Notes from the Rafters: This Week’s City Council Meeting Recap


So I have been gone a couple of weeks but it seems that short is the new meeting trend. And I am beginning to wish I could attend the “special” meetings held before many of these public council meetings. Because, frankly, the public meetings are getting efficient and almost skeletally simple.

Where’s the pomp? Where’s the intrigue? There were, at most, a few tiny little fly-swats in this week’s meeting. C’mon guys, don’t make me take up provincial politics! I like this beat.

The meeting was on Tuesday to accommodate the St. George’s day holiday on Monday. St. George is the patron saint of England, and, according to wikipedia, “The Cross of St. George was flown in 1497 by John Cabot on his voyage to discover Newfoundland.” According to my boyfriend, St. George’s day is just a bone thrown to balance out Orangemen’s day. Or the other way around. Whatever it was, it was sunny and warm so thank you Saint George!

April is (still) national poetry month so the poets were on hand (again). This time Katie Vautour, director of Piper’s Frith Writing Retreat, read two original poems. She has a great deep weird warble of a voice and sent out notes like, “The lyre bird is out of tune with this landscape. He hangs on waiting for answers from machines, but no one returns his call.” Vatour has a short story coming out in the next issue of Riddle Fence launching in May.

Development Minutiae:
Nudges and S
midgens and Rebuilds 

Dannistan (aka the Galway developments) will be allowed slightly smaller side yards for easier access to back yards.

669 Thorburn Rd is allowed a demolition and re-build.

Windemere is granted a 1 year extension on its previously approved development plans.

There is a clause that “grandfathers in” any buildings which were already in a flood plane buffer zone when the zone was established and allows a one time 50% increase down the road. In Mayor O’Keefe’s words this is “standard practice folks.”

But Cllr. O’Leary is never one to leave a pile words on the table if she hears “watershed” or “plastic” or … well… I have yet to find a body of council work on which she will not speechify. She proposed a hypothetical to the staff about a building, grandfathered in, that applies for 50% on top of the last 50% and so on, as ownership changes. Staff assured her that they check the records and that you can only add 50% of a building (or an accessory building) one time based on the original structure when the flood zone buffer zone was established. This is no municipal Xeno’s paradox in reverse.

Why Do They Leave Us? 

Cllr. Lane, he of the Economic Reports and Downtown advisory committees, recommended the city begin a series of “Entry and Exit” surveys for businesses when they appear downtown and then when they leave (either close up or relocate).

Well. He proposed a motion to get a committee together to determine how to set up a group who could advise on how to make a survey that could then be implemented. I would laugh at this but, this is the political gait he has established for himself and, though not exactly a straightforward lope, it does seem to get him places eventually. So… there you go. Dave Lane:1 ; Emily Deming:shoulder shrug and less-skeptical-than-usual head nod. I am officially only teasing his means now instead of scoffing that he won’t get his ends. 

In other Dave Lane news, council approved his travel to attend the Canadian General Leadership Convention. Polish up yer blazers.


I am skipping most of the round up this week because it was boring. 

But since the threat/promise of automated garbage collection seems to rile up Facebook threads like FHRITP lights up Twitter, I will mention that Cllr Breen is on it. And you can be too. Check out how to have your totally important voice heard right here. 

Da Mall is 50 years old this week and improvements will be made this construction season to the intersection/entrance by Polina St. 

Let’s end with Cllr. Lane since he seems to have won this weeks’ “Notes.” He has asked the city’s Planning Committee to “pull staff together to map ownership and boundaries along the [East Coast] trail” where it falls within city limits.

The East Coast Trail brings in a heap of tourist dollars each year and the city is basically a dog humping tourism’s leg this season. As an ex-geologist I always err on the side of more maps. This could be interesting. Private owners along the trail show a wide range of feelings regarding its existence, from personal and financial support to chain link fences, fists shaking, lawyer’s letters and “nope.” From a slightly restless reporter’s perspective, why not get involved?

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