Jason here. The meeting was over at 8.19 clearly there is a feeling on Council that everything does not need to be challenged. Mind you, there were no presentations, delegations or briefings and there were no recommendations from the CAO- those are always controversial! (they are matters of policy which should be decided by Council). On the minds of everyone on Council was the Special Meeting of Council on February 3rd & 23rd and the format of same. It will be unstructured and the public will have the floor if they want it! The meeting tomorrow at 6 o’clock will be about the end of funding by the Feds. This was expected and the city has to make allowance for it, Lanie Hurdle, Commissioner, Community Services will introduce the Consultants who have been hired to sort out the ramifications of the End of Funding., an issue judged to be too complex for a regular Council meeting .although the issue will result in controversy, it is not sufficient to warrant a Special Meeting of Council and could have been folded into the previous night’s meeting which ended at 8.19 a record! Not so, the meeting on the 23rd which will be the meeting on the changes to the Official Plan- mandated by the prov. for a five year review and particularly because of the new concept of ‘Nodes and Corridors’ introduced by the consultants hired to complete the review of the OP.( not SHS consulting!)
This is not the end of the Official Plan update. There will be another public meeting in April the OP will then go to Planning committee and will then will be presented to Council.
Good news from Rideaucrest; all the stats with exception of ‘falls’ meet or exceed the averages set by the Regional in this case, the Southeast LHIN, resulted in the recommendation by staff, was accepted that the existing contracts with Extendicare be renewed for two years when the cost( $342,000 plus tax) will disappear from the operating budget. In Addition plans were made for electric car plug ins along 401 – a move in to the new age? At least a small step to reducing Greenhouse gases. Maybe, if cars use it- anyway, it will not cost anything- for now! And that was it. No questions on how much the administrator from Extendicare was paid. No protest that cell phone towers were a federal responsibility – approval was given to two added carriers-Rogers and Wind Mobile (recently bought by Shaw) to the tower as required to prevent proliferation of towers. The tower is on the Centre 70 site and is owned by Bell Mobility. Is Council doing its job? You judge.
Jason here. It was a very short meeting. 8.48 yes, that is right – 8, not 9 or10. We began with a feel- good presentation by jimmy Hassan who in deeply- accented English said that it was a big deal for him to speak before Council. He was following up on his suggestion that Council endorse having apprentices from high schools. They did. This has the potential of relieving Councillors of the heavy burden they carry. I hope that they are organized enough to take advantage of it. Hassan was after a not-very enthusiastic appeal by Doug Richie, the CEO of the BIA appealing to Council to pass the BIA as a ‘tourist district’.
The meeting had two focuses. One on the declaring the BIA a tourist area, to allow retail establishments to open , if they want to, on Good Friday, Christmas day and New Year’s Day.. There will be a public meeting on the possible opening- and that was passed. When it finally comes back to Council, expect a motion to include the entire city. The second focus was on Councillor McLaren’s very lengthy proposal re climate change. This (climate change) and what the city can do to help was sent to KEAF, which is interesting as the City employs Paul McLatchie as director of Conservation and Sustainability. This motion was not sent to him. Obviously Councillors expect McLatchie and KEAF to work together as they will. I wonder if KEAF will just ask for a report from McLatchie or dig in and do the research itself. This (KEAF) one of the committees that the CAO wished Council would disband as staffing has made it redundant. The mayor stepped in (although he should have made his opposition to whom to send the motion to as an amendment to the original motion) It passed anyway- . The first part on Climate Change and the second part (to whom to send the motion) was not passed. I don’t know enough of the protocol on New Motions to make a judgement but I expect this to be on the agenda at the next Council meeting.
Jason here. Finally, we have a sitting member Former Mayor Mark Gerretsen of the same party as the government. Will this mean we finally will get funding for the third crossing? Perhaps although it is not yet ‘shovel ready’. The access ramps have yet to be constructed and the design of the bridge and the decision whether four lanes or two to be determined. Last but certainly not least the access to the downtown – the Wellington Street extension passed, or not. All this requires councillors of great foresight. I hope we have same.
The meeting last night was a meaty one. Taken up mostly by a debate on the parking garage proposed by Homestead on the north block and by a presentation by the CAO on how to accomplish one of the City’s priorities in the strategic plan clicking on ‘foster open government’. Who knows what he was talking about? Councillor Schell made the comment that she needed a librarian to find the information that was now on the city site. I know what she means! Anyway we are in for an upgrade to the site. If you want to know how, please check out the link. I think the CAO is perhaps ahead of most Councillors and the public as I could understand the questions but not the delegation by the Chief Information Officer , Mr. Johnson. Somewhere on the city web site is an examination of parking in the downtown area. Apparently development will kill up to 400 spaces and they will have to be replaced as Councillor Allen (Countryside) remarked as his constituents drive into the City. The proposed parking garage would replace 278. Debate centred around the cost of the structures and whether or not, approving the parking arrangement gave Homestead a leg up in the planning approval process although the motion said it did not.
Councillor Stroud moved that perception was the problem. Council had to not be perceived as giving Homestead a bye in the planning process. However his motion was defeated. For the life of me I cannot see the opinion of staff that changing the motion would change the buy/sell agreement- the city will buy the parking garage from Homestead for $18 million – It is a lot of money and this is just the beginning! Council had to give Homestead pre- approval whether they liked it or not.
Sandwiched between these contentious items were plans by utilities Kingston for the future and what they are working on now. Hard to understand, but apparently we are going to have smart meters that talk to one another and we are going to be able to see what electricity and water we consume on a moment to moment basis.
This in conjunction with smart appliances will all be easily hacked by my grandkids in Australia. Welcome to the new world.
As well, we are going to embrace the service economy. We are going to be polite. We are going to respect the owners – the electorate. So we do already- what’s new?