Every week, we give Emily a pen, a pad of paper, and a mission to recap this week’s city council meeting in a readably entertaining manner. Here are her notes on this week’s meeting.
I, the author, proclaim that, as per @Laakkuluk at the Tanya Tagaq show at the Arts and Culture Centre Monday night, I very much wish I was wearing a seal skin merkin. It would make the realization that my skirt is too short for reporting from the box seats deliberate and purposeful. Where is my greasepaint? Where is my demonic mastery?
Floor Level Proclamations:
Occupation, Strummation, and the Volunteerism That Keeps it all Humminating
- October 2016 is Occupational Therapy Month. Sarah Hodder and Christina Powell were on hand to remind us that “occupation” in this context is not only employment but any activity that occupies our time: knitting, driving, painting, peeling off fivers for a G, re-grouting, walking in stacked stilletos, dancing in amazing silver four-inch wedges, enjoying pasta and cilantro margaritas across from the Cotton club while writing council updates.
- Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival presented the city with a 40th anniversary print by Caroline Clarke with a friendly admonition, “I hope you put it up.”
O’Keefe cheerily responded, “hanging not hidden!”
Everyone clapped with a rousing “Here Here!” from the downtownie queen O’Leary.
- The Heritage Foundation celebrated the volunteers of our city with a project to commemorate and record the stories of volunteers in our city. Memories of five seniors who volunteer their time were recorded in a book with copies for each of the Councillors. Four of the volunteers (all women) were on hand looking pleased and capable.
O’Keefe, never missing an opportunity to be one with time, pointed out for the second week in a row that he (and Tilley) are officially senior citizens, then called for everyone to applaud all seniors.
- Johnson Geo Centre will be free for the public all day Thursday, Oct 13th, (9:30-5pm). Pip off and hang out in the seventies rock wall basement of our province.
Business Arising …
and Skidding on the Brakes to Avoid Slamming into Car Doors:
As per his warning last week, Tilley was going to stand to move his resolution to open the bike lanes to parking for the snow clearing season. But he pointed out that it wasn’t necessary as the resolution adopted last year to allow parking from November 1 through March 31 was not year specific and therefore still stood. That’s that. The song remains the same, wrong or not. fair-thee-well haphazard bike lanes, your parked cars are flouters no more, until Spring’s early leaf’s a-flower.
Plastic Bag Ban Discussion is as Everlasting as a Bag in a Sea Turtle’s Gut:
O’Leary thanked The Council for their support of a letter of support to the province supporting a ban on one-use plastic bags. Ministers Joyce and Trimper along with O’Leary and others will be setting up a committee to help in this transition. If the public has more to say on the issue before, then please note this is not a council matter no mo. Contact Minister Trimper.
Too Fast, Too Furious: Traffic and Galgay’s Bunched Panties
Hickman moved for residential parking permits on Pilot’s Hill as requested by a landlord at the corner of Pilot’s hill and Duckworth. Seconded by Hann. Passed.
Hickman then, anticipating a brewing kerfuffle, explained that the traffic committee works at a pace that residents on Prince of Wales would wish on the drivers speeding by. But all the traffic calming measures around the city are moving through committee, or if not moving, existing…in committee.
Galgay jumped in to court voters with an impassioned display of righteous irritation with everyone but himself. “Why was that Georgestown parking study NOT tabled in this agenda?!” fists pounding, “I’m proving a point! … I am upset…People have a right to know why it wasn’t in the agenda!” OOO the unbridled masculine ferocity!
Puddister suggested Galgay follow procedure and use his 5 minutes at the end of the meeting. Galgay huffed and puffed and O’Keefe laid down the council law. “If it is not here in the agenda, [we] can’t deal with it now.”
O’Keefe and Galgay were putting up verbal dukes and, if anyone cared at all sparks may have flown. but… parking study.
Puddister got his dig in on flustered, falutin’ Galgay with heavy handed succinct constraint, “I will not talk about any but ONE item.” That item, a set back for 421 Empire Ave, carried.
Tenders carried with so few words it was as if the councillors were in a rare moment of communion. Soon shattered by Galgay with a notice of motion to get Georgestown Parking back in the limelight. He will move to change William St. to residential permit parking only.
After only four Council meetings, I conclude that Georgestown needs a hobby. Also note that, in future, when you come to my house for a party you will likely have to park on Barnes.
(In which we experience a brief interlude from Galgay getting het up) Economic Update: Step 3 is Profits!
Lane brought some numbers to the table with, retail down 3.9% year over year and new housing starts down 0.1%. But more people are actively looking for work so that’s….good?
East link telecom is expanding their business in Newfoundland with a proposal to build two new towers in St. John’s due to high demand in the NE avalon. Overall, the city continues to get new businesses. 103 new businesses, half home-based.
Ellsworth encouraged all landlords to participate in the city’s landlord survey.
Collins spoke about 3.5 million beakers for fuzzing. For the love of all that is holy where is Andrew Harvey from The Scope or Josh Smee from Happy City, or a hearing aid when I need it. Also that bridge should be open to traffic soon.
O’Leary is, like Galgay, dissatisfied with the traffic committee. She would very much like the public to be kept apprised of what is being done beyond the one item listed as a discussion note. Tilley offered a practical solution to the Mystery of the Traffic Committee Status. He suggested a chart could be updated after each traffic committee meeting showing progress on each area’s traffic calming measures. On a roll, he squared his shoulders and further suggested the city spray paint a red line on the road marking holes-unfilled. Or dicks. As CBC reported, that works too.
On a more positive note, O’Leary reminded us it is the International Day of the Girl and, with Equal Voice co-chair Lynn Hammond, O’Leary is working on “Into the Gate,” a program to get more women into municipal government. To find out more or to participate and to ensure your country does not become fertile ground for Politicians who “grab pussy” like my sad sad country has become, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Break Over: Galgay’s (further) Airing of Grievances:
- NOT a grievance: Shout out to Joy Hoyles, manager at Merrymeeting Sobey’s who has been leaving her store regularly to help a 91 year old customer home with her groceries. The world is perhaps not such a hard ticket after all.
- Galgay is very much feeling left out and demands staff provide “us” with a status update on the former Fortis properties on the east end of Water St. Galgay has been “hearing many rumours” but no one is telling him anything. “[he] should have been updated”
- Galgay repeats that he will bring the Georgetown parking study forward next meeting.
- Galgay requests a private chat with O’Keefe and then Minister Foote about the internal trade negotiations with implications for Labatt and Molson. It is only fair, after all, that Galgay finally be privy to something.
OH SNAP! Life in the Fast Lane:
Lane was like, “Oh, yeaaahhhh. About those old Fortis buildings….Common Ground co-working space and business incubator is looking to move into those buildings to do all sorts of multi-disciplinary, super cool awesome stuff that your constituents … I mean, the people of this great city, will be super duper excited about. No big deal. Oh, did I mention I’m the new Executive Director of Common Ground? I didn’t? No big deal. For realz. I won’t, of course, vote on any funding stuff that may or may not be coming up on this in the future. So we’re cool, right Gal?”
O’Keefe, clarifying for those not on the in, that they are “Slate properties, Fortis doesn’t own them anymore.”
Lane hits the bicycle issue again with the tasty buzzword of an aging province: Millennials. Lane went to a conference in Toronto to learn that Millennials aren’t as into cars as those of us who grew up with no place to talk dirty to each other but the backseat …so … bikes. young people and bikes. Or face our inevitable stinking decline where there is no one left here to carry our 91 year old’s groceries. Watch for the Bicycle committee’s recommendations come February. For real this time, watch for it!
O’keefe, bringing it all back to his beloved cruise ships, “the larger cruise ships unload 40-60 bicycles for people to use.”
Hickman noted to Lane he was interested in the plans for the potential new common ground in his role on the Arts and Culture advisory committee. Hickman also brought up the Waterford River and that there would be steps taken for an environmental review so there could be a plan in place before the next construction season.
Balls to Lack of Provincial Leadership;
Bouquets to Newfound Cabs and Housing Money
Breen states for record there is a 7pm public hearing on Wednesday, Oct 12 about the re-zoning of 72 circular rd to allow the lot to be split in two.
Puddister understands from the recent councillors’ conference that municipalities want more leadership from the province. Apparently Premier Ball says everything should be by mutual consent but the councillors throughout the province are, according to Puddister, looking for the province “impose” and to “Lead from the top down.”
Ellsworth read an email from a couple who visited from Nova Scotia and were very impressed with how helpful Newfound Taxi was in getting them around with a wheelchair. The council invested almost 200k to make those taxis wheelchair accessible. So from the city’s point of view they are working hard on inclusion.
Ellsworth said that, with the latest 48 million from the federal government and the province for Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH), there will be a total of 120 million in the years to come. Our deputy Mayor hopes this will allow individuals to stay and live with a good quality of living in their own communities without everyone having to move to larger centres. Stay put folks. No need to go townie just yet.
Addendum: Ellsworth gave my sealskin boots a nod; next week – merkin.