Summary of the November 2, 2022 Town Council Meeting
The Mayor followed up on the following issues:
- On November 7, it will be one year since the new council is in place; the mayor recalled the commitments made and the achievements made in this first year according to five priorities: 1) drinking water: moratorium pronounced on mountain construction; 2) development of the territory : revision of the urban plan; 3) infrastructures dedicated to the community: Dream Sutton, master plan for the village core; 4) public finances: freezing of the general property tax rate; 5) quality of life: creation of a committee and participatory budgeting process underway.
- Faced with the serious housing problem in Sutton, the Town has negotiated an agreement to acquire the 21-acre Vieux-Verger property in order to promote affordable housing. This agreement is conditional on the approval of a borrowing by-law by the citizens.
- Dream Sutton/Village core: establishing a comprehensive plan : more than 300 people have come to the meetings and the exhibition so far. The Town is listening and ready to act. There is a sense of excitement that decisions will be made.
- The Town will be imposing a reserve notice on the land for sale between Couche-Tard and Le Comptoir/Nathelle in order to control any development in the context of the village core development.
- Filtex site: work is in progress (gravel, electricity) to develop the space for the next Christmas Market according to MAPAQ standards. Negotiations are underway with the CP, who owns 1/3 of the land, to build a road between Pine and Dépôt streets.
- Assessment roll increase: like all surrounding municipalities, our roll will increase by almost 40%. The budget exercise, which will take this into account, will start in the next few days. The special meeting for the adoption of the budget is scheduled for December 14.
- Short-term rental: we continue to work on this. It is an issue for our social fabric. We want to frame it well.
- IHR Telecom: the mayor is bitterly disappointed with their services. Despite a meeting with the MRC, we have no information. The government proposes to subscribe to Starlink.
- The Jardin d’enfants de Sutton has obtained its accreditation for 12 children as a community daycare.
- Municipal Merit Award : we are proud to announce that our employee Charlotte Jacques is a finalist in the category of Municipal Succession. The results will be announced on November 21.
- We wish to acknowledge the passing of two Sutton citizens, Mr. Laird Brown and Mr. Ron Gilker, who had a significant impact on our community. A donation to the CAB is proposed by both families in memory of the deceased.
- We acknowledge the presence in our community of young snowboard cross athlete Clara Chapman, who was selected to be a member of the Quebec team for the University Games with the goal of the 2026 Olympic Games; a fundraiser raised $4,000.
- We thank Grace Church for restoring its steeple with a grant from the Anglican Foundation Canada and donors from the community.
- We celebrate the birthday of Mr. Fernand Demers who turned 100 years old and ran a grocery store on Main Street from 1953 to 1997. He helped many people in the community in need.
- Tabling of draft 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”: modification of the by-law to update the amounts of authorized expenses, to oblige the clerk to countersign contracts of more than 6 months and to pre-authorize the hiring of unionized personnel.
- Tabling of draft by-law number 292-1-2022 entitled “By-law amending By-law number 292 relating to 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”: amendment of the by-law to apply the maximum transfer tax rate from $500,000, or to impose an additional tax of $200 in the case of exemption from transfer tax, as authorized by the Act.
- Imposition of a reserve notice for public purposes on lots 4,848,527 and 4,848,529 of the Quebec cadastre (land between Esso and the Comptoir): rather than expropriate, a reserve notice allows for the blocking of any construction on a vacant lot (valid for two years, renewable for two years). The purpose is to allow the John Sleeth Centre land to be connected. If there is an expropriation, the value is established at the time of expropriation. Nothing is decided.
- Authorization to sign the offer to purchase lots 4 848 122, 6 157 855 and 6 157 856, located on Seymour Street (Vieux-Verger): Councillor Carole Lebel asked for a vote in order to postpone the decision and to file a reserve notice. The members of council who wished to do so expressed themselves and voted: 5 votes for, 1 vote against the authorization to sign.
- Councillor Marc-André Blain is appointed Acting Mayor from November 1, 2022 to November 1, 2023. Thanks to Councillor Lynda Graham who has been acting mayor for the past year.
- Town Hall offices closed for the holidays: December 22, 2022 to January 4, 2023 inclusive.
- 2023 Council Meeting Schedule: Every 1st Wednesday of the month except January which will be the 18th.
- Request to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to prioritize sustainable and transparent water management by explicitly making data on all water withdrawals public
- Tabling of the minutes of the Quality of Life Advisory Committee: the committee will make recommendations on the participatory budget.
- Appointment of auxiliary firefighters Vincent Lengacher and Riley Goyette as firefighters upon completion of their training as Firefighter 1 at the École nationale des pompiers du Québec
- Request for financial assistance to the Ministry of Public Security for the training of volunteer firefighters to be submitted to the Brome-Missisquoi MRC.
- Council voted (5 votes for, 1 vote against) to refuse the request for a site planning and architectural integration program (SPAIP) concerning the construction of a porch on lot 4 849 678, located at 40 Western Street. Council members who wished to do so expressed their motivation for their vote.
- A mandate of $20,000 was given to Apur for the revision of the urban plan.
- All discretionary decisions related to applications processed in urban planning are available in the minutes of the meeting or in the recording of the meeting on YouTube.
- Payment of the 3rd instalment of $5,342.44 to Excavation A.R. Valois Inc. for work done on the project to protect the sanitary sewer line under the Maple Street bridge.
- Payment of the 1st instalment of $1,047,780 to Pavages Maska Inc. for work done on the North Sutton and Draper roads rehabilitation project.
- Request to the MTQ, which finances 50%, to postpone the work on the Vallée-Missisquoi Road and Schweizer Road within the framework of the Local Roads Program (PAVL) – recovery component, the time to obtain the authorization of the Ministry of the Environment and that of U.S. Customs to make a detour road through the United States.
- Concerning Dream Sutton/Plan d’ensemble du noyau villageois: motion by Councillor Carole Lebel added from the floor to give the administration the mandate to submit a complete report on the universal development of our community infrastructures by spring 2023. Council members spoke on the subject and the proposal was abandoned since it was not seconded by another member.
This is a summary of the questions and answers. For the full content of the question and answer session, please listen to the session online on YouTube. Additional [information] may be added for clarification or new information.
- Short term lease: why did council vote to remove grandfathering? ANSWER: What we have abolished is the policy that allowed short-term rentals anywhere in the territory. Permits that expire will not be renewed. No decision has been made yet on grandfathering (awaiting legal opinion).
- Of the 19 residences in prohibited zones (agricultural and village), how many are second homes? ANSWER: A study we will post online shows that rural areas are the most popular with Airbnb. The economic impact of short-term rentals is very negative.
- Filing a petition against the presence of dogs even on leash at Fairmount Cemetery.
- What is the status of a dog park? ANSWER: We are looking at all locations to optimize the spaces within the village core plan. Council is in favour of the project. Should we wait for the participatory budget? ANSWER: Participatory budget is an option.
- Short-term rental: why was the quota tool not presented as an option? ANSWER: It was not initially selected as it was seen as an aggravating factor in community disruption, but it will be analyzed as a complementary measure based on the comments.
- Why should short-term rentals in a second home be considered a business activity? ANSWER: [regular rental of a second home is a commercial use under the various applicable laws].
- Can we verify the answers given to two questions asked at the August meeting: how much was spent in 2021? What is the use of the unrestricted reserve in 2021? ANSWER: The answer was in the report presented [see financial reports on website]. Was each of the allocations taken from the reserve resolved? ANSWER: There are resolutions for the use of all unrestricted reserves. Will the Town publish a detailed report on the use of the reserves? ANSWER: We have made a strong effort to be transparent and all surpluses are detailed in the report. Will you create a reserve management policy? ANSWER: This was not one of the five priorities in the first year election commitment; we do not have the resources at this time to do this.
- Is there a registry of resolutions? ANSWER: No, [in addition to the minutes].
- In the Sutton Dream process, will there be a synthesis? ANSWER: Yes, it is planned. At the interactive exhibition, we collect people’s opinions. We will then propose the options that will emerge and send a survey so that people can express their opinion on these options.
- Vieux-Verger: Why does the Town have to own the property to have control? ANSWER: In the case of this structuring project, it is to ensure that our orientations are respected.
- Dog park: What is the answer on the soccer field site? ANSWER: We are in the process of evaluating the pluses and minuses of each site.
- Vieux-Verger project: buying the land will allow the first buyer to choose, but not the following ones who can change the vision. Could we explore other legal tools than traditional ownership as in Laval or Longueuil? ANSWER: at least we can control the price for a certain time; we do not want to make a profit.
- Let’s dream Sutton: in the timeline, options will be presented on December 15, what will happen after? How will the options be open for consultation? ANSWER: [a survey-questionnaire will be submitted to the population]. We need to determine the functionality of the sites first and then do more detailed cost studies. Decisions will be made on the easier sites such as Filtex which does not have many options. When will decisions on the John-Sleeth Center arrive in this timeline? ANSWER: All options are on the table, but the Town does not intend to be the proponent of the renovations. If there is an option of a private developer, will this be discussed in the short term? ANSWER: Yes, see if there is interest first.
- Short term rental limited to 2 persons/room: will you consider the suggestion to limit to one number per building? ANSWER: this will be in the consultation report if the suggestion was sent in writing.
- Why don’t we put the John Sleeth Center on the ground for parking? ANSWER: Studies need to be done on the development of the plaza.
- Why was the project on Dyer refused? ANSWER: They did not want to have buildings lined up that would have created a barrier. The developer was approached to make an effort to integrate.
- First responders: why is there no address signage in Val Sutton? ANSWER: [This is a geographical issue of the location. Other territories do not have a signage address (terminal) for the same reasons]. Why are there no more monthly reports from the RPs? ANSWER: [Given the capacity of the departments and the tasks to be accomplished, as well as the resources in place, an annual report is produced and answers all questions].
- Why weren’t the branches near the compost area cut back? ANSWER: [One intervention was done in September to thin out the vegetation in place. Access to the compost storage site is safe and does not require further intervention]. Why are there no street lights on Maple Street between O’Brien Street and Huttopia? ANSWER: There are no street lights anywhere in Quebec. [As previously mentioned, the Town is conducting a strategic study of its street lights and is awaiting the results].
- Habitations abordables Sutton: is there a readjustment clause in case of a budget decrease? ANSWER: This project is managed by a nonprofit, the Town has nothing to do with the day-to-day management.
- Is there a reserve for safe walking on Maple in the next budget? ANSWER: This is one of the projects we are looking at.
- Selection of Apur for the revision of the urban plan: what happened with Stantec? ANSWER: they were asked to continue, but they refused.
- How many houses would be built on the Vieux-Verger property? ANSWER: The plan is not defined. It will be determined with the Comprehensive Plan.
- Why isn’t the reserved land being purchased instead? ANSWER: [the Town is not prepared to purchase the land because the fate of the John Sleeth Community and Cultural Centre and the overall development of the village core is not determined].
- Vieux-Verger: Is $1.4 million the total cost? Will the Town pay for services on Cemetery Street? ANSWER: These items are not yet defined. The Town will not pay for the infrastructure, but could do it and be reimbursed afterwards in the sale price.
- Short Term Rental: Once the comment period passes after November 4, are you planning another public meeting after that? ANSWER: Yes.
Next council meeting: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 7:30 pm.