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Council Highlights from the April 12, 2021 meeting

Council Highlights

Clarington seeking Federal funding for railway safety improvements needed for whistle cessation at Cobbledick and Bennett Roads

Clarington Staff have been directed to reapply for Transport Canada’s Railway Safety Improvement Program funding to help cover the cost of improvements needed at the Cobbledick Road and Bennett Road crossings to stop train whistles in those areas. The Municipality’s initial application, submitted in July 2020, for a total of $697,000 of eligible expenses was unsuccessful. The next instalment of applications for funding under this Federal program is due on August 1, 2021. Staff will continue to pursue this funding stream to help pay for the costs of the improvements. Clarington Council earmarked $750,000 to pay for safety improvements. The money will be drawn from the Rate Stabilization Fund. Wilmot Creek residents have petitioned Council for several years to eliminate the noise pollution associated with the train whistles. The overall cost of making these safety improvements to both crossings combined is estimated at more than $1.3 million. The work needed includes improvements to the warning system, which are mandated before Transport Canada will consider train whistle cessation for those crossings. It also includes various other safety measures, such as road improvements and fencing.

Read the Staff Memo Whistle Cessation Update for more information.

Second intake of applications for the 2021 Community Funding Program is opening

Council has directed staff to accept a second intake of applications for the Clarington Community Funding Program until August 31, 2021. This year, Council has approved $72,500 in grant funding to organizations for community events and initiatives in 2021. The grant has $32,520 remaining in funds to be allocated in the second intake of applications. Last fall, Clarington Council approved a new transparent Community Funding Program to assist community groups and organizations on projects with a community impact. The program has several funding streams and clearly outlines the purpose, eligibility criteria, the administration and approval process, application procedures, and scoring criteria for eligible projects. Organizations looking to apply for funding can visit our Community Funding Program page, which outlines the funding streams, eligibility criteria, and applications process.

For more information on Council’s decision, read the Community Funding Program Memo.

Council asks the Province to increase accessibility to residents at its Service Ontario Bowmanville location

Following numerous concerns raised by residents regarding the lack of accessibility for people of various abilities at the Service Ontario Bowmanville location, Clarington Council has directed Staff to ask the Province to change its operations. Staff have been directed to write to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services asking for the implementation of an electronic appointment booking system for the Bowmanville location. This system will reduce lineups and address physical distancing issues in place at the current location for people who require in-person services. The issue was brought to Council’s attention by its Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Read Service Ontario Bowmanville Memo for more information.

Clarington Fire receives funding from the Fire Safety Grant Program

Clarington Emergency and Fire Services will receive $27,200 from the Provincial Fire Safety Grant Program to support increased internal training. The funding approved by the Office of the Fire Marshal aligns with the purpose of the Fire Safety Grant Program to alleviate some of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including access to training and equipment.

For more details, read the letter issued by the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Council makes investment to improve access to the Courtice waterfront

Clarington Council has invested money to improve access to the Courtice waterfront by approving road resurfacing of Courtice Shores Drive and directing Staff to proceed with the construction of parking facilities. Courtice Shores Drive is currently the only point of access to the newly built section of the waterfront trail and an increasingly busy beach area. Staff will be widening the southern section of the roadway to allow for some on-street parking spaces and also constructing an off-street gravel parking lot north of the waterfront to accommodate approximately 26 cars. The improvements will cost more than $100,000. The map shows the future for the area.

Map of Courtice Shores Drive improvements

For more information, read Report PWD-019-21.

Clarington seeks leave to appeal the approval of a St Marys Cement application to use Alternative Low Carbon Fuels

Clarington Council has directed Staff to seek an appeal of the approval of St. Marys Cement’s (SMC) proposal to expand its use of Low-Carbon Alternative Fuels (ALCF) as an energy source for its Bowmanville plant. This would partially replace the use of Petroleum Coke as a fuel source, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On March 31, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks approved the increase SMC’s average daily throughput, or average daily amount of ALCF, from 96 tonnes per day to 400 tonnes per day. As a required first step in the process, Clarington has submitted a request for permission from the Environmental Review Tribunal to appeal the amended environmental permit. As part of the justification for the appeal, Clarington cites potential cumulative negative effects on the environment and surrounding air quality and requests the implementation of the same stringent air quality monitoring requirements imposed on the nearby Durham York Energy Centre.

In 2019, SMC completed a pilot project to demonstrate the use of alternate fuels at the facility, assessing any environmental effects. Essentially alternative low carbon fuels include non-hazardous residual waste left after separating recyclables such as paper fibres, plastics from industrial and consumer sources, and certain types of biomass such as woody materials not suitable for composting or recycling.

For more information, read Memo 14.1 St. Marys Cement.

The next council meeting is Monday, May 3, 2021.

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