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I got an email this morning from the City that on February 21 councillors will be back in Council Chambers for these meetings—though the media and the public are still barred from it until further notice. I’m looking forward to the better audio quality you get from the City.

Also, all councillors were virtually present today.

Kicking off the meeting, Cllr Ian Froude read out a Notice of Motion “that Council defer all planning and development applications on sites located within a wetland buffer as delineated under the City’s 2019 Wetlands Delineation Study, Phase 1, until the 2021 Wetlands Study Phase 2A is completed and implemented, in accordance with Section 5.1.3(4) “Planning Studies – Deferral of Applications.”

“So what this is, we clarified a piece of this in last week’s meeting,” Froude explained. “So when Council made the decision previously to defer all applications in the Wetland we didn’t exclude open water. But through some development applications it was determined that open water areas were already protected through the floodplain protections.”

It was recognized that the wetland deferral deferred some projects—which wasn’t the intent, explained Froude. Last week that was straightened out, and with Monday’s motion it’ll be clear that even after the decision, the control around wetlands excluding open water will still be in place before that study is wrapped up and back before Council.

Council then signed off on a 9.16 percent Variance on Lot Frontage at 346 Back Line for the subdivision for a new lot.

The City received an application to subdivide and reconfigure land to build a Single Detached Dwelling at 346 Back Line, which is on an area zoned Rural Residential Infill and needs a minimum Lot Frontage requirement of 30 metres. However, the proposed Lot Frontage for the new lot is 27.25 metres—which will require a 9.16 percent Variance.

Subdivided lot at 346 Back Line. (Source: City Agenda, 14 February 2022.)

Lounge Lizards Rejoice

A Discretionary Use application for a lounge submitted by DB Billiards Inc. for 430 Topsail Road aka the Village Mall got unanimous support.

Checking in with OpenCorporates and DB Billiards is directed by Barry Peddle and Debbie Fahey.

The application is specifically for a lounge on the mall’s second storey and it will have a floor area of 678.4m². The owners plan to have a restaurant service and will be open seven days a week, from 12 pm – 2 am. It will have 10 employees, with about two people per shift.

The City received two letters regarding the proposal, one for and the other against, who cited issues are noise from dances—but Cllr Jamie Korab said there won’t be a dance floor or events that bring in a live band. So I guess that complaint was moot. (Sorry to everyone who wanted a dance floor and live music, though.)

Council then signed off on a Crown Land License for 1.04 hectares for a proposed private access to a quarry off the Foxtrap Access Road.

As a bit of background, the Provincial Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture referred the application for 1.04 hectares of land. The proposal is for private access to a quarry, which has been approved as a Discretionary Use way back on November 9, 2020.

Quarry access road. (Source: City Agenda, 14 February 2022.)

Suffonsified Holdings Ltd. is also looking to start a dental clinic at 607 Torbay Road—the old Stantec Building.

According to OpenCorporates, the company is directed solely by Chris Smith and was founded eight months ago.

The agenda states the clinic will take up 332 m² on the first floor, which will be for storage. The entirety of the 650 m² second floor will have six examination rooms and more storage. 

Cllr Korab said its hours of operations will be Monday to Friday, 8 am – 5:30 pm, and have four employees. Onsite parking is provided. He said two submissions were received, and the one against it was more about the lack of information given about the potential clinic and the possibility of an increase in traffic. Korab said the traffic division has reviewed it and found no problem.

Cllr Debbie Hanlon said “It’s good to see businesses having faith in our economy again. It’s nice to see the lounge open up,” adding she has seen a number of home-based businesses before Council last week too.

When You Come at the King’s Bridge You Best Not Miss

It’s been a few months since we discussed 19 King’s Bridge Road and it’s back before Council!

Council has been given the green light to adopt St. John’s Municipal Plan Amendment Number 4, 2022 and St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 6, 2022, after a provincial release of the proposed amendment for commercial uses at 19 King’s Bridge Road.

Cllr Ron Ellsworth started off by saying because this application is from a client, he would be abstaining from discussions and voting.

To catch readers up, the new owner of the property—which used to belong to the Anglican Church of Canada—sent an application to the City to rezone the property from the Institutional Zone to the Commercial Neighbourhood Zone.

Cllr Froude said the public hearing on the proposed amendments is scheduled for March 16, 2022.

Moving on, Council then approved the expropriation of a property at 380 Bay Bulls Road for the realignment of Old Bay Bulls Road at Bay Bulls Road.

Cllr Carl Ridgeley said the expropriation for 379 Bay Bulls Road for the Goulds servicing Phase 2 – Sanitary Trunk Sewer project could be pushed back for a few weeks.

Getting Closer to A WerkLiv Balance

Council has decided to adopt the resolutions for St. John’s Municipal Plan Amendment Number 6, 2022 and St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 9, 2022 for 6 Lambe’s Lane. A public meeting is set for March 23 at 7 pm, so mark your calendars.

Montreal-based real estate developer WerkLiv applied to the City to rezone land at 6 Lambe’s Lane from the Institutional Zone to the Apartment 3 Zone for three Apartment Buildings with 205 units and parking.

Take note apartment seekers: this development is aimed at housing university students.

Cllr Froude said they held a public meeting on August 10, 2021. Council then moved to adopt-in-principle the amendment on September 7, 2021 and documents were sent along to the province for review. An amendment was then released in September, however the company WerkLiv asked the City to defer consideration of adoption so it could revise its plans. 

Apparently some concerns were raised at the public meeting, like a lack of parking so WerkLiv intended to add 54 parking spaces. The revised Land Use Assessment Report will now be viewable to the public.

A lot of councillors spoke up in favour of this development, as well as to thank Cllr Froude for his work in relation to the project.

Cllr Ophelia Ravencroft said “I’m completely in support of this. I concur wholeheartedly with your comments; this is exactly the kind of development that allows our City to head in a good direction, in my opinion. It enhances density while also improving the area around it in terms of making it more accessible for pedestrians. And gives a lot of opportunities for students to find housing.”

The lone voice that spoke out against it was Cllr Sandy Hickman, who argued this will take away from filling Memorial University’s existing accomodations and the people who rent out their basements to students.

The vote was 10 to one, with Hickman voting against it.

WerkLiv design concept. (Source: City Agenda, 14 February 2022.)
WerkLiv landscape plan. (Source: City Agenda, 14 February 2022.)

The Go Round

Cllr Ridgeley reminded people that the 24 hour parking ban is in effect and to keep their vehicles off the road at night, especially since there’s a storm.

Cllr Froude wanted to celebrate a few funding announcements on electrification of vehicles in the province, supported by funding from the federal government.

First up was an $295K investment to Drive Electric Newfoundland and Labrador to establish an electric vehicle resource centre. As well, Take Charge—the energy efficiency project partnership between Hydro and Newfoundland Power—received $200K. As well, Econext is doing a partnership with the City to explore a province-wide energy efficiency financing program with the province and other stakeholders.

Cllr Korab congratulated Nathan Young and his team who will be heading to the Brier as Newfoundland and Labrador’s Tankard champion. He added that over at the Olympics, Team Gushue is now four to one and will play China this evening.

Cllr Ravencroft wished everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day, adding that the Loop’s capacity is now 80 people—though with the storm outside, it might be a moot point.

Cllr Jill Bruce wanted to recognize the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Ocean Ranger, a tragedy near to her because she had two uncles on the vessel. She said Gonzaga High School hosts the service every year, which takes place tomorrow.

Cllr Hanlon said she recently attended a presentation of equity and inclusion and said she found it very useful. In addition, there is a position open on the Senior Advisory Committee as well as for a youth public representative between the ages of 19 and 35.

She also gave a shout out for two books sent to councillors: Understanding First Nations by Dr. Ed Whitcomb and Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladau.

She also passed her condolences to the family of the late Patrick Brown who passed away last week. He was a regular and active figure in downtown St. John’s.

Cllr Hickman, was called on next, passing a “thank you my little valentine” to Mayor Danny Breen—and threw his support behind the olympic curling team. “Go team Gushue, go Canada.”

Cllr Maggie Burton said that applications to join the Youth Engagement Working Group are open until Wednesday on the Engage St. John’s website.

Finally, Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary had a few notes to go over. First off, she encouraged people to join the St. John’s neighbourhood watch. She added ChillFest is ongoing but the evening’s Valentine’s Sweetheart Skate at the Loop had been postponed to Tuesday between 6 pm – 9 pm. She also wanted to pass her condolences on to the family of the late Judge Robert Smith.

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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.