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Council takes measures to protect airspace

By Pauline Kerr
Advance-Times Editor

North Huron will be protecting its investment in the Wingham airport by engaging a consultant to work with North Huron and ensure Morris-Turnberry has the necessary zoning bylaw information.

Pat Newson, director of recreation and facilities, asked council to transfer from reserves the $8,500 set aside in 2010 for this project. Estimated cost of the consultant is $7,000.

Newson told council Morris-Turnberry is presently revising its zoning bylaw. In the current bylaw there’s no provision for airspace protection for the lands near the airport.

Protecting the airspace would protect the GPS instrument approach, protect “the threshold airspace from tall structures” including communication towers and wind turbines, and protect the airspace for potential future growth of the airport.

Newson said, “Without a tall structures bylaw, we have no protection.”

While the planning document is Morris-Turnberry’s and North Huron has no say in the bylaw, Newson said Morris-Turnberry has been working closely with the airport committee and has a member of council on the committee. The airport is owned by North Huron but is an asset to the entire region,

Coun. Archie MacGowan commented on the negative impact of losing the runway, for example, the air ambulance.

Two hour exception

North Huron listened to the concerns of the Blyth business community and agreed to make an exception to the municipality-wide two hour parking bylaw.

It was brought to council’s attention that two hour parking would negatively impact theatre-goers. Plays at the Blyth Festival Theatre usually go longer than two hours. In earlier discussion, council noted some business people had complained about vehicles parked outside their stores all day. However, in the words of Coun. Archie MacGowan, “The businesses felt the two hour limit did more harm than good.” MacGowan said the business people will attempt to speak with any individuals who leave cars parked in front of businesses all day.

Ralph Campbell, director of public works, raised the possibility of putting “two-hour limit” signs at either end of Blyth, to provide something that could be used in specific cases where parked vehicles become problems. However, Coun. Ray Hallahan suggested if he were visiting Blyth to see a play, he might see the sign and wonder where to park.

Council decided to exempt Blyth from the two-hour parking limit.

A win-win

North Huron council has passed a bylaw authorizing the reeve and clerk to sign an agreement with Royal Canadian Legion Br. 180 in Wingham for the operation of the trailer park. The agreement is for three years.

Pat Newson, director of recreation and facilities, reported to council the situation was a “win-win” for all concerned.

The Legion had proposed operating the trailer park for a year, on a test basis, after no one stepped forward to purchase the property. The project has proved successful for council, staff, Legion, and the seasonal residents of the trailer park.

Newson noted the fact the park is operated by volunteers fits in well with the municipality’s policy of fostering voluntarism.

Fence issue

Good fences don’t necessarily make good neighbours. A delegation from the Junction Place residents association attended the Nov. 20 meeting of North Huron council to voice concerns about a very high fence (more than 10 feet high) that a neighbour has erected.

The fence has been an ongoing issue for the residents, as have possible business activities for which the property isn’t zoned. The municipality’s building inspector has been involved and has made repeated visits to the property.

The most recent complaint involves the safety of the fence, which association representatives said had nails protruding from it, and its height, which the residents would like reduced to six feet. Photos were provided to council.

North Huron does not have a bylaw governing the height of fences, but council said the situation will be looked into.

Deputy Reeve David Riach, acting as reeve in the absence of Reeve Neil Vincent (in Toronto for the Federation of Agriculture’s AGM), said, “We will accept this as a formal complaint. The building inspector will investigate and bring back a report to council.”

Coun. Archie MacGowan said that would occur at the next council meeting in two weeks (Dec. 3).

OMPF funding decrease

Donna White, head of finance, reported to council that North Huron’s Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) grant from the province for this year is $1,456,600, down from last year’s $1,489,300 – a drop of $32,700.

“We will have to work this into the budget,” she said, adding that apparently the province is trying to reduce the overall funding from $575 million to $500 million.

Coun. Bernie Bailey commented, “Downloading. We can do absolutely nothing about this.”

Coun. Archie MacGowan said, “It’s balancing the budget on the backs of municipalities.”

Ralph Campbell retiring

North Huron’s director of public works, Ralph Campbell, is retiring. He is being honoured for his years of service first for the former township of East Wawanosh, and then North Huron, at a come-and-go social on Nov. 30, 1-3 p.m., at the North Huron council chambers.

On behalf of council, Coun. Archie MacGowan thanked Campbell for all he’d done for the municipality over the years.

In other council news

• Project Red Ribbon, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada’s campaign to promote sober driving, was officially launched in Wingham on Nov. 26 at the police station. This is the project’s 25th anniversary.

• Mark Westra, a Wingham resident, wrote a letter to council to express concern over the fact the Scott St. sidewalk is not plowed in the winter. In his letter, he noted he’d been told the walk wasn’t plowed because there is no school bus stop in the vicinity. However, he noted the reorganization of the area schools has meant more stops within town. Deputy Reeve David Riach asked that a letter be sent advising Westra the matter is being looked at by the public works department.

• North Huron may be taking advantage of infrastructure funding (that would pay for 90 per cent of the project) to do a storm water drainage project in Blyth. Should North Huron apply for the project, it wouldn’t have to be done until 2014. Donna White, head of finance, said North Huron has $46,000 in reserves for this project that would help cover the municipality’s share of the cost.

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