Realignment Needed for Magpie Avenue in Michipicoten River Village

The Municipality of Wawa will slightly change a roadway in the Mission.

During their meeting Tuesday night, Wawa Municipal Council approved a by-law to "dedicate certain municipal lands for highway purposes as part of Magpie Avenue in the Michipicoten River Village".

Kevin Sabourin - the Assistant Director of Protective Services - explains the move stems from a question about the current roadway.

Sabourin says the by-law passed by Council is meant to address issues found with the existing roadway.

To keep the roadway from going over neighbouring properties, Sabourin says it will have to be altered slightly.

No timeline has been given for the changes.

Procedural By-Law Revision Discussed by Wawa Council

Revisions for Wawa's procedural by-law are being mulled over by Wawa Municipal Council.

Clerk Cathy Cyr discussed the by-law during last night's Corporate Planning Committee meeting, noting a draft was provided to Council in July.

Cyr highlighted a few parts of the by-law to consider, including the possibility of including a "territorial acknowledgement" for certain meetings or ceremonies, and Council was asked to consider a new agenda format, giving input on things they'd like removed from or added to that agenda style.

Also questioned is whether Council wanted to maintain the current meeting schedule - meeting on the first and third Tuesday of the month, except for certain months - and Cyr recommended renaming the "Corporate Planning" and "Policy Manual" committees as "Committee of the Whole" - the two committees are made up of the members of Council and have consistently held joint meetings, rather than separate.

Cyr also asked whether Council wished to allow or prohibit members from participating in meetings "electronically", outlining proposed if it is allowed, including that no more than two councillors could participate electronically at one time - as councillors attending electronically wouldn't count toward the required "quorum" for a meeting, so three members would need to be there physically - and councillors would only be allowed to attend electronically twice per term, though they would not be able to participate electronically in a closed meeting.

She also recommended Council review the by-law annually, though there is a process outlined for early review.

The draft revised by-law will be posted on the municipal website for public comment until October 2nd.

Wawa Council to Further Consider Potential Arena Ice Fee Increase

Wawa Municipal Council is taking more time to consider a potential fee increase for arena ice.

Speaking during last night's Corporate Planning Committee meeting, Community Services and Tourism Director Alex Patterson explained that he was asked to prepare a fee increase recommendation, noting there hadn't been an increase "in some time".

Patterson stated it was decided the fee should be "reflective" of costs for service but still comparable to other communities - phasing in increases over time - adding staff researched and compared fees from a wide range of northern communities - both smaller and larger than Wawa, though weighted to reflect similarities or differences.

The recommendation was a $5 an hour increase each year for four years - starting in the 2020-21 season - with Council to review it at the end of that period.

Councillors Mitch Hatfield and Pat Tait both stated they disliked the idea of setting out four years of increases at one time, preferring yearly reviews, though Patterson noted the recommendation was written in such a way that Council would be finalizing the increases on a yearly basis - when approving the municipal schedule of fees - using the four year plan as a "guideline" from which they could deviate due to factors such as cost of living or costs for service, among others - that could mean Council deciding not to increase the fee that year or to increase it substantially more, if they wished.

Mayor Ron Rody first commented that he dislikes the idea of giving user groups "one year notice" about fee increases, stating he was not prepared to honour that - later questioning whether that would be reasonable for other services - and he went on to call the lack of fee increase in recent years a "gross mistake", suggesting the Municipality should instead substantially increase fees first - possibly to the $65 or $68 an hour range, similar to communities such as Marathon - then move to increases based on the cost of living.

Rody also noted Sault Ste. Marie had substantially higher fees - touting a figure of $135 - and wondered why the city can get away with such high fees for people such as teachers and police officers - who he said would be paid the same as in Wawa - though he did emphasize he wasn't calling for Wawa to raise fees as high as the Soo.

While Council did vote in favour of officially receiving the report, the recommendation itself was not scheduled for a vote last night.

The idea's expected to come back to Council at a later date, as Mayor Rody noted he wanted a decision made by Christmas.

Wawa Council Defers Decision on Wawa Lake Docking, Mooring, Launching, and Boating Policy

Wawa Municipal Council's putting off a final vote for a proposed policy on docking, mooring, launching, and boating on Wawa Lake beachfront properties.

While the policy was included among a group of by-laws up for approval, Mayor Ron Rody stated during last night's regular meeting that he'd been asked ahead of time to revisit it, and he asked that it only be given "first and second" reading rather than the "first, second and third" readings Council usually gives a by-law - that means the by-law has not been passed and does not yet come into force, but will instead need to come back to Council for that third reading.

Though it was posted for public comment until last Tuesday, the policy had not been revised since it was first brought to Council August 13th.

At that time, CAO/Treasurer Maury O'Neill explained the idea stemmed from concerns raised by some members of the public.

O'Neill emphasized the policy isn't meant to restrict or deter boaters from enjoying the waterfront.

It may be a while before the policy is brought to a final vote: Mayor Rody asked it be re-posted for public comment until the end of October, then brought to a committee meeting in November for further discussion, with the aim of a vote in early December.

Wawa Council to Hold Back-to-Back Meetings at MMCC

Wawa Municipal Council are set to hold a special meeting tonight - at least, in terms of venue.

Council's scheduled to hold back-to-back meetings tonight - the Corporate Planning Committee and a regular meeting of Council - but instead of holding them in Council Chambers, they'll be in the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre's banquet room.

The evening will actually start with a tour of the facility at 5:45 pm, followed by the committee meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 pm - the agenda for the committee meeting includes a report on realigning Magpie Street in the Michipicoten River Village, a review of the procedural by-law, and a proposal regarding the arena ice fee.

After the committee meeting, Council will hold their regular meeting - the agenda for that includes several by-laws, such as: the proposed policy on docking, mooring, launching, and boating on Wawa Lake; an agreement with the Hawk Junction Local Services Board on collection and disposal of domestic and commercial garbage; and a by-law to "dedicate certain municipal lands for highway purposes as part of Magpie Avenue in the Michipicoten River Village".

The meetings are open to the public, again hosted at the Michipicoten Memorial Community Centre.

OPP Deploy Spike Belt To Catch 2 Accused of Stealing Gas in Wawa

A spike belt had to be deployed to stop two people accused of stealing gas from a Wawa station on Sunday.

Superior East Ontario Provincial Police say the theft was reported by a service station on Mission Road around 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon, with an officer from the Sault Ste. Marie detachment spotting the suspect vehicle shortly before 6 pm - the vehicle was travelling southbound on Highway 17, and fled at a high rate of speed upon seeing the OPP vehicle.

Instead of pursuing the fleeing vehicle, police deployed a spike belt on Highway 17 near Goulais River, leading to the arrest of both people in the vehicle.

Police charged a 45-year-old man from Mission, British Columbia, with possession of property obtained by crime under $5000, theft under $5000 - shoplifting, dangerous operation, operation while prohibited, race a motor vehicle - stunt, and use plate not authorized for vehicle.

A 37-year-old woman of no fixed address was also charged with possession of property obtained by crime under $5000 and theft under $5000 - shoplifting.

Both were held in custody for a bail hearing on Monday.

Ice Installation Begins at Wawa Arena

Ice making has started at Wawa's arena.

The Municipality of Wawa says key repairs to the arena ice plant and a structural inspection of the arena were completed on time, allowing them to start ice installation on Friday.

That puts them on track for the first ice availability to be Saturday, September 28th, though that remains a tentative date, with updates expected beforehand.

Organizers Thank Supporters of Wawa's Terry Fox Run

Organizers of Wawa's annual Terry Fox Run are thanking those who came out for last weekend's event, supporting the fight against cancer.

Organizer Nadine Cartledge says the event went quite well.

Cartledge also highlights the efforts of the volunteers who made the event possible.

Update: Cartledge says there were a total of 66 participants and volunteers, raising $4400.70.

After several years organizing the local run, Cartledge has announced she's stepping down and taking a "back seat role", handing over the reins to Brian and Cathy Lachine for the 40th anniversary event, to be held September 20th, 2020.

Organizers have also provided this image of participants in the event:

Participants in the 2019 Terry Fox Run in Wawa (Sep. 15, 2019)

Participants in the 2019 Terry Fox Run in Wawa (Sep. 15, 2019)

Wawa Volunteer Fire Department Hosting Info Session for Potential Volunteers

The Wawa Volunteer Fire Department's looking for a few more volunteers.

Fire Chief Kevin Sabourin explains some firefighters are moving out of town or focusing on their careers, leaving some vacancies.

Chief Sabourin says there are some requirements for volunteers, particularly physical.

Sabourin emphasizes the expectation is that volunteer firefighters commit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for all 365 days a year.

While you could take vacations, you'd be expected to respond to fire calls whenever you are in the community, which should be most of the time.

Anyone interested can contact Sabourin for more information, apply at the Municipal Office, or attend an information session at 7 pm tonight, in the Fire Hall.

17th Strongman Challenge Dubreuilville Called "Strong Success"

After a year away, Dubreuilville's Strongman Challenge returned with a strong show of support.

Cheered on by a packed crowd, Lithuanian Vidas Blekaitis - a former World's Strongest Man competitor - claimed Dubreilville's first ever Men's Masters Championship, followed by Ontario's own Lance Lavallee, and American Darren Zola, while American Kim Baum Derks won the Women's Open competition.

Organizer Rejean Raymond says the 17th Strongman Challenge Dubreuilville was a "strong success".

Raymond thanks the members of the Strongman committee, all other volunteers, and sponsors.