Drastic increase in building permits

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Sept. 14 virtual meeting of Highlands East council.

By Fred Groves

Highlands East has seen a drastic increase in the permits that have been issued. According to Chief Building Official Laurie Devolin, the municipality has seen 148 to date thus far for 202 as compared to 11, to date the previous year. Also, August saw 42 permits, way up from 12 in 2020.
The financial impact is substantial as to date the value of construction is $27.90 million as compared to date in 2020 at $7.77 million.
“We are quite busy issuing permits. It’s significantly higher than last year. It’s great and we keep rolling along,” said Devolin.

Redressing the legacy of residential schools

The Municipality of Highlands East will officially recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Thursday, Sept. 30.
At its Sept. 14, regular session, council received and accepted a report from Clerk Robyn Rogers, outlining information in the federal government’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation final report that was written to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation.
“We can debate this, but it is long overdue,” said Deputy-Mayor Cecil Ryall.
And while Sept. 30 is not a statuary holiday, Highlands East CAO Shannon Hunter noted that it is important to educate and promote truth and reconciliation. The national recognition day is also being refereed to as National Orange Shirt Day.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a statuary holiday. We tried to get shirts but there is a shortage,” said Hunter..”
In other news from the recent council meeting, Economic Development Officer Joanne Vanier reported that there is a lot of traffic to the municipality’s visitors’ centre and in August there were 193 who sought out information including geocaching and mineral collecting.

Demands for recreation motivates new upgrades

Council has agreed to invest $1,500 into lighting upgrades at the Gooderham Tennis Courts which also offers basketball and pickle ball. Vanier reported that the Gooderham Action Group will also be contributing $1,000.
“The demand for more outdoor recreation facilities is here to say especially for pickle ball, as more people are moving and building in our area,” said Vanier.

Flying flags
At the recent meeting, the municipality developed and passed a Flag Etiquette and Protocol Policy which it did not previously have. This new policy will pertain to all flags at municipality properties whether they be federal, provincial or municipal flags.
These regulations include flying of flags at half-mast protocol, replacement and disposal of flags.