City of Kenora Delegation Brings Northern Ontario Perspective to AMO Conference

City of Kenora Delegation Brings Northern Ontario Perspective to AMO Conference August 19 – 22

Mayor Canfield and Members of Council will join about 1,900 participants at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) 2018 Conference in Ottawa from August 19 to 22.

For more than a century, Ontario’s largest municipal conference has brought together municipal, provincial and federal officials to work collectively to overcome municipal challenges and plan for the future.

Ontario’s Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and the three party leaders are featured speakers and several additional provincial ministers will participate in the conference.

The annual conference is a chance for municipal officials to discuss and move forward on shared challenges, to learn, and to create new opportunities that can benefit their communities. In addition to the conference program, municipal staff and officials will take part in municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries. Mayor Canfield, along with City Councillors Dan Reynard, Rory McMillan, Mort Goss and Special Projects and Research Officer, Adam Smith will be meeting with elected officials from the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Key session topics include cannabis legalization, trade, indigenous relations, climate change and disaster preparedness, waste diversion, ambulance dispatch, emerging technologies and Smart Cities, the 2018 municipal election, rural economic development, and much more. Program information is available online at www.amo.on.ca.

This is the first opportunity to have Northern Ontario issues heard by the new Premier of Ontario and his Minister Cabinet. The City of Kenora delegation is particularly interested in advocating on issues such as:
• Affordable Housing
• Community Health-Care
• Policing Costs
• Fire Protection and Prevention Act
• Downtown Revitalization
• Twinning the Kenora Recreation Centre
• Highway 17 Expansion
• Connecting Links Funding
• Maintenance Standards

During the conference, interviews with Mayor Canfield can be accommodated by e-mailing dcanfield@kenora.ca.

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from a number of key speakers will be posted on AMO’s website throughout the duration of the conference at www.amo.on.ca.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

For more information about AMO or the 2018 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca
Follow the conference on Twitter: @AMOPolicy, Hashtag: #AMOConf18

Council Approves 2017 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the City of Kenora

Council Approves 2017 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the City of Kenora

Today Council approves the 2017 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements. The City received an unqualified audit report and is financially stable.

The 2017 financial statements continue to reflect the healthy financial position currently enjoyed by the City of Kenora. The City continues to work to improve the current infrastructure deficit while maintaining an appropriate balance between services and property tax rates.

Highlights from the consolidated balance sheet include:

  • Cash and temporary investments on hand as at December 31, 2017 totalled $37 million;
  • Investment in government business enterprises totalled $9.9 million;
  • The Kenora Citizens’ Prosperity Trust Fund balance was $32.8 million at the end of 2017 on the consolidated balance sheet. The Trust Fund in fact has $41 million in investments. The difference arises because the City issued debentures to the Trust Fund to finance seven capital projects. The Canadian generally accepted accounting principles dictate that the Trust Fund be consolidated in the City of Kenora’s financial statements. As a result the investment in the Trust Fund and the corresponding debenture debt in the City are eliminated on consolidation. The debenture balance at year end is $8.2 million.
  • This Trust Fund was created in 2008 to safeguard the net proceeds from the sale of the KMTS Entities. The intent was to ensure there would be no impact to property taxes as a result of this sale. In order to offset lost net revenues as a result of the sale of the KMTS Entities, the City requires an annual return of $1.1 million in income from the Trust Fund. Any erosion of the balance of the Trust Fund will result in an additional burden on City taxpayers.
  • The balance of the City’s reserves and reserve funds was $30.2 million at the end of 2017.
  • The City’s accumulated surplus totals $228.1 million, (see tangible capital assets discussion below)

The City is required to include tangible capital assets in its accumulated surplus total. Therefore, the City’s statements include things like roads, bridges, water and wastewater networks, and City facilities and equipment to name just a few. The offsetting net investment in these assets is shown as a surplus on the City’s balance sheet. The City’s surplus includes the Tangible Capital Assets recorded at cost less accumulated amortization. At the end of 2017, the investment in capital assets included in the City’s surplus is $154.7 million.

The City is also pleased to present the consolidated audited financial statements as part of its Annual Report. This report will be available to the public for viewing along with the Auditors report on August 15th 2018, both on the City’s website, as well as at the front desk at City Hall and the Library. This report has been developed to provide users with some additional information about the City in conjunction with the consolidated audited financial statements.

Jonathon Ranger, Deputy Treasurer (807) 467-2010
jranger@kenora

 

Weekly Household Hazardous Waste Depot Now Accepts Unsafe Baby Products

The Kenora Transfer Station opened the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) depot today for its third season.

In addition to the lengthy list of hazardous substances accepted at the depot free of charge, the depot will also accept unsafe, damaged, or expired baby products. We have partnered with Safe Communities Kenora to create a regular drop off for these baby items. Safe Communities Kenora has hosted an annual one day roundup event for unsafe baby items as part of Safe Kids Week for a number of years. “We partnered with the City of Kenora to collect and dispose of old, damaged and unwanted items at no cost to residents dropping off the items,” says Maria Bagdonas, Co-Chair of Safe Communities Kenora. “Having unsafe baby products added to the list of items that can be disposed of on scheduled Household Hazardous Waste Days means that there is a smaller chance that old, damaged or recalled products will find their way into the second hand market. It is an organized and convenient way to get rid of items and to be sure they are destroyed so they can’t be reused or repurposed.”

Products such as baby walkers, cribs, car seats (infant, convertible, booster), playpens, strollers, baby gates, baby bath seats, or high chairs are now on the list of acceptable items.

The once-a-week free service collected over 40 tons of hazardous waste in Kenora in the first two seasons, a significant amount of waste diverted from the landfill. “We want to thank our residents for taking the time to dispose of toxic substances safely and properly,” says Mukesh Pokharel, Environmental Services Division Lead. “We are expecting a busier depot now that we have added baby item disposal as well.”

The HHW depot, located inside the Transfer Station, is open each Thursday from 9 am to 2 pm until September 27, 2018.

For more on what can be disposed at the specialize depot, visit Kenora.ca/ Recycling & Waste, download the free Recycle Coach app, or call 807-467-2980.

City Signs Land Swap Agreement With WNHAC

The City Kenora has finalized an agreement for a land swap with Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’Iyewigamig (WNHAC) in the area of Chipman Street and First Street South.

The land swap is a strategic move in the long term planning of the City’s vision for our downtown. A portion of the parcel of land purchased by the City in January 2017 from Plaza Retail REIT, has been traded for a similar sized parcel owned by WNHAC where the Kenwood Hotel once stood. Each party exchanged a sum of $125,000 plus HST in the property transaction, essentially being no cost for the property swap.

With the City of Kenora’s purchase of the former mall property for parking and future development potential, an opportunity emerged to access a larger, rectangular lot that could better accommodate the new WNHAC building, current parking requirements, and future expansion potential. “The City has been very supportive of our efforts,” said WNHAC Executive Director, Anita Cameron.

Megan Dokuchie, the City’s Economic Development Officer states “This is an exciting and strategic land swap which places the City in a solid position to consider future redevelopment and realignment of our downtown area. As we continue to work hard towards the redevelopment in our downtown, this area could see positive improvements to traffic and pedestrian flow, promoting a flourishing downtown area”.

The land swap supports the next phase of downtown revitalization, including the proposed realignment of First Street South through the former Shoppers Mall property that was purchased by the City last year, and provides the opportunity for further enhancement of our downtown and Harbourtown Centre. Funding opportunities are currently being pursued by administration and long term realignment visions are being finalized.

The City of Kenora has submitted funding applications to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) for Downtown Revitalization Phase IV.

Council Approves 2018 Operating Budget

Today Council approves the 2018 Operating Budget. The 2018 Capital Budget was approved on February 20. The budget includes a number of critical projects initiated by staff, council and community input.

Some of the more significant impacts the City faced in 2018 included:

  • Loss of Provincial funding of $322K
  • Increased requests from Mandated External Organizations totalling $102K
  • Combined net wage impacts of $267K
  • Continued need to work to address the City’s significant infrastructure deficit

Major capital projects planned for 2018 include:

  • Aerial Fire Truck ($1.2 million)
  • Art Centre ($4 million)
  • Seventh Avenue South Bridge ($2 million)
  • Transit Bus ($.51 million)
  • Handi Transit Bus ($.13 million)

Other projects of interest in the 2018 budget include:

  • Dufrense Island North Entrance Construction expected to be completed in 2018
  • The City has seen several new signs in 2018 as it continues with its Wayfinding Implementation projects

Overall financial highlights of the approved 2018 budget include:

  • $53.8 million in combined operating, capital, non-capital special projects / unusual spending and reserve appropriations, broken out as follows: $30.1 million in operating expenses; $1.8 million in reserve appropriations; $19.6 million in capital expenses; and $2.3 million in non-capital special projects / unusual spending
  • Combined this represents $25.4 million in net tax levy requirement

The 2018 reassessment resulted in an increase in the residential tax base of 5.7%. Of this, 4.9% related to increased values on existing homes, with the balance of the increase resulting from new construction.

Council knew it had to make every effort to help reduce the impact of these assessment increases on the average homeowner. Therefore, again in 2018, council elected to use Revenue Neutral Tax Ratios. This is a tax tool that maintains the tax burden by class, regardless of where the assessments rose the most. This was done to avoid shifting more of the tax burden onto the residential ratepayers.

Today’s budget represents a 2.6% decrease in the City’s residential municipal tax rate. Because of the change in assessments, some homeowners will see their tax bills increase and some homeowners will see their tax bills decrease.

What does this mean for the average homeowner? For a property with no changes (changes such as a new garage or an addition), on average, the assessment rose by 5.25% but the municipal property tax rate decreased by 2.6%. A property worth $166,750 in 2017 would have paid $2,390.49 in municipal taxes. In 2018, this same property, on average, is assessed at $175,500 and will pay $2,442.97 in taxes. This is a $52.48 dollar increase for the year.

We on Council believe that this budget, in conjunction with the strong financial management by City Council over recent years, will continue to maintain the City’s financial strength and stability.

We would like to recognize the time and efforts made by City staff and management, who worked so diligently in partnership with Council, towards developing a budget that maintains services and strengthens Kenora.

Jon Ranger, Budget/Special Projects Officer (807) 467-2010
jranger@kenora.ca
www.kenora.ca

City Approves Warranty Service Line Program

The City has endorsed Service Line Warranties Canada (SLWC) to offer Kenora residents an optional water and sewer line warranty program.

This voluntary program provides homeowners the opportunity to invest in an insurance plan to cover repair costs of water and sewer lines on their property. Many homeowners may not be aware that they are responsible for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of service lines from their home to the curb stop, where the lines separate from the City’s main line. Should there be a break or a freeze to their line which causes damage, these costs can be quite high.

In the coming months, Service Line Warranty Canada will be mailing letters to Kenora residents about registering for the warranty program. Residents are under no obligation to register for the program and it is simply an insurance option for our homeowners. The program offers three options for residents to consider. One plan covers the water line from the property line into the home, another offers protection for the sewer line from the property line into the home, and the third instrument offers protection against issues arising with the plumbing in the home.

Service Line Warranties Canada (SLWC) is an insurance company that works with the Local Authority Services (LAS), which was created by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). They have been providing service line protection to residents across Canada since before 1996.

Launch of ‘Choose Kenora’

A Youth Retention and Attraction Campaign

March 28, 2018    For Immediate Release

Kenora, ON – The Lake of the Woods Development Commission, in partnership with the Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation, Kenora Young Professionals Network, Northwest Business Centre, Harbourtown BIZ, and the Kenora and District Chamber of Commerce, are pleased to announce the launch of the ‘Choose Kenora’ project. This marketing campaign shares stories of young professionals and entrepreneurs and highlights key features that make Kenora an amazing place to live and work.

“We are excited to launch the Choose Kenora project with our partners and are looking forward to continuing to share stories of young professionals in our community”, said Graham Chaze, Chair of the Lake of the Woods Development Commission.

The campaign features web, social media, print and video content focusing on personal and professional testimonials from several of Kenora’s young business owners, students, and career employees. The video and photography content showcases these individuals enjoying time with friends and family while pursuing their professional goals. This relaxed and well-rounded lifestyle is such a big piece of why young people are drawn to Kenora and Northwestern Ontario. The project work includes a handbook for use by employers to use in recruitment campaigns. Employers are encouraged to use the materials produced to support recruitment efforts. The materials, along with campaign visual content, can be found at ChooseKenora.ca.

“We would like to thank the participants who shared their stories with us. The project would not have been possible without their assistance. This program is intended to be dynamic and if there are any young professionals or entrepreneurs who wish to share their story, we would love to hear from them”, shared Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer.

The project partners wish to thank Fifth Hammer Marketing Group and Upriver Media who were contracted to design and produce the project.

Funding for the initiative was provided through the Rural Economic Development Fund, a program provided by the Government of Ontario.

Contact Information
Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer, City of Kenora
mdokuchie@kenora.ca
807-467-2127

Downtown Revitalization Survey Results Released

Positive Impacts Continue for Downtown Businesses

March 27, 2018   For Immediate Release

Kenora, ON – The City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department is pleased to share the results of the recent survey of downtown merchants. The purpose of the survey was to measure the job creation indicators and economic impacts of the third phase of the Downtown Revitalization project which focused on improvements on Second Street South. Overall, businesses in the Harbourtown Centre continue to see positive impacts from Downtown Revitalization projects.

Key results from this year’s survey include:
• 52 responses
• 27 businesses created
• 17 businesses expanded/relocated
• 252 jobs created since 2013
• 23 businesses responded in 2013 and 2018
• 120 jobs created in those 23 businesses

A number of comments were submitted, including:
• Over the last four and half years, I have found Kenora to be a very supportive community for business development;
• The Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for storefronts has had, a huge impact on the effectiveness of this project as a whole
• Main Street and Second Street look great. I would like to see the corner of First Street and Matheson Street revitalized

Perhaps one of the more unanticipated and encouraging results of this year’s survey is the 120 jobs created in 23 business that responded in both 2013 and 2018. A number of positive effects can be gathered from this information. First, a fair number of businesses have remained in operation for at least 5 years. Second, businesses are not only remaining open but are also increasing the number of employees required to operate and expanding to meet needs of customers. This is very inspiring for newly opened downtown businesses and also for future entrepreneurs looking to open a business in Kenora’s downtown area.

“The City of Kenora is fortunate to have the natural beauty that surrounds our City, and our revitalized downtown area only extends that beauty by offering residents and visitors diverse and unique businesses in esthetically appealing storefronts to choose from. We really do have it all!” says Councillor Mort Goss.

”The results of the recent survey are encouraging,” says Megan Dokuchie, Economic Development Officer,  “and the indicators will be used to support funding requests for the next phase of the project.”

Corey Jones, Economic Development Intern would like to thank all the businesses that have responded to the Downtown Revitalization Impact Survey. “We appreciate the feedback and participation we received and are excited to plan for the fourth phase of the Downtown Revitalization Project, Chipman Street and First Street South.”

About the Downtown Revitalization Project and Previous Survey
The spring of 2008 marked the start of the Downtown Revitalization Project in Kenora. The project was divided into five phases which have to date included Main Street South, the Harbourfront and Lake of the Woods Plaza, and Second Street South. The fourth phase will involve Chipman Street and First Street South.

The first two phases of the project were completed between 2008 and 2013. Once completed, a survey was conducted by the City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department to gauge the impact of the project on downtown businesses. The main purpose of the survey was to measure job creation in the downtown since 2008, understand the operating hours of downtown businesses and to measure the overall business climate. The survey boasted very positive results, with 59 businesses responding and 261 jobs being created since 2008.

The third phase of Downtown Revitalization began in 2013 and was recently completed in winter 2018. To measure outcomes, the City of Kenora’s Economic Development Department again undertook a survey of downtown businesses to gauge the impacts. The purpose of this survey was very similar to the one administered in 2013 and the majority of questions remained the same, effectively allowing the results to be accurately compared.

Kenora Recreation Centre Staff Complete HIGH FIVE® Training for Children’s Programming

For Immediate Release

Kenora Recreation Centre Staff Complete HIGH FIVE® Training for Children’s Programming

Kenora, ON – In October 2017, two staff members of the Kenora Recreation Centre, Casey Pyykka, Community Liaison Coordinator, and Crystal Stokes, Aquatic Facilitator, attended a three day training clinic offered by HIGH FIVE. This unique training focuses on child development and creating positive active experiences for children.

“Incorporating the HIGH FIVE Principles into our programs ensures that our programming is planned and delivered with a Child First focus,” says Casey Pyykka.

Crystal Stokes adds, “We now have a quality assurance standard to apply to our programs that gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind in knowing their children are engaging in recreation programs that focus on the elements of Friendship, Participation, Mastery and Play, while in the presence of a Caring Adult”.

Crystal and Casey have achieved the status of Trainer in two of HIGH FIVE’s programs – Principles of Healthy Child Development (PHCD), and QUEST 2. In 2016 the Senior Aquatics Staff obtained their PHCD Certificates and in January 2018, an in-house training session took place for all student aquatics staff, picture below. It is also planned that summer staff and other day camp leaders will receive the same training on this innovative approach.

For the community, Crystal and Casey plan to host training sessions for organizations or groups involved with children’s sports and recreation. Watch for advertisements on social media and Kenora.ca on upcoming sessions. Interested organizations may contact Casey or Crystal directly to make arrangements also.

High Five Positive Impacts Poster

About HIGH FIVE
HIGH FIVE is Canada’s only comprehensive quality standard for children’s programs and holds true to the following five Principles of healthy child development that our research indicates are essential for providing a positive experience for kids.
• A Caring Adult
• Friends
• Play
• Mastery
• Participation
HIGH FIVE’s unique and proprietary approach is built on a Quality Framework, consisting of:
• Training and Development for staff
• Program Assessments using the scientifically-validated QUEST 2 Tool
• Establishing Policies and Procedures to manage risk
• Creating Awareness of high quality programs for kids
HIGH FIVE provides an evidence-based approach to positive experiences for kids, empowering them to excel in life.

KRC staff High Five Trained
Kenora Recreation Centre student aquatics staff show off their HIGH FIVE training certificates.

Contact Information:
Casey Pyykka, Community Liaison Coordinator
cpyykka@kenora.ca
807-467-2987

Crystal Stokes, Aquatic Facilitator
cstokes@kenora.ca
807-467-2594