What Odds at City Hall: 2 May 2022

Trouble brewing in the Gut over a restaurant, the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee fills vacancies, and the George Street Association gears up for summer.

At the beginning, there were a few proclamations to get through. Today marks the start of Mental Health Week, as well as the start of the Pick It Up For YYT Cleanup Campaign, and finally, Youth Week is kicking off.

Mayor Danny Breen was absent and sitting in his place was Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary. Besides the Mayor, Cllr Ophelia Ravencroft was also absent.

Cllr Ron Ellsworth also announced at the next regular meeting he’ll move to rescind the Council Resolution on Corporate Social Media Usage Policy that was approved way back on May 31, 2010. It carried nine to zero.

Cllr Sandy Hickman also said at the next regular meeting he’d move to rescind the Council Resolution for Policy for Replacement of Service Laterals when Redeveloping Residential Property that was approved on May 6, 2008. It also carried nine to zero.

These were both about cleaning up policy.

Council signed off on a discretionary use application for a hand-dye yarn studio at 49 Hillview Drive East.

Cllr Jamie Korab explained the business will operate Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 8 pm. As well, the applicant is the resident and sole employee. The business will be online, so there will be no customers dropping by.

49 Hillview Drive. (Source: City Agenda, 2 May 2022.)

New Restaurant Threatens Gut Trouble

A restaurant is setting up inside Quidi Vidi Brewery.

A discretionary use application was submitted by Canadian Wilderness Holidays Limited—directed by David Fong, who is the brewery’s founder—at 35 Barrows Road. It was approved.

The restaurant will take up the brewery’s existing lounge, which has an inside seating area of 80 m² and an outdoor seating area of 110 m². The hours of operations will be throughout the week, 12 pm – 9 pm, and on-site parking is provided. 

The City received four submissions about the proposal, who cited issues like the impact another food service business would have on the neighbourhood, as well as the additional traffic, noise, smell, and “offensive views from tanks and equipment,” said Cllr Korab.

One person wrote in, “On site parking provided? Council is obviously not being told the truth.”

Another wrote that, “I was hesitant to respond to this Discretionary Use application. The fact that Council puts this request out now to Property Owners is just lip service. The Council decision to proceed with this application has already been determined. Residents do not have a voice in approving development in Quidi Vidi; but just to deal with the consequences.”

This writer then advocated for a halt on development in the area. “Simply put the Gut should be closed to further commercial development… period.” They also scoffed at the notion of on-site parking and followed up, arguing that they weren’t against a restaurant here but that the brewery has overgrown its footprint.

Cllr Korab noted that Quidi Vidi Brewery’s restaurant will be in the lounge, which is an existing, approved use.

Cllr Ellsworth asked for some clarification about what was going on here, because the brewery was already serving food and he’d eaten there several times. “So how is the lounge service different from the restaurant service?”

MCIP Chief Municipal Planner Ken O’Brien said it’s an “expansion or intensification of the types of food that can be served” but there’s no expansion to the building.

“I’m glad to see that they’re hopefully opening up to more people being in the facility, using it not just for a lounge but also for families to go,” said Cllr Ellsworth. 

Cllr Maggie Burton also voiced her support for the business while also balancing it with the concerns of the residents. She said if you’re going to visit the village, be mindful and walk there, bike, cycle, carpool, grab a taxi, or park further away.

Cllr Korab said he agreed with Cllr Burton, saying he also parked at Cadet Road and walked. He also commented on Cllr Ellsworth’s question around the food service, saying when he was there last the food service was a charcuterie box—so not a full fledged dining experience.

Quidi Vidi Brewery. (Source: City Agenda, 2 May 2022.)

Tenders Ahoy

Council then approved a five-year contract to Arrias Technical Solutions/Verint for up to $965,981 to implement a Citizen Request Management System for the Access 311 Contact Center.

The other bidders were Integrated Telecom Solutions, Inc. DBA Inovar, Avepoint/i7 Solutions and KPMGLLP.

Air Liquide Canada Inc. also secured a $26,790.87 per year (HST not Included) contract to supply welding gases. The cost is the estimated one year value for a three year long contract that the City has the choice of two potential, one year extensions.

The other bid came from Linde Canada Inc. ($31,980.36).

Kelloway Construction Limited beat out its competition to secure a $849,666.00 (HST Included) contract for a three-year period for snow clearing and ice control at various locations during the winter and shoulder seasons. This work went to tender because the City doesn’t have enough resources to complete this work, explained Cllr Hickman.

The other bidders were Clarke’s Trucking and Excavating Limited ($996,360), Siteworx Excavation and Development Ltd. ($1,008,492.50), JAT Excavating Inc. ($1,052,767.50), C.W. Parsons Limited ($1,180,459.76), Parsons Paving Ltd. ($1,338,358.50), Rock Construction Company Limited ($1,946,930), Gladneys Bus Ltd. ($2,328,469.40), Coady Construction & Excavating Limited ($3,338,450) and Alltask Excavating Inc. ($3,530,500).

Cancelling a Condo Corp

Cllr Korab also introduced a petition from residents at Carriage Lane and Bishop’s Gate, totalling eight signatures. The residents are requesting that the present status of the condo association be changed to city status.

“So essentially that Carriage Lane right now is a private lane. It’s under a cond corp. It’s not your traditional condo building. That represents four homes. There’s currently another home there that someone’s moving into, I’m trying to reach those people. And there’s another home there that’s been existing for about probably 10, 12 years now but still has no one living there,” said Cllr Korab.

The petition represents about 80% of the homeowners. It’s a condo corp, but they’ve never paid fees and haven’t had meetings for the last 10 years. So they want the City to take it over as a city street so they can get the same services as other streets, he said.

Deputy Mayor O’Leary said it will be referred to staff.

Council Signs Off on New Committee and Panel Seats

Three new people have been approved to sit on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee to fill existing vacancies.

The public calls were issued between December 2021 and April 2022 to fill four spots.

Meghan Hollett will represent a Film and New Media organization, Johnny Rose will represent a Visual Art and Craft organization and Natasha Blackwood will represent a Cultural, Indigenous and Intangible Cultural Heritage organization.

There is still one vacancy left to fill the second Cultural, Indigenous and Intangible Cultural Heritage position, so the call will be readvertised.

As Deputy Mayor O’Leary called it to vote, there was a bit of discussion on protocol when Cllr Ian Froude piped up to say “I didn’t think the chair could move a motion.”

Then O’Leary asked staff if the chair could do just that, and was told it would be best if it was moved by someone else.

Cllr Ellsworth, however, said she could relinquish the chair long enough to make the motion but O’Leary said that was fine and cllr Debbie Hanlon ended up making the motion.

Council signed off on a new Rachael Fitkowski taking on the role of Chair of the Built Heritage Experts Panel.

City Staff recommended Fitkowski, who is a landscape architect and current Built Heritage Experts Panel member, and she’s taking over from Nick Lynch.

Council then voted to adopt the St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 11, 2022, that will allow stand-alone single detached dwellings in the Rural Zone for civic numbers 420 to 496 Maddox Cove Road (even numbers only).

For a little bit of history: the City received an application to develop a single detached dwelling at 428 Maddox Cove Road, which is one of four undeveloped lots which are part of an approved 11-lot subdivision, called Cape Spear Estates, which dates back to 2009, said Cllr Froude.

Back at the April 4 regular council meeting, Council agreed to consider a text amendment to that effect and advertise it for public review and comment. Some of the concerns they heard were about an increase in rural density and that if this was changed, it would allow more lots to be created.

“Civic numbers 420 to 496 Maddox Cove Road (even numbers only) are part of the approved subdivision plan recognized as Cape Spear Estates. Council approved different minimum lot sizes for these 11 lots in order to allow the subdivision plan proposed by the developer,” said Cllr Froude.

“At that time, it was possible to build a house in the rural area without having a rural land use such as a farm or a woodlot. Since that time, regulations regarding houses in rural areas have changed. City staff realized that those changes affect the development of the remaining 4 lots along this section of Maddox Cove Road. This proposed amendment recognizes the lots that were created years ago, some of which have houses and others which are still vacant and makes it clear that the remaining lots can be developed, even though they do not have a rural land use, such as farm or woodlot. The amendment is not intended to set a precedent for future rezonings to allow other stand-alone residential developments in the Rural Zone, but to fix a long-standing problem. In terms of wells and septic systems, each lot must be approved by the City and by Service Newfoundland Labrador.”

Maddox Cove Road. (Source: City Agenda, 2 May 2022.)

Road Closures and Festival Dates

Council signed off on road closures for two road races and an extension for the George Street Festival dates.

On May 29 from 8 am to 9:14 am there will be a lane reduction at Aberdeen Avenue and Stavanger Drive for the Flat Out 5K Road Race.

The second race—Shoppers Love You Run for Women—is happening on June 26 from 8 am to 11 am. There will be road closures on The Boulevard, from White Hills Road to Legion Road from 7 am – 9:30 am (with local traffic permitted).  

There will also be lane reductions on the following roads:

  • The Boulevard, from Legion Road to Carnell Drive
  • Carnell Drive, from The Boulevard to Lake Drive o Empire Avenue, from Kingsbridge Road to Quidi Vidi Road
  • White Hills Road, from The Boulevard to Churchill Avenue
  • Middleton Street and Harding Road
  • White Hills Road from Harding Road to The Boulevard

Photo page 61 and 62

The George Street Association is also requesting that the George Street Festival begin one night early, putting forward the festival dates for July 27 – August 3, an extra day. But remember these aren’t the exact dates for the festival and the association will put that in a separate request.

The Go Round

Cllr Burton reminded people that this Sunday is Mother’s Day, “so be nice to your mudder!” she advised. She also asked that people be considerate because it can be a difficult time for some people too.

Cllr Hickman said yard waste collection has started and will run until November. It’s picked up the same day as your recycling. As well, metal and bulk pick up is also starting up again. To schedule a date, he said go to the curbside website or call 311.

Downtown street cleaning has started and he reminded people that the hours are now 10 pm to 3 am, he said.

Cllr Hanlon congratulated the Muslim community for the end of Ramadan and wished them a happy Eid al-Fitr.

Cllr Korab said he’s heard from a Hazelwood Drive resident about another accident and it’s been forwarded to the City’s traffic department to get an RNC report and add it to the traffic calming list.

There’s also a Neighbourhood Watch event at Brookfield estate tonight, he said. Registration for the event has to be by 4:30 pm but if you miss it, you can get the info from him.

As well, Cllr Korab said Canada Drive is up for road rehabilitation and it will be done in stages. In designing the road, the street will be narrowed and will be made safer by slowing cars down. As well, they’re looking to add some multi-purpose lanes too. People can head to the Engage St. John’s website to have their say and on May 12 there will be a virtual public meeting.

Cllr Froude reminded everyone they’re still accepting applications for the Sustainable and Active Mobility Advisory Committee, which are due May 13. He said they’re looking for a diverse group of people to give council advice.

Deputy Mayor O’Leary ended it with a few notes. First, she said congratulations to Happy City St. John’s for its weekend summit. While she wasn’t able to attend, she said these events generate lots of great discussions and she expects to hear from residents about them.

She added the registration for summer recreational programs starts May 5 but said the City Guide’s delivery has been delayed due to a printing issue. You can still look up courses and register through the ReConnect accounts.

Finally, she says she’s heard a lot of concerns about garbage—particularly timely given she proclaimed Pick It Up For YYT Cleanup Campaign about forty minutes earlier. Some of that trash (and ensuing rodent congregation) is a result of industrial and business’ garbage lids not being closed. She explained the City doesn’t have a by-law about the closure of dumpsters but it may be coming.

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.

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