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

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Walk for Cystic Fibrosis
(featuring very adorable kid in Clark Kent glasses sitting in Mayor O’Keefe’s chair and pounding gavel)

The Bennet family came to council for the fourth year in a row to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis. There is a Make Cystic Fibrosis History walk May 28th at 10am in Pippy Park. You can participate or contact John Bennet to find out other ways to help.

Business Arising:
632 Topsail Mary Brown’s Drive thru; Picky neighbour is terrible negotiator

Last week council deferred a vote on a small variance in service to adding a drive-thru to the Mary Brown’s I go to on my way to the dirt mall (in related news, does the new Guardians of the Galaxy suck? say no, say no, say no say no).

This week, we found out why it was even an issue. The site plan has been approved and, according to Cllr. Hann, “This has been on the go for three years or more.” This site was the first to be approved under then new recommendations for dealing with sound attenuation in drive-thrus.

Apparently, engineers went in and figured out where the sound wall should go and how big it should be etc years ago. In the meantime, a new homeowner moved in adjacent and now there is friction over potential privacy issues.

At this point, we all expect NIMBY reactions to every tiny business initiative, but what townie is saying “no delicious chicken sandwiches in my back yard?” It would seem they are in a good bargaining position as their demands are holding this up. I know what I would ask for… hint, it rhymes with a Sig Hairy.

The variance carried.

Audit and Accountability Report: Galgay Did NOT Suggest Selling City’s Art Work

It was noted in the report that he did. His only comment on the whole audit report was that, to clarify, he did NOT.

That isn’t totally true. He did make one more comment. He wants the provincial archives to either document or house the city archives “in case of catastrophic event.” Like council getting desperate in a bad economy and trying to sell them off?

I Can’t Tell If They All Want This or Are All Trying to Get Out of It

St John’s must elect a representative (from council) to sit on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board of Directors. We rotate with Mt Pearl and Corner Brook every two years for the “honour.” It’s our turn.

Cue a round of chaos as people tried to nominate each other and everyone suggested how the process should work all at once.

Breen, in his second week in a row as the reigning statesman, stands and cuts through the rabble and noise reminding everyone how it is usually done (private ballot; then ratified).

The whole business was deferred to the next meeting.

Planning and Development: Taxis, Trees and Huge Balls

  • Council may re-define “taxi stand” to help a brother Jiffy out in turning the current garage property on 615 Empire Ave into a stand, instead of just a place where taxis are.
  • Forcing new developments to plant at least one tree on each lot is deferred a week or two.
  • Rezoning along Danny Drive in the Galway developments…. hahahahaha. Sorry, but is that not just a working title? Is he really naming a street “Danny Drive?” I mean, why the hell not, I suppose. It certainly distracts from real issues; I don’t even know what re-zoning was asked for.

Election Finance By-Law Amendment: ¯\_()_/¯

This is an amendment to city by-laws which will bring the city in line with new provincial laws where contributions in-kind to a political campaign must be disclosed the same as monetary donations are disclosed.

Cllr. Breen moved to waive the waiting period so council could just vote on this right away. What ensued was a good 10 minutes in which council clearly demonstrated that they aren’t clear on  the details of either current or proposed election finance by-law.

The only thing that is for certain is that everything is mha Bernard Davis’ fault.

They decide to wait, send their questions to the city solicitor and try again next week.

[Oh. My God. Will Donald Jesus-and-Mary Trump just let me do my work without being such a numb-nuts that my auto-notifications for The Washington Post have to keep interrupting me?! – if you are curious … Rumples didn’t keep his dry (and yet simultaneously wet-like-a-nightmare-where-you-accidently-kiss-your-dad) mouth shut during his meeting with the Russians last week and probably leaked classified information. Please let the end of all this be nigh.]

The Pall in Municipal: Elections Loom Large 

  • In addition to the finance by-laws, council addressed voting issues. (ie more human resources should be allocated to ensure everyone can vote and to lessen the long lines after work/school pick-ups at polls.)
  • Online voting, according to Cllr Lane, may seem appealing but it is not very secure. So no dice yet folks. We will have to abandon our computrons for a “mo” if we are to vote in the fall.
  • Cllr Lane mentioned an all candidate information session to help new candidates figure all of this out but concluded, reassuringly, “We all managed to get here so, it’s not rocket science.”
  • Hickman seconded that sentiment, “Anyone can get elected!”
  • There was much collegial laughter.

Garbage People

Don’t fret! I would never ever leave you all without mentioning garbage. There were multiple clean-ups over the weekend featuring Cllrs. O’Leary and Lane. But in Ward 4, after all the hard work, people put out their garbage on Saturday night when it wouldn’t be collected until Monday morning. It was strewn. People were mad. O’leary is “disgusted and frustrated.” And asked staff to look into what enforcement measures are available past the first “warning letter.”

Mayor O’Keefe was equally saddened and said, “I really don’t understand how anyone in their right mind can put out their garbage on a Saturday for a Monday morning pick up.” 

Everyone complained about the litter on Pitts Memorial Drive and the Outer Ring Road especially as they are the gateway to the city for “The Tourists!” (who are rapidly displacing “The Children!” as a reason for shaming us for everything.)

Apparently the province has not cleaned up in two years either, and the last time they did there were 20 tons of garbage collected. O’Keefe said he heard the province has declared it will not clean them this year either.

The mayor then re-stated his assertion from last week that “there is no such thing as a dirty city. It is some of the people who are dirty. My god we’ll get it cleaned up.” 

So there you have it. See you next week, garbage people!

About Author

Emily Deming

Emily Deming is involved in a love affair with St John's so deep it extends to attending plays, poetry readings, and dance festivals.

4 Comments

  1. At least if nothing ever happens in city council worth reporting on, Deming is delivering a pleasurable read?

    • Thanks Emily! on

      Yes, as an Observer, I’ve been inspired to attempt, with clarity, some heartfelt writing this weekend regardless of whether or not it is publishable – it is the attempt that counts.

      Now it is time to get out of this room, and stop making comments, given it obviously doesn’t help with the work at hand.

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