Jason here. It was a grab bag council meeting notable for the replacement of Councillor Neill with Councillor Allen as chief talker. Jason is glad that the representative of Countryside has found his voice. Passed: Final caps on commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings indicating again that no one, including Jason, understands this. Passed: Youth employment strategy. Make no mistake; this isn’t for ALL youth from 16-24. This is an extension of the Homelessness initiative. Passed: John Counter Blvd- progress to construction of the bridge over the CNR line. Beginning with the move to four lanes of Sir John to Indian Rd and Princess to the tracks. Passed. Surprise! A grant has been found to protect turtles. This is to accept the Ministry of Natural resources offer of $50,000 to protect turtles and to build turtle breeding areas. The money collected by the Turtles group will be added to the final cost of the project. Passed: Against staff recommendation a ‘scrambled’ crossing at Union and University on a motion by Councillor Neill, on the assumption that pedestrians are more important than cars, passed: Passed. Two large solar projects North of McAdoo’s Lane. McLaren and Allen were congratulatory. The former saying that this is the non-tax revenue that the city should be pursuing, the latter perhaps because the land was not good for anything else.
There was a briefing by the CAO, and although the info said it was all inclusive Mr. Hunt said it was preliminary and Councillor Hutchison’s complaint that social ideas had been left out would be covered in the booklet to be produced in August. He went on- at great length- about Open Governments and the changes that would be made to the city’s website. It is hard to imagine how the site could be more comprehensive. It contains much more than one person could ever want now. We will wait to be impressed.
The Portsmouth town Hall is being repurposed into a small business acceleration centre- staffed by volunteers. Is this the proper place for an acceleration centre? Much as we need one? Perhaps when it gets too crowded, it will revert back to St. John’s Ambulance.
The remainder of the meeting was consumed with Dawn House and whether or not to extend free bus passes to Grade 12 students. It was not difficult to see the latter coming as free passes had been given to grades 9, 10, and 11. Is this just a step away from putting the whole transit system on the tax base and giving everyone a free pass?
Why doesn’t Dawn House fit into the 10 year plan to eliminate homelessness? The report of Sheldon Laidman– director of Housing and Social Services is here so that you can judge for yourselves, it is clear that Council is not happy about the ramifications of the plan to eliminate homelessness over 10 years and that Dawn House finds it easy to come to council.
The city ‘ where history and innovation thrive ‘ has a test before it in the intent to demolish 101-109 Princess St,