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King Township Council Meeting - February 26, 2024

Monday night’s meeting showed that democracy is alive and well in King with the opinion of residents heard and acted on. Council listened to many residents who gave passionate deputations on the history and significance of the Nobleton Community Centre leading to a new motion to not repeal the building's historical designation. Council also heard a presentation on the new ThinKING Green: Sustainable Development Program which will expand on and replace the Township's current Sustainable King program. Council also approved how the province’s $1.2 million Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund will be used and the use of AMPS for Site Alteration infractions.


You can watch the video for the February 26th meeting here but remember it will only be live for two weeks.


Quick Links


Mayor's Comments Meet the Mayor & Councillors - Four sessions in King City, Schomberg, Nobleton and Ansnorveldt.  Feb. 27 – 6:30 – 8pm – King City Public Library

Mar. 26 – 6:30 – 8pm – Nobleton Public Library

Apr. 23 – 6:30 – 8pm – Schomberg Public Library

May 7 – 6:30 – 8pm – Ansnorveldt Park Picnic Shelter


Tickets are on sale for the Cold Creek Maple Syrup Fest on March 9th 10am – 2pm. Pancake breakfast, guided hikes to the sugar bush, tree tapping demonstrations, and a variety of local artisans and vendor market.

 

March Break Activities  There will be recreational skating and shinny hockey at all three arenas. The Township Public Library will run a variety of programs including arts and crafts, science, story telling, and sing-alongs. Trisan is open for workout, boot camp, yoga, dancing, spinning, etc. Visit king.ca for more information.

 

Volunteer Appreciation Award Nominations - Nominations for the 2024 Volunteer Recognition Awards are now open. The nomination categories for King citizens are:

> Citizen of the Year - An award given to a citizen to recognize and honour outstanding contributions to the Township.

> Special Recognition Award: Resident & Non-Resident - An award given to one or more citizens or an organization for a special contribution made to the community in whole or in part.

> Senior Citizen Award of Merit - An award given to a Senior Citizen to recognize and honour special contributions to the seniors population.

> Lifetime Achievement - An award to recognize outstanding citizenship within the community, with many years of dedicated service and devotion to the residents of King.

> Youth Award of Merit - An award given to a younger citizen to highlight special contributions.

 

Summer Camp Registration - If you’re a parent looking to plan your child’s summer, you can browse King’s new 2024 Summer Camps guide. Whether your child is a young artist or chef, a challenge course climber, sports superstar or science wiz there is a camp in King that they (and you) will love! Choose from over 40 camps for ages four to 16 in arts and culture, leaders in training, sports, science and technology, the great outdoors, general and specialty interests.

Registration opens at 7 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 1 on the Township’s online recreation registration system. The summer camp season begins on Tuesday, Jul. 2 with camps running for one week sessions until Friday, Aug. 30.

 

Spring Recreation Activities - From playing disc golf and pollinating a garden to crafting a mixed-media masterpiece or mastering karate, there’s a recreation activity for everyone. The full listing of programs can be viewed in the new 2024 Spring and Summer Recreation Activity Guide. Registration for spring and summer recreation programs opens at 7 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 8 at townshipofking.perfectmind.com

 

Seasonal Jobs for Students - Great jobs for kids 16+ to be a summer camp councillor, cut grass, be a lifeguard lots of options. Email a resume by March 15th to resume@king.ca or visit king.ca/employment for more information.

 

AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS


ThinKING Green: Sustainable Development Program - Council heard a presentation on the status of King's new green building initiative.


The program has its roots in the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan which was originally approved by Council in 2012. Following that, the Sustainable King Development Standards Checklist was introduced in 2013 as a voluntary part of the Development Application Submission process. In 2018, council identified that Green Development Standards were a priority and approved its final version in November 2020. The standards became required as of February 2021 for all Site Plan Applications submitted.


King is now expanding on these standards with ThinKING Green which has several metrics under each of five pillars:

  1. Green Infrastructure

  2. Energy Conservation

  3. Built Environment

  4. Natural Environment

  5. Healthy Communities


Applications earn points for meeting different target levels for each metric to achieve enough points for an overall Bronze, Silver or Gold score.


All applicants that participate in the program must achieve an overall Sustainability Score that is a minimum of Bronze to proceed in the Application review process. Currently, the bronze level mostly represents the minimum target based on current legislation though there are several that exceed current requirements to align with Township objectives and to encourage sustainable development.


While a tremendous initiative, the program is voluntary. The Planning and Municipal Acts allow the township to develop green standards programs, but they don't provide a mechanism to require compliance. However, it's encouraging to know that since the introduction of the Green Development Standards in 2021, all applicants have chosen to participate in the program as they see it as a valuable marketing tool for their developments to help attract buyers and retain tenants.


The final draft of this living document is expected to be published this spring and come into full effect this summer.


The scoring page for the Energy Efficiency metric under the Energy Conservation pillar. Developers can easily determine what the targets are and how to comply.


Nobleton Community Hall

Upstairs at the Nobleton Community Hall.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the many deputations from the community who made several valid points, thank you all! I recall vividly how time consuming it can be to research and then properly articulate an opinion to council, so I very much appreciate the considerable effort of so many.


One of the many good questions asked this evening was why the proposal to repeal the by-law that designated the property was being considered in the first place. While past councils have previously discussed the future of the Hall, it was first discussed with this council in October 2023. At that time, it was part of a land swap that would have seen the town acquire a significant asset, but would have required that the building's historical designation be removed and the building either be moved or destroyed. After considerable community feedback against these options, the property with the Hall was omitted from the land swap. This has allowed Council the opportunity to focus our attention specifically on what the future of the Nobleton Community Hall should be and consider the surrounding issues.

On the one hand, those issues include declining use, significant costs, and many silent residents who don't support its retention.

The declining use of the facility is the primary reason the future of the Hall is being pondered. The Hall was only used for a total of 40 hours last year and solely by the Nobleton Lion’s Club which has considered the building home for about 40 years. I’ve personally spoken with a number of groups that have used the facility in the past but don’t any longer including: Girl Guides, King Horticultural Society, Art Society King, and Kai Shin Karate. These groups have their own individual reasons for no longer using the Hall though most did comment that the lack of accessibility was an issue for their members. Many also found less expensive or free options to host their events/meetings. Unfortunately, it is not financially viable for the town to maintain such buildings without charging rent for their use, as is the standard practice in municipalities across the province and country.


With declining use comes declining rental fees which means that the cost to run the Hall has to be subsidized more heavily by taxpayers. Moreover, to make the Hall more functional and appealing, it will require costly upgrades, renovations, and to be made accessible. The declining use makes it harder to defend the use of tax dollars to improve the venue.


Though all of the submissions received and deputants heard did not support repealing the designation status, I should note that I've spoken with many residents who do not share the same view. These people feel that the historical value is outweighed for practical considerations relating to use and costs. For various reasons, these people don't feel comfortable coming forward publicly, but they are many.


One the other hand, the enormous community support clearly showed that the Hall is an integral and cherished part of Nobleton’s history and community. It met the test for historical designation in 2007 and all of those reasons remain valid today. The historical significance outlined so thoroughly by the deputants was compelling and clearly demonstrated the important role this building has played in Nobleton. The scene of community jamborees, dances, fundraisers, church bazaars, wedding and funeral receptions, craft shows, youth groups, severe weather refuge, and more, the Hall is the legacy of, and a living monument to, past generations.


In 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, and at the instigation of the Nobleton Women's Institute, a board of trustees arranged for the design and construction of the community hall. The building was was completed in 1936 at a material cost of $3578 with all labour donated by local farmers.

Further, choosing to de-designate the building may have seemed hypocritical. Not only have we denied others the same option for less compelling reasons, but our own ThinKING Green Program encourages the preservation of such cultural heritage. Disregarding our own vision and policies may have encouraged others to do the same and set a bad precedent for the preservation of other culturally important elements from our past.


As such, I fully supported the motion that was unanimously passed by Council to withdraw its intention to repeal the designation. The upcoming Nobleton block plan is the appropriate time to consider all of these issues. During this transparent process, the entire community will have a chance to consider the options and contribute ideas on what the transformation of Old King Road could look like and how the Nobleton Community Hall should be incorporated.


In the meantime, now that council has secured the future of the Hall, staff can confidently engage with anyone who is interested in renting the facility - let the line up begin!


Administrative Monetary Penalty System - The Provincial Offences Act (POA) governs the prosecution of regulatory offences created by provincial law and municipal by-laws. In 2017 the Municipal Act was amended to allow for municipalities to require a person to pay an administrative penalty if satisfied they had failed to comply with a by-law passed under the Municipal Act.


AMPS is an alternate system to the lengthy and costly provincial courts process that is currently in place. It allows penalty notices to be issued, managed, and reviewed internally and resolved on-line, at the Township, and no longer requires courts, justice of the peace, the officer that issued the charge etc. POA trials are often delayed for months due to court backlogs, and when they do get processed the courts keep certain administrative fees which are retained by the municipality under the AMPS.


Using a phased approach, King first adopted the use of AMPs for parking related penalty notices in 2022. King is now starting Phase Two with the introduction of AMPs for Site Alteration Bylaw infractions. Further implementation will incorporate other designated by-laws, such as the Noise Bylaw, Clean Yards, Sign, Fireworks, the Fence Bylaw and Property Standards Bylaw.


To highlight the delays in the POA system, staff reported that the By-law Division responded to 83 site alteration complaints in 2023 accounting for 11% of the by-law files that year. Fifteen Part 1 charges (a standard POA ticket that comes with a set fine, and details the offence and the penalty) related to Site Alteration violations were issued and of these, 80% are still before the provincial courts.


Bylaw Enforcement Division will now transition to AMPS Penalty Notices for Site Alteration offences instead of the traditional Part 1 tickets issued under the Provincial Offences Act. It is anticipated that this transition could be made by March 11, 2024.

Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund - King's Finance department presented their suggestion for how to spend the $1.2 million OCIF grant from the province. While this money is received annually, it was announced later than usual and so was not part of the budgeting process.


While I had dearly hoped that some of this money might be used for gravel road conversion, further investigation revealed that the funds can only be used for capital assets. Gravel roads do not require capital investments because they are maintained indefinitely by operating activities alone and as such do not quality for OCIF.


Instead, the money will be used to re-pave roads that taxpayers would have had to otherwise pay for. (Recall that Development Charges - not your tax dollars - pay for 90% of gravel road conversions.)


New Business

Ward 3 - Jennifer Anstey - The Neighbourhood Network is once again offering the Give Back Awards program to celebrate the incredible volunteer contributions of graduating students from high schools in Aurora, Georgina, King Township, Newmarket, and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

The Give Back Awards are annual cash prizes of $1,000 donated by Magna International Inc. and Neighbourhood Network. The outstanding recipients of the Give Back Awards are selected based on the exceptional contributions they have made to fellow students and citizens, and their ongoing dedication to community involvement!

Applications are NOW OPEN until 4:00 PM on Friday, March 22nd and are available online at www.nnetwork.org/GBA.




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