City Council Meeting Dec.16th 2014
Jason here. At the first meeting of the new Council a few themes emerged. McLaren (Meadowbrook- Strathcona)emerged as the activist- four petitions mostly regarding traffic issues and myriad amendments mostly surrounding the issue of the day- the Marine Museum(MM) The question of the day is Should the city buy it.(It, being the marine museum, Dry Dock and surrounding land.) It is historically significant – the corner stone was laid by Sir John himself in 1890. It is the last piece of waterfront available to the public There are, as was recognized, some things to be sorted out before a vote is taken. Where does this stand relative to the third crossing? the Wellington St. extension? The price divergence between what Public Works wants and what the city is prepared to pay is one. Another – and a non-starter, is the request by the Marine Museum that any money that is gained by sale of property to a developer (in this case, Homestead) be put aside for their (the MM’s) use. No one trusts the initial estimate of $19.1 million to repair the dock-given the Tett Centre’s overrun. There are two outstanding issues here; one is the emphasis by the current mayor and Council on access to the waterfront and the other is the potential docking facilities for tour boats. These items won’t come cheaply. Look at the facilities in other cities-mainly on the ocean- a landing shelter is the first step. The current initiative is to work with the MM to extend their lease. More later I’m sure. This isn’t an easy question. Given the extent of the public angst over the Rogers K Rock Centre the purchase of the Dry Dock and surrounds is likely to generate similar angst, but it will probably come to pass.
Other items of note at the first full meeting of the new Council were, among others, the presentation of a cheque fulfilling the motion by the city to build fences along Princess St. and Taylor- Kidd, to protect turtles, if concerned citizens raised half of the money estimated as necessary. They did. This may be the beginning. If citizens feel strongly about Nature, they will have to put their money where their mouth is, without encumbering the tax base, or without taking money from people- and particularly their housing.
The new mayor, Paterson spoke three or four times, relinquishing the chair to the Deputy Mayor. What he said was probably not too important, but he does read well – better than Gerretsen as shown during the congratulations etc. section of the meeting. He made it clear that Councillors, who intend to make motions or amendments to motions, had better type it out for the clerk in advance, so that it can be displayed properly or the motion or amendment would be ruled out of order.
Apparently the AMS requested that sidewalks surrounding the University be given better winter (snow) attention so that students and staff would not have to walk on the roads. This was one of the occasions when the mayor relinquished his chair to ask staff if they would be doing this anyway. The answer is yes. Also this will be the first scrambled intersection in the city – the intersection of Union and University. You can expect more scrambled intersections (red or green on all sides, pedestrians can walk diagonally) once the city finds this is a great move.
All in all, while it was a long meeting, the new mayor was securely in the chair and Councillors were finding their feet. The difficult issues are still with us.