Augusta Township updates Council on its current operations under COVID‑19.
Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka
(As published in the South Grenville Journal – Wednesday, May 27, 2020)
A special meeting of Council was held on Monday evening May 25th, 2020 to provide Council with updated information on current operations of the Township during COVID‑19. Council received several departmental reports that included: A Recreation Activity Update; a Public Works Up-date, and a Planning Update. The following are excerpts from the Reports.
Under the Recreation Activity Update, Council learned that all recreational facilities are currently closed for anything other than walking and hiking. Citizens are advised not to touch any common surfaces or congregate in groups of more than 5 people. The Maitland Soccer and North Augusta sports leagues have been cancelled. Augusta Township is looking to start a farmer’s market on Wednesday evenings from 3pm to 6pm at MERC and Saturdays from 9am to 12pm at the Masonic Hall and is currently recruiting venders and establishing guidelines. The Masonic Hall in North Augusta has been completely emptied of unwanted storage items, the power is on and the trees and weeds growing around the hall have been cleared and cleaned up by public works. Isaac Scott has returned to Augusta as a summer student and is busy cleaning up the parks and doing risk management work. Finally, Augusta Township recently donated a parcel of land on McCrea Rd to the South Nation Conservation Authority for conservation and recreational purposes. SNCA is in the first stage of development and have received funding to build a parking lot and some trails.
Under the Public Works update, Council learned that Public Works is now operating on a 10 hour workday/ 4 days a week from 6:30am to 5:00pm in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations at no additional costs to the Township. Public Works Manager, Brad Thake advised Council that Augusta Township has signed a one-year contract extension with Fast Eddie that commences on June 1, 2020. Brad also confirmed that preconstruction work has begun on asphalting the parking apron at the Maynard Waste Transfer Station to resolve safety issues with keeping the gravel free of potholes and to keep the parking area from becoming muddy in times of heavy rain. Brad’s report confirmed that current Road Maintenance and Operations include: hardtop maintenance (pothole repair); roadside brushing and street sweeping on various roads; litter cleaning; culvert cleanout; grading gravel roads which is nearing completion for summer; and ongoing ditching and drainage work. The municipality’s current projects include: the reconstruction of Main Street in North Augusta; roadside vegetation spraying in partnership with Counties to start in June; line painting in partnership with the Counties to start in July; the application of calcium (dust suppressant on gravel roads); the cleanout of catch basins; gravel application starting in June. Projects also include grass cutting; reconstruction project to Cedar Groove Road planned to start mid-June; and surface treatment projects on McCully and Hillbrook Roads slated to late June. Finally, Brad confirmed that Augusta’s waste transfer site will re‑start accepting bulky waste with strict guidelines, to be announced soon. Zero tolerance measures will be in place to protect staff and residents.
The Planning Update advised Council that Augusta Township’s Planning Department present workload exceeds 1.0 FTE. Although Provincial regulations have limited our ability to act fully on planning applications, consultation is ongoing for many open files, and several new files that include severance applications and site plan control applications. Residential and commercial real estate continues to sell in Augusta and many new people are moving to our community. Even with COVID-19 impacting most businesses across Leeds and Grenville, our office has been handling numerous requests for new local business start-ups and has been involved in proposals for business expansion as well. More recently with the weather improving outside, the Planning Department has been inundated with inquiries about everything from zoning to severances, and some response times have been impacted by the additional meetings and time associated with responding to COVID-19 and communicating available resources to local business owners. Council thanked staff for the updates and the great work being performed.