Summary of the October 5, 2022 Town Council Meeting
The Mayor followed up on the following issues:
- Affordable housing: very good news! The 18-unit project of Habitations abordables Sutton (HAS) will be completed thanks to an additional $4.5M in funding, including $3,400,000 from the Quebec government, $900,000 from the federal government and $200,000 from the Town of Sutton. The cost of the project has increased from $3,800,000 initially to $8,300,000 today. Groundbreaking is expected to take place at the end of October and the work is expected to last 18 months. Thanks and congratulations to all the volunteers of the organization, to Grace Church and to the two MPs Pascale St-Onge and Isabelle Charest.
- Short term rental: About 70 people were present at the citizen’s meeting on September 29. Three essential points came out of the meeting that will be studied closely: the interests between individual and collective rights; the legal question of acquired rights; the question of farmers. The consultation is underway and citizens have until November 4 to participate in the debate.
- Vandalism: for the last month, we have no more cases, thanks to the interventions carried out | The problem of burglaries is regional and is being investigated by the SQ, which is carrying out increased surveillance.
- Ministère des Transports (MTQ): a very constructive meeting was held with representatives of the Ministry: the MTQ is analyzing the rehabilitation of Principale and Maple streets in the next few years, in collaboration with the Town who wishes to make improvements.
- Canadian Pacific (CP): a request is being made to CP to allow the use of a portion of its right-of-way on the former Filtex property.
- IHR Telecom: bad news and big disappointment! The deadline of September 30 has passed and Sutton was only 9% connected. Sutton is the guarantor of the largest bond. The Quebec government offers the possibility to subscribe temporarily to Starlink (online subscriptions only) and to benefit from a subsidy: you must first check on the interactive map of the government if your address is valid by going to the page Access to high speed Internet in Quebec – State of the situation. [Read also the article of La Voix de l’Est on this subject].
- Hiring of Marc-Olivier Adam as a maintenance worker
- Confirmation of the permanent hiring of :
- Martin St-Jacques, Project and Development Manager
- Trevor Rocheleau and François Tremblay, qualified labourers
- Cody Johnson and Dylan Burnham-Caswell, unskilled labourers
- Retirement on December 31 of Chantal Marien, secretary of the registry and legal affairs. The job offer is posted.
- Based on the estimated results, the Town should end up with a surplus for fiscal year 2022 of approximately $1,000,000 based on what is known at this time. The Mayor noted the effort to control the budget, while completing many projects and having absorbed inflation costs.
- Replacement of the heating and air conditioning unit at the fire hall at a cost of $31,400 taken from the accumulated surplus.
- Council voted (6 in favour, 1 against) to refuse the request for a site planning and architectural integration program (SPAIP) for the construction of four multi-family dwellings on Dyer Road. Council members who wished to do so were given the opportunity to express their reasons for their vote.
- All discretionary decisions related to the applications dealt with in urban planning are available in the minutes of the meeting, or in the recording of the meeting on YouTube.
- Awarding of a contract for agronomic monitoring of the operation of the sand pit located on Mont-Écho Road in the amount of $15,000 to the Fédération québécoise des municipalités
- Awarding of a contract for the crushing of 8,000 tons of material to be reused on our roads in the amount of $66,400 to Univert Excavation.
RECREATION, COMMUNITY LIFE AND CULTURE
- Recognition of the NPO Solidarity for the Environment in Sutton and Racine Pop.
- Authorized the Eastern Townships School Board to rent a community room at Town Hall free of charge.
- Additional contribution of the Town of $200,000 to the Sutton Affordable Housing Project (see Mayor’s item above).
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.
- (last session) Has a request been made to MTQ for the street lights at the corner of Maple Street? ANSWER: No. The streetlight was removed at the end of the year. The street light was removed at the request of Bell and there are no longer any wires that would allow it to be reconnected. A global study of all the lights will be done before deciding to reconnect this one.
- Request for a pickleball court. ANSWER: The request will be analyzed.
- Is it possible to reconsider the constraints on primary residences in the short term rental? ANSWER: The Town is able to distinguish between primary and secondary residences. A municipality can also set quotas. It can change these approvals in the future if it finds abuse.
- Do we need a referendum before March 25, 2023 to regulate short-term rentals of primary residences? ANSWER: A streamlined registry referendum process exists to make such regulations. The March 25, 2023 date is only for cities that had a by-law in place prior to the new Act prohibiting short term rentals in principal residences. Sutton is not in this situation and, if it wants to prohibit short-term rentals in principal residences, the Town will have to follow the referendum process mentioned.
- Could we not ban short-term rentals on primary residences, but only on secondary residences? ANSWER: We do not wish to prohibit short-term rentals of primary residences.
- Regarding IHR, will the Town fight to avoid paying the deposit if our territory is not served? ANSWER: [the Town will fight for its interests].
- What was the Town’s initial contribution to the Sutton Affordable Housing file? ANSWER: The Town’s contribution was : 101,000 for the purchase of the land + $370,311 in tax exemption over 25 years + $37,000 in cash donations, plus $200,000 [see summary of financial support in Resolution 2022-10-418 of the minutes of this meeting].
- Was the issue of safe walking on Maple Street discussed at the meeting with MTQ? ANSWER: Yes, there will be a collective discussion on desirable transportation infrastructure and announcements will be made.
- Will the Town address the nuisance of short-term rentals? ANSWER: we are very aware of the problems, but there must also be social control: neighbors must talk to each other and, if not, complain to the SQ.
- Is it possible to limit the number of people allowed in the rentals to 8? ANSWER: The number will be limited according to the capacity of the units.
- Why are there no street lights between O’Brian Street and Huttopia? ANSWER: There is no requirement to have them.
- Is the response time for first responders last Friday, which appears to have been 35 minutes, counted in the 7 minute averages? ANSWER: [no, because the statistics are a few days old], we will check the response time on this event which was tragic.
- Could we have the data on the interventions month by month: how many people and how long the intervention time? ANSWER: [as already mentioned, an annual report will be sent].
- Is it possible to make Highland Street two-way again? ANSWER: [administration will meet with those involved].
- Can we have a meeting to discuss the 11 lots for sale on Maple Street north of Poissant Street, as a beautiful forest is going to be destroyed? ANSWER: Yes, a meeting will be granted. The current zoning by-law allows this project which is subject to a PIIA. Each construction will have to be approved.
- Would it be possible to have illustrations and examples to help the applicants of PIIA? ANSWER: We are moving in that direction, as well as using architectural fact sheets.
- Is the announced positive result of $1,000,000 good for the current year? ANSWER: Yes, for 2022.
Next council meeting: Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 7:30 pm.