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

Notes from the Rafters
The old Templeton's Building downtown will soon house a distillery

Two things to get out of the way.

  1. They are installing new sports bar grade audio-visual equipment in chambers, apparently, so council meetings are in the Foran Room for a few weeks. Both of these things are terrible because I hate change.
  2. No, I did not vote in my homeland midterm elections this week. I messed up my absentee ballot and didn’t get it fixed on time. This makes me both a terrible person who is contributing to the current rise of fascism and also totally normal and one of us. Confession complete. Gabba gabba.

Children Changing The World & Everyone Else Remembering It

A stream of adorable kids of all ages each wearing their best possible outfit for the day, stood by the Mayor and accepted certificates for walk/wheel to school month. It is difficult to be cynical when a bunch of kids are busy being super proud of themselves. But their parents made sure to pin poppies onto each one of them so that helps.

The councillors are getting used to the new temporary Foran Room layout too. Cllr Korab realizes he has to turn on his own mic and explains, “[he’s] not qualified for that.”

At one point all the councillors agree on something, and Mayor Dan says cheerfully, “Must be the room, everyone is so agreeable!” They all laugh. They love the Foran Room.

Committee Of The Whole Report Recap

[As always you can follow along with the COTW in real time every 2 weeks as I tweet it out in more detail than anyone would ever want.]

Iceberg Alley Dates Confirmed for 2019

The concert dates have been approved for September 11-21, 2019. This was approved at committee, with the caveat that the organizer continues to work with councillors Burton and Jamieson to mitigate residents’ concerns over noise. The organizer compared the festival to FolkFest, and said residents will get used to it. But it is the only concert/festival that takes place over such a long stretch in the city, and some residents would prefer there was a break part way through as there was the first year.

More Building ‘Round the Hilton Hotel

150 Gower (at Hamilton Ave) may be rezoned (from Residential Downtown/Commercial Central Office to Commercial Downtown). The group currently building the Hilton Hotel on that lot will draft a Land Use Assessment Report (LUAR). Then public notifications/meetings will follow. But basically there will be more building in this immediate area around the future Hilton.

The Old Templton’s Building on Harbour Drive To Become a Distillery

The Templeton’s building is applying for a discretionary use to house a distillery. It’s like everyone took the food security warnings really really seriously and now the island will soon be making enough of its own beer and spirits to keep us NL-drunk in the event we get cut off from the rest of the world. I guess this will make starving to death less drab. In the event that the world doesn’t fall to pieces, this should be a nice addition to the entertainment-tourist-friendly pull of downtown.

Cllr Hickman says it is wonderful to see more activity downtown, but wants to make sure there is a traffic plan in place. Staff reply they don’t anticipate any additional traffic problems, but they are working with the distillery people to re-design the Templeton’s parking lot.

PARKING! PARKING!

Convent Square

If you haven’t ranted about something parking related this week, you probably are not on my FB/Twitter feeds. Because even people who don’t drive are mad (somehow) about parking right now.

But you aren’t as mad as the people who live next to the convent that the fucking nuns had to donate to the city for affordable seniors’ housing. That thoughtless donation has temporarily removed some of the unlimited free parking local residents had been using in the nun’s lot.

Cllrs Hanlon and Jamieson have, after many many months of working with residents (and staff from nearby Lake Crest School), worked out a compromise for these handful of people who live on tiny Convent Square; the spots in front of the playground will be area-permit only after 5pm and on weekends. This is the real stuff of council. No matter how big or small the town/issue, and no matter how easy it is make fun of, this is what councillors are supposed to do; listen to what(ever) constituents care about, and then try to find practical solutions about which everyone will still complain. This is why Municipal  > provincial/federal. Oh, and those parking spots will have to be re-visited once the seniors home is up and running anyway.

Downtown Winter Parking Ban Will Be More Reasonable This Year

Council will vote next week on the Downtown Winter Parking Ban. Spoiler alert, they are going to vote for it. This is the permanent version of the pilot ban from last winter that journalists hailed as “something to fill my story quota for weeks” and “super easy to get people to complain about on record.”

The Ban will be from January 2 – March 31 every day from 4am – 6am.

The Ban will be from January 2 – March 31 every day from 4am – 6am. Hanlon said that local business owners agreed the ban is needed for snow clearing but the city worked with them and residents to modify the ban from last year. It has been cut from the original 3 hrs last year (3:30-6:30) to just 2 hrs (4am-6am) which should help accommodate bar staff on closing shifts and early morning bakers etc.

Last year, you would be towed no matter what. This year you will only be towed if there are actual snow clearing operations, otherwise you will get a $55 ticket. The ban is only for Water St and Duckworth st. Not Harbour drive.

Vandalized Topless Meters Still = Free 2-Hour Parking Prior to Ticket

Hanlon also got a lot of press for “shame”ing people who park all day at the vandalized topless meters. Since the day ex-councillor Puddister became a hero of the people by standing in a council meeting go-round and telling the city to stop bagging the broken meters, and just let people use the spots, the city has allowed unlimited parking at vandalized meters. However, small retail/restaurant owners have been telling council that the lack of turn-over in the spots is effecting their businesses.

So while council has been working for a while on longer term metered-parking solutions, for now, the city will be adding signs to the broken spots explaining the new policy of ticketing anyone who stays longer than the normal 2-hour limit. You can still park in broken-meter spots, and it is still free for those 2 hours. One thing people may have misunderstood about her saying “Shame on you” was that, when she said it, she was dressed like a Scooby-Doo version of a dominatrix/hot teacher, so her language was a lot more appropriate than it might have sounded out of context.

Special Events: The Great War and the War on Xmas Parade

Cllr Korab, who figured out his mic, said he “can’t say” the mummer’s parade is on December 9th without knocking on the table and saying, “Any mummers allowed in?” So he knocks on the table and says it.

Shea Heights will have its own separate Remembrance Day parade, because of course they will, they are Shea Heights, The [Community] that Walked By [It]self, and all places were alike to [it]. They also have their own FolkFest and probably their own currency.

Cllr Jamison asked if council ever considered pushing the Downtown Christmas “Santa” Parade later in the day, so as not to interfere with worship services, since this is one of the two times of year people actually go to church [not a direct quote]. Cllr Hanlon says that the churches have brought this up before and there has been “no acceptable answer so far.” They are “looking at it.”

Go-Round:

Cllr. Jamieson: Please do not put your garbage bins in the middle of the sidewalk, they go in the street.

Cllr Hanlon: “Shirley” got a letter from the Pope on her 95th birthday and wants one from the mayor.

Cllr Burton: Is the cost of paper yard waste bags an impediment to proper leaf disposal?

Froude: Just mow them into the lawn

Burton: Not everyone has a lawn

Hickman: The Telegram said don’t mulch if your maples have rust spots.

Hickman: Lowe’s is closing all RONA stores. Since the federal government just “took great pains” to approve the take over (of RONA by Lowe’s) only 2 years ago, can the mayor please ask MPs about this?

Cllr Korab: Great Pumpkin walk in Bannerman Park! [elicits only round of applause today].

Froude: City Food Drive coming. Place your non-perishable items out on garbage day.

Collins: Pumpkin pickles. They are excellent.

Written By
More from Emily Deming

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.