Committees present annual reports, updates to Municipal Council
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout’s Municipal Council heard the 2019 annual reports and updates from various committees during a special council meeting on Nov. 13.
The Day Care Advisory Committee, Environmental Committee, Sioux Lookout Public Library Board, Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee, and the Hudson & Area Advisory Committee presented to Council that evening.
The annual reports and updates contained ongoing initiatives that the committees are involved in as well as potential changes and projects moving forward.
The Day Care Advisory Committee said they’re hoping to see renovations done to their playground at Biidaaban Children’s Centre.
“One of the big things I should mention too that we’ve been waiting on for quite some time is renovations to our playground at Biidaaban Children’s Centre. We had sent in a proposal to KDSB (Kenora District Services Board). We thought that would be a go this spring and summer, but unfortunately nothing happened. That’s something that we really need to follow up with the KDSB,” said Kelly Negus, Day Care Manager.
“Other goals for the Committee and staff resources are as follows:
• Continued attraction and retention of qualified Early Childhood Educators.
• Investigate more relevant professional development opportunities for Educators.
• Continue to focus on communication with parents through newsletters, digital media, etc.” the Day Care Advisory Committee’s Annual Update stated.
The Environment Committee shared some of their ongoing initiatives that have been successful. They also said they’re exploring potential composting programs to see if Sioux Lookout could successfully run one.
“The Curbside Swap has been running for many years, and it’s been very successful… We have around 600 people on our Facebook page, so people are checking out the page to see what kind of valuables they want to head over for,” said George Hoggarth, Environment Committee representative.
“The Environmental Recognition Initiative has been going very well. We just recently had some new possible nominees for that, so it’s a very positive thing where we’re trying to recognize people and organizations in the community that are involved in environmental initiatives.
“We’re exploring other communities of similar size to Sioux Lookout that have existing composting programs to see whether or not that would fit for our community. One of the things we understand is there are a lot of government regulations about this type of initiative, but apparently Espanola has a very successful one, which is a community in northeastern Ontario that probably we can look at,” said Hoggarth.
The Sioux Lookout Public Library explained their foot traffic and circulation of physical materials has been increasing over the years.
“If you look at the 2019 figures, we are forecasting to go down in total visits to the library but, if you look at things on a bigger scale, our foot traffic has skyrocketed the past two years. If you compare that number to 10, 15 years ago it’s significantly higher. I attribute that to a few reasons. The Digital Creator North program is a huge boom to our library… It’s been in existence since 2017, and it’s getting stronger every year,” said Mike Laverty, CEO and Chief Librarian of the Sioux Lookout Library.
“Making the computer use free was a huge change. That saw a huge spike in attendance once we made computer use free. That was a decision from the Library Board,” he added.
“Circulation of physical material (books, DVDs, magazines, etc.) continues to increase. During the five-year period from 2010-2014 we would typically circulate about 28,000 items each year; we have averaged 31,000 the past five years (2015-2019),” the report to Council from the Sioux Lookout Public Library Board states.
The Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee highlighted some changes they’ve made.
“The name of the Committee was changed from the Mayor’s Committee on Truth and Reconciliation to the Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee,” the Municipal Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Annual Report states.
“Council approved the recommendation that amendments to existing policies, through the regular policy review/update process, be made that support cultural inclusiveness and that, where applicable, such changes be made in consultation with Indigenous persons.
“The Committee requested funding from the Public Engagement and Education Anti-Racism Directorate to host a Truth and Reconciliation Summit in Sioux Lookout. Funds were not available at that time,” the report further reads.
The Hudson & Area Advisory Committee touched on future projects as well as ongoing projects that will be coming to completion.
“Continued Work on the Lac Seul Look-out/Pavilion: This action involves the creation of a look-out/pavilion area, west of the Water Treatment Plant that would include a covered picnic area and maps, images and signage, highlighting the rich history of Hudson. Efforts are underway to develop preliminary design and cost estimates for including in the 2020 Budget,” the Hudson & Area Advisory Committee’s Annual Update states.
“There was a number of photographs that were sourced from residents of Hudson over the last couple years, and the Chairman of the committee, Bob Starratt, did a great job of taking those photos, having them remastered, and the committee approved funding to have those images of the history of Hudson captured. If you’ve been to Hudson lately, you’ll see that the whole east wall of the Lost Lake Drop-In Centre has these photos mounted there. The idea would be that they’d be up for a certain period of year and then taken down in the winter to protect them. There’s a few more photos that are to be added to that collection,” said Brian MacKinnon, Municipal Clerk.
To view all the annual reports to Council from committees, go to siouxlookout.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/16789?preview=23851.