Council meeting discusses firearms, code of conduct and city land sale strategy — Lindsay Advocate

By Kirk Winter

Kawartha Lakes Council used its first regular meeting of 2022 to recognize people in the community for a job well done and to advance the city’s code of conduct, the city’s land sales strategy and a bylaw that will regulate the discharge of firearms in the city.

Deputy Mayor Tracy Richardson began the meeting acknowledging the Bethany Athletic Association for opening an outdoor rink in the village.

“The community came together to open this outdoor rink,” Richardson said. “This facility provides healthy options for people in the community. It’s wonderful to see people coming together for a project like this.

Richardson took a moment to convey the “many accolades” shared with her regarding the excellent service provided by the city’s snow removal crews who cleaned up the massive snowfall Kawartha Lakes received the week of Jan. 17.

Richardson also praised members of the Kawartha Lakes Fire Department who braved the freezing cold Jan. 24 while battling a million-dollar fire at the Young’s Aggregates Inc. site in Pontypool.

Councilor Pat O’Reilly announced that January is Crime Stoppers Month in Ontario. O’Reilly complimented the work done by the volunteer organization and suggested that any donation of time or money to the local chapter would be greatly appreciated.

Councilor Ron Ashmore reminded residents of Omemee of the upcoming consultation regarding the redesign of downtown Omemee and encouraged those interested to get involved in the planning process. Ashmore also said the Dunsford Lions Club will hold a snowmobile radar race at Pleasant Point on Sturgeon Lake on February 20.

Code of Conduct

Councilor Ron Ashmore requested more information from the City Clerk regarding a proposed change to the City’s Code of Conduct.

The Clerk, after consultation with the Integrity Commissioner, was seeking authority to change part of the code governing complaints made by members of the public against municipal officials and members of council. The old code stipulated that a signed affidavit must accompany the complaint identifying the complainant. The proposed change eliminated the need for the affidavit, and Ashmore feared that frivolous or malicious complaints would multiply exponentially without an affidavit being required.

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

“I have had a number of telephone conversations with the Integrity Commissioner,” Clerk Cathie Ritchie replied, “and the Commissioner has reviewed, provided feedback and returned this approved change.”

After hearing this information, Ashmore relented and the code of conduct received unanimous board approval.

Land sale strategy update

Ashmore also brought up the city’s land sale strategy for further discussion and debate.

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

Sheri Dyer, the city’s real estate services manager, said a local real estate agent helps sell properties in the city, noting that Jeff Reid is employed by the city to help with sales.

Ashmore was pleased with the response and the council voted unanimously to approve the land sale strategy report.

Firearms Discharge Regulations

Ashmore had a number of questions for Aaron Sloan, City Law Enforcement Manager, regarding proposed new regulations for unloading firearms in Kawartha Lakes.

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

Ashmore wanted to know if the city had ever sought advice from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Ontario Chief Firearms Officer regarding the development of the bylaw.

“It’s a local rule only,” Sloan replied. “The authority to pass this by-law derives from the Municipalities Act. We have consulted with the Kawartha Lakes Police Department, but this regulation only addresses where you can use them, not the weapons themselves.

Ashmore, concerned about the lack of public consultation during the development of the regulations, requested that the draft regulations be shelved until a public meeting could be held in early 2022.

Ashmore hoped for a discussion of his proposal, but was told by Mayor Andy Letham that, as the draft by-law had already passed council, a postponement was not moot but could be voted on by council.

Ashmore presented his proposal for a public meeting to the board and his motion failed 5-3. Councilor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan and Councilor Emmett Yeo supported Ashmore’s proposal.

City buys land in Bobcaygeon

After a closed-door discussion, the city agreed to purchase land along Canal Street in Bobcaygeon to expand the causeway. Seymour-Fagan had to declare a conflict of interest beforehand and did not take part in the deliberations or the vote, since she owns part of one of the buildings that the city ended up buying.