What Odds at City Hall: 31 October 2022

Welcome to a very spooky Council meeting, where the housing fund got a boost, and one Cllr was dressed to impress!
Mayor Danny Breen proclaims Captain Gerry O’Neill as the 2022 Rotary Club Firefighter of the Year. (Screengrab.)

Mayor Danny Breen wished all a Happy Halloween and proclaimed Captain Gerry O’Neill as the 2022 Rotary Club Firefighter of the Year, who performed CPR on a 91 year old. Mayor Breen also gave him a commendation from the City.

Cllrs Ron Ellsworth, Ophelia Ravencroft and Maggie Burton were absent.

First up, Council signed off on an application from Nidus Development Inc.—directed by Gregory Hanley—for a retail shop at 314-316 LeMarchant Road.

The proposed hours of operation will be seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parking is provided onsite.

Cll Jamie Korab said it’s for a Christmas store, and he noted the irony of wearing a bright orange Halloween suit saying that.

In August, Council approved a climbing gym and cafe going into this spot too.

314-316 LeMarchant Road. (Source: City Agenda, 31 October 2022.)

Next up, Council approved a parking garage at 30 Cookstown Road to allow a parking space for one vehicle on the main level of the dwelling extension.

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary had a question to clarify the layout of the building and Deputy City Manager of Planning, Engineering & Regulatory Services Jason Sinyard said the garage is attached to the three-storey dwelling unit.

New Clinic on Major’s Path

Prakash Properties Inc.—directed by Dr. Archana Vidyasankar—has gotten the Council’s approval for a private clinic at 103 Major’s Path.

The clinic will take up approximately 232.25 m² and will have up to eight clinic rooms. Its hours of operation will be Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

There was one submission received, speaking out against it. They argued the location was inconvenient for people without a car and far away from bus stops. Plus, there are no sidewalks. There is also the issue of noise from the nearby airport, which would be “unbearable” for the people working and visiting the clinic. (Although presumably this would be annoying for any of the businesses or homes that are already on this street.)

And finally, and a little more than dramatic, the person was concerned with air safety, writing: “In the event of an aircraft crashing on takeoff or landing from that runway it would crash into the building, presumably with a loss of life. And the City would have to explain why the clinic was built at that unsafe location.”

Deputy Mayor O’Leary had a question about the existing infrastructure to support the clinic.

Mr. Sinyard said it’s a private clinic and staff have no issue around the infrastructure that’s in place to support it.

Anyway, it passed unanimously.

Council also signed off on the purchase of an Eddy Current Separator located at the Materials Recovery Facility and aRHB fuel vehicle using the Robin Hood Bay Equipment Reserve Fund.

For both, it totals $119,919.66 and the equipment reserve currently has a balance of $9,162,080.25.

Funding Boost to Housing Fund

Council then approved the allocation of 10 percent of the City’s development fee revenue to the Civic Housing Action Fund starting in 2022.

“Currently, 100% of the City’s development fees are transferred to the Parks and Open Spaces Reserve and are used for projects like enhancing parks, greenspaces, playgrounds, and related amenities,” said Deputy Mayor O’Leary. “For example, the mountain bike pump track, Bowring Park skating surface conceptual design, etc.”

The change would have the following uses: “Leveraging additional funds for new affordable housing developments led by community partners,” she said.

“Pre-development work on City-owned land selected for affordable housing development led by community partners. And Maintenance of the City’s Non-profit Housing stock to increase affordability and to meet market demand.”

Cllr Sandy Hickman said this is wonderful and he said he checked in with Parks and Open Spaces who said they won’t be negatively impacted by the move.

Cllr Debbie Hanlon also said she was delighted with this decision and that it made sense, adding she wondered why they hadn’t done this sooner.

Farrell’s Excavating Ltd.—for $1,092,250 (HST included)—secured the contract to move and empty waste and recycling bins at the Robin Hood Bay Residential Drop-Off.

The contract is for two years, plus the possibility of a one year extension, said Cllr Hickman.

The other bidders were Heave Away Waste Management Ltd ($1,136,110), Provincial Ready Mix ($1,216,520), and GFL Environmental ($1,912,500).

Up next, Cllr Ian Froude had an announcement.

“Take notice that at a future Regular Meeting of Council, I will move a motion to have City Council rescind the following motion approved at the May 2 Regular Meeting of Council regarding the Text Amendment for Stand-Alone Single Detached Dwellings in the Rural Zone for Civic Numbers 420 to 496 Maddox Cove Road,” he said.

Council Switch Ups

Cllr Ravencroft is now set to replace Cllr Burton on the St. John’s Food Policy Council; the motion was made by Cllr Hickman as both were absent from the meeting.

This council has up to 15 members, representing various sectors. A term lasts four years and its meetings are held up to six times per year.

Council has approved the appointment of Kelly Picco as the Para Transit representative on the Sustainable and Active Mobility Advisory Committee.

Heritage Home Reno Approval

Council approved the proposed exterior renovations at designated Heritage Building 22 Gower Street, with the following changes:

  • The gable dormer in the roof and the pedimented portico has to have siding, not cedar shakes.
  • The moulded eaves have to stay.
  • The original building trims – so the decorative details above and below the bay window –  have to stay. If they are replaced, they need to be replicated with wood using the same proportions and designs as the existing trims.
  • Wide window trim and corner boards have to stay.
  • Stair replacement to retain the narrow columns.
  • The window trims and sills are to replicate the existing trims and sills in terms of style and promotion. Cape Cod trims as a building material are acceptable
22 Gower Street. (Source: City Agenda, 31 October 2022.)

Fireworks Approved

On November 5, the Hindu Temple of St. John’s will be setting off fireworks for their Diwali Celebrations after Council approved an exemption to the Fireworks By-Law.

The event is taking place at the temple’s parking lot at 26 Penny Lane, between 9:30 pm – 10:00 pm. These fireworks will be only sparklers for the children and fountain fireworks that won’t exceed three feet.

Location of the Hindu Temple on Penney Crescent. (Source: City Agenda, 31 October 2022.)

Wall Set to Get Splash of Paint

And finally, an update on the mural project to celebrate “Come Home Year 2022.”

The artists who’ll be making a mark on Harvey Road are Molly Margaret and Lily Taylor.

Back in April the City sent out a Request for Proposals (or RFP) looking for proponents for a public art project. However, by the deadline no one had submitted a proposal that met the specifications so a new RFP was sent out. A jury then selected the winners earlier this month.

The provincial government kicked in $24,500 in financial support for the project through the Come Home Year 2022 Cultural Funding Program. In addition, the City’s approved Public Art and Murals budget will contribute approximately $19,500.

The next step is for the City staff to work with the artists and Deputy Mayor O’Leary said it’s scheduled to be complete by the end of the 2022 calendar year.

The Go Round

Deputy Mayor O’Leary wished everyone a safe and happy Halloween.

She also spoke about a recent meeting held at Rabbittown over getting more information about the Neighbourhood Watch and the residents there potentially starting one. She said 130 people attended the event, which was held at the Hub, along with two RNC officers and Jennifer McGraw. She described it as a “tough but good meeting,” as people shared concerns about Rabbittown. She thanked the people who came out.

She also encouraged people to contact the police of any criminal activity they notice. And she also urged people if they have any concerns about properties and upkeep in their areas, reach out to 311 and report it so City staff are in the know.

She also touted tomorrow’s Pumpkin Walk at Bannerman Park where you can walk around the park and take in the various creative gourds locals made.

Starting at 5:30 pm, the first hour will be a sensory friendly hour, ending at 6:30. You can drop off your pumpkin to be put on display and afterwards they will be composted.

“It’s a fabulous, fabulous time,” said Deputy Mayor O’Leary.

Cllr Hickman wished people a happy Halloween and said people should drop by Cllr Korab’s home—so he must have gone all out for the holiday.

Cllr Jamie Korab is really leaning into the spirit of the season. (Screengrab.)

Cllr Hanlon said she would like to visit Cllr Korab’s home too.

She also announced that registration for winter recreation courses for residents starts on December 6 and it opens for non-residents the following day.

She also mentioned the Seniors Advisory Committee has met with Seniors Advocate Susan Walsh.

Cllr Hanlon also gave some accessibility information about the Pumpkin Walk; the accessible parking will be onsite and the gender neutral/accessible toilets will be there. The sensory hour will mean no loud music or surprise performances. If you want to use the Go Bus, she stressed, you have to book it in advance. They’re also looking at getting feedback after the event.

Cllr Korab brought up the issue of lighting at dog parks, as he’s gotten messages about it over the years. He pointed out it’s getting darker earlier this time of year. So he’d like the City to look into making our nine dog parks safer and well lit places.

Cllr Carl Ridgeley also said he’d like everyone to stay safe tonight and for drivers to slow down.

And that’s that; I think I hear the pitter patter of trick-or-treaters now at the door!

Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.

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