This was a really LOOOOOOOOONG meeting! I have been to meetings that were as long in duration as this one…but this one felt really long. Perhaps the fact that it took 3 1/2 hours to get through 3 pages of the 10 page agenda were a factor in the sheer length of this meeting. It’s amazing though that the last 7 pages, they managed to blow through, without any real conversation, in about 25 minutes.

But, it was absolutely awesome to see Council Chambers completely packed – It was standing room only! To all of you who came out, THANK YOU! Regardless of what issue or agenda item you were there for, it made me so happy to see you there!

Backyard Burning Topic Still Smoldering

I need to give a HUGE shout-out to a local resident, Sara Anderson. Not only did Ms. Anderson see the need to start an online petition in support of keeping backyard burning in Orangeville, which garnished over 1600 signatures to date, she also took the time a few weeks ago, to present at a public information session at ODSS alongside Sandy Brown & Former Fire Chief Andy Macintosh. On Monday night, she made a compelling presentation to Council with all of the information she had gathered through her own research as well as comments she has received through the petition. Thank you, Sara. Thank you for being a concerned resident who has been incredibly passionate, informative, and respectful while taking the time to be proactive and presenting possible solutions.

So, The “Outdoor Wood Burning Review Committee” took some of the feedback from residents and made some amendments to their proposed by-law to council…(Not anywhere near enough revisions if you want my humble opinion…) They changed the distance from property lines from 25ft to 16ft and kept the “Standing Sensitive Receptor” distances at 250ft (hospitals, nursing homes) and other “Sensitive Receptors” distance at 150ft (Town Owned buildings and parks as well as anyone who chooses to apply to be deemed a sensitive receptor) If you wish to look over their proposed by-law, you can find it HERE .

Here are some of my biggest problems with this….and I have many (I’ll just stick to the highlights). The role of Council is to do what is best for Orangeville but as humans, things we are passionate about tend to reflect in our everyday life. This issue with backyard burning is a perfect example of personal opinions getting in the way…more than one member of this council have expressed their dislike for backyard burning on a personal level. As Councillor Scott Wilson reminded everyone on Monday, this entire discussion sprouted {unnecessarily} from a one off complaint from a resident about a wood-burning industrial pizza oven at The Bluebird…and for a few members of council, this reminded them that they don’t like wood burning at all. Well here it is…I don’t really care that you don’t like when your neighbour has a backyard fire, Councillor. I know, that might sound harsh…so let me finish. What I do care about is residents of Orangeville who are genuinely struggling with a not-so-nice neighbour who will do ANYTHING to tick you off. (Trust me, I get it…we all have had THAT neighbour at some point whether it’s burning, loud music, or overall just being a you-know-what). It has been said time and time again through these MANY discussions (by very reliable sources) that the vast majority of complaints came from people whose neighbours were burning illegally (either without a permit, or burning materials that are prohibited). The complaints did not come from people who are burning responsibly. So, why are we spending the time, money and effort to change a by-law that isn’t broken? Why aren’t we instead putting resources into enforcement? If you are burning illegally and your neighbour complains, why don’t we revoke your permit and give you a significant fine to cover the costs associated with the fire dept or police dept coming to your home? To me this would just make more sense.

The discussions are not over yet….and with summer Council Schedule, I am sure we won’t hear much more about this until the Fall. In the meantime, send your comments and concerns to the powers that be…a full list of emails for all members of Council is available HERE

Have you signed the petition? Do you get a burn permit? What would you like to see happen with Outdoor Wood Burning in Orangeville?

Taxis and Limos….Are you feeling the Deja Vu??

I feel like I’ve written this post before. First the Backyard Burning and now the Taxis. Why are we still talking about either issue?!?!?!?! Both have been ongoing HOT topics for well over 6 months!!! Council, Get this stuff DONE!!!! I need new stuff to write about!! (lol)

Mr. Narinder Paul Singh. Have you heard of him? Let me tell you a bit about him. He owns a company in Orangeville called ‘Call-A-Limo’. Most recently, he has been running a FREE shuttle service to help stop impaired driving in Orangeville. This FREE service runs from 11pm until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights. It is just this simple…if you have had a few drinks and need a ride home, call Mr. Singh at (519)943-4900 and he will pick your drunk a$$ up and take you home (in town). For FREE.

Now if you’ve been reading my blog or following the happenings at Council over the last year, you will recall that Taxi By-Laws have been a Hot Topic in Council Chambers. If not, here are the Coles’ Notes. Lots of complaints about taxi service (and lack of service) as well as rates in Town. Council voted to create a committee to look at the bylaws. Council reviewed applications and committee was formed. Taxi Company was not happy with the composition of the committee and asked council to re-open applications. Council decided to not pursue committee after all. The End…..almost.

Mr. Singh is part of the Limo Licenses, similar to the Taxi Licenses, just a few different rules apply. Under the Limo License By-Law, Limos are not permitted to have signage on them. Mr Singh had signage on his limo and received a complaint to the By-Law Dept. By-Law Dept has to enforce the By-Law and as such, Mr. Singh was forced to remove his signage.

Council, it is clear to me that it is time to review the way Taxis and Limos operate in this Town. I feel fortunate that I rarely need to rely on the taxi service in this Town…simply due to the sheer number of complaints I have heard from residents to do have to use it. I have heard nothing but stellar reviews about Mr. Singh’s ‘Orangeville Against Drunk Driving’ Program…it’s time to take a look at the by-law and see about making some revisions. Good Luck Narinder Paul Singh – I hope this gets resolved for you soon. Thank you for trying to make Orangeville a safer place for my kids to grow up in. Keep doing the great work!!

Do you feel the Taxi By-Laws need to be revisited?

150 Square

At the previous Council Meeting, Mayor Williams had put forward a motion to have staff look into his idea for a Town Square behind Townhall and to bring back some information about its feasibility for construction this year while First Ave reconstruction is taking place. This idea received lots of feedback, both positive and negative, on the Mayor’s personal Facebook. Those most affected, the residents living on the neighbouring streets, attended Council on Monday in droves to see what was going to happen with this. A motion to receive the report from staff was passed so quickly that members of the gallery were not sure what had even happened. Later, in reading the report from staff, in order to reject the project outright, a motion would need to be passed to simply receive the report. The project is dead in its tracks for now, but I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear about this idea.

What did you think about his idea? Does Orangeville need a Town Square?

Summer Schedule

Council has now started running on their summer schedule. This means that the next Council Meeting will be July 18th. Hope to see you there!

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