Council had shrunk by three members at the meeting on January 13, 2014 as Councillor Brett Alderdice was absent with illness and Liz Adams and Keith Griffiths were away. Council tested out a remote participation method by teleconferencing Griffiths in by speaker phone to engage in the meeting.
Appropriately, the first agenda item was electronic participation in meetings. Draft policy, which was ultimately adopted at the meeting, included remote participation in meetings via Skype or other media, the enabling of remote participation by multiple council members if an emergency meeting is called and responsibility to the Deputy Mayor or alternate as presiding officer if the Mayor is remotely available.
Councillor Vickey Horkoff mentioned that FaceTime was also an option if Apple products were used.
“There’s no sign in or anything, it’s phone to phone,” she noted in recognition of the prevalence of iPhones and other Apple products. It was agreed that the ‘other media’ aspect of the policy could encompass this.
Electronic equipment costs
CAO Sandra Kulyk presented cost estimates on electronic participation. Kulyk mentioned that she had found prices on Staples Business Depot, yet noted that this was just to get ballpark figures on pricing.
“It’s actually cheaper than I thought,” noted Mayor Stannard. Prices for speakers were approximately $25, USB microphones were approximately $65 and projectors ranged from $499 to $599. It was discussed that technology varied, so smaller projectors with less colour resolution would be significantly cheaper and an equally viable option for Council.
Kulyk will pursue pricing options with local electronics outlets, which would also enable the 10 per cent purchasing policy. Motion for purchase of a computer projector, microphones and speakers to a maximum total cost of $1,000 was carried.
Council discussed a joint meeting of councils to be held on January 21 at the County of Paintearth office. Background documentation noted that the Town of Castor had placed Recreation Funding, Museum – Heritage plans for county and town and Library Funding on the agenda.
Councillor Jackie Brigley noted that she would like seniors housing added to the Coronation agenda.
Councillor Shelley Cook noted the County snow plow that goes up Range Road 111 to the cemetery did not plow down this road while entering town. It was discussed that the Doctors house, being on this road, could be plowed as a matter of efficiency if the County truck was already present in the area.
Road treatment and dust suppression of the road linking the campground to the town was also considered.
“It wouldn’t hurt to discuss it,” said Mayor Stannard. “Shared services like the campground benefit both us and the county.”
Ultimately seniors housing, plowing on RR 111 past the hospital, bylaw enforcement and road treatment were added to the joint meeting agenda to be discussed.
Draft communications policy
A draft Communications Policy was prepared concerning the Town of Coronation monthly newsletters. It was discussed that at present there are no formal communications policy in place to determine eligible content and how the newsletter is developed and printed.
CAO Kulyk noted that she had looked at existing newsletter and content to attempt to set some perimeters on limitations so the document was not infringing on the private sector. She discussed trying to keep eligible content to institutions and initiatives specifically funded by the town.
“If we have parameters and keep [content] limited to town business, I’m hoping that we can come to good compromise and stay out of private industry so to speak,” said Kulyk.
It was queried whether or not the Chamber of Commerce was to be included and Kulyk informed Council that the Chamber receives funding from the Town but was not considered a town agency.
It was noted that the Coronation Performing Arts and Wellness Society, for example, are agencies of the Town so eligible to include in the newsletter.
Council discussed limiting the calendar page to only essential information such as date, location and time of events to reduce it’s size to a half page or page.
“Achieving a six page newsletter is doable,” said Kulyk. “We’re now averaging eight to 12 pages a month.” It was noted that by limiting the size of the newsletter, the Town would save approximately 40 per cent in paper and printing costs annually.
Distribution was also discussed, with Council querying whether or not it was advantageous to place the newsletter in with the local newspaper during it’s distribution cycle or to continue to place directly in mail boxes. Councillor Horkoff noted that some, like herself, have a no flyer directive on her mail box so she did not receive the newsletter at all, which was of concern.
As delivery queries had nothing to do with policy, motion to adopt a formal communication policy was carried.
Councillor Cook brought up snow removal on town parks, along the water tower park and sidewalks, noting that a piling up of snow and certain areas left snow covered make transit by foot and vehicle difficult in certain parts of town. It was also noted that there was a large pile of snow being built up by the tower park.
“The entrances into town aren’t done, neither are the streets coming into the core on the main drag,” Cook said. “The core needs to be opened up right out to the highway.”
CAO Kulyk noted that public works procedure was typically one street, one pass, to ensure that all snow is removed at once to reduce the chance of packing or having the piles driven over.
Kulyk noted that road priorities at present is a single written sentence and is not yet a broader policy. She said building upon the discussion item and elaboration would need to be implemented to construct a productive road priority policy.
Items mentioned of note included Kulyk’s review of the accuracy and completeness of the 2013 financial records in preparation for annual audit and the beginning stages of review of the town bylaw index to identify outdated or redundant bylaws.
The Town agreed to provide a letter of support for the Coronation and District Support Services to include with their grant application from the Community Enhancement Fund, offered by Paintearth Waste Management and BFI Canada, for operation of the Coronation Silver Community Club.