COUNCIL BRIEFS: APRIL 5, 2016

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In addition to the larger stories, or sometimes instead of any large stories, some items go through Thorold City Council and General Committee which may be important to someone affected and others are just a little interesting. The following are some of those items:

 

  • Well, I guess you won’t need this any more. We-Stream started live streaming of Council meetings last night for a trial period. Just go to the City’s website (thorold.com ) and click on the streaming notice on the announcements on the left. Last night’s episodes of Council and General Committee are there for your viewing pleasure. And you can skip the long-winded boring parts. Cogeco, as far as I know, will continue to tape the meetings for TV.
  • Councillor Neale requested that the Region consider Thorold for some of the announced new long-term care beds they’re adding.
  • Councillor Longo expressed residents’ concerns about bus routes on secondary roads not really built for heavy traffic (Abbey Dr. gets about 70 buses a day passing through. He asked for a report on what percentage of our transportation budget goes to servicing Brock and how much Brock contributes to costs, directly or indirectly.
  • Councillor Handley asked how Thorold was faring with the Federal 150 Fund (grants) applications. The Deputy clerk responded that all were denied. He also asked for additional picnic tables in parks as last year’s additions were popular. He then asked staff for a report on how a community project in McAdam Park could be made possible (all the hoops and regs.) so they can have washrooms, since there are donors and volunteers who are willing.
  • Mayor Luciani requested a report on the costs of making the upstairs at the Seniors Centre rentable, citing lack of washrooms and only original rough plank floors.
  • The owners of the Thorold Blackhawks were present at General Committee to plead their case about their costs, since Council is asking for increased ice time rates (2%) and have put up for bids the rights to rent advertising space on the boards. Council’s decision at budget time was to charge them full ice rates and put out the advertising contracts. If they should back down, there will be a budget overrun as a result, although Councillor Handley disagreed. In the end, no decisions were made. After playing with the numbers a bit, Council voted to defer the ice rate decision. The decision on awarding the board advertising contract was deferred pending a legal opinion.
  • When Council passed the latest sewer work in Thorold South, Councillor Handley asked how had been spent there so far on sewers (the answer, about $9 million). He then wanted to know if all this work has created any more development capacity, saying he personally wouldn’t approve any more unless it did just that. Staff replied that the work in Thorold South has never been about capacity: it’s about severe flooding problems and badly deteriorated sewer and water infrastructure. There is still a great deal of sewer discharging during storms, when simply using their facilities can cause basement flooding.
  • Council made a decision Tuesday night about the Whyte (Old) Arena (they did). In light of four confusing reports in which no one could guarantee the safety of the arena structure, they finally decided to kibosh the idea of putting $650,000 into trying to coax 20-25 more years out of it, with quite possibly more costs once they started. Instead, they decided to follow staff advice and spend up to $200,000 to stabilize the cracked members and continue monitoring the building, possibly on a semi-annual basis, a move which the engineer present was confident should assure the short-term safety of those using the arena. The balance of the budgeted amount ($450,000+) would be redirected to work on the Doherty Arena instead. Councillor Neale commented that, instead of following staff advice to start planning to build a new one at 2017 budget talks, they should begin right away. While Councillor Ugulini expressed his disapproval of the way staff ordered a new engineering report without Council permission, the Operations Director explained that Council had asked him for answers he couldn’t provide, and CAO Fabiano praised the Director for his tenacity in assuring that the money was wisely spent and the public safe.
  • Council hired an engineering firm to act as project manager for the Arena work, which will now encompass both arenas, and the Operations Centre overhaul.
  • For anyone who is interested, there is now a Canada 150 committee to organize events and/or projects for Canada’s 150th birthday next year. The ad for volunteers to sit on the committee will be in the paper and on the City’s website.

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