Summary of the December 7, 2022, Town Council Meeting
The Mayor followed up on the following issues:
- Governance: a new procedure will be put in place within the board to avoid abuses and improve procedures:
- governance: to allow council members to deliberate and exercise their right to disagree, a resolution will be proposed to have three commissions (planning and governance/budget and audit/human resources, community and cultural); each will be chaired by an elected official (not the mayor); governance training will be provided in early 2023.
- Question period: measures in effect this evening with a queue at the microphone to see the number of people and a maximum of 30 minutes per question period; this duration may be adjusted between the two periods, without exceeding 60 minutes in total; questions must be asked without preamble and without debate.
- Dream Sutton: the mayor met with 430 people; the consultation report was released today; a bilingual survey was launched on 7 themes; a request to fill out the survey on honour; Council will consider the results early in the year.
- Short-term rentals: thanks to all who sent comments; they will be published by the end of January; another information meeting will be organized to present the economic impacts (with a McGill professor), the legal opinion on protected rights and the different options proposed.
- Special mention on the United Nations Conference that opens today until December 19 in Montreal: the COP15 on biodiversity in the presence of representatives of 200 states that must define a framework to protect species.
- Special mention on the article of La Presse Plus of November 27th about the list of real influencers in Quebec who create a better world: the ecologist Louise Gratton, from Sutton, appears in this honourable list: congratulations to her.
- Special mention of International Volunteer Day on Monday, December 5: thank you to all our volunteers. You can give of your time, talent and/or money.
- Adoption of by-law number 208-5-2022 entitled “By-law amending by-law number 208 decreeing the rules of control and budgetary follow-up and delegating certain powers of the council, in order to modify the delegations and reflect the organizational reality”: amendment of the by-law to update the amounts of authorized expenses, to oblige the clerk’s office to countersign contracts of more than 6 months and to pre-authorize the hiring of unionized personnel by the general manager.
- Adoption of By-law Number 292-1-2022 entitled “By-law amending By-law Number 292 respecting the transfer tax rate applicable to transfers with a tax base exceeding $500,000, in order to modify the rate and to provide for an additional tax”: as authorized by the Act, to impose an additional tax of $200 in cases of exemption from transfer tax and to increase the maximum transfer tax rate from 2% to 3% for the portion exceeding $500,000. A vote was called for and the Board voted (5 in favour, 1 opposed) to approve the amendment. Members who wished to do so spoke on the reasons for their vote.
- Tabling of draft by-law number 320 entitled “By-law to decree the rates for the financing of certain goods, services or activities of the Town for the year 2023”: annual indexation of prices. Link to the project.
- Maple Corner/Principal: Renewal of the municipal sign support agreement for 5 years.
- Village Mountain Trail: Renewed the right-of-way agreement between Highland Street and Poissant Road for 5 years, with thanks to the Kivenko family.
- Confirmation of permanent hiring of:
- Virginie Sauriol, Secretary of the General Management and of the Town Hall
- Frédéric Chouinard, Environmental and Urban Planning Inspector
- Laurie Roy, Building Inspector
- Hiring of 4 auxiliary firefighters: Wyatt Santerre, Mackenzie Bresee, Isiah Algier and Cody Johnson.
- Hiring of Patrick Champagne as firefighter and first responder.
- Resignation of Ghyslain Bazinet, a firefighter since 2009; the Town thanks Ghyslain for all his years of service.
- Resignation of Eric Girouard as fire officer; he remains as a firefighter.
- No donations of $1 or more were reported by elected officials in the past year that could have influenced their activities.
- Renewal of general insurance in the amount of $189,661.09.
- Tabling of the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) minutes.
- Council voted (5 in favour, 1 against) to refuse the request for a Site architectural integration plan (PIIA) for the construction of an accessory building on lot 4 848 955, located at 27 Pleasant Street. The members who wished to do so expressed their reasons for voting.
- All discretionary decisions related to planning applications are available in the minutes of the meeting, or in the recording of the meeting on YouTube.
- Payment of the 2nd instalment of $539,344.11 to Pavages Maska inc. for work done on the North Sutton and Draper Roads rehabilitation project (half of which is financed by the MTQ).
- Payment of the 7th instalment in the amount of $17,698.10 to Groupe Québéco inc. for the work done on the project to replace the Academy well’s pump, the addition of a 2nd pump and a back-up generator.
- Request to the UMQ for a competitive tendering on the purchase of new tires.
- Request to the UMQ for a competitive tendering on the purchase of chloride (dust suppressant).
- Renewal of the mandate for the collection of organic materials (compost) for 2023 to GFL Environnemental inc. for an amount of $262,184.80.
- Authorization to sign an agreement with the MTQ for a grant application in the amount of $1,440,000 for the repair of a culvert on Réal Road at Harold, which represents half of the costs envisaged.
RECREATION, COMMUNITY LIFE AND CULTURE
- Recognition by the Town of NPO (listed in Resolution 2022-12-471) that can take advantage of the UMQ’s beneficial insurance program (at no cost to the Town).
- Reimbursement of $15,000 to PENS for work on the Village-Montagne Trail.
- Signing of a maximum contract of $27,985 with the NPO Artenso to guide the renewal of the Cultural Policy, half of which will be paid by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications.
- Nomination of the Town’s representatives to the Pacte Brome-Missisquoi—Pôle Sutton 2023: Mayor Robert Benoît, Councillor Marc-André Blain and Councillor Lynda Graham.
- Nomination of Councillor Lynda Graham as the elected official responsible for family and seniors’ issues within the framework of the MADA process and the Municipal Policy for Families and Seniors. The new Policy will be tabled at the Council meeting in January; thanks to all the members of the steering committee and the drafting committee for their work in this regard.
- Acceptance of the revised budget of the Office de l’habitation de Brome-Missisquoi (OMH): the Town’s contribution would be $3 093.
- Extension of the intermunicipal agreement on recreation with the Town of Granby: agreement that allows the citizens of Sutton to participate in the activities of Granby. The citizens pay the Town the $150 contribution that it must pay to the Town of Granby (= zero cost for the Town).
This is a summary of the questions and answers. For the full content of the questions and answers session, please listen to the session online on YouTube. Additional [information] may be added for clarification or new information.
- Short Term Rentals: What is the time frame between the January meeting and the tabling of the planning by-laws that will include a draft by-law on short-term rentals? ANSWER: The intent is to have a direction on the housing aspects by the end of January. The regulatory framework will then come by the spring of 2023.
- Short Term Rental: How many of the 7 homes in the agricultural zone are secondary? ANSWER: All of the homes involved are secondary (12 in the village and 7 in the rural area).
- House built in conservation area on Old Notch: what is the number of acres and where is the sugar shack plan? ANSWER: You can find the dimensions of a lot by going to the Graphic Matrix and entering the lot number. [On the documents accompanying the public notice, you can see the plan of the main residence and the sugar shack is attached]. Council has not made any decision on this case.
- Pickleball: What would be the proposed solutions? ANSWER: The budget will be presented on December 14. However, there will be no details on this subject. [A meeting will be held with those involved].
- The Vieux-Verger: is the project the best way to provide access to affordable housing? ANSWER: Several projects are underway. The intent is to change the bylaw to encourage accessory buildings, tiny houses. Affordable Housing Sutton (HAS) is currently having difficulty with funding. The Town intends to sell the Vieux-Verger. The supply of housing must be increased.
- Revision of the urban plan: what about the deadline given by the MRC at the end of December? ANSWER: we are on schedule; the amendment to the current urban plan will be tabled in January so that the RCI will be under the control of the Town.
- The Vieux-Verger: why did not you make a land bank instead of a purchase? ANSWER: Developers were ready to sell and, given the delays in amending by-laws, the Town wanted to ensure that it would not have to accept unsuitable projects; by owning the land, we ensure that the offers will be acceptable and it allows us to control the cost of the land. We buy and sell as quickly as possible at no loss, covering our costs.
- Why is there construction going on on Gamache Place when there is a moratorium? ANSWER: The authorization was probably given before. To be verified.
- Dream Sutton: why was there no response from the council to the letter sent on November 13 by the group of citizens and organizations on a community center? ANSWER: the mayor has responded verbally to Ms. Bruneau and Mr. Forest and has presented a response to the council today which will be forwarded shortly.
- Vieux-Verger: before we adopt the borrowing by-law, will we see a business plan? ANSWER: Yes, we will present concepts, the infrastructure issues before tabling the borrowing by-law.
- Building project on Cemetery with minor variation: how can we build without pipes? ANSWER: There will be pipes that will be charged to the recipient. A minor variation does not mean permission to build.
- Mountain Street: Can this street be put back into the Site and architectural integration plan (PIIA)? ANSWER: PIIAs are a priority in the Master Plan review.
- Why was a pool installed on Delage Street, despite the moratorium? ANSWER: To be verified.
- Petition filed by the 23 community organizations: can we know how many of them pay taxes to the Town? ANSWER: none.
- Vieux-Verger: have you considered a model where an NPO would retain ownership of the land to avoid speculation in the future? ANSWER: we are looking at models, ex. social land trusts, which are still an embryonic concept in Quebec, or cooperatives.
- Why isn’t the reimbursement to PENS taken from the park fund? ANSWER: To avoid bookkeeping entries. It stays in the operating fund.
- Do you intend to reorganize the Sutton Economic Development Corporation? ANSWER: We have been working closely with the Corpo for 7–8 months. The proposal will come.
- Citizen who has been in the news regarding his debts to both governments: what is happening to one of his properties? ANSWER: The permits are in order.
- Is there anything municipalities can do in general about this type of situation? ANSWER: A municipality can just be very vigilant about what is going on, but there is no financial concern for a municipality.
- What are the results of the water studies? ANSWER: There have been some results, but the pumping studies on the village well will begin in January until the end of March.
- What will happen with the moratorium on the mountain? ANSWER: depending on the results, we will see if we lift the moratorium or propose restrictions. The agreement with the MRC only covers the interim control by-law on the construction freeze.
Next council meeting: Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.