Minto council briefs: Town cancels Fire and Ice Family New Year’s Eve celebration

MINTO – The Town of Minto’s popular Fire and Ice Family New Year’s Eve celebration won’t be held this year.

At the Sept. 15 meeting, council approved a staff recommendation to the cancel the Dec. 31 event due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

For the last four years, the Town of Minto has hosted the Fire and Ice New Years’ Eve celebration at the Palmerston Arena complex.

The event has included ice skating, outdoor fire pits, sled dog demonstrations, fire dancing and food booths.

“The event has been extremely successful and brought over a thousand people to the grounds every year,” notes a staff report from Fire Chief Chris Harrow and economic development manager Belinda Wick-Graham.

“The event started as a way council could say thank you to the community for all their work throughout the year.”

Officials say the event was designed to allow local families to enjoy an affordable New Years’ Eve together, as no admission fee was charged, although donations were accepted.

“Due to the large number of people who attend Fire and Ice and the ongoing restrictions we have in place, staffs feel it will be extremely difficult to ensure social distancing and other restrictions are adhered to,” the report states.

“The safest option we believe would be to cancel the event for this year and budget for it to take place in 2021.”

The report adds there will be a savings from not hosting the 2020 event, which is budgeted at $10,000.

Extension granted

The Town of Minto has granted request from Black Rose Reserve Inc. for a one-year extension on a requirement to obtain a building permit within one year of purchasing a lot in the Palmerston Industrial Park.

On June 3, 2019 Black Rose Reserve Inc. closed on the sale of 1.7 acres at the rear of the Palmerston Industrial Park for the planned construction of a micro cannabis facility.

Its plan was to construct a 5,200 sq. ft. greenhouse for cultivation activities and a 5,500 sq. ft. facility for office, production and other related activities.

The project was estimated to cost between $3.5 million and $4.5 million.

On May 8, 2019, just prior to the sale closing, Health Canada changed in the regulations to require all applicants to have a facility before applying.

“As you can understand this is a major hurdle for any business to overcome, let alone a start-up business,” notes economic development manager Belinda Wick-Graham in a report to council at the Sept. 15 meeting.

Black Rose Reserve officials attended the meeting to explain details of their plan to attract investors and adapt their business in order to move forward with the Palmerston facility.

Council agreed to the extension and waived a requirement for a performance deposit of 10% of the lot’s purchase price.

Grant application

Minto council has directed staff to apply for a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Municipal Asset Management Program for asset management data and training enhancements.

The town updated its asset management plan in December, notes a staff report from treasurer Gordon Duff.

The report states there are several items to complete to make the data more useful to staff and council.

The town is applying for $50,000, which is the maximum grant under the program, and will budget $15,000 in 2021 as a municipal contribution.