City Council Meeting, June 17,2014
Jason here. Last Night’s Council meeting featured a moving endorsement of turtles and one by Councillor Downes on Councillor Glover. It did not feature a spirited discussion of the new Homestead subdivision adjacent to the Cataraqui Cemetery. I expected the latter. Councillors Schell, Hector and George declared potential conflict of interest on the subject. One wonders if this was intentional on the part of the developer. The suggestion is because when funds were being raised for the C.R.C.A. Outdoor Learning Centre Homestead said they would contribute financially IF the plan for a golf course on this property was approved. Time passes. Clearly a new subdivision is a much more appropriate use than a golf course- even if it does have three very high residential buildings. Because of the open space and the historic nature of the cemetery, this is one of the most desirable locations in the city.
Turtles: It seems that after the discussion at Council where a fence to stop turtles from crossing a busy highway to lay eggs was turned down because of the cost BUT Council approved a motion requiring it to match ‘dollar for dollar’ any funds collected for this purpose. This motivated turtle lovers. Still, the $22,000 contributed is less than the $30,500 required but the hope is that the fence can be put up before the next breeding season Is this a possible initiative where those who have different concerns than Council can reach into their own pocket books and make a difference at little cost to the city?
Finally, the spirited (he stood up) by Councillor Downes of Councillor Glover. Council was on the edge of refusing to pay the $4000 owing (what would have happened if the amount had been $40,000?) before Downes defence. He said that he would do the same for any other member of Council. Downes said that Glover was a man of integrity and had done nothing maliciously. Glover’s action may have been inappropriate but not malicious. This was Councillor Downes at his best and Glover’s costs will be paid.
Title: Turtles Saved for Another Day.
Council Meeting June 3 2014
Listen Up Folks; this is why we have a ward system! No one besides a ward Councillor could understand the changes in parking rules put forward by the Parking Office, last night. Ward Councillors made it their duty to understand, which is more than did the residents who crowded the Council Chambers. The mayor said that if residents wanted their streets to be crowded with commuters, he would have to go along with them. The changes passed with only Councillor Downes opposed (for other reasons). We heard nothing about the removal of parking for bicycle lanes. Perhaps we will hear more when the parking has been removed from Brock and Johnson. We heard a lot on this issue in the Williamsville debate and Jason expected at least a mention of bicycles this time. Nothing. If the west end Councillors wished to punish the inner city, here was an opportunity. I guess they don’t! Another opportunity presented itself with the discussion on the maintenance of the CBD. This focussed on the issue of cleanliness of downtown. Kingston is known for being one of the dirtiest of cities- largely because of the failure of the BIA to address this problem. Public Works and the BIA will work together to solve it. Unmentioned was the question of intersections during times of winter melting- you know, when you can’t cross the street without waders on! The head of the BIA made a weak presentation at the start of the meeting. Clearly the BIA is more interested in their events than cleanliness and snow removal. The criticism of the BIA by Councillor Reitzel is correct; the BIA isn’t doing its job.
Was last night’s vote to assist the Marine Museum in its discussion with Public Works, the thin edge of the wedge? Will the city eventually control the Marine Museum to the horror of taxpayers? The city can only, at this point, determine how much it would cost to clean up and repair the site. There must be no risk to the city. It is important to separate the Marine Museum’s grandiose plans from the site itself. The site is very important to the city as it contains a deep water wharf and access to the waterfront. Is the hope of bringing in tour boats pie in the sky? The city has had many such endeavours – witness the rail lines in front of city hall. Our waterfront is now sacred. This will influence the discussion of the Marine Museum’s future.
Councillors Reitzel and Scott’s motion about sending a questionnaire to candidates in the provincial election re funding the third crossing finally made it to Council where it was passed. The only objections were that it appeared that by asking for a commitment on the behalf of candidates it gave the third crossing more prominence than it deserved. After all, it is not a city priority as was pointed out. It may be a priority of Councillor Reitzel and all those living east of the current bridge.