Augusta Council discusses wide range of topics including, signing 2018 Audited Financial Statement, Action Plan to Save Maynard Public School, Radon gas in local homes and Municipal Land Hunting Permits

Augusta Council discusses wide range of topics including, signing 2018 Audited Financial Statement, Action Plan to Save Maynard Public School, Radon gas in local homes and Municipal Land Hunting Permits

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

Augusta Council held its regular meeting of Council on Monday, September 23, 2019 and covered several important issues for the Township.

First up was a presentation of Augusta’s 2018 Consolidated Audited Financial Statement by Mr. Howard Allan of Allan and Partners LLP.  Bottom line of the Audit report was that Augusta is in relatively good financial standing and the Statement was approved by Council for distribution.

Following this, Council welcomed Board Trustee, John McCrea.  Mr. McCrea stated that the Upper Canada District School Board, (UCDSB) or (Board), will be submitting an application to the Province on September 30th for funding to renovate and enlarge Wellington Public School to enable it to close Maynard Pubic School and possibly More Than Just Baby Sitting (MTJBS) daycare centre.  Mr. McCrea called on Council to take immediate action to save Maynard Public School.  This will be the third funding application by the Board to renovate and enlarge Wellington PS since the announced conditional closure of Maynard Public School in 2016 and as before, Augusta Council opposes the closure because the Board has never discussed the social and financial impact of closing Maynard PS, a rural and only remaining school in the Township.  The previous Wynne government reviewed the process the Board used in 2016 to close Maynard PS and agreed that the Board’s process was flawed because it did not apply a rural lens to the decision.  Following their review of the UCDSB process, the Ministry of Education imposed a moratorium on closing rural public schools until new process criteria was established.  Unfairly, the Ministry did not require the Board to review its Maynard PS closure decision.  Augusta Council passed a resolution to press the current Ford government to review and correct the situation before approving the Board’s upcoming application. The UCDSB has once again moved on this file without meeting with the Township to review its rural lens associated with closure of Maynard PS and the broader social and economic impact on the Township.

On another subject, Council approved two By-laws: one to regulate for safety its current practice of permitting hunting on Municipal land and a second to regulate smoking and vaping on Municipal properties.

Finally, Council received a report from the Mayor regarding the dangers connected with radon gas in homes in the Leeds and Grenville and Lanark area.  At a recent Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit Board meeting held on September 19, 2019, Board of Health, Dr. Paula Steward, medical officer of health, told the Board that a 2014 Health Canada study has established that approximately 20 percent of homes in this County have unsafe levels of radon gas and that unsafe levels of radon gas are responsible nationally for approximately 14 percent of lung cancers with children at greatest risk.  Radon gas is more prevalent with homes built on or near bedrock because the gas from naturally occurring uranium in the area can gain entry through cracks in basement floors and walls and in well water.  Dr. Stewart announced that the Health Unit has received a grant of $25,000 from the Federal Government for a two-year project to advise people in the area of the dangers of radon gas and to encourage testing.  In this regard, the Health Unit will also investigate making testing kits available at cost to the public.  Augusta Council members were asked to consider ideas for getting word out to Township residents on the risks of radon gas and the need to test, and, making test kits widely available in the Township especially where children are in the home.