COUNCIL BRIEFS: JANUARY 13, 2015

Council Briefs-001In addition to the larger stories, other items go through Thorold City Council and General Committee. Some may be important to someone affected and others are just a little interesting. The following are some of those items:

  • The new plan for Tourism has been unveiled, Thorold. Well, sort of. Council has okayed a tender for a tourism agent to make recommendations regarding the final shape of the plan but so far, the idea is for the Lock 7 Viewing Complex to become the Thorold Museum. Tourism will then operate a kiosk in the museum to dispense information, with the programme to be run out of City Hall. The Historical Society will then be able to apply for grants to improve their establishment, which they cannot under their present circumstances. In the meantime, talks are ongoing with the Thorold and Beaverdams Historical Society.
  • The subject of removing trees due to the ever-worsening damage done by the emerald ash borer has come up again. These pests are destroying trees at a phenomenal rate, change the character of formerly leaf-canopied streets such as Tupper Drive. They are also costing the taxpayers money. So Council voted Tuesday night to award a tree-maintenance contract to take care of this problem as well as other tree services the City requires. Trees will be planted eventually wherever they are removed, but it will take some time before our leafy neighbourhoods are back.
  • They say the third time is a charm. That apparently was the case Tuesday when Thorold City Council finally adopted a Code of Conduct that had been turned down twice previous. It didn’t hurt this time that it has become mandatory for a municipality to have such a code in order to receive infrastructure grants from the Province. The code basically sets out the rules for Council behaviour in regards to the City. They have agreed to treat each other with respect and that they will not belittle Council decisions. The paragraph requiring Councillors to make requests of Staff through the Mayor’s Office, a sticking point that defeated passage of the code the last two times, was removed in an amendment put forward by Councillor Terry Ugulini. City CAO sked that the Councillors notify the Mayor’s assistant of the occurrence of such contacts as the City wants to track taxpayers’ concerns.
  • The subject of live streaming City Council meetings came up Tuesday night, in a report presented for information purposes. In 2013, the previous Council had been approached by George Cottage of WhatsOnThorold to offer live streaming of meetings at no cost to the City. Staff advised, however, that since there might be some advertising revenue for WhatsOnThorold, that the City would have to put out an RFP (Request For Proposals) to give others the chance at the advertising dollars. No one applied to the RFP. As Councillor Sergio Paone pointed out, a large percentage of Thorold residents do not subscribe to Cogeco and the matter should be pursued. Staff was directed to report on the cost of the City doing the live streaming themselves.

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