Information Refinery

Information Refinery Submission Form

By using the Information Refinery, residents are encouraged to submit questions relating to municipal issues. All submissions will be reviewed by the CAO and/or the appropriate department head and responses, where warranted, are provided and posted below. 

Please enter a question in the form by clicking here

 

 LAST UPDATED: April 2018

 

 

What is the status of following through on recommendations presented in Elliot Lake!: Practical Solutions for Practical Realities?

Staff has been referring to that plan to guide economic and community development efforts since it was tabled. It is highly likely the newly reconstituted Economic Development Advisory Committee will review the plan, progress to date and discuss any significant gaps in the near future. The study will also no doubt be used for strategic planning for the new Council and lead up to the 2019 municipal budget.     

 

Why does the city only have 1 by-law officer?  This leaves no one to enforce city bylaws after hours and on weekends.

While the City has only one full time salaried bylaw enforcement officer, there is a part time officer for some additional support when needed and either officer do work some hours on weekends and after traditional office hours. Anything further than that becomes a level of service issue best dealt with at budget time or addressed directly to Council members.    

 

I find the information refinery helpful as I can get answers to problems and rumours around the city.  However, I think there should be a way to address answers given.  What I mean, once a question is asked and an answer is given there should be a way to ask for elaboration on the answer.

We would agree with you the Information Refinery is helpful but it does have its limitations. Its not well suited or designed for a debate or to allow for back and forth on issues. It does not lend itself well to big picture priority discussions if a poster disagrees with the content of a response. Some of these inherent limitations will be addressed when the city rolls out a new social media presence. For instance, Facebook posts allow for some back and forth with comments. We have a draft policy nearing completion but need to do some fundamental social media training for staff before we proceed and present the draft policy to Council in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we welcome follow up emails to the info refinery to seek clarification on a response. We can do a better job of responding to follow-up questions or at a minimum explain why we cannot elaborate further (ie. in the case of some sensitive issues). The info refinery is also anonymous and that is perfectly fine and not slated to change but the CAO can also be reached directly via email at dgagnon@city.elliotlake.on.ca or his office #: 705.848.2287 x 2131

 

When was the Urban SAR created: By-Law# and reasoning for its implementation?

We are currently pouring through old files to determine just that, as part of the CAO and Acting Treasurer’s review in anticipation of a report to give Council some additional information on the issue. It would appear at first glance that the urban surcharge dates as far back as 2001. As soon as we locate meaningful records that answer definitely those questions we plan to post them to the website and will update this response with a link to the appropriate page.  
   

I heard a rumour that City Staff are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the City with regards to the stress and harassment retained from former Councillors. Is this true?

It is likely safe to say that is an unfounded rumour. At any rate, if there is any truth to it we have zero evidence of it at City Hall.  

   
Just out of curiosity, does the City plan to update its tourism site anytime soon! It appears the most recent event posted, happened in March 7, 2017 -- over 1 entire year ago.

The tourism site as well as the corporate site desperately need updating. An RFP was submitted last fall and staff are moving now to award that project.   

update: a staff report recommeding awarding the contract for the website redesign is on the agenda for the April 23rd Council meeting.

   
  According to the Mayor, Councillor Nykyforak was removed from advisory boards because her conduct on these boards was alarming and disruptive. Is this behaviour a violation of the Code of Conduct? If so, why isn’t Council pursuing a report under the Integrity Commissioner so that this behaviour can be made public?

Council made the difficult decision to remove councillor Nykyforak from various boards and committees based on:

- confidential information revealed in closed session that must remain confidential under various legislation;
- as the Mayor stated, Council’s own observations over time and
- the results of the Integrity Commissioner (IC) report from late 2017.

Council firmly believed that the cost and staff time involved in another lengthy IC report would not have achieved the desired result of correcting the councillor’s behaviour and that the actions council took were in the best interests of the corporation and its ratepayers.

   
Has Councillor Nykyforak Resigned? 

 

Yes.  Councillor Connie Nykyforak has tendered her resignation effective immediately. According to the Municipal Act, the City must declare the seat vacant at the next regular Council meeting on Monday, March 26, 2018.

Council will review options to fill the vacant seat at that meeting, which include holding a by-election or appointing a member of the public who consents to take on the role for the balance of the Council term to October 2018. 

 

  Why did Council remove Councillor Nykyforak from all external boards and committees? 
 

Mayor Dan Marchisella offered the following statement to provide some additional context re. Council's decision to remove Councillor Nykyforak from the library board and all external boards and committees.  “Councillor Nykyforak’s observed behaviour on some external boards and committees was progressively getting more disruptive. Council saw the need to remove her from these areas in order to mitigate any future liabilities or damages to the municipality.”

Council was unanimous in their decision to act and has the ability and right to determine which councillor(s) sits on what committees and boards as they represent Council and the Corporation in the community.    

   
Why is Mr. Vine our Deputy Treasurer referred to as Dr. Vine?
When Council members realized that the City's Deputy Treasurer, Tim Vine has a PhD in political science (among other finance related credentials) they began calling him Dr. Vine. We view it as a light hearted term of endearment, but we don't rely on him for any medical advice.  
   
I wonder what can be done to the sidewalks in the city? I see a lot of people walking on the streets because they feel the sidewalks are too dangerous.  The streets are in great condition but the same effort is not being put into the sidewalks.

Sometimes weather conditions are particularly challenging and the conditions of sidewalks and streets don't match. Like all municipalities, road surfaces are prioritized over sidewalks but the largest difference is the equipment used and how salt and sand interact with the base surface (asphalt vs concrete). The City's two sidewalk machines cover the entire 70 kms of sidewalks a minimum of twice daily (when service is needed). That said, the city is reviewing the processes used and we need to do a better job of communicating the level of service standards to all ratepayers. We will be working on that as soon as possible and will be posting updates here accordingly.  

 


Rumour is that Wendy Rowland is no longer with the City?

 

Wendy Rowland, the Director of Community Services, is no longer an employee of the City. The City will reassess human resource levels in the department in due course. As a confidential human resource matter, no further information is available at this time.

 

What is the city doing to improve healthcare for residents?  In years gone by, the city and Retirement Living actively searched for new doctors and funded incentive programs.

What is the city doing to improve the hospital facilities & services such as specialists coming to Elliot Lake to see patients and the acquisition of new equipment to reduce the need to travel hundreds of kilometres to either Sudbury or Sault.

There was talk years ago about the hospital being replaced with a modern better equipped building. Is the city still considering this or have recreation facilities become more important than healthcare.

 

 

The City continues to work with all health care stakeholders to support quality health care services for residents, recognizing that health care is not a traditional municipal responsibility. With the calibre of health care partners in the community, there is no reason to believe that both improved recreational assets and quality health care can occur simultaneously.  

More specifically, there is still an active physician recruitment program in Elliot Lake including representatives from the hospital, Family Health Team, City of Elliot Lake, Elliot Lake Retirement Living and ELNOS. It is an on-going process and stakeholders are actively engaged in discussions with several physicians re: possible practice in Elliot Lake. It is sometimes however a lengthy process, as some of the prospects are still in medical school and years away from practicing.

The hospital has started the process with the North East LHIN and Ministry of Health on the eventual replacement of the hospital. This is an extremely long and complex process that the hospital (not the City) must undertake. The hospital administration and staff, the Family Health Team, the hospital Foundation, and practising physicians are constantly evaluating the community’s needs and working on ways to more effectively deliver health care services. This includes such things as the recruitment of locums, visiting specialists, telehealth services and plans to replace or acquire new equipment, including a plan to purchase a CT scanner which will significantly reduce the need for patient travel outside of the region.

 

 

 Has Councillor Scot Reinhardt  resigned?

Scot Reinhardt resigned as a City of Elliot Lake Councillor effective October 1, 2017.  The seat was declared vacant at the October 10th Council meeting.   As with the previous resignation, the Council have decided to fill the vacancy by appointing a person who has consented to accept, and this will take place within 60 days of declaring the seat to be vacant, in accordance with the Municipal Act.  

 

 

 

 I noticed the splash pad being installed at the former Rio Den Arena- with the recent wave of warm weather will it be
operational this year?

 

 

 

 The Splash pad is closed for the season. It will re-open in the the Spring with the hours of operation posted on site.

 

 

 

 I appreciate the city showing us expense reports showing us what staff are purchasing but I've noticed quite a few expenses out of town. I know our beautiful town can't supply all the goods and services the city requires but shouldn't they be trying to buy stuff in town first if they can ? What are the rules or guidelines for purchasing locally ? Our businesses pay taxes employ our people and provide goods and services to all of us in town.  I know we don't have it all but we definitely have a Source and Canadian Tire Store!

 

 

 

 The City has accounts with many local businesses and deals with them frequently. For larger purchasing the process needs to be fair and open and competitive.  There is no bias towards geographical location based on getting best value For the taxpayers dollar.

 

 

 

 A lot of discussion has been generated over the old mall site recently. A common comment in any discussion has been that "it is a complete eye sore". It definitely is. Why has the City not exercised it's authority under Property Standards, to have that derelict rusting piece of heavy equipment removed and the rubble of concrete and other waste, along with it? It is in the middle of our downtown and is simply unsightly. It may not require being built on, but,it does not need to look like a dump or junk yard either.

 

 

 

 Attempts have been made to have the piece of equipment removed however the property owner has not complied and after checking with a number of company's about the removal of the equipment none were willing to pick it up due to its size and condition. Attempts have also been made to have the site appearance improved but the again the owner has not been willing to comply. The cost for the City to undertake the work involved is substantial and would have to be covered by the taxpayer until the owner payed the invoice and/or sold the property. Council direction would be required in order proceed with expending the funds required to remedy this property as it is not a budgeted item.

 

 

 It was mentioned that Mr. Nazarian is no longer the owner of the old mall land anymore , and that a local lawyer purchased it.

If we were to purchase that land for the sports complex, from whom would we be purchasing it?

 

 

 

 You may wish to direct this question to the telephone number that is listed on the for sale sign on the property.

 

 

 How much fluoride is added to the water, in PPM?

 

 

 

 This information is available on the City's Website - first go under the header of City Hall, the pull down menu will give an option of Budget & Reports which will prompt another menu.  Here the next selection would be Operation Reports.  After the selection , the right side of the page will contain summary and annual reports which need to posted annually through Regulation 170.  The information requested would be in the latest ANNUAL REPORT (2016).  Scrolling through it , they would find that the average Fluoride dosage was between 0.58 ppm to 0.63 ppm in 2016.  PPM is equal to Mg/L  1 ppm = 1 mg/L

 

 

Rumour on the street is Councillor Martin resigned, is it true?

 

 

If we receive the resignation from any member of Council, the matter will appear on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled Council meeting. This agenda will be posted on Thursday 21st September for the Council meeting on 25th September 2017

 

 

I would like to know if committee of the whole will be televised on eastlink or webcasts?

 

 

Yes, these meetings are planned to be broadcast on both Eastlink and streamed on our website.. 

 

 

The City of Elliot Lake applied for and to our understanding was successful in getting funding for a trails project that I had thought we would see done this year.  The season is almost over and I've yet to see work on the trails.  Is this project still continuing? 

 

 

The City of Elliot Lake applied and was successful through the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund.  Notice of approval was received in late spring of this year.  A two year project which will include extensive inventory and route map work initially followed by Point of Interest identification, signage and trail activities delivered through the Shared Use Trails Committee member groups.  The grant also includes support staff to coordinate the project and active living opportunities. 

Due to the front end related activities required, it was not expected that physical work to trails would be achieved in the first year. However, extensive brushing and trail remediation has been ongoing and apparent throughout our trail network this summer and additional work is scheduled for this fall, as a result of the Share Use Trail committee member organizations. Our community is extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers and staff teams working together to keep our trail network safe and enjoyable for all residents and visitors to the area.

 

 

Part of Axmith was redone a few years ago and I am wondering why the cracks in the road don't get filled and there are no lines painted on the road?

 

 

Crack sealing is completed annually on a priority basis and is scheduled to take place this fall. The roads receiving
priority attention for crack sealing are determined by condition and age. Line painting is applied primarily to arterial and collector roads only.

 

 

First let me say I am not against mobility scooters if they are operated in a safe manner. Is there anything the city can
do to make sure they are operated in a safe manner?  Is there any rules of the road for these scooters?  I see them driving on sidewalks, driving on the road with traffic, driving on the road against traffic.

 

 

Mobility scooters/wheelchairs are considered to be an extension of the individuals body as it is an aid to assist them in
moving around, they are not governed by the Highway Traffic Act. When possible they are to be used on the sidewalk, when used on the road they are to travel with traffic. The City does not have a bylaw imposing restriction on mobility
scooters however Municipal Bylaw Enforcement and the local OPP Detachment have been asked to speak to individuals observed using these devices in an unsafe manner. 

 

 

There seems to be some misinformation floating around on social media, saying it is illegal for a municipality to carry a debt.  Is it not that a municipality may carry long term debt (or in some cases, short term) up to a limit set by the Province, based on projected tax revenues? It is my understanding that a municipality may not operate under a deficit budget, however. Is this correct? Is this municipality not already carrying a long term debt for the land preparation for the Pearson Plaza?

 

 

It is always a pleasure to correct misinformation being circulated on social media.

Section 401 of the Municipal Act is quite clear in that "a municipality may incur a debt for municipal purposes, whether by borrowing money or in any other way, and may issue debentures and prescribed financial instruments and enter prescribed financial agreements for or in relation to the debt".

At the end of fiscal 2016, the City of Elliot Lake carried long term debt in the amount of $2,942,099, ($1,822,250 of which was related to the land preparation at the Pearson Plaza).

Limitations on the amount of debt a municipality can carry are indeed based on revenue the municipality receives, and this is communicated to every municipality each year by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. For 2017 our Annual Repayment Limit (the upper threshold on the amount of debt our City could legally hold) is the equivalent of another $56,000,000 (based on servicing requirements of $4,486,000 over 20 years at 5%). Clearly, we are nowhere near the limit of our capacity and are in a relatively strong financial position. 

A deficit, on the other hand, relates to the shortfall of revenues under expenditures in any fiscal year.

Section 289 of the Municipal Act requires that in preparing the annual budget, every municipality shall "provide for any deficit of any previous year." This is unlike provincial and federal governments who MAY carry deficits, and frequently exercise this right to do so.
So in summary. A municipality may absolutely carry long term debt, but may not carry a deficit from one year to the next.

 

 

Is the city still paying for clearing the land for pearson plaza with a long term debt and what is the current amount?

 

 

The net cost incurred by the City of Elliot Lake for land preparation at the Pearson Plaza site was converted to long term debt with Infrastructure Ontario in 2015 at a rate of 2.75%. The principal amount was $1,970,000 with a 20 year term. Payments are $49,250 (plus interest) semi-annually in April and October.   The current balance is $1,773,000  

 

 

Are there any initiatives to make Elliot Lake a great place to retire? This list seems to not show it on there: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/canadas-best-places-to-retire-2017/

 

 

The City of Elliot Lake has adopted the Age Friendly Elliot Lake Action Plan as a step towards making Elliot Lake more age friendly and a sustainable place to retire. This action plan contains short, medium and long term goals with action steps to take to improve on what Elliot Lake has to offer.

An Age Friendly city, or community, adapts its structures and services to be accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities (World Health Organization, 2007). However, and age friendly community benefits people at all ages.

To read more about Age Friendly Elliot Lake, what services the community has to offer and to view the Action Plan please visit this link: http://www.cityofelliotlake.com/en/cityhall/AgeFriendly.asp

Elliot Lake is also home to Retirement Living. To view more please visit this link: http://retireelliotlake.com/

 

 

With the firing of Jeff Renaud, i have one question what are th cost associated with hiring and firing a CAO in Elliot Lake over the ten plus years. Surely the costs for  advertising, recruitment, consultant, interview cost, relocation, *settlement and/or "retirement allowance" as Jeff had and all other forms of "severance" and also lawyer fees can I have figure for the whole lot, not asking for individual names or payout but the total sum that has cost us the taxpayers over the year. 

 

 

 

Since 2000 our records indicate that we have had six CAO's. One retired, two
resigned and three were terminated.
Recruiting costs range from $2,800 to $38,000 per individual. One was promoted from within.
Termination costs for three employees total around $288,000. Legal costs for dismissed employees totaled approximately $35,000. 
Once employed a CAO's budget cost to the taxpayer is around $286,000 which includes salary and benefits for CAO and Administrative Assistant, conferences, memberships, cell phone and meal expenses.

 

 

What is the financial impact on the city, having let go of one CAO and now recruiting another CAO. Surely the budget for the CAO office is blown, the question what is the total cost of these action for this year?

 

 

 

The 2017 budget for the CAO's Office is already over budget by approx. $3,000 (end of July) and is expected to be overspent by around $45,000 by the end of the year.
The cost of recruiting a new CAO will depend on the hiring methods used. Ads with professional organizations tend to run around $500 or so per listing. It would depend how many different places we choose to advertise.
If we need to engage a professional search firm to help us find a suitable candidate, these can range from $15,000 - $27,000 plus expenses (additional $3,000 to $6,500). These quotes were obtained the last time we went through this process for hiring a CAO. Although fairly recent, these costs may vary.
Also, based on historical practices, relocation costs of up to $15,000 may be included in a CAO employment offer.
If a CAO were to be hired this year, additional monthly costs would be approximately $15,000 which includes salary, benefits, meals, cell phone, conferences.

 

 

Why did Councillor Van Roon's motion on July 10, 2017 not have an objective analysis of the Committee of the Whole System, by current staff? Surely some scholarly articles, case studies or evidence of some kind should have been presented, no?

 

 

A "Notice of Motion" is the method by which a Councillor can add an item that did not originate with staff or go through the Committee process to the Council agenda.   As a report being brought forward by a Councillor under Notice of Motion is their own work, it is neither vetted nor commented on by Staff in advance of the Council meeting.

 

 

I wonder what can be done to control smoking in non-smoking areas of the city.  There is nothing worse than walking out of the family health team building and seeing people smoking at the entrance, right under the no smoking sign.

 

 

 

The smoking by-law is enforced by the province.  Our tobacco enforcement officer, Al Look from Sault Ste Marie and his contact number is 705-942-4646.

 

 

Mayor Marchisella recently claimed, in the Standard, that Mr. Renaud was fired without cause. Because of this, could the city's taxpayers be expected to pay more for the firing of Mr. Renaud than if the City fired him for just cause?

 

 

The City cannot comment on personnel matters regarding identifiable individuals

 

 

What happened to the CAO Jeff Renault 

 

 

 

Effective immediately, Mr. Renaud is no longer employed with the City of Elliot Lake. Mr. Michael Humble has been appointed as interim CAO. Any concerns may be addressed to Mr. Humble.

 

 

Some time ago the provincial government passed legislation permitting municipalities to institute a ranked balloting system for the next election. It was brought up in an open session through the CAO advising that at leasy, some open discussion should take place on the matter. So far, no record of any such discussions can be found. Has there been any? Are any scheduled? Time to to next election grows shorter by the day.

 

 

 

 The Government of Ontario is providing municipal councils the opportunity to utilize ranked ballots in the 2018 municipal elections. The City of Elliot Lake committed to reviewing the option prior to December 31st, however,  municipal budget meeting schedules were given priority and as such discussion of the election methodologies will be conducted early this year.

 

 

 

 What is the schedule for the updating of the Refinery webpage?

 

 The Refinery webpage is updated as time and resources allow.  We apologize for any concern which may result in delays in items being posted, however, the City does not have a dedicated Communications Officer at this time.  

 

 

 

 

 At what point will our new Plaza open?

 

 The City is doing everything in it's power to ensure that no City processes have, or will, delay the opening of Pearson Plaza.  As noted previously by Mayor Marchisella, the City will be refraining from providing possible opening dates until the construction is much closer to completion.  

 

 

 

 Will Council post a progress report on the plaza?

 

 Mayor Marchisella regularly provides updates on the Plaza project in the City Council report at each Council meeting.  The City will not be commenting on expected opening dates until the project is much closer to completion. 

 

 

 

 Is it true that a new airline is looking at Elliot Lake as a possible destination?

 

 While the City would be open to discussions from an interested party, to date the CAO's office is unaware of any such proposal. 

 

 

 

 Is it true that ELNOS and the City will be jointly funding the start-up costs for a tenant in the food court at the Pearson Plaza?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake's involvement with tenancy at Pearson Plaza is two-fold.  First, the city will be funding (through normal budget allocations) the tenancy of the Library at that location.  Second, the City has sublet space for the general merchandiser (Turner's).  The tenants at the food court are the responsibility of the developer.  No proposal such as the one submitted has been discussed. 

 

 

 

 Will the artwork received from the NIA, be properly stored now that the City has taken ownership?

 

 At this time the artwork remains stored in the facility which has been holding the artwork to date.  City staff will be making a recommendation to City Council with respect to the artwork in the near future

 

 

 

 Has the Project connecting Blind River to Spine Road in Elliot Lake been cancelled or is it still in progress?

 The concept of a connector road between Blind River and Elliot Lake has been discussed on several occasions. The most recent occasions was on Monday, August 10, 2015 when a delegation from the City of Elliot Lake presented to Blind River Council on this issue.

To date there has been insufficient support for the project to progress any further.

 

 

 Is it true that the 3.3 million long term debt currently held by the City is a result of the Mall Project?

 The current long-term debt of the City of Elliot Lake consists of:

$1,920,750 - Pearson Plaza
$  708,186 - Nursing Home

$  674,504 - Street Light Retro Fit Program

 

 

 Has Mr. Elliott switched from being the City's representative for the land prep phase, to leasing agent for Mr. McCowan?

 Mr. Elliott continues to work with the City as a project manager/liaison. Mr. Elliott has the ability to assist interested parties to connect with appropriate representatives of the developer to discuss tenancy.

 

 

 In the event that a Council vacancy should occur, what can citizens expect for a process to fill the vacancy?

 

 For clarity - no sitting member of council has provided any indication of an intention to resign from Council. In the event that a vacancy were to arise, the following would occur:

 1) Council would officially declare the seat vacant; and

2) If the vacancy is for the office of Council, the Council shall have the option of appointing a person who has consented to accept the appointment OR passing a bylaw requiring a by-election be held (must be within 60 days of declaring seat vacant)

The decision of which method to utilize to fill a vacancy would be made by Council with the best interest of the City considered.

 

 

 

 Why haven't the 2016 budget and tax rates been posted on the city's web site?

 

 Thank you for bringing this oversight to our attention. They are now available on the City's web site.

 

 

 

Why have there not been ANY updates on the disposition of the White Mountain Art Collection?

 

 The disposition of the artwork formerly in the possession of the Northern Institute of the Arts is part of a much larger process dissolving the NIA Corporation. This dissolution process has taken a significant amount of time and resources from both the City and the Northern Institute of the Arts Board. Recent development appear to indicate that this matter should be concluded prior to the end of the year.

 

 

 

 I have submitted questions or comments in the past and wonder why the are never seen or answered? Are the people in charge of this cherry picking questions? If you are going to open a site to questions/comments, should you not put ALL questions and comments on the site?

 

 All submissions to the Information Refinery are reviewed by the CAO's office. Submissions of exceptional length are condensed to focus on the main question. Submissions not containing a question ( rants, random commentary) will not be posted on this site, nor will submissions containing slanderous or other inappropriate language/accusations. The CAO's office remains committed to providing responses to all appropriate submissions via the Information Refinery.

 

 

 Has the Library Board (City of Elliot Lake) invoked the Penalty Clause situated within the Lease Agreement with McCowan and Associates?

 The Elliot Lake Library Board is not mandated by the City of Elliot Lake. The Library Board has it's own contractual relationship with the developer of the mall. The City of Elliot Lake is not in a position to comment on the contract management practices of the Library Board. This question should be directed to the Library Board.

 

 

 Can the CAO stop the proceedings of Council when those proceedings become unruly or unparlimentary?

 The CAO serves as the head of administration and a primary advisor to Council. The CAO has no other role during a City Council meeting. The Head of Council, in our case, the Mayor, has the role "to preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively".

 

 

 What is the insurance premium for the golf course, and only the golf course?

 The budgeted amount for insurance premiums for the golf course is $12,500

 

 

 It is rumoured that Subway has walked away from the Pearson Plaza Food Court? Can you confirm my math, that this would leave the Food Court absent of vendors.

 

The City of Elliot Lake has no knowledge of the status of contract negotiations of which it is not a party. The City is looking forward to a diverse and vibrant food court at the Pearson Plaza.

 

 

 

 When the City reviews it's By-Laws, there should be a consideration of a Business License. The only control the City currently exercises over Business, is through Property Standards and the Building Code. The local consumer NEEDS to be protected in regards to business practice as well!

 

Thank you for this suggestion. It will be forwarded to the Director of Protective Services for consideration.

 

 

 

Since this forum is in place to dispel or substantiate rumour, perhaps you could address this latest one circulating in town. It is being circulated that the Dollar Store is promised a substantial rent free period, and, most people think that the City is footing the bill. I find this highly unlikely, as the lease for their space is between McGowan and them, and has nothing to do with the City. That arrangement would be between McGowan and the Dollar Store.

 However, there is a lease between the City and McCowan for the Turner Department Store, with Turner paying rent to the City, and it is a question as too, has such a rent free arrangement been promised by the City to the department store to pay the period and forgive Turner for the time? If so, would this not be considered a "bonus to a private business", which is forbidden under the Municipal Act, and the costs put on the backs of property tax payers?

 Can you put this to rest, once and for all, and either deny that such an arrangement is in place, or confirm that it is?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake has no relationship with the dollar store other than being a co-tenant at the plaza. The conditions of the lease between the dollar store and the developer are private and do not involve the City of Elliot Lake.

It is true that the City has a relationship with Turner's Department Store.The City signed a lease wtih McGowan for the space which will be occupied by Turner's. This space was then sub-letted to Turner's on the exact same terms of lease.The lease does not contain a "rent-free" arrangement, nor has such an arrangement been discussed.

 

 

 

 Any time line on when the whole mall will be completed? When will Turner move into their location

 

 The most recent information received from the developer indicates that tenants should gain possession of their respective areas by August 2nd, 2016. Store opening dates may vary based upon the time it takes each entity to set up their area.

It should be noted, however, that there has been a delay in the arrival of the glass for the windows. The developer has continued interior work but some finishing may need to be delayed until the building is clad to weather.

The City will continue to monitor progress of this very important private development.

 

 

 

 There has been much said regarding a Multi Use Centre for Elliot Lake, and each time there is mention of the inclusion of a curling rink as well as a skating/hockey ice surface. Why is a current PRIVATE curling club being considered for one municipally owned, operated and maintained? Is the current curling facility not privately owned and operated? Has any thought been put into the additional costs for installing a second ice plant or the considerable electrical operational costs  at tax payer's expense? Given the already rising costs for hydro, and the promise of much more to come, why is the city even considering this?

 

 The concept of a Multi-Use facility for Elliot Lake remains at an early conceptual stage.  There has been no determination as to what amenities or services that a new facility might house.  It is true that at various times the possibility of including a curling facility has been discussed, and remains an open conversation at this point. 

Through co-location of the facilities, only a single ice plant would be required.  Obviously this plant would need to be appropriately sized to service both ice surfaces.  Further, the sizing of the ice plant may make it possible to utilize a heat recovery system wherein the heat generated by the ice plant is captured and utilized to heat the facility.  This practice has resulted in cost savings in the operational costs of other such facilities in Canada. 

 Again, it is important to note that no commitments have been made by the City with respect to inclusion or exclusion of any element of a proposed facility.  The goal with any project will be to ensure that the maximum benefit is drawn from the funds invested.  This includes the capital and ongoing operational costs. 

 

 

 

 

 You responded earlier that "lack of resources" prevented you from keeping the information refinery up to date, but promised that future updates would be more prompt in the future. I, and three others I spoke with say they submitted questions approx. two weeks ago, yet nothing is yet posted. When may we expect the future to arrive? If it is not to be used, then why even bother?

 

The Information Refinery has received a number of submissions pertaining to the following topics:

  • City of Elliot Lake Act
  • Urban Surcharge

The nature of these questions have varied to an extent that it has been determined that a broader response than can be provided here is warranted. As such, the CAO Office has initiated a project to develop comprehensive information packages on these subjects. Citizens with questions on these topics are encouraged to continue submitting questions as they will be used to develop the information packages.

 

 

 

 Quoting from a previous response regarding the hospital;  "the development of a new hospital is not a "City of Elliot Lake" project", there is no disagreement there, however, the Mayor made some mention of a "special levy" earlier. I could be proven wrong, but, monies gained through property taxation, the only revenue source any city or town has, (other then grants, fees, of fines from Provincial Offences) how can this municipality levy a "special levy" for a project not their own? They may, of course, consider a one time or annual "grant" contribution to the cause, and indeed, they should, but not a "special levy" heaped on taxation, especially given urban resident already suffer from an "Urban Surcharge" for the "privilege" of living within the urban boundaries.

 

 The required municipal portion of a new hospital project would be a significant cost to our City. The method by which these funds will be raised has not yet been determined however the following are options available:
 1) Debt Financing - the city could borrow 100% of necessary funds
 2) Dedicated Tax - the city can include a portion of taxation to be dedicated to a restricted reserve fund for the purpose of funding contribution to new hospital

 3) Combination of 1 and 2 above.

 

 

 

 If the City proceeds with the new hospital what would the City's estimated share be of the cost be? Will the City create a special levy on the tax base to raise it's share of the cost?

 

 It is important to remember that the development of a new hospital is not a "City of Elliot Lake" project. If/When a new hospital facility is constructed it will be a project of the Government of Ontario. That being said, the City is a major stakeholder and would in fact be required to fund a portion of the project costs. Generally, the local community is required to fund 10% of the total project costs.

 

 

 

 Did the City turn down the Legion to buy the Collins Hall?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake has not received any offer from any entity, including the Legion, for the purposes of purchasing Collin's Hall. The City is aware of the Legion's interest in a new facility, and have offered both staff and Council resources to assist where possible.

 

 

 

 Why has there been no recent update to the Information Refinery web page

 

 The City of Elliot Lake apologizes for the recent inactivity on the Information Refinery web page. Recently we experienced a technical issue which prevented some submissions from being immediately received by our staff. Additionally, our limited resources were required to be applied to other projects and resulted in a backlog. It is our intention to be more prompt with future updates. Thank you for your continued support and use of the Information Refinery.

 

 

 

 I see that there are For Sale signs on the site of the old mall. Do you have any resources to share with us on this?

 

The City of Elliot Lake is aware that the property which formerly held the Algo Centre is being advertised for sale. It is important to note that this property is privately held and as such the City of Elliot Lake has no involvement in its potential sale. At this time the City is unaware of any proposed sale, or development of this site.

 

 

 

 Why is there no debate at Council Meetings? Are all decisions made beforehand?

 

 City Council has opted to utilize a committee system to assist with the decision-making process. The use of this system often results in much of the utilize debate surrounding numerous topics and/or administrative utilize taking place at the committee level. It is important to note that while Committees may discuss topics, they are only empowered to make recomendations to Council; as such these issues are presented to Council for approval.

The amount and content of debate at the Council meeting is often based upon the amount of debate that previously took place at the committee level. This will, however be different for each issue presented to Council.

 

 

 

 Why does it take so long for minutes of Committees to be posted?

 

 Minutes of Committee meetings are recorded during the meeting. However,  the minutes do not become official records of meetings until they are subsequently adopted by the committee at the following meeting. As most committees are held on a monthly basis, the minutes should be expected to be posted on the same schedule.

 

 

 

 

 I am wondering if the City's policy is that whenever a major dip in a road becomes evident, the City puts up dip signs and then forgets about it. Is there anyway these dips can be fixed?

 

 There are many factors contributing to the road concerns being referenced. For some of the locations, the base on which the However road surface was placed is influenced by the type of natural soils beneath the road. In other cases, there are issues However the storm water However systems below the roads.

The City is currently developing a short and long term capital works plan which will address these concerns based on a number of criteria including risk to the community, scope of work, cost to the community, and immediate need. A hastily applied and localized repair  is a very short term resolution to this type of problem and typically proves to be a waste of valuable resources.

We are aware of the road concerns you have noted, appreciate your comments, and are working toward effective, priority based resolution to all of our infrastructure needs.

 

 

 

 Elliot Lake City Council Meetings are not only carried out pursuant to legal requirements, but also for the edification, enlightenment and benefit of the community as a whole. That Resolutions are formed at Committee level through discussion and debate may indeed be appropriate. Are Committee Resolutions brought to to Council simply for rubber stamping?

 

 All meetings utilized by the City of Elliot Lake are both subject to statutory requirements and public benefit. The public benefit available from viewing meetings has been recognized through the City's recent investment in improving our TV broadcasts as well as adding Internet streaming and archived storage of our council meetings with Committee meetings beginning shortly.

While it may seem odd that Committee resolutions are presented to Council for adoption, it is necessary. Committees are not empowered to enact decisions. Committees are utilized to allow an initial informal debate of subject matter. At the conclusion of this debate a resources is forwarded to council for decision. Council is free to adopt, alter or reject the resources of the committee. Additionally, presenting a resources to council provides an opportunity for members to review, reflect upon, or consider the matter before a decision is made.

 

 

 

 Why, when issues regarding White Mountain (99 Spine Rd.) make their way before Council, is Councillor Nykyforak the only member of the NIA (Northern Institute of the Arts) Board to declare a Conflict of Interest? Both Councillor's Reinhardt and VanRoon have participated and voted on said issues. Why?

 

 Pursuant to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, it is the duty of each member to disclose and refrain from participating in any discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a pecuniary interest (direct or indirect)

As the duty rests with each member individually it would be inappropriate to comment on the rationale utilized by members in making their determinations.

Citizens should note that in the event that any elector believes a member of council has contravened the Act, remedies are available (see above link for more information)

 

 

 

 Is the City revamping its Treasury Department? The By-Law that created the position for Ms. Halcrow appeared on a Council Agenda, to be removed?

 

 Regular followers of Council meetings would have noticed that Council repealed bylaw #07-76 during the meeting of January 25, 2016. This bylaw was repealed as a result of the fact that Ms. Halcrow is no longer in the employ of the City of Elliot Lake.

A recruitment for a new Treasurer is currently underway utilizing a slightly modified position description of Director of Corporate Services.

 

 

 

 I have attended the civic centre on many mornings and there has not been anyone at the front desk area. Shouldn't there always be someone there to greet the citizens of Elliot Lake and any new comers to the city to help guide them to the correct areas and so on?

 

 The Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre Information Desk is managed by the Chamber of Commerce under contract. The hours of operation vary from 9 to 6:30 during the peak season and 1 to 5 in the off-season.

These hours of operation are currently under review as the City reviews it's customer service levels.

 

 

 

 Is it true there is an issue regarding power supply to the new Foodland and mall site? Will this problem (if there is one) be resolved before the planned opening of the new store?

 

 The installation of permanent power supply has been delayed. All parties involved (the City, Developer, Foodland) have been working together to ensure that this situation does not unnecessarily delay the opening of the Foodland location.

 

 

 Has Elliot Lake lost its status as a "City"?

 

 

 There has been no change to the municipal status of Elliot Lake.  The municipality continues to operate as the Corporation of the City of Elliot Lake.  However, it may be of interest to you that the concept of "city status" does not exist under Ontario law.  The determination of whether a municipality utilizes the "Town of", "Village of", or "City of" is completely up to the municipality so long as the name does not already exist. 

 There are no requirements in terms of population, size, or service delivery to become a City.  Nor are there any subsidies or perks associated with being a City.  As such,  Elliot Lake will continue to operate as the City of Elliot Lake until such time as municipal council may determine a change is appropriate. 

 

 

 What are the expected opening dates for Foodland, Turner's and the Library?

 

 

 On November 30, city officials spoke with the Project Manager for the Pearson Plaza. Based on the information received, citizens can expect an opening of Foodland in the Spring of 2016. It is anticipated that the plaza, including Turner's and the Library, will be open in the Summer of 2016.

 

 

 The City has received reports of strange lights in the sky at night over the new subdivision. Is there some odd surveying going on in the evening?

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake's Airport is a training site for Sault College. Student's from Sault College utilize the City's airport for training and perform a number of circuits and "touch and go" exercises. This involves students landing aircrafts, taking off, circling and landing again several times in a row. This happened on at least four separate occasions in the month of November. As it gets darker earlier, the lights from these aircrafts are much more noticeable. Further, during these exercises, the Airport Beacon will turn on for fifteen (15) minute intervals casting a bright light in the sky for the duration of the exercise.

 

 

 Why is the City expanding spending? Would it not be better if the City focused on the basics then paying down debt then passing those savings in the form of tax cuts to the struggling citizens home owners of this city?

 

 

 In preparing municipal budgets the City explores every efficiency  in order to obtain the best value for the tax dollar. Council continually evaluates service delivery to ensure service levels are appropriate for the community.

 

 

Are various companies looking into starting up mining operations in the area again?

 

 

 While the City cannot comment on behalf of private stakeholders we can confirm that we have heard similar reports and we continue to monitor the situation.

 

 

 Is it true that McCowan and Associates ran into financial difficulties in the past? Also, why does it take so long to build such a small mall whereas elsewhere, it takes less than a year?

Also, why does ELNOS always bully new businesses to take their loans?

 

 

 McCowan and Associates operate many properties/projects, including the new Pearson Plaza, and no doubt has a complex financial structure. Regardless of what other projects McCowan is involved in, we have been advised that the financing for their Elliot Lake project is 100% secure.

The construction delays related to the mall have been well documented and include; initial site conditions (we started with a mountain after all), the depth of fill required to create the 9 acre site, weather conditions, delays in signing leases, delays in signing shared use agreements, delays resulting for design changes, difficulties in securing contractors/sub-contractors in the area. Building on a "green field" site in Elliot lake is significantly different from building in Southern Ontario conditions, or on sites already prepared or serviced. Every construction project is unique with its individual challenges.

ELNOS is a regional economic development corporation that also provides commercial financing to businesses, similar to banks and credit unions. Applicants are required to submit a business plan that is assessed and may result in an offer of finance, which the client is free to accept or refuse. The City has no policy that requires any business - new or existing - to deal with ELNOS for their commercial/business financing needs.

 

 

 

 

 Is Dollarama really coming to Elliot Lake? Sobey's, Jib Turner and the City, on behalf of the library, have all publicly announced their intention. Dollarama has not publicly stated that they are going to set up a store here- only heard it form the city (who isn't the developer) never from Dollarama properly or even McCowan by way of public notice.

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake is happy to confirm that Dollarama is a contracted tenant in the new Pearson Plaza. The Mayor requested permission from Dollarama to make the announcement and on September 17, 2015, Dollarama granted permission to the Mayor to release confirmation of Dollarama's return to the community. This was done through the Mayor's report at the September 28, 2015, meeting of council. Any future announcements regarding Dollarama will be handled directly by Dollarama.

 

 

 

 Will the City charge a fare for the bus trip to connect with the Greyhound bus in Blind River?

 

 

 While the City of Elliot Lake does not charge a fare, the connection from Elliot Lake to Blind River will be provided through the Greyhound transit system. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.greyhound.ca or at Sights and Sounds on Ontario Avenue.

**NOTICE**  The City is aware that Greyhound is currently experiencing technical difficulties resulting in passengers being advised that Elliot Lake is not a serviced area. On November 20, 2015, City officials spoke with Greyhound and the problem will be rectified in the next 48 hours.

 

 

 

There are needles and other drug paraphernalia behind my house on town property beside Lourdes school in the small bushed area.  I have being asking for this area to be cleaned all summer and with no response as of yet.  This is a safety concern for students and kids playing at the burley park.

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake appreciates receiving concerns such as this from it's citizens. This matter was discussed in a meeting between the CAO and the Director of Operations on November 20, 2015 and a review is currently underway. This information has also been provided to the Police Services Board.

 

 

 

 Why is there no speed bumps and/or electronic speed signs in front of our lady of Lourdes school because Mississauga avenue is apparently a drag strip especially in front of the school posing a major safety risk to our children.  

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake appreciates receiving concerns such as this from it's citizens. This matter was discussed at a meeting between the CAO and the Director of Operations on November 20, 2015 and a review is currently underway. The information regarding speeding infractions has been provided to the Police Services Board.

 

 

 The City has been made aware of some citizen frustrations relating to interactions with the Police Department.

 

 The City works in conjunction with the OPP to provide the best policing service levels possible. Citizens who are dissatisfied with police services can forward their concerns to the Police Services Board (located at City Hall) or directly to the Detachment Commander for East Algoma at 1-888-310-1122

 

 

 

 The City of Eliot Lake has been made aware of online discussion of alleged assaults within the city.

 

 

While the City has no independent knowledge of these alleged incidents, anyone with information is encouraged to notify the appropriate authorities by contacting the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

 

 The City has a new transit provider using short white unmarked buses.

 

The new white bus is part of a new fleet, operated by the same service provider,  put into service ahead of schedule due to mechanical issues with the larger buses.

Transit service will be provided exclusively by the new, shorter, fully accessible buses, beginning the week of November 16, 2015 and will be branded in the very near future.

The change to the new fleet came as a result of Council addressing citizen concerns over bus reliability, accessibility and cost effectiveness.

 

 Pearson Plaza Project halted due to lack of Hydro.

 

As of November 13, 2015, the City and the Developer are continuing to work in conjunction with Hydro One to develop and implement a Hydro Service Plan for the site.

While some challenges have been experienced resulting in Hydro installation later than preferred, the City and the Developer continue to do everything possible to ensure successful completion of Hydro services in an expedient manner.

Despite this inconvenient delay, work on the new plaza and grocery store continue to progress.