Hawkesbury has a new, permanent fire chief.

Firefighter Daniel Gascon was named acting chief in December 2018 to replace Roger Champagne. Council has appointed Gascon to the position permanently and the decision took effect immediately.

Integrity commissioner made official

Council approved a by-law appointing lawyer, and former Grenville-sur-la-Rouge mayor John Saywell as the municipal integrity commissioner.  Saywell has also been appointed by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell along with various other local municipalities to serve as their integrity commissioner.

New officer

Add another by-law officer to the municipal staff.

Council approved hiring a fourth, full-time officer due to increased complaints, especially those regarding the maintenance and upkeep of properties.

The new hire was in the 2019 budget at an approximate cost of $32,500. The town is also expecting a $10,000 grant from the Ontario government as part of a program to help municipalities adapt to extra by-law enforcement responsibilities resulting from the legalization of cannabis.

Convenience store zoning

A by-law was formally approved by council authorizing zoning changes at the corner of McGill and Bon Pasteur Streets to allow for changes to the existing Ultramar gas station. The owner of the property is planning to turn the unused garage bays in the building into a convenience store. A public meeting on the convenience store proposal was held on February 25.

Indigenous acknowledgement

An addition to the usual opening observances has been made to Hawkesbury town council meetings.

Along with the customary reflection, Mayor Paula Assaly has begun acknowledging whose ancestral lands the town is situated upon.

The mayor starts each meeting by reading a short statement recognizing that the town council meeting is taking place on unceded Algonquin Anishnabeg land.

Assaly said that as mayor, she decided to adopt the practice, which is also commonly used at other public gatherings.

“I thought it was important to show recognition of aboriginal people,” she said.