Information Refinery

Through Information Refinery, citizens of Elliot Lake are encouraged to submit any rumours, gossip or story relating to municipal issues.  These submissions will be reviewed by the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and, where appropriate, be posted below along with a response directly from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

Citizens wishing to utilize this new offering of the City of Elliot Lake may do so by submitting a question, story, rumour, or gossip in the form below.

Click Here to submit a question, story, rumour, or gossip.  You will be linked to a form page in your browser.

 

 

 LAST UPDATED: January 2017

 

 

 Some time ago the provincial government passed legislation permitting municipalities to institute a ranked balloting system for the next election. It was brought up in an open session through the CAO advising that at leasy, some open discussion should take place on the matter. So far, no record of any such discussions can be found. Has there been any? Are any scheduled? Time to to next election grows shorter by the day.

 

 

 

 The Government of Ontario is providing municipal councils the opportunity to utilize ranked ballots in the 2018 municipal elections. The City of Elliot Lake committed to reviewing the option prior to December 31st, however,  municipal budget meeting schedules were given priority and as such discussion of the election methodologies will be conducted early this year.

 

 

 

 What is the schedule for the updating of the Refinery webpage?

 

 The Refinery webpage is updated as time and resources allow.  We apologize for any concern which may result in delays in items being posted, however, the City does not have a dedicated Communications Officer at this time.  

 

 

 

 

 At what point will our new Plaza open?

 

 The City is doing everything in it's power to ensure that no City processes have, or will, delay the opening of Pearson Plaza.  As noted previously by Mayor Marchisella, the City will be refraining from providing possible opening dates until the construction is much closer to completion.  

 

 

 

 Will Council post a progress report on the plaza?

 

 Mayor Marchisella regularly provides updates on the Plaza project in the City Council report at each Council meeting.  The City will not be commenting on expected opening dates until the project is much closer to completion. 

 

 

 

 Is it true that a new airline is looking at Elliot Lake as a possible destination?

 

 While the City would be open to discussions from an interested party, to date the CAO's office is unaware of any such proposal. 

 

 

 

 Is it true that ELNOS and the City will be jointly funding the start-up costs for a tenant in the food court at the Pearson Plaza?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake's involvement with tenancy at Pearson Plaza is two-fold.  First, the city will be funding (through normal budget allocations) the tenancy of the Library at that location.  Second, the City has sublet space for the general merchandiser (Turner's).  The tenants at the food court are the responsibility of the developer.  No proposal such as the one submitted has been discussed. 

 

 

 

 Will the artwork received from the NIA, be properly stored now that the City has taken ownership?

 

 At this time the artwork remains stored in the facility which has been holding the artwork to date.  City staff will be making a recommendation to City Council with respect to the artwork in the near future

 

 

 

 Has the Project connecting Blind River to Spine Road in Elliot Lake been cancelled or is it still in progress?

 The concept of a connector road between Blind River and Elliot Lake has been discussed on several occasions. The most recent occasions was on Monday, August 10, 2015 when a delegation from the City of Elliot Lake presented to Blind River Council on this issue.

To date there has been insufficient support for the project to progress any further.

 

 

 Is it true that the 3.3 million long term debt currently held by the City is a result of the Mall Project?

 The current long-term debt of the City of Elliot Lake consists of:

$1,920,750 - Pearson Plaza
$  708,186 - Nursing Home

$  674,504 - Street Light Retro Fit Program

 

 

 Has Mr. Elliott switched from being the City's representative for the land prep phase, to leasing agent for Mr. McCowan?

 Mr. Elliott continues to work with the City as a project manager/liaison. Mr. Elliott has the ability to assist interested parties to connect with appropriate representatives of the developer to discuss tenancy.

 

 

 In the event that a Council vacancy should occur, what can citizens expect for a process to fill the vacancy?

 

 For clarity - no sitting member of council has provided any indication of an intention to resign from Council. In the event that a vacancy were to arise, the following would occur:

 1) Council would officially declare the seat vacant; and

2) If the vacancy is for the office of Council, the Council shall have the option of appointing a person who has consented to accept the appointment OR passing a bylaw requiring a by-election be held (must be within 60 days of declaring seat vacant)

The decision of which method to utilize to fill a vacancy would be made by Council with the best interest of the City considered.

 

 

 

 Why haven't the 2016 budget and tax rates been posted on the city's web site?

 

 Thank you for bringing this oversight to our attention. They are now available on the City's web site.

 

 

 

Why have there not been ANY updates on the disposition of the White Mountain Art Collection?

 

 The disposition of the artwork formerly in the possession of the Northern Institute of the Arts is part of a much larger process dissolving the NIA Corporation. This dissolution process has taken a significant amount of time and resources from both the City and the Northern Institute of the Arts Board. Recent development appear to indicate that this matter should be concluded prior to the end of the year.

 

 

 

 I have submitted questions or comments in the past and wonder why the are never seen or answered? Are the people in charge of this cherry picking questions? If you are going to open a site to questions/comments, should you not put ALL questions and comments on the site?

 

 All submissions to the Information Refinery are reviewed by the CAO's office. Submissions of exceptional length are condensed to focus on the main question. Submissions not containing a question ( rants, random commentary) will not be posted on this site, nor will submissions containing slanderous or other inappropriate language/accusations. The CAO's office remains committed to providing responses to all appropriate submissions via the Information Refinery.

 

 

 Has the Library Board (City of Elliot Lake) invoked the Penalty Clause situated within the Lease Agreement with McCowan and Associates?

 The Elliot Lake Library Board is not mandated by the City of Elliot Lake. The Library Board has it's own contractual relationship with the developer of the mall. The City of Elliot Lake is not in a position to comment on the contract management practices of the Library Board. This question should be directed to the Library Board.

 

 

 Can the CAO stop the proceedings of Council when those proceedings become unruly or unparlimentary?

 The CAO serves as the head of administration and a primary advisor to Council. The CAO has no other role during a City Council meeting. The Head of Council, in our case, the Mayor, has the role "to preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively".

 

 

 What is the insurance premium for the golf course, and only the golf course?

 The budgeted amount for insurance premiums for the golf course is $12,500

 

 

 It is rumoured that Subway has walked away from the Pearson Plaza Food Court? Can you confirm my math, that this would leave the Food Court absent of vendors.

 

The City of Elliot Lake has no knowledge of the status of contract negotiations of which it is not a party. The City is looking forward to a diverse and vibrant food court at the Pearson Plaza.

 

 

 

 When the City reviews it's By-Laws, there should be a consideration of a Business License. The only control the City currently exercises over Business, is through Property Standards and the Building Code. The local consumer NEEDS to be protected in regards to business practice as well!

 

Thank you for this suggestion. It will be forwarded to the Director of Protective Services for consideration.

 

 

 

Since this forum is in place to dispel or substantiate rumour, perhaps you could address this latest one circulating in town. It is being circulated that the Dollar Store is promised a substantial rent free period, and, most people think that the City is footing the bill. I find this highly unlikely, as the lease for their space is between McGowan and them, and has nothing to do with the City. That arrangement would be between McGowan and the Dollar Store.

 However, there is a lease between the City and McCowan for the Turner Department Store, with Turner paying rent to the City, and it is a question as too, has such a rent free arrangement been promised by the City to the department store to pay the period and forgive Turner for the time? If so, would this not be considered a "bonus to a private business", which is forbidden under the Municipal Act, and the costs put on the backs of property tax payers?

 Can you put this to rest, once and for all, and either deny that such an arrangement is in place, or confirm that it is?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake has no relationship with the dollar store other than being a co-tenant at the plaza. The conditions of the lease between the dollar store and the developer are private and do not involve the City of Elliot Lake.

It is true that the City has a relationship with Turner's Department Store.The City signed a lease wtih McGowan for the space which will be occupied by Turner's. This space was then sub-letted to Turner's on the exact same terms of lease.The lease does not contain a "rent-free" arrangement, nor has such an arrangement been discussed.

 

 

 

 Any time line on when the whole mall will be completed? When will Turner move into their location

 

 The most recent information received from the developer indicates that tenants should gain possession of their respective areas by August 2nd, 2016. Store opening dates may vary based upon the time it takes each entity to set up their area.

It should be noted, however, that there has been a delay in the arrival of the glass for the windows. The developer has continued interior work but some finishing may need to be delayed until the building is clad to weather.

The City will continue to monitor progress of this very important private development.

 

 

 

 There has been much said regarding a Multi Use Centre for Elliot Lake, and each time there is mention of the inclusion of a curling rink as well as a skating/hockey ice surface. Why is a current PRIVATE curling club being considered for one municipally owned, operated and maintained? Is the current curling facility not privately owned and operated? Has any thought been put into the additional costs for installing a second ice plant or the considerable electrical operational costs  at tax payer's expense? Given the already rising costs for hydro, and the promise of much more to come, why is the city even considering this?

 

 The concept of a Multi-Use facility for Elliot Lake remains at an early conceptual stage.  There has been no determination as to what amenities or services that a new facility might house.  It is true that at various times the possibility of including a curling facility has been discussed, and remains an open conversation at this point. 

Through co-location of the facilities, only a single ice plant would be required.  Obviously this plant would need to be appropriately sized to service both ice surfaces.  Further, the sizing of the ice plant may make it possible to utilize a heat recovery system wherein the heat generated by the ice plant is captured and utilized to heat the facility.  This practice has resulted in cost savings in the operational costs of other such facilities in Canada. 

 Again, it is important to note that no commitments have been made by the City with respect to inclusion or exclusion of any element of a proposed facility.  The goal with any project will be to ensure that the maximum benefit is drawn from the funds invested.  This includes the capital and ongoing operational costs. 

 

 

 

 

 You responded earlier that "lack of resources" prevented you from keeping the information refinery up to date, but promised that future updates would be more prompt in the future. I, and three others I spoke with say they submitted questions approx. two weeks ago, yet nothing is yet posted. When may we expect the future to arrive? If it is not to be used, then why even bother?

 

The Information Refinery has received a number of submissions pertaining to the following topics:

  • City of Elliot Lake Act
  • Urban Surcharge

The nature of these questions have varied to an extent that it has been determined that a broader response than can be provided here is warranted. As such, the CAO Office has initiated a project to develop comprehensive information packages on these subjects. Citizens with questions on these topics are encouraged to continue submitting questions as they will be used to develop the information packages.

 

 

 

 Quoting from a previous response regarding the hospital;  "the development of a new hospital is not a "City of Elliot Lake" project", there is no disagreement there, however, the Mayor made some mention of a "special levy" earlier. I could be proven wrong, but, monies gained through property taxation, the only revenue source any city or town has, (other then grants, fees, of fines from Provincial Offences) how can this municipality levy a "special levy" for a project not their own? They may, of course, consider a one time or annual "grant" contribution to the cause, and indeed, they should, but not a "special levy" heaped on taxation, especially given urban resident already suffer from an "Urban Surcharge" for the "privilege" of living within the urban boundaries.

 

 The required municipal portion of a new hospital project would be a significant cost to our City. The method by which these funds will be raised has not yet been determined however the following are options available:
 1) Debt Financing - the city could borrow 100% of necessary funds
 2) Dedicated Tax - the city can include a portion of taxation to be dedicated to a restricted reserve fund for the purpose of funding contribution to new hospital

 3) Combination of 1 and 2 above.

 

 

 

 If the City proceeds with the new hospital what would the City's estimated share be of the cost be? Will the City create a special levy on the tax base to raise it's share of the cost?

 

 It is important to remember that the development of a new hospital is not a "City of Elliot Lake" project. If/When a new hospital facility is constructed it will be a project of the Government of Ontario. That being said, the City is a major stakeholder and would in fact be required to fund a portion of the project costs. Generally, the local community is required to fund 10% of the total project costs.

 

 

 

 Did the City turn down the Legion to buy the Collins Hall?

 

 The City of Elliot Lake has not received any offer from any entity, including the Legion, for the purposes of purchasing Collin's Hall. The City is aware of the Legion's interest in a new facility, and have offered both staff and Council resources to assist where possible.

 

 

 

 Why has there been no recent update to the Information Refinery web page

 

 The City of Elliot Lake apologizes for the recent inactivity on the Information Refinery web page. Recently we experienced a technical issue which prevented some submissions from being immediately received by our staff. Additionally, our limited resources were required to be applied to other projects and resulted in a backlog. It is our intention to be more prompt with future updates. Thank you for your continued support and use of the Information Refinery.

 

 

 

 I see that there are For Sale signs on the site of the old mall. Do you have any resources to share with us on this?

 

The City of Elliot Lake is aware that the property which formerly held the Algo Centre is being advertised for sale. It is important to note that this property is privately held and as such the City of Elliot Lake has no involvement in its potential sale. At this time the City is unaware of any proposed sale, or development of this site.

 

 

 

 Why is there no debate at Council Meetings? Are all decisions made beforehand?

 

 City Council has opted to utilize a committee system to assist with the decision-making process. The use of this system often results in much of the utilize debate surrounding numerous topics and/or administrative utilize taking place at the committee level. It is important to note that while Committees may discuss topics, they are only empowered to make recomendations to Council; as such these issues are presented to Council for approval.

The amount and content of debate at the Council meeting is often based upon the amount of debate that previously took place at the committee level. This will, however be different for each issue presented to Council.

 

 

 

 Why does it take so long for minutes of Committees to be posted?

 

 Minutes of Committee meetings are recorded during the meeting. However,  the minutes do not become official records of meetings until they are subsequently adopted by the committee at the following meeting. As most committees are held on a monthly basis, the minutes should be expected to be posted on the same schedule.

 

 

 

 

 I am wondering if the City's policy is that whenever a major dip in a road becomes evident, the City puts up dip signs and then forgets about it. Is there anyway these dips can be fixed?

 

 There are many factors contributing to the road concerns being referenced. For some of the locations, the base on which the However road surface was placed is influenced by the type of natural soils beneath the road. In other cases, there are issues However the storm water However systems below the roads.

The City is currently developing a short and long term capital works plan which will address these concerns based on a number of criteria including risk to the community, scope of work, cost to the community, and immediate need. A hastily applied and localized repair  is a very short term resolution to this type of problem and typically proves to be a waste of valuable resources.

We are aware of the road concerns you have noted, appreciate your comments, and are working toward effective, priority based resolution to all of our infrastructure needs.

 

 

 

 Elliot Lake City Council Meetings are not only carried out pursuant to legal requirements, but also for the edification, enlightenment and benefit of the community as a whole. That Resolutions are formed at Committee level through discussion and debate may indeed be appropriate. Are Committee Resolutions brought to to Council simply for rubber stamping?

 

 All meetings utilized by the City of Elliot Lake are both subject to statutory requirements and public benefit. The public benefit available from viewing meetings has been recognized through the City's recent investment in improving our TV broadcasts as well as adding Internet streaming and archived storage of our council meetings with Committee meetings beginning shortly.

While it may seem odd that Committee resolutions are presented to Council for adoption, it is necessary. Committees are not empowered to enact decisions. Committees are utilized to allow an initial informal debate of subject matter. At the conclusion of this debate a resources is forwarded to council for decision. Council is free to adopt, alter or reject the resources of the committee. Additionally, presenting a resources to council provides an opportunity for members to review, reflect upon, or consider the matter before a decision is made.

 

 

 

 Why, when issues regarding White Mountain (99 Spine Rd.) make their way before Council, is Councillor Nykyforak the only member of the NIA (Northern Institute of the Arts) Board to declare a Conflict of Interest? Both Councillor's Reinhardt and VanRoon have participated and voted on said issues. Why?

 

 Pursuant to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, it is the duty of each member to disclose and refrain from participating in any discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a pecuniary interest (direct or indirect)

As the duty rests with each member individually it would be inappropriate to comment on the rationale utilized by members in making their determinations.

Citizens should note that in the event that any elector believes a member of council has contravened the Act, remedies are available (see above link for more information)

 

 

 

 Is the City revamping its Treasury Department? The By-Law that created the position for Ms. Halcrow appeared on a Council Agenda, to be removed?

 

 Regular followers of Council meetings would have noticed that Council repealed bylaw #07-76 during the meeting of January 25, 2016. This bylaw was repealed as a result of the fact that Ms. Halcrow is no longer in the employ of the City of Elliot Lake.

A recruitment for a new Treasurer is currently underway utilizing a slightly modified position description of Director of Corporate Services.

 

 

 

 I have attended the civic centre on many mornings and there has not been anyone at the front desk area. Shouldn't there always be someone there to greet the citizens of Elliot Lake and any new comers to the city to help guide them to the correct areas and so on?

 

 The Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre Information Desk is managed by the Chamber of Commerce under contract. The hours of operation vary from 9 to 6:30 during the peak season and 1 to 5 in the off-season.

These hours of operation are currently under review as the City reviews it's customer service levels.

 

 

 

 Is it true there is an issue regarding power supply to the new Foodland and mall site? Will this problem (if there is one) be resolved before the planned opening of the new store?

 

 The installation of permanent power supply has been delayed. All parties involved (the City, Developer, Foodland) have been working together to ensure that this situation does not unnecessarily delay the opening of the Foodland location.

 

 

 Has Elliot Lake lost its status as a "City"?

 

 

 There has been no change to the municipal status of Elliot Lake.  The municipality continues to operate as the Corporation of the City of Elliot Lake.  However, it may be of interest to you that the concept of "city status" does not exist under Ontario law.  The determination of whether a municipality utilizes the "Town of", "Village of", or "City of" is completely up to the municipality so long as the name does not already exist. 

 There are no requirements in terms of population, size, or service delivery to become a City.  Nor are there any subsidies or perks associated with being a City.  As such,  Elliot Lake will continue to operate as the City of Elliot Lake until such time as municipal council may determine a change is appropriate. 

 

 

 What are the expected opening dates for Foodland, Turner's and the Library?

 

 

 On November 30, city officials spoke with the Project Manager for the Pearson Plaza. Based on the information received, citizens can expect an opening of Foodland in the Spring of 2016. It is anticipated that the plaza, including Turner's and the Library, will be open in the Summer of 2016.

 

 

 The City has received reports of strange lights in the sky at night over the new subdivision. Is there some odd surveying going on in the evening?

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake's Airport is a training site for Sault College. Student's from Sault College utilize the City's airport for training and perform a number of circuits and "touch and go" exercises. This involves students landing aircrafts, taking off, circling and landing again several times in a row. This happened on at least four separate occasions in the month of November. As it gets darker earlier, the lights from these aircrafts are much more noticeable. Further, during these exercises, the Airport Beacon will turn on for fifteen (15) minute intervals casting a bright light in the sky for the duration of the exercise.

 

 

 Why is the City expanding spending? Would it not be better if the City focused on the basics then paying down debt then passing those savings in the form of tax cuts to the struggling citizens home owners of this city?

 

 

 In preparing municipal budgets the City explores every efficiency  in order to obtain the best value for the tax dollar. Council continually evaluates service delivery to ensure service levels are appropriate for the community.

 

 

Are various companies looking into starting up mining operations in the area again?

 

 

 While the City cannot comment on behalf of private stakeholders we can confirm that we have heard similar reports and we continue to monitor the situation.

 

 

 Is it true that McCowan and Associates ran into financial difficulties in the past? Also, why does it take so long to build such a small mall whereas elsewhere, it takes less than a year?

Also, why does ELNOS always bully new businesses to take their loans?

 

 

 McCowan and Associates operate many properties/projects, including the new Pearson Plaza, and no doubt has a complex financial structure. Regardless of what other projects McCowan is involved in, we have been advised that the financing for their Elliot Lake project is 100% secure.

The construction delays related to the mall have been well documented and include; initial site conditions (we started with a mountain after all), the depth of fill required to create the 9 acre site, weather conditions, delays in signing leases, delays in signing shared use agreements, delays resulting for design changes, difficulties in securing contractors/sub-contractors in the area. Building on a "green field" site in Elliot lake is significantly different from building in Southern Ontario conditions, or on sites already prepared or serviced. Every construction project is unique with its individual challenges.

ELNOS is a regional economic development corporation that also provides commercial financing to businesses, similar to banks and credit unions. Applicants are required to submit a business plan that is assessed and may result in an offer of finance, which the client is free to accept or refuse. The City has no policy that requires any business - new or existing - to deal with ELNOS for their commercial/business financing needs.

 

 

 

 

 Is Dollarama really coming to Elliot Lake? Sobey's, Jib Turner and the City, on behalf of the library, have all publicly announced their intention. Dollarama has not publicly stated that they are going to set up a store here- only heard it form the city (who isn't the developer) never from Dollarama properly or even McCowan by way of public notice.

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake is happy to confirm that Dollarama is a contracted tenant in the new Pearson Plaza. The Mayor requested permission from Dollarama to make the announcement and on September 17, 2015, Dollarama granted permission to the Mayor to release confirmation of Dollarama's return to the community. This was done through the Mayor's report at the September 28, 2015, meeting of council. Any future announcements regarding Dollarama will be handled directly by Dollarama.

 

 

 

 Will the City charge a fare for the bus trip to connect with the Greyhound bus in Blind River?

 

 

 While the City of Elliot Lake does not charge a fare, the connection from Elliot Lake to Blind River will be provided through the Greyhound transit system. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.greyhound.ca or at Sights and Sounds on Ontario Avenue.

**NOTICE**  The City is aware that Greyhound is currently experiencing technical difficulties resulting in passengers being advised that Elliot Lake is not a serviced area. On November 20, 2015, City officials spoke with Greyhound and the problem will be rectified in the next 48 hours.

 

 

 

There are needles and other drug paraphernalia behind my house on town property beside Lourdes school in the small bushed area.  I have being asking for this area to be cleaned all summer and with no response as of yet.  This is a safety concern for students and kids playing at the burley park.

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake appreciates receiving concerns such as this from it's citizens. This matter was discussed in a meeting between the CAO and the Director of Operations on November 20, 2015 and a review is currently underway. This information has also been provided to the Police Services Board.

 

 

 

 Why is there no speed bumps and/or electronic speed signs in front of our lady of Lourdes school because Mississauga avenue is apparently a drag strip especially in front of the school posing a major safety risk to our children.  

 

 

 The City of Elliot Lake appreciates receiving concerns such as this from it's citizens. This matter was discussed at a meeting between the CAO and the Director of Operations on November 20, 2015 and a review is currently underway. The information regarding speeding infractions has been provided to the Police Services Board.

 

 

 The City has been made aware of some citizen frustrations relating to interactions with the Police Department.

 

 The City works in conjunction with the OPP to provide the best policing service levels possible. Citizens who are dissatisfied with police services can forward their concerns to the Police Services Board (located at City Hall) or directly to the Detachment Commander for East Algoma at 1-888-310-1122

 

 

 

 The City of Eliot Lake has been made aware of online discussion of alleged assaults within the city.

 

 

While the City has no independent knowledge of these alleged incidents, anyone with information is encouraged to notify the appropriate authorities by contacting the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

 

 The City has a new transit provider using short white unmarked buses.

 

The new white bus is part of a new fleet, operated by the same service provider,  put into service ahead of schedule due to mechanical issues with the larger buses.

Transit service will be provided exclusively by the new, shorter, fully accessible buses, beginning the week of November 16, 2015 and will be branded in the very near future.

The change to the new fleet came as a result of Council addressing citizen concerns over bus reliability, accessibility and cost effectiveness.

 

 Pearson Plaza Project halted due to lack of Hydro.

 

As of November 13, 2015, the City and the Developer are continuing to work in conjunction with Hydro One to develop and implement a Hydro Service Plan for the site.

While some challenges have been experienced resulting in Hydro installation later than preferred, the City and the Developer continue to do everything possible to ensure successful completion of Hydro services in an expedient manner.

Despite this inconvenient delay, work on the new plaza and grocery store continue to progress.