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Joint Council - Corps of Commis­sion­aires makes impressive presentation

posted Feb 4, 2019, 11:28 AM by Kathy Carr
The Joint Councils of North Cypress-Langford and the Town of Carberry met on January 28 in the council chambers of the Municipal Office with Mayor Olmstead in the chair, CAO Jones, and all councillors present except Jackson and Drayson.
A delegation from the Corps of Commis­sion­aires, represented by Garry Smith was brought before Council. After commenting on how many friendly waves he had received as he passed through the town, he got down to business and explained that since the province empowered municipalities to enforce their own by-laws in 2013, his organization has undertaken by-law enforcement for 22 municipalities. As a certified trainer they provide a 40-hour training course all security guards must receive in Manitoba and a further 68-hour training to become Com­mis­sionaires to those that they consider promising. Extra courses on by-law enforcement and animal control are also offered.
There are three points at which a complaint may be addressed: Nothing is done without a signed complaint. [This is already true of the current by-law enforcement procedures] At the first, when the of­fender is approached with the concerns of the municipality, a voluntary compliance is best. The next stage involves doing the investigation to establish the case for the complaint, and confronting the offen­der with the documented case, and demanding compliance. The third stage is taking direct action to correct the complaint and adding the costs to the tax bill of the offender.
They find that on the average, they can expect a 66% reduction in by-law offences by the third year of their administration. When people know the by-law, and know that there are consequences for an infraction, there is much less likelihood the by-law will be ignored. Examples of by-laws they enforce include parking, unsightly properties, animal control, derelict buildings and vehicles, and such things as misdirected irrigation.
The Corps has four types of contract with their municipalities: In the case of larger municipalities, they can provide resident officers on permanent contract. Other municipalities can contract for a certain number of hours of service per month. Thirdly, the Corps can offer ‘on call’ service, where officers come to address problems on an ad hoc basis, with a response time of typically two to five days. Billing for that service is on an hourly basis, plus mileage from their dispatch point.  The fourth type of contract is to be ‘on call’ with a guarantee of immediate service rather than going on a wait list with the regular ‘on call.’ 
Commissionaires are not Peace Officers; they can’t, for example, stop a car or deal with criminal charges. That is the job of the RCMP. That said, Commissionaires work regularly with the police when necessary, and can provide competent documentation and support.  Council thanked Mr. Smith for his brisk, clear presentation.
Discussion ensued re­garding the presentation, the town councillors were generally impressed and in favour, while the rural councillors were less sure of the need in their jurisdiction. The CAO will definitely follow up. 
The next delegation was from Jason Dickson on behalf of the Spruce Woods Junior Rifle Club, who are raising funds to send a sizeable team to the Manitoba Junior Rifle Champion­ships to be held in Thom­pson in May. 
They have calculated they need to collect $6500, and are already more than $4300 to their goal.
There are fewer clubs these days; only ten clubs in the province, down from over 20 at the peak.  Carberry has 42 members and is one of the larger. They used to cut off membership at 50 and had a waiting list for membership.
Councillors agreed that the Junior Rifle program was a valuable amenity, especially in a rural community. Despite a reluctance to open the door to the requests of sporting organizations this was thought a unique enough circumstance to warrant support, and $600 was voted to the organization, half from each municipality. The likelihood that Carberry is scheduled to be the next host of the provincial championships was also a strong consideration.
Amy Urquhart, the Arts Council’s coordinator, asked to negotiate a fee for the Council’s after-school program to use the basement of the Old Town Hall. The program pre­sent­ly uses the school (at no charge) but is unable to store any of their materials, and cannot offer snacks. The Old Town Hall has a kitchen, and storage space available. Ms. Urquhart is offering to pay a small fee each school day, and to step aside on days when the space is rented by outside organizations. 
Council discussed the request, and agreed that the building committee should make arrangements with Ms. Urquhart.
Unfinished Business
A standing desk has been ordered for Teresa McConnell, paid out of the Health and Safety budget.
Jesse Gingras, who has been on staff as a utility employee, had his wages set, retroactive to the first of the year.
The Manitoba Weed Supervisors’ Association will be meeting in Car­berry on March 13, and the CAO took names of those who would attend on behalf of their councils.
The new Recreation Complex came up for further discussion. Jamie Smart, the head of the Recreation Committee requested that councils set up a fundraising account for the new facility. There is a need to prepay the entertainment and catering for the upcoming Sport­man Gala event which will kick off an ambitious fundraising schedule. Smart asks councils to provide the seed money, and to underwrite any possible loss the fundraiser may suffer. Such guarantees are requested by other fundraising ventures, and rarely drawn on; they are to comply with the licen­sing requirement.
Council agreed to set up the fund, and provide seed money of $10,000 and a guarantee as reques­ted with the seed money to be repaid after the event. A recorded vote was reques­ted and it passed with with a majority of Council with nays from Councillors M. Tolton and R. Muirhead.
Returning to the matter of financing a facility, Councillor Muirhead is insistent that there is little wrong with the current community centre that would justify the unprecedented expense of a new facility. Other Councillors countered that the plan is to have funding ready for when in the normal course of a building’s life, it does need replacement. By then, it will be far too late to attempt to amass the needed millions. There is also the suggestion that in view of the rising costs of construction, sooner is more cost effective than later. There is no question that the availability and quality of recreational facilities is an important deciding factor for potential newcomers. There is an engineering assessment of the life expectancy of the present facility pending, and the discussion was tabled until the facts are available.
The Request for Pro­posals on the proposed fire hall expansion is reported to have drawn more than 20 hits on MERX, the government tenders website. This is encouraging as the last round only had six inquiries.
Attempts to get quotes for a backup battery system for the CPCC have run up against problems with the existing wiring but is still being worked on.
All joint employees have been advised of the provisions of the Whist­leblower Act, as mandated.
Councillor Tolton’s concern to see our Fire and Rescue Department acquire flowing grain entrapment rescue equipment was raised. It was suggested that he talk first with the Fire Department about the acquisition, training and deployment.
The Municipal Of­ficials’ Seminars are coming up in Winnipeg in mid-March. The MOS is similar in scope to the AMM convention, but much more focused on breakout sessions and seminars covering practical details of municipal ad­ministration. Accomo­dations and at­ten­dance were discussed.
Councils discussed the invaluable role played by Bill Kalinowich in the Ice Plant Project at the Com­munity Centre. It was agreed to express councils’ appreciation with an appropriate gift and a heartfelt thank you.
General Business
ACAO Fraser will graduate from her MMAA course at a gala event in Brandon on April 30, 2019. Tickets are $50, and councillors and administration are encouraged to be there in her support.
CP Rail have asked to make a presentation to councils on their services to the community, with a particular mention of safety concerns and financial support of community ventures. An offer to at­tend a Joint Council meeting will be forwarded.
The Manitoba Municipal Administrators’ Association will hold a course on By-Law Enfor­ce­ment in Brandon on March 1, 2019. CAO Jones was approved to attend, with the costs borne equally by NCL and Carberry. The course costs $249.
Council agreed to pay for the necessary repairs to the diesel generator at the Fire Hall that backs up the fire line pumps at a cost of $4863.41.
Committee Reports
The CAO reports that 2018’s year end and the start of 2019 are going well, with the FO and ACAO working to separate out the sub-board accounts for the new year. She has met with the sub boards, and they have been shown the intended advantages of the new system recommended by the auditors.
Ongoing projects such as the Rec By-laws for NCL are being wrapped up; preparations to re-hire last year’s weed student are in place, and budget talks are under way. Strategic Planning sessions will be scheduled for both councils.
Condolences were sent to Shannon and Jasmine Downey. Jayson Downey worked 20 years for the town, and was a firefighter for 25 years before losing his battle with cancer.  Both Council's echoed the sadness of the loss of a good man that gave back to his community.
The ACAO is working on year end in anticipation of the 2018 audit, and working to separate out the sub-boards for the coming year. She has been doing pre-budget meeting and preparations for the NCL budget.
The Manager of Parks, Facilities and Sanitation reports that green team applications are already in the works for summer help.
The CPCC saw a synchronized skating competition draw around 240 skaters and a total crowd of 600 to the rink on January 19. Staff of the booth and facility did a great job. Preparation is in hand for the McCain Classic Bons­piel.
Pool renovations are planned for early enough in spring that a regular opening schedule is expected.
The Fire Hall RFP was sent direct to the previous bidders, and posted on the MERX site. Closing date is March 1, and award date is set for March 15.
Manitoba Sustainable Development has been insistent on changes to procedures at the transfer stations and lagoons. Some changes will require funding, but the details aren’t ready yet.
The cemetery flowers have been ordered already from the current supplier.
The Financial Officer has been busy finishing up details of the town’s 2017 audit, completing the year’s payroll and pension plan figures to get the T4s out, preparing for NCL’s GST audit, and checking and balancing the joint account entries in each municipality’s ledger. For year-end, the Payables and Receivables of both municipalities must be balanced. Detailed budget talks to ensue in February.
The Recreation Prog­rammer sends a list of the programs completed and planned. Yoga is continuing despite the loss of the local yoga instructor. 
Several programs are being offered with help from the Community Foundation. Grants are being sought for Green Team and Canada Sum­mer Jobs to get summer day camp staff covered. The 2019 budget is being hammered out. She will be attending the Rec Con­nec­tions Conference in February, and has planned to have spring mass registration on March 19 & 20.
The Archives have been fairly quiet through January, with regular tasks such as scanning pictures, and updating histories and obituaries. The Archivist has been asked to do a monthly article for the paper.
The CDC/Hall report shows the hall to be very busy with attention to repairs, upgrades, and inspections from health and liquor board. The website it is being modified to make things easier to find. The raised beds are almost all reserved for the summer, and the Friends of Camp Hughes interpretive panels are almost ready.
Evergreen Environ­mental is seeing inquiries from municipalities and first nations about partnering. 
They have adopted their 2019 budget, and appear to be in a surplus situation (pending the audit) for 2018. Having done repairs on their baler, they are considering rep­lacing or refurbishing it in 2020 as well as the High Hoe.
The Fire Department held a very successful Firemen’s Ball that raised over $13,500 towards equipment purchases. These have included a couple of sets of turnout gear, respirators for use at wildland fires, and equipment for air bottles — new gauges on the rescue truck, and some used but inspected breathing apparatus. They acquired two sets of auto cribbing with help from the Community Foundation. Chief Loney and Captain Udey attended a table-top exercise with Grand Valley Mutual Aid and in conjunction with GVMA they are developing a new personnel accountability system. GVMA will be hosting the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs 2019 Con­ference in Brandon.
The department is excited about the planned extension to the Fire Hall, and thanks the councils for their support and en­couragement.
The Library Board reports that their new librarian has set up a youth drawing club and a book club. A new cleaner has been hired. 
The Museum Board had a successful fund­raiser with the Strathclair Theat­re Chorus, netting them almost a thousand dollars to be used for repairs to the Gingerbread House. They are looking at another Celtic music fundraiser to be held on March 17, St. Patricks Day, more details to follow.
The Cypress Planning District have been examining their budget in the light of having taken on a full time assistant and reviewing various building and development fees.
Service for Seniors is planning a shopping trip to Brandon, a trip to the movies in Glenboro, and visits to the Brier. Several exercise and enrichment courses are available to seniors with the help of the Community Foun­dation. The Handivan is up to date on its maintenance, and research on a new van purchase and funding grants is ongoing.
The Fire Department sent in the annual statistics for 2018, which showed 75 calls in NCL and 24 in the Town of Carberry.
The Manitoba Elec­toral Boundaries Com­mis­sion sent its completed report, which has adjusted the ridings of Manitoba to give, it is hoped, fairer representation to each area. Carberry and North Cypress will continue in Agassiz Con­stituency.
Canadian Beverage Recycling sent their 2017 Audit Report. 
The AMM reports that their efforts in conjunction with the FCM to have CRA reinstate the one-third tax exemption which has been in place since 1953 for Council remuneration have been unsuccessful. This amounts to a cut in pay to all elected officials, and a windfall to the Revenue Agency.
Added to the Agenda
Grady Stephenson, the Manager of Parks, Faci­lities and Sanitation, has sent a request that the simple details of the transfer stations be returned to the care of the Public Works department and its foreman. He will continue to address the larger issues of licensing and compliance with provincial regulations, but the day-to-day concerns are as much Public Works’ as his. The Personnel Committee will discuss this in the near future.
Around the Table
Reeve Adriaansen reported that he and the Mayor attended a meeting with the Beautiful Plains School Division’s board and been treated to an informative presentation on their activities and thanked Superintendent Jason Young for his work in preparing and presenting the information. Mayor Olmstead agreed with the  Reeve on the quality of the presentation and the changes coming to the education system will have to be carefully watched, with their true effect on fiscal thrift and student outcomes watched closely.
Councillor Muirhead reported that he had attended the RCMP’s presentation on reducing rural crime, and had come away better informed and yet worried about the very scant police staffing that we live with. He wondered if it would be better if councils got more proactive in seeking increased police presence. He asked what made it possible for the Town of Rivers to maintain its own police force.
While it is possible locally, it is well beyond the costs covered by the provincial government for protective services. There are salaries, extensive equipment requirements and even real estate concerns, and when all is said and done, you still have to call in (and pay) the Mounties for all major crimes.
He asked that the officers who made the presentation be sent letters of thanks and commendation, which Council supported.
Councillor M. Tolton had questions about the EMO plan and hazardous goods on the railways passing through town.  He was assured that there would shortly be a tabletop exercise presented by EMO Brad Wells to familiarize especially new council members with the preparations in place.
He also suggested the Co-op’s Community Spaces Program and the Murphy Foundation have monies available for community projects.  The in­formation will be passed on to the CDC.
Councillor Anderson raised an alarming story he has heard running through the grape vine around town. The story says that NCL is considering splitting off from Carberry and taking the greater part of the administrative staff with them. The CAO and Mayor also confirmed that the staff and various citizens had also heard such a rumor, and it was having a detrimental effect on morale among staff unsure of their job security. This was emphatically denied by those on NCL Council that any such plans are in place or had been discussed and no councillor had heard anything that might contribute to such an idea. 
A citizen brought forward a suggestion that rather than a ‘complaint’ form, there could be a‘comment’ or even ‘compliment’ form.  The CAO thought that might already be in place on some of the forms, and agreed that it was a balance that should be maintained. Councillor Sudak mentioned that bouquets more often come through social media, and that he had made a habit of posting them in the office and shop when he was foreman.
Mayor Olmstead mentioned that there should be some guidelines and policies about recognition of long service, volunteerism, special birthdays or anniversaries, and other matters that merit the formal approval of the municipalities. 
Council Pictures will be taken in March, formal attire was suggested.
Last Minute Business
Council passed resolutions establishing a matrix for future raises and cost of living allowance for all Parks and Recreation employees to keep them on a consistent grid with other employees. Council also passed a motion setting the wage of Diane Fast, who serves in the booth at the CPCC, with Parks and Recreation, and at the cemetery in the summer.
With that, councils adjourned the meeting at 10:20 p.m.

by John McNeily