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Right after the media got to see the budget (see The Independent’s analysis here) the Council got underway. First up, the annual Clean St. John’s Golden Broom Awards winners were announced. Cllr Jill Bruce is Council representative on the Clean St. John’s board of directors and has been touting this event since November.

The Residential Award went to Dr. E.T. Tjan, the Community Award went to the Girl Guides of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Youth Award went to Maddie Budgell and another Community Award went to Avalon Ponds Cleanup, which was accepted by Lou Hynes.

From here, Council took turns talking about the tabled 2022 budget, headed up by finance lead Cllr Ron Ellsworth.

Everyone threw their support behind the tabled budget—if not exactly enthusiastically.

Cllr Maggie Burton was pleased to see a third shift added to the sidewalk snow clearing route and support for transportation, which other councillors added they were happy to see as well.

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary said: “Though this is not the ideal or the perfect budget, it really is one I think that helps encompass a number of the ideals and strategic plan of the City. So as a result of all of those things and many more I am pleased to support this budget.”

Back To Business

Wth the budget out of the way, Council got back to its weekly meeting.

At last week’s council meeting Cllr Ian Froude said he’d introduce a Notice of Motion to get the former West End Fire Station 265 LeMarchant Road designated as a Heritage Building.

On Monday, Council signed off on making the old West End Fire Station the second modernist designated heritage building in the City.

“We have a lot of Second Empire, Victorian sort of saltbox house-type of heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador and St. John’s is no exception,” said Cllr Burton. “But people don’t think about modernist buildings when they think about heritage designation and I think that they should.”

West End Fire Station on Lemarchant Road. Source: 13 December 2021 City Agenda.

Next up, Council signed off on a Zone Standards for a Lot and Lot Frontage in the Industrial General Zone at 240 Danny Drive. 

“An application was submitted by 10718 NFLD Inc. to create a new Lot at 240 Danny Drive,” said Cllr Jamie Korab.

“This property is situated in the Industrial General Zone where Zone Standards are at Council’s discretion, as per the Envision Development Regulations. The application is for the subdivide of land only and a Development Application is required for any future proposed development. At this time only the Lot Area and the Lot Frontage are being set to create the Lot; additional setbacks for the Building will be established once a Development Application is made.”

According to OpenCorporates, Danny Williams is the sole director of 10718 NFLD Inc.

It also looks like the entrance to St. Pat’s Ballpark is getting a name change to “Gordon Breen Way” as a way to honour the late Gordon Breen, aka Mr. Baseball. He passed away in August of 2020.

Adelaide Motors Moves Along

The home of the former Sundance nightclub and restaurant at 27 New Gower Street also got approval for some exterior renovations.

The now-empty space is being turned into Adelaide Motors Brewing Company, a craft brewery, restaurant and live-music venue. The building is in the downtown Heritage Area 2 so developers have to make sure their plans fit with the city’s heritage rules, regulations and standards.

Cllr Burton said the proponent, Built Heritage Experts Panel, and staff have extensively gone over this application.

Source: 13 December 2021 City Agenda.
Source: 13 December 2021 City Agenda.
Source: 13 December 2021 City Agenda.

Council then approved the formation of the Youth Engagement Working Group and getting staff to start recruiting for it. Membership for this committee is 18-30 years of age.

Tending to Tenders

Revolution Environmental Solutions LP secured a bid to operate the Household Hazardous Waste building at Robin Hood Bay Waste Management Facility. The company’s also responsible for removing and transporting hazardous waste for disposal.

The contract—valued at $677,605.56 (HST included)—is for two years with the possibility of three one-year extensions, said Cllr Sandy Hickman.

According to the agenda, the other bid came from Pardy’s Waste Management for $818,863.25.

Next up, they awarded a contract to supply and the delivery of water treatment chemicals used for membrane filter cleaning at the Windsor Lake Water Treatment Plant. However, Cllr Hickman explained that rather than give the contract to one company, the work is going to be split between two.

Part of the work, called Line 1, will be handled by Rockwater Professional Products for $68,162.50 (HST excluded) and Brenntag Canada Inc. will handle Line 2 ($210,000), Line 3 ($39,500) and Line 4 ($76,000) (HST excluded).

The contract is for two years, with an option in favour of the City to extend the contract on the same terms and conditions for an additional term of up to two one-year periods.

Other Business

Council also approved the sale of City land adjacent to 11 Beech Place.

Cllr Froude said they’re agreeable to the sale provided that the land is subject to an easement and for the maintenance of the trail and park that’s there.

According to the agenda, the 11 Beech Place owners approached the City because he wanted to buy the parcel of land adjacent to his property. The area in question has been used by the owner since the house was built for driveway access and the property is now being sold. So the price will be $5.00 per square foot, plus HST and the area is approximately 2,200 square feet.

Then the Council decided to adopt the St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment 2, to reduce the minimum rear yard for residential dwellings in the Residential Downtown Zone from six metres to 3.5 metres.

The City also received an application for an extension to an existing semi-detached dwelling at 120 Barnes Road, said Cllr Froude. He said this change would apply to all properties in the Residential Downtown Zone, including single-detached dwellings, duplexes, semi-attached dwellings, townhouses and tiny home dwellings, among others.

He added the application has already gone to the Environment and Sustainability Experts Panel and they agreed with the recommendation. So the next step would be documents forwarded to the province for registration. It doesn’t need a municipal plan amendment, so no public hearing would be required.

Once again, the agenda goes into the backstory of this application. The proposed extension is at the rear of the house and will extend the house toward the side fence with 118 Barnes Road, which will create more indoor living space. To consider the proposed extension, a reduction in minimum rear yard is required, as the existing rear yard is less than six metres deep

There were a number of people who spoke up—both for and against—this application, which you can read in the agenda.

Once again, the application to rezone a portion of the lot at 350 Kenmount Road/9 Kiwanis Street from Open Space to the Commercial Kenmount Zone was discussed. Cllr Froude even quipped it felt like the issue has been before Council half a dozen times.

“I’ll move that Council adopt the attached resolutions and appoint Mr. Cliff Johnson, a member of the City’s commissioner’s list, to conduct a virtual public hearing and proposed municipal amendments and who will also conduct a simultaneous hearing for the regional plan amendments…”

The meeting is dated for January 12, 2022, at 7:00 pm.

The Go Round

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary said she’d like a discussion on the Public Procurement Act, adding she’s heard from people and is interested in ways to promote local labour and local work—adding she understands there are restraints with the provincial public procurement government act. But she said it’s something they need to look at when talking about trying to support local and local workers.

Mayor Breen directed her to speak with the deputy city manager of finance, who is responsible for procurement, though Deputy Mayor O’Leary said she’s discussed the issue with this person.

She also mentioned December 10th was the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and she attended Government House for the 2021 Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Awards.

Cllr Burton said she attended a public engagement session last week on the Long Pond/Rennie’s River weir and heard from people about their ideas and concerns.

Cllr Hickman once again reminded the public that on January 1 we’ll all need to be using clear garbage bags. He even pulled out a Billy Boots bag sample—which he unfolded and held up—which some people should have gotten in the mail. He added he’ll probably be saying the same thing come New Year.

“You’ll be the bag man,” said Mayor Breen, and Cllr Hickman chuckled, “I walked into that one!”

Cllr Debbie Hanlon wanted to remind people there are attendant passes for people with disabilities; but the website isn’t available so she’d like it to be checked into.

She added, unprompted: “Just on a personal note I’d like to remind people that in a world when you can be anything, be kind. Cause there’s a lot of kindness needed in the world. And I for one recommend and support kindness where I go.”

An interesting statement from someone found to be a fake friend in court last week.

Also touching on garbage, Cllr Jill Bruce said she had a few calls from residents on Monday and wanted to remind people not to put out their recycling bags the night before scheduled garbage day. She suggested people put their bags out no earlier than 6:00 am but not later than 8:00 am.

Cllr Korab also gave a shout-out to the app that reminds people of upcoming garbage day, something he says he has and it’s fantastic.

He added “bag man Hickman over there reminded— sorry, Cllr Hickman reminded me on garbage bags” that he’d spoke with Billy Boot and it is releasing a clear kitchen catcher bag that will be available in January or February.

And that was the second last city council meeting for this year.

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Elizabeth Whitten is a St. John's-based journalist and The Independent's St. John's municipal politics reporter. She's previously worked for allNewfoundlandLabrador and Downhome Magazine, and her work has been published by CBC, The Overcast, and the Toronto Star. She's currently writing a book about how Dr. Cluny Macpherson invented the gas mask in World War One.