Kenora City Council responded to the deputation from North of the Bypass Property Owners.
On June 7, 2022, Susan Cone gave a deputation to the Kenora City Council. Cone represented approximately 800 property owners from north of the Kenora bypass who feel as though their part of town is underrepresented and that they pay an unfair amount of taxes for roads that often go neglected.
This year has been one of the worst in history for flooding, for months, multiple areas of Kenora have been inaccessible due to washed-out and flooded roads.
In the deputation, Cone brought forth four main issues that had been identified by the North of the Bypass Property Owners group. Cone had asked Council to consider their concerns and respond with how they could work together to solve their issues.
The Council sent a response to Cone a few weeks after the deputation, the following is said response.
In the deputation, the first request that was made was for Kenora City Council to provide the group with the names and addresses of all the property owners north of the bypass. Cone alleged that the group had previously requested this information from City staff and was denied despite it being “public record.”
In the response, the Council claimed that after a conversation with administrative staff, they had no evidence that the group had formally requested the information. Council also stated that “it is not the role of Council to provide administrative information, nor does Council have access to municipally held records.”
Council went on to provide specific information on how the group could obtain the names and addresses of the property owners.
The second request the group made was also regarding “public information”, the group requested Council’s assistance in obtaining information pertaining to the total tax revenue for the properties north of the bypass. Cone again alleged that the group had not been able to obtain the information when working through City of Kenora Administration.
Council once again claimed that they had found no evidence to suggest that the group had sourced the information properly and they told the group to refer to the previous instructions.
For the third request, the group requested that a member of Kenora City Council volunteer be the delegate or Council representative for the residents north of the bypass – someone to specifically look after the rights, concerns, and requests of those located north of the bypass.
In response, Council stated that they are a non-ward system and that all members of Council act as representatives of the whole community. “The system promotes the concept of a municipal-wide focus, with councillors being elected by, and concerned for, the municipality as a whole, rather than placing a priority on more parochial interests,” said Council.
For their fourth and final request, Cone asked Council to create a three-year road upgrade plan, supplied and guaranteed for the major access roads.
In response, Council stated that capital work continues to address the needs in the north and that they would have to invest in a Roads Needs Study before any sort of long-term planning could be established.
To conclude their response, Council shared a statement regarding the situation as a whole, “We understand the 2022 flooding in our region has been very difficult and challenging for many members of our community and surrounding area.”
“Please be assured that Council and Administration recognize the strain this natural event has placed on many and are taking the situation seriously with committed long-term planning for the area.”