In addition to the larger stories, which happen quite infrequently, 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:
- In the course of approving a request for support in asking the Province to ban door-to-door sales, Mayor Luciani raised a warning about people showing up at your door claiming to be testing water for the City. He said one such person showed up at his door, claiming to be a City employee. When the mayor informed the person who he was, the pretense was immediately abandoned and the guy ran away.
If you are in doubt as to the identity of someone knocking on your door, call City Hall at (905) 227-6613 and they’ll put you in contact with someone who can tell you if any City employees are knocking on doors. It’s unlikely.
- In response to queries by Councillor Handley, the following came to light: 1) City staff are looking into rats (the four-legged type); 2) the weeds downtown are to be cleared up within a week for a Tourism photo shoot – no word as to whether the process will be repeated in future; and 3) benches are going in on Front St. on Monday.
- There was an extended discussion on a report concerning buses on secondary streets, with most everyone agreeing that buses should stick to the main routes and remove the newest routes which St. Catharines Transit apparently added this past year without the City’s consultation.
Supporting the measures, Councillor Longo commented, “I support active transportation. A bit of walking to a bus won’t hurt anybody.”
In agreement, Councillor Neale commented that buses don’t travel along side streets in Thorold.
Councillor Wilson, taking the recommendations a bit further, commented, “If they removed buses from South Confederation altogether, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings,” feeling that a lack of buses might discourage student housing and that they should take back control.
Non-students who use the bus there might feel differently and it would run against the City’s Alternative Transportation strategies to remove buses and force people into their cars. Besides that, the City’s Parking Committee is wrestling with what to do about students driving to the downtown’s lower level parking lot and leaving their cars there to take the bus. Picture all the streets near bus routes packed with student cars as they drive to get closer – otherwise they have to pay for parking at Brock, and their bus passes are included in their tuition.
As to buses on side streets for the benefit of students, Mayor Luciani added, “Why should we be conveniencing [the party students]?”
- Council has decided to place temporary speed bumps on a cul-de-sac despite speed studies that show it isn’t necessary.
Councillor Paone commented that, since a number of people have complained, there must be something there. Maybe, but negativity and alarmism tend to spread like a virus. On the other hand, he did have a point. Apparently the complaints referred to students and the study was done in June when the majority of students are gone.
Councillor Ugulini felt that perhaps they should wait until a new study could be done in September and Councillor Whelan suggested that, since similar complaints will no doubt come from other streets, maybe they should just ask the police to ticket speeders.
Nonetheless, the motion went through and temporary speed bumps will be installed at a cost of $900 until they see if it works before putting in permanent ones.
- Because of some confusion arising out of the budget process, Council had to approve a $6,800 budget overrun. They had approved a $10/user fee for minor sports this year, but no one had informed the groups of it and it had not been charged. Council, apparently, had not intended charging it anyways, but now the budgeted income had to be removed from this year’s budget as a result of the confusion.
- $14,500 was spent on new high-definition cameras at the pool following the recent incident there. The old ones are to be given to the Thorold Community Activity Group.
- Finally! Council at long last got to pass the Capital Facilities Agreement with the Seniors’, which will allow the City to use the space if necessary. It won’t likely be exercised, but now the City won’t have to pay the $35,000 or so a year in property taxes.
- $9,600 in taxes were written off for various provincially-allowable reasons. Mine was not among them.
- The City will now apparently be offering civil marriage services. I guess the clerk’s department wasn’t busy enough already. Fees for the services will be set at the next meeting in August.
- There was a public meeting as well Tuesday night. It seems Schmon Parkway is about to get some more student housing – six more buildings in fact, consisting of 284 residential units (that’s 58-71 normal semis, depending upon occupancy). That will bring the Lofts total to approximately 2200 students when it’s all done. They will be six storeys each because of a change to the Building Code which allows wood-frame buildings to reach that height.