by Tristan Turner

Council had a light agenda and quick meeting Mar. 8 with all of Council in attendance except Deputy Mayor Rob Ladouceur.

Governance, Finance and Audit Committee holds first meeting, reports to Council

The new Governance, Finance and Audit Committee held their inaugural meeting on Mar. 1 and has prepared a brief report to Council regarding their activities. The new committee was created following rounds of input and changes from Council.

The Committee’s first meeting tackled the coming town audit, reviewing their terms of reference, reviewing their work plan for the year, the town’s debt management policy, and refining the budget process, something which drew a great deal of attention and criticism from Council during the 2016 budget process.

Stemming from the first committee meeting, Council unanimously approved a Debt Management Policy that would cap municipal borrowing at 85 per cent of its borrowing capacity. That capacity, approximately $22 million, is set by the province and is 1.5 times annual revenues.

Also resulting from the meeting was a set of motions from Councillor Stephen Dafoe to refer the Town’s seven-year-old CAO Bylaw to the Committee for review, as well as discussion on establishing a CAO/Council relationship framework. Both motions passed unanimously.

All Governance, Finance, and Audit Committee meetings going forward will be open to the public, with the next one scheduled for sometime in April.

Council passes first reading of Land Use Bylaw for storage building

Council has unanimously given first reading to a new Land Use Bylaw amendment which would allow for the remodelling of a standing accessory storage building in between the convent building at the back of St. Jean Baptiste Park and the new Chauvet apartment complex. This change would allow the building to be upgraded to match the surrounding area and still be used for storage.

First reading passed unanimously.

Council will hold a public hearing Apr. 12, after which second and third reading can be heard.

Town to enter an agreement with Shaw to provide Shaw Go-Wifi

Town council has unanimously decided that the Town should enter an agreement with Shaw Communications that would increase access to Shaw Go-Wifi near municipal property. Potential locations include the arena, the ball diamonds, St. Jean Baptiste Park, Town hall, and the Fish and Game Association pond area.

The agreement would allow Shaw technicians access to install networking equipment on Town property throughout the community that would expand Shaw’s growing Canada-wide wifi network in town.

The service is available to Shaw home internet customers with unlimited data, and to non-customers for free with capped bandwidth and reduced speeds. Many municipalities throughout Canada have already entered into similar agreements.

The only concern raised was from Mayor Holmes, who was concerned about students in school being able to access Wifi, something that Shaw employees ensured would be possible to control.

While the agreement is currently non-exclusive, meaning the Town could enter into any number of similar agreements with other providers, Mayor Holmes commented that she is hoping that Shaw may sponsor the new arena construction in exchange for a future exclusivity agreement.

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