Ward 1 Update

It’s been a busy year for Ward 1 and its residents have once again shown how much they care about the future of their islands and Bay.    

There was a successful application by NEMI last year for funding to do a shoreline clean-up in both McGregor Bay and Bay of Islands – our Love your Bay campaign was a huge success with tons of Styrofoam, metal and old docks removed from the water. It’s an ongoing struggle this year with the high water so hopefully we can do it again soon!

As many of you know and helped with your input – a new zoning by-law was passed in November but a proposed amendment to zone crown land and set building criteria different from the rest of the municipality, was defeated in February due to various issues that were raised by different stakeholders.  Our islands currently are mostly zoned Shoreline Residential with some retaining their previous designation and called Shoreline Residential Islands – which is a new term for what was known as “Hazard” before and which applies to all crown land islands – protecting them from building or development. I encourage anyone to contact me or the planning department at the NEMI town office if you have further questions about the zoning process or concerns about how your property is zoned.

On a positive note: a portion of the funding that NEMI receives from the federal gas tax is going to be used in Ward 1 – a first to my knowledge.  What that means is that the full amount taxpayers in Ward 1 would pay for a road improvement on Burnt Island (yes – really part of Ward 1!) will be offset by a share of the money allocated to the municipality.  It’s not a lot of money but means our taxes have gone up marginally less.

And about taxes:  the 2019 budget was passed in Feb. and saw an increase in the tax rate of 2.64% for Ward 1.   Municipal taxes are based on the assessed value of your property and a new round of MPAC assessment is upcoming in 2020.   If you have questions about yours – call 1-866-296-6722 or www.mpac.ca

The full town budget can be viewed at www.townofnemi.on.ca

Also included in the budget and only for Ward 1 is the MNR fire agreement which gives protection to private property, and the blue bins for recycling at J and G Marina in Birch Island. This is a $10,000 cost to Ward 1 so please be sure to take advantage of the service.  No garbage or glass though!   Household Hazardous Waste Day was on July 6th and next year’s will be the first Saturday in July so mark your calendars as that is a service we all contribute towards.

The other things we can take advantage of in NEMI that we share the expense of are the great hiking trails at Cup and Saucer and new to Little Current, a loop trail around the town that goes past the waterfront historic plaques and out and around back to the bridge.  Maps are available at the town office (14 Water St. 705 368 3500)  There are also ongoing programs at the Rec. Centre on Hwy 6 such as organized pickleball and fitness classes/yoga as well as numerous children’s activities.  The NEMI Facebook page has all the latest postings: www.facebook.com/townofnemi/

We also help to fund the Centennial Museum in Sheguiandah and there will be a new exhibit soon at the 11,000 year old archaeological site with guided tours.  Go to www.shegsite.com for more information and rates.  The museum offers reduced admission to seniors and children and has a great picnic area and playground and a bocce court! 

And last but not least, my favourite place of all in Little Current and a true gem: the NEMI Public Library at 50 Meredith St.  offers free internet and WIFI as well as almost 1000 DVD’s to choose from and an e-book service as well.  They have ongoing art exhibits and craft classes as well as bridge, knitting and painting times.  Any resident of Ward 1 can get a library card and use the resources available.  Call 705 368 2444 for more information or see their Facebook page for current events.

These are some of the ways our tax dollars are spent in NEMI so when you’re coming in to town to drop off garbage at the landfill (Tues. and Sat. 9am to 3pm and from May until October – Sundays 11am to 6 pm) do see what else the municipality has to offer you.

As always, contact me anytime with your questions or concerns at 705 282 7076 or hlaurie.cook@yandex.com and thank you to all for your ongoing support and incredible dedication to our Bay.

Laurie Cook

Councillor Ward 1

Deputy Mayor