Summary of the municipal council meeting of decembre 6, 2021
The municipal council meeting was held in public on Monday, December 6, 2021 in the council chambers of Sutton Town Hall. It was recorded and broadcast on our YouTube channel. The official minutes (in French only) of the meeting are also available on our website.
Introduction/follow-up of ongoing files
- The mayor reminded everyone that, according to current ministerial guidelines, the Municipality cannot require the presentation of a vaccination passport to attend a council meeting.
- The mayor emphasized that, after four weeks in office, Council is implementing the five priorities announced during the election campaign, namely: 1) drinking water; 2) development of the territory; 3) infrastructure dedicated to the community; 4) public finances; 5) quality of life.
- The mayor stated his intention to give, at each meeting, a follow-up of the files in progress. Here is the current information:
- DRINKING WATER: as announced at the last meeting, three specialists in hydrogeology have agreed to help us on a voluntary basis with the objective of educating us on water issues, helping us to analyze the studies carried out and the options available to us, and to develop with us an action plan for 2022. A follow-up will be given at the beginning of the year on this file of collective interest.
- URBAN PLANNING/LAND DEVELOPMENT:
- A first draft of the PIIA modification will be submitted (see below Regulations). The mayor reminded that the goal of this project was to have requirements on aesthetics and architecture to respect our identity and preserve our built character.
- Urbanism by-laws: Council wants to listen to citizens before making any changes, to understand what is not working and what solutions are possible: a meeting with the public is organized on Monday, December 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. [Read the news about the December 20th public meeting, registration required].
- ADVISORY COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES: The Mayor announced the formation of several committees, to be chaired by either citizens or elected officials.
- Two committees listed by regulation are renewed without change:
- The Consultative Committee on Planning and Sustainable Development (CCUDD), whose five citizen members (Renée d’Amours, Frédéric Chouinard, Sébastien Landry, Jacques Masson and Nathalie Thifault) are retained; the two elected officials will be Marie-José Auclair and Alan Pavilanis.
- The demolition committee composed only of three elected officials who will be Marie-José Auclair, Marc-André Blain and Lynda Graham, and a substitute who will be Thérèse Leclerc.
- Two new ad hoc committees, chaired by citizens, will be created:
- An environment committee, in charge of studying several ssues, including the impacts of climate change, waste management, ecocenters, pesticides, etc.
- A quality-of-life committee that will manage participatory budgets (= projects suggested by the population to improve the quality of life) and will study nuisance issues (noise, light pollution, dogs, etc.).
- A committee and two working groups chaired by an elected representative will be formed:
- A culture committee, chaired by Carole Lebel.
- A working group on mobility, chaired by Thérèse Leclerc, which will look at the issue of parking and mobility within the city, which are major irritants.
- A working group on short-term rentals, chaired by Carole Lebel, which will look into this constantly recalled citizen concern (Airbnb in particular).
- Two other existing committees will also be renewed :
- The Toponymy Committee
- The follow-up committee for the municipal policy on families and seniors.
- Two committees listed by regulation are renewed without change:
A call to all will be made next January to invite the population to participate in these new committees and working groups which will be posted on our website..
- COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE AND FACILITIES : The last study of our community needs was done in 2006. In January 2022, we will begin a new information-gathering exercise to update it in order to consider the future of the John-Sleeth Centre, the museum, the Filtex grounds and our facilities in order to have a global vision integrating ongoing local projects (ex.: D’Art et de rêves, Sutton Art School, etc.).
- HIGH-SPEED INTERNET: this is a crucial issue for our economy. The mayor and the general manager met with the director of IHR Telecom to review our situation, as we are at the bottom of the list. How can they expedite? Some information came out:
- They have already increased their teams from 2 to 7 subcontractors and are working in parallel to maximize their efforts.
- IHR only represents 60% of our territory and there does not appear to be any coordination with the other two cable companies Bell and Axion.
- It is very important to register in advance as the cost of connecting the first 250 metres to the home may no longer be covered if registration is done later.
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING: the Habitations abordables Sutton file, which has been underway for eight years, is waiting to hear the results of the bids received in response to the call for tenders for the construction of the housing units on December 13. A major risk would be that the cost of construction submitted is higher than budgeted. If this is the case, we will have to act at the government level to ensure that the project does not fall through. Our federal MP and provincial MNA are already aware of this. It is essential for the council to keep this project.
- REPRESENTATION OF SUTTON AT THE BROME-MISSISQUOI MRC: in 2021, the MRC has a budget of $14M for 21 municipalities (an increase of 10% compared to 2020). Sutton’s share is $625,000. The mayor would like to ensure that we receive the services accordingly. The problem of nuisances, such as motorcycle noise, must be addressed at the MRC level. A meeting between the SQ and the MRC is planned. For information, the SQ plans to carry out controls not on the noise, but on the modifications of the exhaust pipes.
Adoption of a first draft of the PIIA by-law:
- Following the notice of motion given at the last meeting, the council adopted a first draft of By-law number 73-3-2021 entitled “Bylaw amending bylaw number 73 concerning PIIA (site planning and architectural integration programs) in order to add provisions relating to densification and the realization of an integrated housing project on the entire territory of the Town of Sutton”. After the legal period of public consultation, the second project should be adopted in January.
Tabling of two draft by-laws:
- By-law number 251-5-2021 entitled “By-law amending the Permits and Certificates By-law number 251 as amended, in order to bring paragraphs 9) and 10) of section 52 into conformity with the Architects Act and to specify the acquired rights mentioned in paragraph 10) of section 53”: this project aims to broaden the recognition of persons qualified to sign construction plans, provided that they sign the certificate of compliance.
- By-law number 314 entitled “By-law to establish the rates for the financing of certain goods, services or activities of the Town for the year 2022”: the Town has tabled the update of its overall rates for 2022.
- The Declaration of Pecuniary Interests of Council Members has been filed as required by law. The declaration of Councillor Alan Pavilanis remains to be received.
- The Mayor was appointed as an officiant for marriages and civil unions.
- The contract for the video and webcasting of the Town’s public meetings was awarded for a period of three years to Todd Munro at a cost of $275/session for the first year
- Council confirmed the hiring, effective January 6, 2022, of:
- Sarah Biggs to the position of Receptionist and Cashier.
- Kristina Savard to the position of Secretary of Planning and Land Use.
- Council mentioned the retirement of Lisa Charbonneau and paid tribute to her 26 years of service. All our thanks and our best wishes for retirement accompany her.
- Council confirmed the hiring of Sylvie Vézina as her successor.
- The committee noted the resignation of:
- Public Works Forewoman, Sophie Patry; the department will re-evaluate its needs and the definition of the position.
- Recreation and Community Life Officer, Elise Cormier-Roussell; the position will be reassigned in the near future.
- Firefighter, Marc-Olivier Giguère.
- Council confirmed the hiring of:
- Three volunteers: Josée Bertrand, Alex Cournoyer, et Mackenzy Goyette, who have passed their training as first responders.
- Patrick Gagné as an officer in the fire department.
- The mayor announced in agreement with the treasurer that the amount of the surplus was still evaluated at $1M as announced at the last meeting.
- The contract for the collection of organic materials was renewed for the year 2022 with the company Matrec for an amount of $255,713.86.
- Council confirmed the financial contribution of $3,561 to the Office municipal d’habitation de Brome-Missisquoi: this is the Town’s contribution to the financing of the Villa des monts, which represents 10% of the amount, the rest being assumed by the OMH.
- Council adopted the new per diem amount for first responders for their annual recertification, which will increase from $30 in 2021 to $50 in 2022.
- The side-by-side off-road vehicle that belonged to the Public Safety Department was transferred to the Public Works and Fixed Assets Department, rather than being sold; its light weight and agility will allow it to be more efficient for park maintenance and other purposes.
- Council proudly announced that the Town of Sutton has successfully passed the two compliance audits carried out by the Commission municipale du Québec on all municipalities with less than 100,000 inhabitants concerning the budget adoption process and the adoption of the three-year capital expenditure program (PTI); it should be noted that the percentage of municipalities audited that were compliant in all respects was only 44% for the budget adoption audit and 57% for the PTI adoption audit.
- Adoption of 2 PPCMOI concerning the Habitations abordables Sutton project, removing the obligations to apply a permeable ground cover in the driveways and to apply a wood clapboard as exterior siding.
- Reminder of the December 20th public meeting on urban planning by-laws, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Council confirmed the annually updated list of non-profit organizations (NPO) recognized on the territory of the Town within the framework of its Policy of recognition and support to organizations, to which the Sutton School of Art has now been added.
- Council acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Minister of Culture and Communications announcing a financial contribution for the update of our Cultural Policy.
- A citizen expressed concern about the increasing number of power outages causing problems in homes. ANSWER: Being at the end of the electrical distribution network, we are more at risk. New technologies are being developed to make us more self-sufficient in energy (e.g.: batteries, solar panels), but they are not yet available to everyone. We will ask Hydro-Quebec for the statistics on power outages over the last five years.
- A citizen deplored two accidents that took place at the new stop installed at the corner of Rosenberry and Mont-Écho roads, the stop being visible only at the last minute and the slope being steep. What are the standards for requiring a stop? ANSWER: There is no particular standard for deciding on a stop. It was added considering the obvious risks at this location. We will look at the possibility of improving the visibility at this intersection.
- A citizen deplored the inaccuracy of the information on the deployment schedule of the optical fiber given by IHR Telecom whose forecasts are not updated. ANSWER: we are working hard on this issue and will ask for clear answers.
- A citizen was surprised that no elected official was mentioned in the announcement of the creation of the environmental committee, even though many are specialists in the field. ANSWER: There will be two elected officials on this committee, Marie-José Auclair and Carole Lebel.
- A citizen asked if the Town was considering hiring additional building inspector(s) due to the very long delays in issuing permits. ANSWER: The Town is well aware of the problem and had already reacted by hiring an outside firm for 8 months in February, plus an inspector trainee, who was promoted to Planning Advisor. Since then, a new job offer was published last November and we are in the recruitment period.
- A citizen questioned the relevance of the decision in item 10.5 (alienation and use for purposes other than agriculture of part of a lot). ANSWER: it is only a matter of bringing an existing situation into conformity.
- A citizen commented on the presentation of agenda items and public notices that are difficult for a private citizen to understand. ANSWER: while we are required to remain consistent with legal presentations, we acknowledge these comments.
- A citizen expressed concern that a neighbouring property could be used for commercial purposes without permission. ANSWER: The town has inspected the premises which comply with municipal regulations and no commercial activity has been observed.
- A citizen expressed her concern about the two PPCMOI concerning the Habitations abordables Sutton project (see Urbanism section) which is abandoning our architectural and ecological concerns. Could funding be found to preserve these measures? ANSWER: Council remains very concerned about these measures and, if the expected bid is below the cost ceiling for completion, these obligations could be put back into the plans and specifications.
- A citizen asked for confirmation of the cost of a dog license in 2022 and how the two-dog limit would be enforced. ANSWER: The Town intends to enforce its by-laws and wishes to give the mandate to SPA des Cantons.
- A citizen asked if the adoption of the modifications to the PIIA will prevent the construction of buildings such as the one currently under construction on 139 South. ANSWER: this building respects the regulations. We can only regulate projects at the aesthetic level, but we cannot prohibit them.
In conclusion, the mayor, on behalf of the council and the Town of Sutton, wished all citizens a happy holiday season and asked that we not forget the families in need. He encouraged those who can to participate and donate to the CAB food drive which will be distributing baskets this Saturday, December 11th.
Next council meeting will be on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. (See 2022 meeting schedule).