By Anne Finlay-Stewart

  • Chris Geberdt, veteran volunteer with the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular, brought greetings to council from "The Big Tent". His passion for his community could not be missed as he spoke of the year-long promotion for the event from Port Credit to Sudbury. The event itself draws 50,000 people through the site, 450 volunteers and 150 corporate sponsors. "People think fishing derby, they think rubber boots and fishing poles," he said. "But it is so much more than that." Geberdt said his own grandson was giving free hugs along with Tim Horton's gift cards to visitors in wheelchairs. Special events and entertainment for kids, seniors and ladies all lead up to the huge fish fry on the last weekend. The event will make close to $40,000 for local conservation projects. Oh yes, and people fish too.

  • The Festival of Northern Lights, ended its 28th year with a $54,000 surplus, and chair Doug McKee presented a strong plan for the next five years. While praising the many volunteers, some in their eighties, who work in "Santa's Workshop" year-round to prepare the city's annual celebration along the river, McKee announced that the 2014-15 would be his last holiday season as chair of the Festival.

  • Councillor Colleen Purdon spoke in support of a resolution received in correspondence from Halton Region, calling on the Premier to reintroduce Bill 83. The Bill, which died on the order paper when the Ontario election was called earlier this year, is " intended to protect persons from being subjected to legal proceedings that would stifle their ability to speak out on public issues or promote, in the public interest, action by the public or any level of government".

  • It appears we are going to be voting in October on that convoluted question after all - "Are you in favour of the discontinuance of the fluoridation of the public water supply of this municipality?" The mayor told councillors it was up to them to get the word out to their constituents - "Yes means get the fluoride out - No means keep it in". The odd wording comes direct from the Fluoridation Act. The Grey Bruce Health Unit had requested council reconsider taking the plebiscite under the Municipal Act where the wording could be clearer, and where the threshold needed for change is an unlikely 50%-plus support with at least 50% of eligible voters casting a ballot.

  • An encouraging eight new business licences were approved, and an eclectic bunch they are – from massage to children's clothing to a new concert hall.

  • New buses may finally be on the way for Owen Sound. The acting manager of operations Jack Tupling presented the revised contract between the city and transit provider, First Transit. The agreement had to be re-opened when the city changed its plan from three routes back to four. Transit activist Bernice Ackermann is pleased the bus purchase can now go ahead, but is still concerned that the city enforce standards of service over the expected six month wait for new vehicles. "The company is still replacing broken-down buses with school buses. They are made for children, not adults, and certainly not adults with mobility challenges," she said. "And there is sometimes no signage on the bus to identify the route."

  • What would a council meeting be without a mention of the old BCK property and this time it was Councillor Peter Lemon describing the skunks emerging from the phragmites at night.

  • As a follow up to MP Larry Miller's recent visit to Council, Councillor Purdon gave notice that she would be bringing forward a motion next meeting to make a Freedom of Information request for the Dillon Consulting report on contamination in Owen Sound harbour. An important step, but don't hold your breath.

Anne Finlay-Stewart is Community Editor of She can be reached at [email protected].