Fire Risks with Firepots and Other Ethanol-Fuelled Appliances

Risks with Ethonal-Fuelled Appliances

Fire Chief Todd Skene is urging residents in the City of Kenora to be aware of the risks involved with table top firepots or firebowls, or other similar ethanol-fuelled appliances.

The fire risk associated with firepots focuses on flame jetting which occurs when the appliances are re-fuelled.  Flame jetting is what happens when fumes from the fuel are ignited by the flame in the pot, which may not be visible and not entirely out.  If the pot is still warm, there may be a flame present.

Jon Pegg, Ontario’s Fire Marshal, issued a public safety message in August 2019 about the fire safety risks of ethanol-fuelled appliances, noting that since 2016, the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) has investigated eleven fires that involved the use of these appliances.

“If residents have a firepot, and wish to continue to use it, they should be very careful particularly when re-fuelling the pot.” said Fire Chief Skene.  “This is extremely dangerous and may cause an abrupt fire to flare up, causing serious burn injuries or even death.”

On October 9, 2019, Health Canada issued an advisory relating to the health and safety of these appliances which included the following tips on what to do to avoid fires and burns:

  • Never pour fuel over a flame. Some fuels will burn in a way that flames may be difficult to see, especially when a low amount of fuel is left in the firepot.
  • Be certain that the flame is out by using a snuffer or similar tool to extinguish the flame.
  • Be certain that the firepot has cooled completely before refuelling.
  • Do not use pourable fuel containers without a flame arrestor. A flame arrestor resembles a screen that is built into the container opening. It allows liquid to flow out and reduces the chance that a flame can travel into the container and cause a flame jetting occurrence.
  • Non-refillable fuel canisters are a safer alternative to pourable fuels.
  • Other safety considerations for firepots and pourable fuels: Use firepots on level ground or on a stable, level surface, at a safe distance from people and flammable items.
  • Keep pourable fuels tightly capped when not refuelling and away from any flames or other objects that can create a spark.

Article Links:

Public Safety Message from the Ontario Fire Marshal – August 30, 2019

Health Canada warns Canadians of health and safety risks of certain containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels and certain firepots that use pourable fuels – October 9, 2019

Fire Prevention Week October 6 – 12, 2019

“Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape.” TM
Practise home fire escape planning during Fire Prevention Week

Fire Chief Todd Skene is urging families in the City of Kenora to practise their home fire escape plan as part of Fire Prevention Week.

Fire Prevention Week runs from October 6-12, 2019. This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” When the smoke alarms sound, everyone must know where to go – that’s why it is so important for everyone to have working smoke alarms and to develop and practise a home fire escape plan.

“In a fire, you may have only seconds to safely escape your home,” said Fire Chief Skene. “Practise your home fire escape plan and make sure everyone can get out safely.”

Fire and smoke can spread very quickly, so be prepared in advance with these simple steps for home fire escape planning:

Assess the needs of everyone in your home
• Identify anyone who requires assistance to get out of the home safely, such as small children or older adults

Make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas
• Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm

Identify all possible exits (doors and windows) and make sure they work
• Know two ways out of all areas, if possible

Everyone must know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds
• Assign someone to help those who need assistance
• Identify a safe meeting place outside
• Call the fire department from a neighbour’s home or cell phone

Practice your home fire escape plan
• Have everyone participate
• Make changes to your plan if necessary

Kenora Fire and Emergency Services will help you put together a home fire escape plan. Please contact Station One at 467-2090 or drop by 100 Fourteenth Street North for assistance.

Kenora Benefits from Ontario Support for Main Streets

Investments Help Small Business and Tourism Grow

Residents and small businesses of the City of Kenora are seeing the benefit from the Government of Ontario’s Main Street Revitalization Initiative. This initiative makes an investment in Ontario communities’ main streets that will help support and grow small business and improve the aesthetic appeal of main street areas. The City of Kenora received $51,000 over two years, beginning in 2018.

With the support of the Main Street Revitalization initiative, three wayfinding kiosks were installed in the Harbourtown Centre: Husky the Musky in McLeod Park, Matheson Street South dock, and the Kenora Recreation Centre. The kiosks provide visitors and residents with a visual guide to the downtown core and pinpointing local business districts. These information kiosks are a continued implementation of the wayfinding program initially developed in 2017.

The funding is made available by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for all single and lower-tier municipalities to implement local Community Improvement Plans and invest in municipal infrastructure to improve their downtown and main street areas. Funding is upfront, allocation-based and projects are selected by municipal councils.

Investments in main street areas help small business and tourism grow by attracting residents and visitors to communities.

“I’d like to congratulate the City of Kenora on the enhancements made to the downtown core through the Main Street Revitalization Initiative. Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of our communities,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The Main Street Revitalization Initiative helps communities enhance and revitalize main streets and demonstrates that Ontario is open for business.”

“The wayfinding signs throughout the City of Kenora help visitors to the area find the wonderful assets and opportunities that Kenora offers to visitors and residents alike,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora – Rainy River. “They have added an impressive visual mark to our streets in the City and reflect the heritage of our area through their impactful designs.”

City of Kenora Mayor Daniel Reynard says, “We are fortunate to receive this funding from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at a time when we are seeing many other improvements to our downtown core. The kiosk project was chosen for this funding to add to the appeal of our main street area and Harbourtown Centre, and encourage local business investment in downtown. The kiosks add value to the Harbourtown Centre experience for pedestrians who want to shop, dine, and sightsee in our beautiful City. We are thrilled to have received this funding, thanks to the AMO and the Government of Ontario.”

 

About the Main Street Revitalization Initiative
• The Ontario government’s investment through the Main Street Revitalization Initiative totals $26 million.
• 413 lower and single-tier municipalities are eligible for funding. Upper-tier municipalities (county and regional governments) and the City of Toronto are not eligible for funding.
• Ontario’s municipal governments own more of Ontario’s infrastructure than any other order of government.
• The Main Street Revitalization Initiative allocation formula provides equal base funding to all municipalities, allocates a portion of the funding based on population, and provides an additional allocation to communities with a population less than 25,000.
• A Community Improvement Plan is a planning tool provided for under the Planning Act, that identifies a designated geographic area within which a municipalities wishes to focus investment based on identified priorities.
• AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports and enhances 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.

City Proceeds with the Sale of Town Island

Sale fo Town Island

Today, Council directed administration to proceed with a competitive Expressions of Interest process and appraisal of Town Island, a City owned island just south of Coney Island.

Over the past 10 years, the City has investigated the potential transfer of Town Island in exchange for Crown land of equal value within or adjacent to the City boundaries. The intent was to seek properties for residential and recreational land development within the City. In exchange, the Province would add the Town Island property into its Lands for Life Program, also referred to as the Lake of the Woods Conservation Reserve.

More recently, the Province has now advised that the former Lands for Life Program is no longer active and they no longer have any interest in acquiring the Town Island property. The Province has advised that the City may purchase surplus properties from the Province as they become available. In order to do so the City needs to have the available financial resources such as the Town Island property to potentially purchase these types of property for development.

Selling this property will provide the City with the value of that sale for the purposes of future land development within City limits. The net proceeds will be placed into a reserve fund in which Council has the discretion to pursue valuable properties that will help address the strategic challenges facing the municipality including fostering economic development and generating additional tax revenue.

Adam Smith, Development Services Manager
(807) 467-2192
asmith@kenora.ca

City Delegation Attending 2019 AMO Conference

Focus on Municipal Challenges and Planning

Mayor Daniel Reynard and Councillors Mort Goss, Andrew Poirier, and Kirsi Ralko will join about 2,000 participants at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) Conference in Ottawa from August 18 to 21.

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 officials will take part in municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries.

The City of Kenora delegation is particularly interested in advocating for such issues as:
• support for Railway Street and Tenth Avenue South reconstruction and improvements project under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP);
• recognizing Highway 17 as a connecting link to be eligible for Connecting Link funding for roads and bridge maintenance; and
• revision to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) guidelines to include municipal service extensions to support housing developments.

Key session topics include cyber security, cannabis legalization, local economies in transition, changes to the health care system, recycling and the rise of plastics, affordable housing, municipal policing, rural economic development, climate change, addressing social and health problems facing our communities and much more.

Program information is available at www.amo.on.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 http://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 2019 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca
Follow the conference on Twitter: @AMOPolicy, Hashtag: #AMOConf19

Requests for interviews with Mayor Reynard can be sent to dreynard@kenora.ca.

City Transit Struck By Train

The City transit was struck this morning at approximately 10:00 a.m. by a train at the Government Road intersection in Keewatin.

Thankfully, all passengers on the transit were uninjured and everyone is safe. First Student Canada operates the City Transit through a contract agreement with the City and the driver of the transit was a First Student employee.

The City is working closely with emergency services, First Student, and Canadian Pacific (CP) to ensure the safety of the passengers and will resume transit service as soon as possible.

There are no further details surrounding the incident at this time.

Council Approves 2018 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the City of Kenora

On July 16, 2019, Council approved the 2018 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements. The City received an unqualified audit report and is financially stable.

The 2018 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 Statement of Financial Position include:

  • Cash and temporary investments on hand as at December 31, 2018 totalled $34.6 million;
  • Investment in government business enterprises totalled $10 million;
  • The Kenora Citizens’ Prosperity Trust Fund balance was $32.9 million at the end of 2018 on the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The Trust Fund in fact has $40.8 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 $7.9 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 $29.1 million at the end of 2018.
  • The City’s accumulated surplus totals $233.5 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 assets 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 Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The City’s surplus includes the Tangible Capital Assets recorded at cost less accumulated amortization. At the end of 2018, the investment in capital assets included in the City’s surplus is $161.1 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 July 17th 2019, 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.

Charlotte Edie, CPA, CA, Treasurer (807) 467-2013
cedie@kenora.ca

Council Makes Changes to Kenora Non Profit Housing Board Composition

Today, Kenora City Council made changes to the Board Composition of the Kenora Non Profit Housing Board.

Established in 1983, the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation (KMNPHC) provides affordable housing within the former limits of the Town of Kenora. It currently manages a portfolio of 206 living units in 61 separate buildings.

The Province has provided direction to municipalities to review services and business models to identify areas where improvements could be made. The City of Kenora is effectively in a housing crisis, with an estimated shortfall in housing of roughly 10% of the City’s existing housing stock.

The City has a current housing shortage and Council has provided administration direction to explore opportunities to increase the current housing portfolio within the City. Council has determined that opportunities for enabling change may exist within the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation.

City Council will take on the role of the KMNPHC Board for the purposes of receiving a review and the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), as the Service Manager responsible for Social Housing in Kenora, will perform a review of the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation based on such parameters as deemed appropriate by the KDSB. As part of this process, a determination will be made as to whether or not the current structure and management is in the best interests of the ongoing operations, or if another structure should be considered.

During this Board structure change, and review there will be no change as far as the current operations in any of the 61 buildings that are managed by the Kenora Non Profit Housing Management.

Heather Kasprick, City Clerk/Communications Lead (807) 467-2295
hkasprick@kenora.ca

Downtown Construction Chipman Street up to Second Street

Construction works are progressing well in the next phase of our Downtown Revitalization project.

The contractors are now at a point where an additional road closure will take place. Chipman Street will be closed effective July 10, 2019 from 1st Street South to 2nd Street South. This closure impacts the City transit main depot which will be relocated to Matheson Street South directly in front of the Market Square plaza (Chip Truck area). The parking meter located directly in front will be covered and this will become the City Transit stop for Market Square, temporarily during this closure.

We have covered several meters on Matheson Street to accommodate the traffic flow, and appreciate the public respecting the signage and adhere to those no parking areas which will improve traffic flow in the area. The City has received numerous messages through social media and otherwise suggesting the traffic signals be changed to improve traffic flow. City engineers did review this option prior to the works starting, however, changing the traffic signals is not a straightforward undertaking as changing one set of signals affects pedestrian crossing cycles, and timing of other intersections as Second St and Main St are the primary streets to ensure traffic flow is optimized. Additional wiring would be required to change the signal configuration at the Matheson and Second St S intersection, and the traffic signals are not programmed locally making this option not feasible for the short term traffic challenges.

We thank the public for their continued patience during our construction period. The end result of this project will be a beautiful enhancement to our downtown and the challenges we are facing with traffic flow will be well worth these short term challenges.

Heather Pihulak, City Clerk/Communications Lead (807) 467-2295
hpihulak@kenora.ca

Residents Urged to Attend Local Fireworks Display

To minimize the risk of fire and burn injuries on Canada Day, Kenora Fire and Emergency Services urges residents to attend the fireworks display at the Whitecap Pavilion instead of informal family or neighbourhood displays.

“Tourism Kenora will be hosting a fireworks display on Monday night, with experts who are trained to handle and discharge fireworks safely,” says Fire Chief Todd Skene. “For everyone else, fireworks can be extremely dangerous and costly should something go wrong. For this reason, family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays are not recommended.”

If you still choose to have your own fireworks display, be aware that you are completely responsible for the cost for Emergency Services to extinguish a fire and other damage caused by detonation of your own fireworks.

Fireworks may be set off on Canada Day in the City of Kenora between 7 pm and 11 pm, as well as on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Victoria Day, Labour Day, and US Independence Day.

Here are some important safety tips to be followed:
• Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
• Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
• Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
• Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.
• Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
• Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
• Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
• Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.
• If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

For more information on fireworks regulations in the City of Kenora, please contact Fire Station One at 807-467-2090.

Bridge Art Pieces Survey Results

Community Supports Public Display

The City of Kenora is pleased to share the results of the recent bridge art pieces survey which was launched as a follow up to the Community Conversation open house that was held on March 20, 2019.

This survey provided an additional opportunity for the public to share their thoughts about the future placement of the returned art pieces. The survey and the Community Conversation were necessary fact-finding steps to know if there was a desire to explore the future of the art pieces further. Overall, the results have shown support for a permanent display of the figures.

The online survey prompted 554 responses over three weeks, from March 20 to April 10, 2019. The survey asked six specific questions to gauge how people felt about the art pieces, if the pieces should be displayed, and how important the figures are to Kenora’s heritage. The data showed an overwhelming 94% of respondents support having the pieces displayed publically, and 91% of the respondents feel the pieces are significant to our community’s history.

Given the positive feedback, the next steps will involve reviewing the hundreds of comments received in the survey and to arrange further consultation with Indigenous Elders.

We are pleased with the number of respondents and the honesty in the comments received. Having this feedback will guide respectful decision-making as we move forward.

Quick Facts:
• 554 responses
• 54% (296) feel the art pices are an extremely important part of our history and 37% (171) feel the pieces are very important
• 94% (512) feel the art pices should be publically displayed

City Looking for Assistance to Recover Heritage Art Pieces

Heritage Art Pieces Returned Overnight – UPDATED

Council Approves 2019 Tax Rates

Today, May 21, 2019, Council approves the 2019 Tax Rates for the City of Kenora. The 2019 Capital Budget was approved on December 18, 2018 and the Operating Budget on March 19, 2019.

The 2019 assessment resulted in an increase in the residential tax base of 5.2%. Of this, 4.7% related to increased values on existing homes, with the balance of the increase resulting from new construction.

It was acknowledged that there were many budget challenges to overcome in 2019. Council knew it had to make every effort to help reduce the impact of these assessment increases on the average homeowner. Therefore, again in 2019, 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. Also in 2019 the Vacant Unit Rebates for any partial vacancies or building portions have been eliminated and the tax reductions for vacant land, units, and excess land have been reduced to 15% for the commercial, and industrial property classes.

Today’s budget represents a 0.9% 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 typical property with no changes (changes such as a new garage or an addition), the assessment rose by 4.7% but the municipal property tax rate decreased by 0.9%. A property worth $171,000 in 2018 would have paid $2,089.63 in municipal taxes. In 2019, this same property, on average, is assessed at $179,500 and will pay $2,173.85 in taxes. This is an $84.22 dollar increase from the prior year. These amounts are for municipal taxes only and do not include the education taxes.

“Development of the 2019 budget was a challenging one for Council and our taxpayers are always at the forefront of views when determining the impacts of establishing the tax rates. Council gave close consideration to all projects and evaluated the necessities of each level of service and strategies. Council will continue to maintain the City’s financial strength through strong fiscal management and grow our community within our strategic vision.” states Mayor Daniel Reynard.

Jon Ranger, Deputy Treasurer
807-467-2010
jranger@kenora.ca

Property Taxes