To all of you who have been so supportive (especially over the last couple weeks), THANK YOU! Whether you chose to support me by publicly commenting or signing the petition or you chose to privately support me though emails, messages or a high-five when I ran into you in the grocery store, I appreciate you all more than you’ll likely know. I knew I was opening myself up to great criticism by being so publicly vocal about the frustrations we are experiencing with our Town Council, but I could no longer sit back and let them waste their time and our money on all of the petty infighting.
Let me be clear. This was NOT an attack on Orangeville. This was NOT an attack on any one member of council. In fact, this was not an attack at all. It was more of a plea…a plea for our Council to put their personal differences aside, treat each other with respect, and take Orangeville to the next level. I was expecting that my letter would not be well-received and as I spoke at Council about impact vs intent, I hoped that the message would be clear. I received a number of comments from Council, some of which I agreed with, and others not so much.
“Democracy is often messy.” Councillor Wilson said, “It’s much easier to be critical of our performance when you aren’t at the microphone, when you don’t sit around the horseshoe.” I agree with Councillor Wilson that democracy can be messy and that passion for an issue can take over…however, I still believe that passion can be respectful and productive.
Councillor Bradley said “I find it offensive to say that we aren’t doing our jobs. Because we are indeed doing our jobs, we wouldn’t receive award after award after award if we weren’t doing our jobs.” Councillor Bradley, Orangeville is a great community and well-deserving of the many awards that have been won – the volunteers on the committees involved as well as the Council member who is assigned that portfolio work unbelievably hard to make this happen…I don’t discredit that at all – nor did I in my letter. Again, I just ask for more professional conduct!!
Councillor Kidd said “For Ms. Post to say that this Council has done nothing is an absolute insult to this Council and an absolute insult to the people of Orangeville.” Nope…I didn’t say that either….Councillor Kidd, Did you even read my letter?
“I see someone who is abusing the system to come here – you ran in the last election and I know you’re running in the next election.” said Mayor Williams before leaning over to the Clerk to ask…”Can I say crap? Or will that get me in trouble with the Integrity Commissioner? My first instinct is that a lot of it (referring to the letter and petition) is a pile of crap.” Hmmm…I’m a bit confused by some of these comments. First and foremost, I am a tax-paying resident of Orangeville…in fact, my husband and I bought our first house almost 20 years ago…the fact that I ran for council 2 years ago means that my opinion as a tax-payer is no longer valuable? Mr. Mayor, I am totally ok with you thinking that I did this for my “political platform”…you are entitled to your opinions…as am I. What I am not ok with however, is your blatant dismissal of my concern…and the concerns of others. I know getting a bad performance review doesn’t feel nice, but that’s when you take the feedback and use it as a growth opportunity…not where you dismiss it as “crap”.
Anyways, onwards and upwards!
Outdoor Wood-Burning By-Law Discussion
After close to a year of discussion about updating the Outdoor Wood-Burning By-Law, the discussion isn’t quite over yet. At Monday’s meeting, the proposed new by-law was presented and broken down piece by piece and voted on separately. First off, they voted to repeal the current bylaw to make room for a new one. (No new bylaw was passed on Monday, they will be bringing it to a full vote on Monday, October 17th) Each section was voted on separately – my notes are in red.
Section 6.9 – No person who conducts open air burning shall create an adverse effect (Carried 4-3)
Section 3.11 – “Sensitive Receptor” shall include a healthcare facility, senior citizens’ residence, long-term care facility, or other place where smoke may be a greater risk to the health of a group or individual, or to the environment (Carried 4-3)
Section 6.2 – Open air burning is prohibited on a property that contains a multiple dwelling unit or townhouse (Carried 4-3)
Section 7.1 – Open air burning of waste from residential, commercial, construction, agricultural or industrial establishment is prohibited. (Carried Unianimously)
Section 8.7 – No person shall set a fire or permit a fire to burn:
d) other than between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. at which time fire must be fully extinguished prior to the applicant/the owner leaving the burn site; unless otherwise expressly permitted by the Chief Fire Official (Carried 6-1)
Section 8.7 – Requirements and Conditions for Permit, Application and Fee 8.3 c) the fire is set back at least:
75.0 metres (250 feet) from the property line for a standing sensitive receptor listed in Schedule B, (Carried 4-3)
45.0 metres (150 feet) from the property line for a group or individual who has voluntarily registered as a sensitive receptor, and (Carried 4-3)
5.0 metres (16 feet) from any building, structure property line, tree, hedge, fence, roadway, overhead wire, other combustible article or obstruction (Failed 4-3) Re-voted at 4.0m (Failed 5-2) Re-voted at 3.0m (carried 5-2)
Schedule “A” – Annual Fee $40 (Failed 4-3) Re-Voted $30 (Carried 4-3)
Incentive Program – $ 50 rebate for first 100 applicants who purchase a propane/gas unit (One rebate once per household. A fire permit is not required (a savings of $40.00). The Propane/Gas Incentive Rebate Program is a 2 year transition program for residents to switch their outdoor wood burning fireplace unit to a propane/gas fueled unit.) (Failed 5-2)
Education – Fire Department to create an education program as part of obtaining a Burn Permit (Carried 6-1)
**And Councillor Wilson suggested implementing the regulation of residents being able to have one fire per month for which they would request a permit a minimum of 4 days in advance and post the permit card in a visible location. (Carried 4-3)
So, as previously mentioned, the bylaw with the revisions from Monday night will be presented to Council at its next meeting for a vote as a complete bylaw. So, as residents you do still have time to have your voice heard before Council officially votes on the new bylaw.
I know this is a hot topic, on both sides of the argument…What do you think about the changes and revisions? What would you rather see?