What Odds City Hall: 12 September 2022

Condolences for the Queen, demolition orders, sale of city land, and interim funding for the Goulds Arena Association. Oh, and mind the water on the roads!
St. John's City Hall on New Gower Street.
St. John’s City Hall. Photo by Elizabeth Whitten.

All members of council were present with the exceptions of deputy mayor Sheilagh O’Leary and Cllr Maggie Burton.

To start off, Mayor Breen passed along condolences on behalf of the council and the citizens to the Royal Family over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. He said it marks  the end of an era and the beginning of a new one and wished King Charles III every success, “God save the King.”

Then, there was a moment of silence.

Mayor Danny Breen called for a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting.
Screencap from: City Council Meeting live stream.

He also signed a book of condolences – donated by Caul’s Funeral Home – and said it would be available to the public at City Hall’s Great Hall during the mourning period.

Council then got down to business, approving the demolition and rebuilding of both a single detached dwelling and accessory building at 8A Ron’s Road in the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s.

Demolition of 8A Ron’s Road. (Source: City Agenda, 12 September 2022).

The dwelling can have a maximum floor area of 120.41m² and the accessory building has a maximum floor area of 29.7m.²

Because it’s located in the protected Broad Cove Watershed, the town sent the request to St. John’s, explained Cllr Jamie Korab.

Council then signed off on a discretionary use application at 441- 443 Main Road for a sewing studio with incidental retail.

Cllr Korab said the business will be operated by the owner and has a floor area of 37.16 m.² Its hours of operation will be Monday to Friday, 6 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. On-site parking is provided.

A sewing studio with incidental retail at 441-443 Main Road. (Source: City Agenda, 12 September 2022).

Tender Talk

Perry Matthews Towing Inc. secured a contract valued at $93,500 (exclusive of HST) to provide light duty towing and impound services for the City. They will ensure that it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Service is available for Fleet, Roads, and Regulatory Services divisions on an as-required basis.

The contract is for one year, with the possibility of two one-year extensions.

The other bid came from Boss Towing ($220,000).

Grainger Canada was also awarded a contract for $281,530.92 a year (HST not included) to supply and deliver oil, lubricants, windshield wash, and diesel exhaust fluid for various City departments.

The contract is for one year, with the possibility of two one-year extensions.

The other bids came from Source Atlantic Ltd., Bluewater Newfoundland Ltd., Provall Parts Ltd., Shoreline Lubricants and Industrial Supply, OMB Parts & Industrial Ltd., Crevier Lubrifiants Inc., Harvey and Company Ltd., and Western Petroleum.

Notices of Motion Upcoming

In the absence of Cllr Burton, Cllr Opehlia Ravencroft read out two notices of motion related to electric charging stations.

“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 actively charging in parking spaces designated for the charging of electric vehicles,” she said.

“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 the vehicles that are parked in parking spaces designated as ‘electric vehicle charging stations’ and which have gone past the time paid for.”

Demo Time

And another demolition is before council!

They granted a demolition order for 46 Blackwood Place, which had been badly damaged due to a fire so it’s uninhabitable and as it stands, it’s a potential safety concern.

Council didn’t go into details but according to the agenda, staff had been attempting to work with the property owner to resolve the issue but had failed. So, the Court awarded a Court Order for staff of Inspection Services to enter the property to conduct an assessment. That was completed on August 18.

This assessment concluded the building is damaged beyond repair so demolition is the only option available. 

City Land Sale

Council also voted to agree to the sale of City-owned land at the front of 29 Tobin’s Road.

Sale of city land at 29 Tobin’s Road. (Source: City Agenda, 12 September 2022).

The purchase price has been established at $3.50 per square foot and the area is about 500 square feet, so the approximate sale price would be $1,750, plus HST and an administrative fee. The purchaser will be responsible for providing a survey which will determine the exact square footage, so the cost will be adjusted to reflect that.

Council also approved the expropriation of the land between Lannon Street and Courtney Street. In attention, they agreed to offer the land to the abutting property owners in equal parts, subject to an easement for the underground infrastructure and existing Newfoundland Power easements.

“The owner of 10 Lannon Street has approached the City to purchase land at the back of his property,” said Cllr Karl Ridgeley.

Land expropriation between Lannon Street and Courtney Street. (Source: City Agenda, 12 September 2022).

“During the investigation into the ownership of this land, it has been determined that the City is claiming this land under section 390 of the City of St. John’s Act, which provides that lands in an approved development plan become the property of the City. In order to clarify the title, it is recommended that the City expropriate this land prior to divesting of some to the abutting property owners.”

“This request was circulated amongst the required City departments with the only comment being that the city must retain an easement over the property for the underground infrastructure in the area.”

The purchase price has been established at $2 per square foot plus HST and administrative fees, which takes into consideration the fact the property is in Zone R1 and will be subject to a City Easement and an existing Newfoundland Power Easement, he added. 

The purchase will have to provide a survey that shows the exact square footage, and the purchase price will reflect that. The property owner has to also consolidate this land with their existing property after the purchase is complete.

“Should any of the abutting property owners not wish to purchase their allotted parcel, they will be required to vacate the City owned land,” said Cllr Ridgeley.

Council also voted to approve the sale of land between 11 Beech Place and the rear of 11 and 15 Exeter Avenue.

It was the owner of 15 Exeter Avenue that approached the City for a deed for land at the rear of his property that he has been encroaching upon for approximately 22 years, said Cllr Ian Froude.

Sale of land between 11 Beech Place and the rear of 11 and 14 Exeter Avenue. (Source: City Agenda, 12 September 2022)

So back in 1999 the owner and the City were in talks about acquiring the property, but it was never completed.

“This property was initially a trail between Exeter and Linden Place,” said Cllr Froude.

“However, when Newfoundland and Labrador Housing sold their property on Linden Place, they failed to reserve out the right-of-way. As such, it has been taken over by various property owners in the area. The request was circulated to various City departments and no objections were noted to the sale.”

The purchase price here is $5 per square foot plus HST and administrative fees, which takes into consideration it’s in zone R1 and is in line with the land sold last year on Beech Place. 

The purchaser will need to provide a survey to determine the exact square footage, which the price will show.

As well, if any of the abutting property owners don’t want to purchase their allotted parcel, they will be required to vacate the City owned land, said Cllr Froude.

Goulds Arena Association Gets Financing

Finally, Council signed off on the interim financing of $50,000 for the Goulds Arena Association.

It’s to cover an expense incurred for recent capital improvements. Back in July the arena installed a Low-E ceiling, and it was bought from and installed by Athletica Sports Systems for $74,900 plus HST, for a total of $86,135. Funding has been approved under ACOA’s energy efficiency program, for just over $50,000.

However, in order for the payment to be made from ACOA, the project has to be completed and paid for in full for reimbursement, Cllr Ridgeley explained.

But the association is still feeling the impact of the pandemic on its cash flow, so it’s asking the City to cover interim financing so the project can be paid in full. So when the funds come in from ACOA, the arena will pay back the interim financing in full, he said.

The Go Round

Cllr Sandy Hickman said everyone has noticed the rain and flooding. He said the City has been addressing it over the last 48 hours. The media were also given an update.

“Be assured the City is working very hard in all these trouble spots,” he said.

He noted many areas are experiencing flooding and washouts and City crews are working to monitor the situation. Many streets, parks and trailways are closed for safety reasons, but that will change. He asked for people to check the City’s website for latest updates. As well, the public can also report hazards they notice.

Like last week, Cllr Debbie Hanlon touted the seniors fall registration for events and outings has opened, noting that courses are filling up quickly. She also spoke about Seniors’ Week, taking place October 3-7.

She added MetroBus is offering free rides for people over the age of 65 on October 7.

Cllr Ridgeley also reiterated what Cllr Hickman said about the conditions. “Please be patient. There’s a lot of damage done in Ward 5,” and that some streets will need to be torn up to be repaired. He added City staff and contractors are doing their best “and we’ll get through this.”

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