remaining amount, more than $360,000 is being eliminated through cost sharing changes. In what was once a 100 per cent boost from the Province, it is now a forced 80-20 cost-sharing agreement between Province and Municipality. This includes reductions in the administration allowances (from 10 per cent down to 5 per cent).

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Kawartha Lakes looking at new alternatives to reduce environmental footprint

in Environment/Municipal by
Kawartha Lakes looking at new alternatives to reduce environmental footprint
Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan has proposed a possible Styrofoam ban.

A motion brought forward by Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan to Committee of the Whole on May 7 proposed looking at a possible Styrofoam ban. The memo recommended that Kawartha Lakes staff conduct a study surrounding the feasibility of a ban and bring a report back to Council by the end of this year.

“It’s time that we do something. We can’t ban what’s coming in from external sources, such as online retailers, but we can ban what’s being used and sold directly in our municipality. It all ends up in the landfill,” commented Councillor Seymour-Fagan.

“I own a restaurant and there are options to ban Styrofoam. Part of our Strategic Plan is a healthy environment, and this is part of a healthy environment. It’s time we take a leadership role in change.”

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Kawartha Lakes unveils new strategy to improve way of doing business

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During the May 7 Committee of the Whole, Kawartha Lakes staff unveiled a new strategy to Council to improve the municipality’s way of doing business. The strategy, which was developed by the Office of Strategy Management (OSM), focuses on maximizing resources and investing in service and operations. The strategy also focuses on continuously improving our processes in order to focus on customer needs.

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