Woolwich Township is saving money, through its membership in the Waterloo Region Municipalities Insurance Pool.
Andy Braid, risk and claims analyst with the pool, told councillors that by combining their resources, area municipalities have managed to control their insurance costs over the past 13 years.
Members pool their money to self-insure, only buying insurance for claims over $500,000. The money that is collected in premiums every year is also put into a reserve fund, to stabilize the cost of insurance, as well as protecting against unusually high claims.
Through the insurance pool, the township’s premiums have stayed stable, rising only 13 per cent over the past 13 years, an annual one per cent increase. The 2011/12 premiums were $138,123. That compares favourably to a recent survey by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, in which a medium sized municipality like Woolwich Township would pay an average of $375,666 in insurance premiums.
Woolwich Township councillors have decided to restrict parking on Evening Star Lane in Conestogo, in spite of the fact that two of the three residents on the street oppose the change.
The request for a no-parking ban along the west side of Evening Star Lane came from the Conestogo Recreation Association, which has faced ongoing problems with damage to ball diamonds, when vehicles park along the edge of the field. There are also concerns about liability in situations where parked cars are hit by baseballs.
However, nearby residents who would face restrictions as a result, did not want to see the parking ban.
“It just seems like a whole lot of hassle for the parking on the street,” said Grant Schwartz. He said the only time parking is a problem on the street is the three times a year that tournaments take place.
Lisa MacDonald, who is a resident of Evening Star Lane and also serves on the recreation committee, said that it has been an ongoing problem.
“Parking has been a significant issue on that site,” said MacDonald. “Last season alone, we had four baseball balls hitting cars.”
Councillors opted to approve the ban on parking, although mayor Todd Cowan did not agree.
“I’m finding it a little hard to support,” said Cowan. “Two out of three residents say they don’t need it.”
The motion to restrict parking on Evening Star Lane must still be ratified at next week’s council meeting, set for March 6.
Few concerns were raised about a zone change application in Bloomingdale, one that would see a landlocked parcel turned into a residential property with road access.
The property is located at 55 River Street in Bloomingdale. If the zone change is approved, two parcels of land will be transformed into three pieces, with a shared driveway and less-than-standard frontage.
Neighbours raised a few concerns about the preservation of bushes for privacy, as well as the potential for drainage problems, but no one actively opposed the application at the public planning meeting, held on Feb. 21.
A report will come back to council at a future date, with a recommendation from staff.
Councillors also heard another zone change application at the same meeting, for an on-farm business operated by Mark Horst.
The zone change would allow Horst’s existing business, which includes the storage of manure and livestock bedding to convert into compost, to move to a new location, further from town.
Horst is hoping to relocate to a farm located at 7144 Line 86, 3.3 kilometres away from the town of Elmira.
The applicant has provided initial dust, odour and noise studies for the operation, and township staff will present a recommendation on the application to council at a future date.