What Odds at City Hall: 28 November 2022

A plan for a shared-use path is approved, and a convent is having part of its heritage designation revoked for some new metal siding.
St. John's City Hall on New Gower Street.
St. John’s City Hall. Photo by Elizabeth Whitten.

Cllrs Maggie Burton—who had said last week she’d be stepping away for pregnancy-related reasons—and Ophelia Ravencroft were absent from today’s council meeting.

First up, Mayor Danny Breen wished Cllr Jamie Korab a happy birthday.

Council agreed to approve the established building line setback at 60.63 metre for 5 Beaumont Hamel Way for a new lot.

“The proposed lot will have frontage and access from a new street (yet to be named), which is located off Beaumont Hamel Way,” said Cllr Korab.

5 Beaumont Hamel Way. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

Council then signed off on a building line setback at 65.7 metres and set the dwelling location with a side yard setback of 18.06 metres from the west property boundary for a new lot created from the consolidation of 214, 216 and 244 Petty Harbour Road.

They’re having fun with shapes in Petty Harbour. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

Based on the recommendation of the City Manager, Council voted to reject a proposed single dwelling at 923A Thorburn Road, Portugal Cove – St. Phillips.

The Town of Portugal Cove – St. Phillip’s referred an application to the City for a single dwelling at 923A Thorburn Road. 

“The property is located within the Broad Cove River Watershed. In 1988 the development permit was issued by the St. John’s Metropolitan Board. It was given approval to replace the dwelling. The dwelling was removed, but the replacement dwelling was not constructed. So now there’s an application being made for a dwelling on the property,” said Cllr Korab.

“So development of lands within the Watershed and situate within the legal municipal boundary of the Town of Portugal Cove – St. Phillip’s is subject to Section 104(4) of the City of St. John’s Act. Therefore must be referred to the City to review and approve.”

“The new dwelling may only be permitted at the City Manager’s recommendation. The Development Committee looked at this, reviewed it, and from a Watershed protection standpoint there are concerns about allowing a new development in this Watershed. Allowing new residential dwellings to be constructed beyond the timeline for which a Non-Conforming Use ceases to exist, is in contravention of the Urban and Rural Planning Act.”

923A Thorburn Road. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

Alltask Excavating Inc.—for $370,000 per year (HST not included)—was awarded the contract to provide snow clearing and ice control services for pedestrians in the downtown area.

The other bidders were Gladneys Bus Ltd ($820,244.16) and Coady Construction & Excavating Limited ($895,000).

Council approved the access to funding from the Regional Water Equipment Replacement Reserve Fund to buy a replacement Southlands Pump at the Ruby Line Pump Station.

“The pump has failed and it must be replaced,” said Cllr Sandy Hickman.

That will cost an estimated $98,320 (HST extra).

Heritage Designation Peeled Back

Council then voted seven to two to approve the removal of the municipal heritage designation from the rear extension of 180 Military Road.

This move was against the recommendation of the Built Heritage Experts Panel.

Presentation Convent as it appears now. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

This comes from a proposed change to the building. Cllr Ian Froude said they received an application from the firm Fougere Menchenton Architecture Inc.—on behalf of the Presentation Sisters—to renovate the building at 180 Military Road for the purpose of adding some residential units.

Some of the changes include metal siding to the exterior, which the Built Heritage Expert Panel has rejected.

Cllr Froude said when the applicant attended the Built Heritage Expert Panel meeting, the panel made the following recommendation: “Although the Built Heritage Experts Panel supports the concept of the project and applauds the efforts of the development team, they feel that as proposed the metal siding does not meet the intent of the Heritage Bylaw’s measure of the new building materials to be compatible and comparable to the existing heritage structure and are recommending rejection.”

Artist’s conception of the proposed renovation. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

But the proponent has maintained that insulating from the outside and covering it with metal siding is the only option, he added. It’s also a heritage building so any renovation has to be approved by Council.

Now the heritage designation is being peeled back at the building’s rear, which means the proposed plans can go ahead.

Example of the proposed renovation. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

Next up, Cllr Froude said they got a staff recommendation regarding putting a shared-use path on one side of Canada Drive as part of the bike master plan. So now they’re kicking that over to get some more feedback from the Sustainability and Active Mobility Advisory Committee for consideration.

Housing Calculation Adjusted

Council then voted to adjust the current calculation scheme for all new one and two family dwelling constructions as proposed with an implementation date of January 1, 2023.

Cllr Jill Bruce said: “Permits for new constructions are based on the construction value of the houses being built. Inspection Services uses a formula for the construction value which factors in the square meterage of the house.”

“When calculating the cost of new construction permits, only the floors above grade are included in the calculation of construction cost. As such, any floors below grade, regardless of whether they are finished or not, are not factored into the permit cost for new constructions.”

“If an applicant proceeds to complete an unfinished basement after an occupancy certificate has been issued by the City, then a separate building permit must be obtained and based on the calculated construction cost of finishing the basement. Given this, applicants who finish a basement after the initial occupancy approval has been granted may deem the associated permit cost as unreasonable resulting in reduced customer satisfaction. “

She added they looked at other jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada in an effort to align themselves with those municipalities. 

“The proposed values will see a cost per square meter for new one and two family dwellings being; $8.00 per square metre for all construction above grade. $5.00 per square metre for all development below grade and attached garages. And $3.00 per square metre for unfinished below grade areas. The above values were determined so as not to impose increases in permit revenue, although some dwelling construction types may see a marginal increase in permit fees.”

Sole bidder Harvey & Company Ltd. won a contract valued at $86,630.46 per year (HST not included) to supply and deliver Cummins Parts for the fleet division to be used on an as required basis. 

According to the agenda, the contract is for one year with the possibility of two one-year extensions.

Safety First Contracting Ltd—for $876,836—was awarded a contract to control traffic at the Robin Hood Bay residential drop-off and commercial tip face.

The contract is for two years with the option to renew for one year.

The other bidders (though the agenda didn’t include their bids) were TKS Solutions Incorporated, Alyssa’s Property Services Pro Inc. and Kelloway Construction Limited.

Cllr Bruce announced: “Take notice that I will at the next regular meeting of the St. John’s Municipal Council move to amend the St. John’s Paid Parking Regulations to add a provision related to payment for the use of electric vehicle charging stations on Saturdays, Sundays, or any other defined holiday within the meaning of the Shops Closing Act, RSNL 1990, C. S-15.”

Following that, she added: “Take notice that I will at the next regular meeting of the St. John’s Municipal Council move to amend the St. John’s Ticketing Amendment By-Law to add a provision related to the parking of vehicles that are not physically connected to electric vehicle charging stations in parking spaces designated for the charging of electric vehicles.”

On December 4 – 7, from 7:00 am – 8:00 pm, Princes Street will be closed to all but local and emergency traffic so Hudson & Rex can film.

Road closure on Princes Street. (Source: City Agenda, 28 November 2022.)

Holiday Planning

There are also a few holiday-related road closures coming up next month.

The Festival of Music and Lights is scheduled for December 3 (with a backup date set for December 10), from 5 pm – 6 pm in Bowring Park. Waterford Bridge Road, from Cowan Avenue to Bay Bulls Road will be closed from approximately 4:30 pm – 6 pm.

The Downtown Holiday Fair is planned for December 10 – 11 (and if the weather is bad, the date goes to December 17 – 18), from 2 pm – 5 pm in the downtown. The Sunday portion of the event requires the closure of George Street, from Adelaide Street to Water Street from 10 am – 6 pm. 

December 3 is the Shea Heights Christmas Parade, which runs from 11:00 pm – 1:30 pm. The parade starts at the Community Centre, 130 Linegar Avenue, and will turn on Dillon Crescent, and return to the Community Centre.

The Go Round

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary had a number of festive activities to tout. First up was the 21st annual Festival of Music and Lights taking place at the Bowring Park duck pond on December 3 at 5 pm. There will be musical performances and she advised people to bring a non-perishable food donation. There will be an accessible viewing area and parking too. More information is available at the City’s website.

There’s also a new addition to this year’s festivities; the Downtown Holiday Fair happening on December 10 to 11 from 2-5 pm

As well, she said the Public Libraries are having its annual General Meeting tomorrow at the AC Hunter Library from 7-9 pm.

Cllr Hickman said on December 1—that’s this Thursday!—the 24 hour parking ban on snow clearing routes kicks in.

Cllr Debbie Hanlon said that the Santa Claus Parade will now be taking place this Sunday, as it was postponed yesterday due to poor weather.

As well, she passed on condolences to the friends and family of Charles Starkes, a veteran of WWII.

Cllr Bruce said Clean St. John’s is now taking nominations for its annual Golden Broom Awards, and the deadline is December 21.

Cllr Korab said the City Guide is now out, and gave a few highlights of what information people can find in it—such as the waste recycling calendar, parking restrictions, where to drop off your live Christmas tree, and more.

Cllr Froude remarked that Robert Nolan is the new CEO for Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, taking over from Craig Pollett.

Cllr Carl Ridgeley had an update on the destruction caused by post tropical storm Earl. He’s heard word from the province that the damages aren’t covered under the relief program. But he added that Minister Tom Osborne is working on other avenues to get relief for the residents.

But he said there is some good news: the Bidgood Park boardwalk—which was damaged by the storm—is going to be fixed. He said constriction will happen over the next couple of months and asked people to avoid the area for now.

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