January 27, 2018 Approval Of Lily's Court Subdivision in Colborne

Northumberland County announced the approval of a new subdivision in Cramahe Township. The future subdivision is located west of Durham Street South and south of Streamside Drive in the Village of Colborne.  The property fronts onto Durham Street South and King Street East and will consist of 102 residential lots (65 single-detached units, 14 duplex units, 12 semi-detached units and 12 townhouse units. Of particular note is the comment that "There will be very limited sewage capacity available following the subject subdivision development."

All those persons who commented and/or requested notice will be advised of this decision by the Township of Cramahe.

The presentation to Northumberland Council is available here Approval of Lily's Court Subdivision

May 12, 2017 - Public Release from Mayor Marc Coombs

It has come to our attention that Mayor Marc Coombs issued a public "release" on May 12, 2017, which is currently posted on the Cramahe Now website. In the release the Mayor takes issue with comments made by Deputy Mayor Sandra Arthur at the May 2, 2017 Council meeting regarding a letter from the Township's financial auditors.

Deputy Mayor Arthur has given us permission to share her response to Mayor Coombs' "release". Her comments below in red.

May 12, 2017

Marc,

Council meetings are, in fact, the forum for our business and discussions.

Raising questions, seeking answers, does not reflect badly on our municipal staff. I have praised them for the work they do and contributions they make.

Our Senior staff knows, or should know, that questions and clarifications of information are part and parcel of the responsibilities of us all.

I am committed to open, honest and professional business dealings, conducted with respect. 

Why are we not having this discussion in the Council forum where it belongs?

Sandra

In the interests of openess and transparency, we have posted a transcript of the comments made at the meeting as well as the audio recording of the comments made at the meeting.  This way members of the public can judge for themselves whether Mayor Coombs' comments are fair and accurately reflect what was said at the Council Meeting.

Audio Recording From May 2, 2017 Council Meeting

Partial Transcription of May 2, 2017 Council Meeting pertaining to Discussion of Auditors Letter - Transcribed May 12, 2017 by Gritt Koehl

Mayor Coombs: Treasurer’s Report 11-17 – Auditor’s Planning Letter – Recommended that the report be received for information and that Council endorses the attached 2016 audit planning letter. We need a mover and a seconder.

Deputy-Mayor Sandra Arthur: I just first of all, I’ve got a concern with this letter still. I know that through a little bit of digging and meeting with a couple of treasurers, we seem to be the only people in Northumberland County doing this, including the County that they don’t have this letter to the extent that it is. There’s no other municipality as stringent with this letter – this has changed drastically in the last two years that we have. And in this letter a lot of it states ‘management recognizes, management recognizes’, but this letter is addressed to us as Council. It’s not us as Council, I mean, it asks us to do a lot of things and there is other  municipalities that will meet with the auditors, senior management, and there’s times that the council is then left to have a one on one with the auditors if need be. I personally thought that was going to happen last week. That got changed, and then we had a meeting last Friday afternoon, with senior staff, the auditors, and I have since put a request in and have a meeting with the senior auditor myself as well. So, I’m uncomfortable signing this until I meet with them, but again, I just find out that it’s, there’s other municipalities that aren’t doing this. Why, why the change? So when I meet with Joanna on Friday, I find that out? But until then, I’m not signing it.

Mayor Coombs: So, the County does have a similar letter and the Warden and past Warden sign off on behalf of council – through a motion of Council. So, it’s not that we’re approving the audit – we’re just approving the audit process.

Deputy-Mayor Arthur – But they’ve asked an awful lot from us as Council, and we haven’t been involved. This letter states that it’s management that’s responsible for establishing, it’s management that’s responsible to detect, but yet the letter is asking for council to sign and it’s addressed to members of council. It’s our responsibility as council to – anyway, as I said I’m not signing it until after I meet with Joanna on Friday. Following that we’ll see how things go.

Mayor Coombs: Okay

Councillor Tim Gilligan: So should we defer it then until…

Mayor Coombs: Well, they need the letter, eh, and they’ve done the work I think (laugh).

Treasurer Nicole Bihun: Well they have, but I think as Veronica spoke at our meeting, at this point they know that a meeting has been held with both yourself and the Deputy-Mayor. They know that the letter has been brought to Council twice, and their view on the reason for this letter is for them to able to document that council is aware of not only what they would be doing during the audit, but what the responsibilities of council and management responsibilities are. It’s more just for documentation on their part to know that it has been presented to council. It’s more of an acknowledgement letter than anything. So then knowing that, they will likely sign off on their file whether it gets signed or not at this point, because they know that the communication has been made.

Mayor Coombs: Right. What’s Council’s wish?

Councillor Ed Van Egmond: Well if the whole process hinges on whether Sandra, you know, wants to meet with the person first. I have no problem signing it right now, and that way we all don’t have to come in for a special meeting.

D.M. Arthur: Well, I don’t think there’s a special meeting needed, if Nicole’s stated – (interrupted)

Councillor Van Egmond: Who needs to sign it? Do we all need to sign it?

Mayor Coombs: Well, we just need  - (interrupted)

Treasurer Nicole Bihun: We need two signatures

Mayor Coombs: Put it on the floor that someone want to make a motion that we sign the letter?

D.M. Arthur: I would put a motion forward that we defer it to our next meeting.

Mayor Coombs: Seconder for that?

Councillor Gilligan: I’ll second that.

Carried.

Councillor Van Egmond: There’s lots of bigger battles. (laughter) 

Brighton Talking About Closing Railway Level Crossings to Save Money$$$

Did you see in the Brighton Independent how they are talking about closing road(s) where level railway crossings are, so they can save on infrastructure costs? That was part of the CCA's presentation to Council - too much infrastructure to maintain in Cramahe. We had no idea this was going on in Brighton too. We are just so frustrated with the lack of action on the part of Council - with the lack of leadership in Cramahe - that allows the infrastructure to crumble away - and to jeopardize the safety of its citizens.

Just to give you perspective:

Alnwick/Haldimand Township is 14 km wide - there are THREE level railway crossings and one AMAZING OVERPASS at Archer's Road. There is more residential development in A/H south of the tracks than there is in Cramahe.

Cramahe Township is 10.3 km wide. There are 20 TWENTY - let me repeat that - TWENTY!!! level railway crossings and one CONDEMNED overpass at Barnes Road.

Our suggestion was, and still is, that Cramahe needs to do a comprehensive review of their infrastructure. Where can they cut down on roads leading south from Hwy 2? Way too many rail crossings to be able to maintain top level of safety. Pandering to a few crossings so that taxpayers don't squawk, but leaving too many crossings where people are vulnerable, is unequivocally not acceptable. In fact, there are four roads with level railway crossings in Cramahe where STSCO will not allow school buses to travel due to unsafe conditions. How is this allowed to persist? 

Cramahe doesn't need another consultant, just some PLAIN COMMON SENSE! That doesn't even cost any money...WAKE UP COUNCIL!

June 7, 2016 Cramahe Council Meeting - Key Items discussed during the meeting:

Cramahe Community Association - Safety at Level Railway Crossings

Councillor Tim Gilligan reported to Council on a meeting he had with Vice-President Paul Longo and Board Member Ernie Koehl, from the Cramahe Community Association regarding the safety of the railway level crossings in Cramahe Township.

Cramahe Community Association had approached Councillor Gilligan as to the best approach to Council to formally request to work with a staff member on safety issues at crossings, and find out from CN & CP what standard safety requirements should be in place.

At present, the conditions of the level crossings range from very poor to excellent, with many falling below safe standards as set out in requirements by Transport Canada. Councillor Gilligan explained that Longo and Koehl had taken dash-cam video driving over the crossings, as well as numerous photographs and video of every level crossing. In addition, written descriptions highlighting the safety concerns and conditions at the crossings, as well as detail on the number of residences and/or businesses south of the tracks, have also been prepared. Gilligan believed it would be worthwhile to have the CCA work with the Township, as they have spent a lot of time on their research and are retired, so they have time and are willing to help out. He recommended that Council consider a delegation from the CCA on this topic.

Council has agreed to a delegation from the Cramahe Community Association at the June 21st Council Meeting, with Paul Longo and Ernie Koehl delivering a Powerpoint presentation on safety at the level crossings in Cramahe.

CN Rail – Barnes Road Overpass Reconstruction

Mayor Marc Coombs updated Council on a meeting between CN Rail and Cramahe Township regarding the reconstruction of the Barnes Road Railway Overpass.

CN has scrapped the idea of constructing a steel bridge, in favour of a one-lane timber bridge.

The total cost for the project is estimated at $900,000, with Cramahe being responsible for 15% of the costs. The scaled-down project will save almost two million dollars, and Cramahe will have little to no roadwork, once the project is completed.

The final design will be completed within the next two weeks, and will be released to a company in New Brunswick “WRD” to build. The project is expected to take approximately four months, with completion of the project to finish sometime in the fall.

CN Rail will provide Cramahe Township with a formal agreement to review in the next week.

June 7, 2016 Community Care Northumberland - Council-in-Committee Meeting

Community Care Northumberland's request for additional funding in the amount of $30,162.29 is on the Agenda. This issue was first brought forward to Council at the May 3, 2016 Council Meeting. It was deferred at that time, due to insufficient information. Please read the article below detailing what the issues are. It is expected that Council will once again defer a decision, as more information is being gathered.

CCA Report On Community Care Funding Request 

Cramahe Council has deferred a decision on Community Care Northumberland’s request for additional funding.

Community Care provides a Specialized Transportation Program for residents with mobility and/or special needs, as well as a rural bus route in the Townships of Cramahe and Alnwick/Haldimand.

Cramahe receives the Ministry of Transportation Gas Tax funding for this program and disperses it to Community Care, as a money in - money out transaction.

The Transportation Program has been operating with a deficit of $24,781 since the end of 2014, and are already over budget at the end of March 2016 by $5,381. Community Care has asked Cramahe Township to cover the total deficit of $30,162.

Cramahe and Alnwick/Haldimand staff are working together with Community Care to determine how this deficit came about. Both Townships have stated that additional information is required before a recommendation for additional funding can be made to their respective Councils.

The request has been deferred until all the facts and figures are known.