What Odds at City Hall: 28 June 2022

A house on Coronation St has been ordered demolished, a Victorian Gothic home is getting a new wall, and the Pedestrian Mall opens this week.

Today, Cllr Ophelia Ravencroft was absent, with Cllrs Ian Froude and Debbie Hanlon attending virtually.

Eastlink has gotten permission to extend a telecommunications tower at 140 Ridge Road. 

Under the Radio Communication Act and Industry Canada’s Tower Siting Procedure CPC-2-0-03, the City of St. John’s notified residents in the area that Eastlink wanted to extend an existing tower from a height of 30.5 m to 37 m.

The City didn’t receive any submissions about it, either for or against.

In the last few weeks Eastlink has been making moves. On June 6, Council approved a rooftop telecommunications antenna site at 100 Elizabeth Avenue. The following week Eastlink got the A-OK for a rooftop telecommunications antenna site at 500 Columbus Drive.

140 Ridge Road. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

And Eastlink isn’t done! Council signed off on a discretionary use application—sent in once more by Eastlink—to construct a telecommunications tower at 899 Northern Pond Road.

There were also no submissions, said Cllr Jamie Korab, and the application site is zoned Agriculture.

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary had a question on the process for these telecommunication tower applications, adding it’s federal jurisdiction. But she wanted a recap of how it goes from federal to municipal.

Deputy City Manager Planning, Engineering and Regulatory Services Jason Sinyard explained these are federally controlled. They are put in as discretionary applications in order to get public input.

“We use that input from residents when we get it to sometimes try to persuade the applicants and the federal government to find a different location. But ultimately the City has no authority to approve or reject these applications,” he said.

“But we do try to influence it by treating them as discretionary so we can get the public input and then use that if there’s a lot of public opposition.”

899 Northern Pond Road. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

Cash Policy

Council then approved the Revised Cash Handling and Petty Cash Policy to facilitate compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

“The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard administered by Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, provides industry-wide standards for credit and debit card processing to enhance data security and reduce those fraud risk,” said Cllr Ron Ellsworth

“The City has reached the threshold for mandatory compliance with the (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), based on the credit and debit card transactions. To facilitate compliance, the City has revised its Cash Handling and Petty Cash policy and developed a new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard procedures. The amended policy and the new procedures will provide greater protection in managing personal financial information and will apply to both the City and any third-party payment processing providers contracted by the City.”

Council Hosts a Power Lunch

The City, with the mayor and council, will be once again hosting a luncheon for the staff and students of Shad Memorial 2022. 

If you’re not familiar with Shad, I had to look it up and will share the details. It’s a nation-wide, non-profit program that Memorial University is part of. It brings together “high-potential” high school students together and brings them into contact with people established in their careers.

About 70 people will be dining and it will happen on July 27. It’ll cost an estimated $2000.

Cllr Ellsworth encouraged any councillor who could attend to do so.

The Cheeseman Cometh (or Not)

Newfound Mechanical (C&W Holdings) wanted to rezone land at 110 Cheeseman Drive from the Commercial Neighbourhood Zone to the Residential 1 Zone for five single detached dwellings. However, Council rejected the application.

Cllr Froude said they discussed it in Committee of the Whole and the concern over if the rezoning were to happen, it would mean the loss of low impact commercial space in the neighbourhood which in the future could provide services to the area.

The agenda noted that back on May 11, 2020 Council approved a daycare centre at the property but since then, the applicant has decided to develop the land as residential lots and is asking for a rezoning.

110 Cheeseman Drive. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

Committee Appointments Made

Council approved ten people to sit on the Sustainable and Active Mobility Advisory Committee.

Cllr Froude said they still have one spot opened for a user who uses public para-transit or Go Bus.

The new members are: Debbie Wiseman, Petra Sunner, Justin Lee, Noel Roy, Ryan Green, Megan Lomond, Anne Lambert, David Brake, Holly Grant, Avila Binimelis, and Anna Belen Makarenna.

The Sustainable and Active Mobility Advisory Committee was recently created by Council and thirty applicants applied for the eleven available positions. They were selected on the basis of the criteria like age—including a senior member and youth, and parents to young children—a cyclist, pedestrian, among other factors.

Membership for the 2022-2024 Environment & Sustainability Experts Panel was also approved by Council.

The terms are for two years and the new members are Piers Evans, MSc, Sustainable Urban Planning & Natural Environment and James Blyth, MEng, Sustainable Built Environment & Resilience.

Deputy Mayor O’Leary made a point about making an effort to seek out gender diversity qualified candidates for these positions, pointing out the Sustainable and Active Mobility Advisory Committee they had just approved was more gender diverse.

Demo Coming to Coronation Street

17 Coronation Street is going to be demolished, as Council granted a demolition order.

The building was badly damaged because of a recent fire, leaving the house uninhabitable and is causing a potential safety concern. It can’t be salvaged so demolition is the only option. Added on to that, the property owners are dead and the people who were living there previously can’t be reached, said Cllr Maggie Burton.

The Inspection Services Division boarded it up. As well, it’s a rowhouse so the adjacent home can’t be repaired because of the damage to 17 Coronation Street.

It wasn’t mentioned in the Council meeting, but the fire killed someone and the RNC has opened up a criminal investigation.

Finally Crossing 2021 Off the List

Council then approved the December 31, 2021 Audited Financial Statements.

“The auditors have issued a clean audit report on the statements meaning they present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the City and the results of its operations, changes in net debt and cash flows for the year,” said Cllr Jill Bruce.

“It is important to note that these statements are different from the City’s annual budget. Firstly, these statements are prepared on a consolidated basis meaning they represent the results for not only the City itself, but also the financial results of St. John’s Sports & Entertainment Limited and St. John’s Transportation Commission. The City’s budget shows the cash contribution toward the net operating cost of these entities whereas these statements reflect the total revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities on a gross basis.”

If you want to read through them, it’s posted in the agenda starting on page 72.

Cllr Ellsworth thanked Deputy City Manager of Finance & Administration Derek Coffey and the finance team for getting this done in such a timely matter, with Mayor Breen concurring, noting the deadline to have this in was June 30.

Victorian Gothic Upkeep

Council has signed off on an application to repair or replace a retaining wall at the rear of 70 Circular Road—a designated Heritage Building.

Looking at the photos, it kind of reminds me of a castle wall. It’s also one of those old homes that has a name, which is Sunnyside and is described as an example of Victorian Gothic. Won’t lie, this journalist loves a Victorian Gothic home.

“This is one of the rare examples in our portfolio of heritage buildings where the entire building lot is designated, not just the home,” said Cllr Burton.

Another view of the old retaining wall at Sunnyside. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

Tender Talks

Saunders Equipment has secured a contract valued at $159,810.01 (HST excluded) per year to provide trackless parts. The parts will be stocked at the City’s central stores location.

The other bid came from Parts for Trucks for $2,994.37, though it was disqualified.

K&D Pratt got a contract valued at $133,176.68 (HST excluded) to provide the fire department supplies and equipment to various City locations. Fire department supplies and equipment will be stocked at the City’s central stores location.

The other bid came from Martin’s Fire Safety with a bid for $86,033.95 but it was disqualified.

Parsons Paving Ltd got the contract for miscellaneous asphalt repairs on roads and sidewalks, with a bid of $$978,218.75 (HST included).

Cllr Sandy Hickman said the contract is for work from July 1 to December 31, plus the possibility of two, one-year extensions.

The other bids came from Farrell’s Excavating Ltd. ($1,441,410), Modern Paving Limited ($2,123,618.75), Pyramid Construction Limited ($2,180,083.75) and Weirs Construction Limited ($4,270,093.75).

Council awarded Talon Energy Services Inc—who came in with a bid of $608,476.50 (HST included)—to do dredging works for certain bridges as well as extend the culvert at Portugal Cove Road/Virginia River to address a recurring embankment/shoulder erosion issue.

According to the agenda, the company has from July to October 28 to have a substantial completion, plus the one-year warranty period.

Mr. Sinyard said there are six items in the main part of the tender and then a provisional section for another five. 

“So hopefully the prices come in favourably and we can knock off some of the provisional. But we anticipate being able to get the original six done.”

The other bidders were Dexter Construction Company Limited ($716,674.25), Coady Construction & Excavating Limited ($802,470) and Pyramid Construction Limited ($1,984,445.75).

Parish Lane Development Inches Closer to Finish Line

Council has voted to adopt resolutions for St. John’s Municipal Plan Amendment Number 1, 2022 and St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 1, 2022 for Parish Lane Development’s plans for 40 residential units at 68 Queen’s Road—which has been a hot topic. 

An in-person public hearing is set for July 20 at 7 pm in the Foran/Greene Room of City Hall.

Cllr Froude said following that meeting, the amendments will be brought back to Council and the Commissioner’s report for consideration.

It was last before Council on November 22, when Council signed off on a motion to adopt-in-principle the resolutions for St. John’s Municipal Plan Amendment Number 1, 2021, and St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 1, 2021 regarding land at the rear of 68 Queen’s Road, which has its frontage along Harvey Road.

Cllr Burton brought up that this is the first in-person meeting on a development and suggested since it’s the summer, they should also host a virtual meeting so people can attend, like if they aren’t in the province.

So Mayor Breen said they’d amend the initial motion to add the additional virtual meeting.

Both were approved unanimously

Site of the Parish Lane Development in downtown St. John’s. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

A Good Old-Fashioned Expropriation

Council approved the expropriation of 7 Gleneyre Street for the upgrades and replacement of a headwall.

The City’s legal team sent a letter to the owner of the property, who happens to live in Vancouver, BC. While the letter was sent a year ago, the owner never responded.

“This project is currently underway on a separate parcel of land and will be moving to the front portion of seven, as shown in red on the attached diagram, in the coming weeks,” said Cllr Bruce.

The purchase price for this portion has been established at $2.30 per square foot—a number reached because it’s located within the floodplain and development potential is limited—so compensation is set at $5,273.23.

Because the purchase of this section of land will make a chunk of the land inaccessible, the City will have to purchase this land as well. The total assessed cost is $48,500.

7 Gleneyre Street (red) and neighbouring floodplain (blue). (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

Getting Ready to Party

The Shea Heights Folk Festival on July 15 – 17 and the St. John’s Pride Parade on July 24 have both gotten the go-ahead from Council.

Shea Heights Folk Festival is taking place in the Richard Power Memorial Field on July 15, 16, and 17. Organizers asked for an extension of the Noise By-Law until 12 am on July 16.  Organizers are also requesting approval to have backyard fireworks at their event on July 16, which they have to ask approval for, as per the Fireworks By-Law, which was approved.

St. John’s Pride Parade is happening on July 24, from 2 pm – 4 pm. The parade kicks off at City Hall and the crowd will make its way to Bannerman Park via Duckworth Street and Cavendish Square.

There will be road closures beginning at 12 pm at New Gower Street East Bound at Waldegrave Street, New Gower Street West Bound from City Hall to Carter’s Hill, Duckworth from Bates Hill to New Gower Street, Adelaide at George.

Starting at 2 pm, the Parade route will also be closed to traffic. Those streets will be New Gower Street, Duckworth Street, Cavendish Square, Military Road, Bannerman Road, ending at Bannerman Park.

A traffic control company will implement all road closures.

St. John’s Pride Parade Route. (Source: City Agenda, 28 June 2022.)

The Go Round

Mayor Breen started it off, saying on June 21 the City was awarded the International Association of Business Communicators Newfoundland and Labrador chapter’s Pinnacle Awards, honouring excellence in the field of communications.

He also sent out his congratulations to Alex Newhook of the Colorado Avalanches on their Stanley Cup win—pointing out he’s the third Newfoundlander to be a part of a winning team, and the first one from St. John’s.

Deputy Mayor O’Leary asked Mr. Sinyard on the status of the Livingstone and Sebastian Court steps, which was currently cordoned off. She asked for Mr. Sinyard to give an update on that work and how long it will be closed.

Mr. Sinyard explained the steps aren’t currently safe and are included in the City’s retaining wall program, which is part of a larger program. He said they anticipate going to tender in a few weeks and hopefully construction could start later this summer.

“It is listed as priority number one on the list of walls and stairs to get fixed,” he added.

O’Leary mentioned the launch of the St. John’s Food Action Plan that took place last week.

Her comments were briefly interrupted by the disembodied sounds of Cllr Hanlon’s dogs on speaker.

She also congratulated the screening of Anthoy Tooton’s film, Tooton’s Photography: In The Business Of Making Memories.

Cllr Hickman said the splash pads are just waiting on inspection from Provincial Public Health.

Cllr Hanlon touted the accessibility additions to this year’s Canada Day, including the GoBus, accessible parking at Quidi Vidi Lake, and washrooms.

Cllr Korab said that watching the Stanley Cup game was the latest he’d stayed up in two years. He added it was pretty unfair for Alex Newhook to upstage his sister, Abby Newhook, who was named the City’s Female Athlete of the Year – Marg Davis Memorial Award.

He also drew attention to the Mundy Pond Trail, which is closed as of yesterday until July 13, due to construction at the new community centre. However, he pointed out that on July 9 the Mundy Pond Regatta is scheduled to take place. The concession stands will be over at St. Theresa’s and he wondered if it was possible to open up the trail just for that day. In addition, he floated the idea they could go easy on parking tickets in the area and have signage up if the trail can’t be reopened.

Mayor Breen had one final note: the downtown Pedestrian Mall opens on Thursday and he hoped—“knock on wood”—that the weather would hold.

Also a last minute note for you readers: the regular City council meetings are going to its summer bi-weekly schedule. So the next What Odds will be on July 12 (another Tuesday meeting) and July 25 (back on a Monday). See you at the Pedestrian Mall!

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.

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