Council backs health unit on basic income
By Jenn Watt
Published Sept. 6, 2018
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Aug. 29 meeting of Haliburton County council.
County councillors passed a resolution putting their views on the record regarding the province’s decision to cancel the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project.
The three-year project, which was already underway in Lindsay, Thunder Bay and Hamilton-Brant, was measuring the effects of providing a guaranteed income to 4,000 low-income people in the province.
Following their election, the Conservative government announced the program would be cancelled, spurring a letter from the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s board, which urged the government to reconsider.
“Previous research on Basic Income Guarantee programs demonstrates substantial benefits such as decreased hospitalization rates, work-related injuries, emergency department visits and mental illness consultations,” reads a letter written by Lynn Noseworthy, medical officer of health for the HKPR Health Unit. “The Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is considered by many economists and researchers as an economically sound and an effective policy option to reduce the number of programs and their associated costs, and to streamline the effort to tackle poverty. It is predicted that BIG will cost less than the current amounts spent on social programs, housing, justice and health care needs.”
The letter asks that the program be reinstated and allowed to run to completion.
Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin said he wanted to be on the record saying the project’s cancellation was a mistake.
Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said likely many around the table felt the same way and asked that a resolution be tabled reflecting the group’s view.
Council passed a resolution supporting the health unit's position.
Fines to go up in tree preservation bylaw
County council voted to apply to the Ministry of the Attorney General to increase the set fine from $550 to $800, plus victim surcharge, for those violating the shoreline tree preservation bylaw.
If approved, with the addition of the victim surcharge, the total fine would be $925.
Council members voiced their support for the increase.
“It’s a 60 per cent increase. I think it clearly says we’re serious about this,” said Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin, calling it a good first step.
Charlsey White, director of planning and deputy CAO, said it was important that members of the public get in touch with the county office right away if they wish to report a bylaw violation. It is hard for county staff to verify that trees have been cut if too much time has passed.
“I would encourage all members of the public, if there’s an issue, call us right away,” she said. White added that property owners should inquire with the county before doing shoreline landscaping to avoid unnecessary costs.
New billboard moratorium
A moratorium on new billboard signage is officially in place as county council takes the time to review its policies.
The decision came from a conversation at the roads committee in August spurred by a delegation from resident Godfrey Tyler.
Tyler told the committee that billboards made the roadsides look bad and didn’t do anything to enhance the area’s scenery.
At that time the committee recommended the county halt any new signage and do a review.
Dysart et al Mayor Murray Fearrey said he wanted to see discussion around limiting signs in environmentally sensitive areas, while Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Andrea Roberts said she would like to look at how many signs individual businesses could have.