What Odds at City Hall: 7 November 2022

Torbay Road restaurant doubles up, Wild Things is getting a new splash of paint, and dive-bombing seagulls are a nuisance for James Lane residents.
Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary proclaims November 8 as World Town Planning Day. (Screengrab.)

Mayor Danny Breen was absent from today’s meeting, with deputy mayor Sheilagh O’Leary sitting in his chair and chairing the meeting. Also absent were Cllrs Maggie Burton, Ian Froude, and Carl Ridgeley.

First up was a proclamation regarding the non-profit Murphy Centre, read out by the deputy mayor;

“Whereas on November 9, 2022, the Murphy Centre will launch the “Inspiring Lives” Annual Appeal for financial support and for four weeks will gratefully accept gifts in support of academic, career and life programs.

“And whereas your generous financial support will enable the Murphy Centre to move to a new level of enabling men and women who seek a deeper sense of fulfillment for themselves and their community.

“So therefore I, Sheilagh O’Leary, deputy mayor, on behalf of Mayor Danny Breen do hereby proclaim November 9th to December 7th, 2022, as the Murphy Centre’s Annual “Inspiring Lives Financial Appeal” in the City of St. John’s.”

Next up was another proclamation, marking November 8 as World Town Planning Day.

“This is a day to acknowledge the role of planning in creating livable, sustainable communities; and a day to celebrate the contributions of planning to our quality of life,” she said, signing it on behalf of the mayor.

She was joined by the City’s Ken O’Brien and Lindsay Lyghtle Brushet of Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Professional Planners.

With Cllr Froude’s absence, he wasn’t there to follow up on the motion he made last week to rescind SJMC-R-2022-05-02/189 where Council adopted St. John’s Development Regulations Amendment Number 11, 2022.

So this was done by Cllr Ophelia Ravencroft.

This is regarding the Text Amendment for Stand-Alone Single Detached Dwellings in the Rural Zone for Civic Numbers 420 to 496 Maddox Cove Road.

New Restaurant Comes To Torbay, Twice

A restaurant is going to be taking up the ground floor of 300 Torbay Road.

Peter’s Pizza & Golden Foods Limited – directed by John Mathioudakis and Peter Mathioudakis – submitted a discretionary use application, which Council unanimously voted to approve.

The ground floor restaurant will take up a floor area of approximately 198 m² and its hours of operation will be Sunday to Thursday, 11:00am to 12:00am and Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 2:00 a.m. Parking is provided on-site.

As you may recall, back at the July 25 Council meeting, a restaurant was given the go-ahead to set up in the building’s second floor. However, the company that was aiming for this business wasn’t named.

Cllr Jill Bruce asked if the previously approved restaurant for the second floor would still proceed and Deputy City Manager of Planning, Engineering & Regulatory Services Jason Sinyard said the application is still good.

300 Torbay Road. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Council then approved parking relief for one parking space at 38 Spencer Street to allow for a Subsidiary Dwelling Unit.

38 Spencer Street. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Wild Things Gets New Splash of Paint

Downtown building 124 Water Street – the home of Wild Things – is getting a fresh coat of paint, as Council signed off on a mural on the front facade of the building.

Cllr Ravencroft said the City received an application for a mural on the building’s front and it’s in the Commercial District and in Heritage Area 2.

“Murals may only be permitted upon the recommendation of the Heritage Advisory Committee (and now the Built Heritage Experts Panel) and at the discretion of Council,” she said.

Last week the Built Heritage Experts Panel recommended the design’s approval because the building had previously had a mural a few years ago.

Cllr Ravencroft said the proposed design looks “very pretty indeed.”

The building is currently a solid blue-green colour but years ago it also had a mural, so I guess this is going back to its roots.

Tenders

NARL Marketing LP secured a contract valued at for $34,919.00 per year (HST not included) to supply and deliver bulk propane for various City locations.

The contract is for one year but with the possibility of two, one-year extensions, said Cllr Sandy Hickman.

Sole bidder Blair Temple Associates – directed by Blair Temple – has been awarded a $55,430 contract to provide archeology consulting services for the Water Street Infrastructure Improvements Project – Phase 5.

The contract is for 18 months, said Cllr Hickman.

Deputy mayor O’Leary asked for public information on the necessity of having an archaeologist, and Mr. Sinyard said there are identified areas in town that need to have an archaeologist on hand during excavation to properly uncover and catalog potential artifacts or items discovered.

While he said they don’t often find things, it does happen on occasion.

Construction Signs Ltd – for $142,850.53 (HST included) – will be replacing defective, missing traffic signs and traffic control devices in the City on an as and when required basis.

The contract is for one year, with the possibility of three, one-year extensions, said Cllr Hickman.

The other bid came from Protek Industries Ltd. ($150,341.44).

Dive-Bombing Seagulls

Cllr Jamie Korab then brought a petition to Council, signed by 48 people, regarding a long-standing issue at 61 James Lane regarding nesting seagulls on the building.

After years of dealing with this issue and getting nowhere, he said the people want action to provide them “with the peace and tranquility that we deserve as tax paying citizens of the City of St. John’s.”

So Cllr Korab said this breaks down into two issues, one regarding the minimum property standards and the other regarding seagulls. His understanding is the City doesn’t do anything regarding nesting seagulls, as it falls under either Provincial wildlife or federal jurisdiction, so he’d like to know what can the City do.

Mr. Sinyard said seagulls are migratory birds and are protected federally. Once they nest it’s handled by the province or the federal government. And there’s very little anyone can do until the nesting period is over.

He said when they get complaints regarding properties they do investigate to make sure there’s nothing there that is attracting the gulls to the building on the first palace. So with this property he said he believes there’s a history of investigations and they’ve made sure that appropriate action has been taken to deal with the issues.

“That being said we’re also looking at revisions to our commercial maintenance bylaw to see if there’s any strengthening or wording we can do to help deal with situations like these a little more effectively in the future.”

Finally, Cllr Korab asked to have staff reach out to either Provincial Wildlife or the federal government on this, to see what they can do to reduce the seagull population or move them from the area.

Side note, I used to work on this street and, yes, seagulls are a problem when nesting. Have you ever been dive-bombed by one of these creatures and had to make a run for the safety of your car? I don’t recommend it as cardio.

Council then approved Al Skehen as the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Association’s appointment to the Seniors Advisory Committee.

He replaces Paul Fisher.

Cllr Debbie Hanlon said Skehen is “retired from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and has worked as a home inspector, in direct sales, and as an inventory associate. He has volunteer experience with the Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, President of RNCA and NL Aikido. He has also served on numerous committees of NLPSPA, most recently as the Nominations Lead.”

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

420 to 496 Maddox Cove Road. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Road Closures Extravaganza

There are plenty of road closures in the coming weeks!

Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Parade – November 11
Rolling road closure from 10:00am – 10:45am, Queens Road, East on Duckworth Street, south on Cochrane Street, and west on Duckworth Street. This will be followed by a march from the War Memorial, along Water Street and south on Ayre’s Cove. This portion of Water Street will be closed from 10:00am – 12:30pm.

Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance Day Parade Route. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Shea Heights Remembrance Day Parade – November 11
It begins at St. John Bosco School and then the Shea Heights Community Centre. The organizers have requested RNC support this event.

Shea Heights Remembrance Day Parade Location. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Christmas on Cochrane – November 27, December 4, 11, 18
This is a weekly tree lighting/holiday celebration in front of Cochrane Street United Church. Sections of Cochrane Street from Military Road to Bond Street from 3:00pm – 5:00pm on each date will be closed.

Christmas on Cochrane Location. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade– November 27 (inclement weather date December 4)
Parade to run from 12:00pm – 2:00pm and the RNC will escort the parade. The following roads will be closed: Factory Lane, Plymouth Road,Duckworth Street,Prescott Street and Water Street.

Goulds Lions Club Christmas Parade – December 4 (inclement weather date December 11)
Parade to run from 1:00pm – 3:00pm Organizer has secured the services of a Traffic Control Company. The following roads will be closed: Lake View Drive, Main Road, Lakeview Drive to Bidgood’s Plaza, Access from side roads to Main Road will be restricted during the Parade.

Habitat Grows

Council voted for the transfer of a 0.8-meter-wide strip of land – which is in the City’s Road Reservation – to Habitat for Humanity.

Back in 2019 Council made an agreement with Habitat for Humanity for the transfer of land at 28 Eric Street.

“Habitat is now in the final design phase and awaiting approval to develop from the City. Their design proposed requires an additional 0.8 meters at the front to accommodate the driveway requirements. Staff are agreeable to the transfer of the road reservation in this particular case. And the City will provide the survey for the additional land,” said Cllr Ravencroft.

28 Eric Street. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

On November 17 from 7:30am – 4:00pm Convent Square will be closed at the request from the TV show Hudson & Rex so the crew can carry out filming.

Local traffic and emergency vehicles will still be able to access it.

Convent Square Road, off Hamilton Avenue. (Source: City Agenda, November 7, 2022)

The Go Round

Deputy mayor O’Leary congratulated their colleague, Cllr Hickman, who was acknowledged at the recent Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador conference’s AGM for his 21 years of public service.

She also reminded people that Rememberance Day is coming up and to remember those who served and gave the “ultimate sacrifice.”

Cllr Hickman said it was humbling to be involved in public service for so long, as well as to see so many people across the province involved at the conference. Many from smaller communities get little compensation or thanks for what they do.

Cllr Hanlon also thanked the organizers for the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador conference.

Speaking in regards to the Seniors Advisory Committee, she said winter recreation courses registration starts on December 1 for residents and opens December 6 for non-residents. You can register online, over the phone and in person at the Mews Centre or Paul Reynolds Centre.

She added the Learning Disabilities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador offers adult literacy support programs and free services for adults. Accessing these services doesn’t require a formal diagnosis.

The Schizophrenia Association of Newfoundland is hosting a family recovery journey, which will offer learning strategies for managing its impacts on friends of family members, and how to support people. The program begins November 15 and there are five sessions.

Cllr Bruce said she was at the percent Hindu Temple Diwali, which was fantastic. She wanted to acknowledge the contribution this community makes to the province, citing a recent fundraising initiation where they raised $14,000 for people in the Port aux Basques area.

Cllr Ravencroft spoke about her recent absence from City Hall, saying it was due to some personal, medical issues and thanked her colleagues for stepping in to help the people of Ward 2.

She added it was good to be back and she wasn’t avoiding Council, like some had suggested.

Cllr Korab said it’s been brought to his attention that many pet owners are letting their dogs run freely in ballparks, which causes a mess and can spread E. coli and other issues. Public health agency said pet waste can spread parasites like salmonella and tapeworms. If humans come into contact it can cause infection. They can also contaminate turf.

There are nine dog parks in St. John’s so he pleaded with residents to use the dog parks and not the ballparks.

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