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Notes for the Rafters

Since Emily Deming of the Overcast has stopped reporting from weekly Council Meetings  (we miss you, Emily!) I thought I would write some Notes FOR the Rafters, to touch on some things I have been thinking about, working on; to go over the agenda, and to give my perspective on what’s on the go at City Hall. 

March 12 Council meeting highlights

On Monday, we voted to grant the Freedom of the City Award, the highest distinction a person or organization can receive in St. John’s, to Shannie Duff, former mayor, deputy mayor, and councillor in the City of St. John’s, and MHA for St. John’s East. She has been a fierce advocate for the environment, for heritage, for equal representation in political office, for Bannerman Park upgrades. Her recognition of important role of Heritage and the Arts in the city have helped shape the city for decades. She is a personal mentor of mine and I am so proud to know her.

“As a recipient of the Freedom of the City, Duff will be able to address council during its regular meetings, though hold no vote. She will have an open invitation to all events hosted at city hall. She will also get a decorative scroll containing the motion from city council, and a plaque with the city crest noting the award.”

Having the ability to address Council during regular meetings is a pretty interesting privilege. Do you think Council should have an open question period? Would that be inclined to consume too much time or get out of control? Would love to know your thoughts. 

Since 1968 18 individuals have received the Freedom of the City, and Elinor Radcliffe is the only other woman to have received this award, though her name is not yet listed online. Shout out to Deputy Mayor O’Leary for bringing Ms. Duff’s name forward. I sat on the committee with Councillor Stapleton. (#electwomen!)

On the planning and development agenda this week we had 100 Churchill Avenue and 650 Fowler’s Road.

100 Churchill is allowing a Personal Care Home to the Pleasantville neighbourhood, rezoning from Commercial Mixed-Use to Apartment Medium Density (A2) and adding Personal Care Home as a discretionary use to the A2 zone. To get to this point, we have had a public hearing (that nobody attended), as well as a delegation from the development present the project to Committee of the Whole. Now the amendment to the Municipal Plan will be sent to the province for provincial registration under the Urban & Rural Planning Act. 650 Fowler’s Road was a vote to rezone from Rural to Industrial General on an area off the TCH in order to allow for Pipe Storage. It is one of the only potential uses for the area, which is currently not serviceable for municipal water and sewer. I chaired a public meeting earlier this month on 650 Fowler’s Road which did receive some feedback from adjacent property owners, the report form that meeting can be found in the March 12 agenda.

What am I currently working on?

Council will soon see the draft Terms of Reference and suggested composition of people for the Heritage Policy Working Group that Council voted to create back in the fall. I expect this to come to a regular meeting of council in coming weeks.

I have been reviewing the draft development regulations and listening to feedback from people in the community, meeting with staff and suggesting ideas for review. The draft Development Regulations will soon be coming to Council. The goal is to have the Plan and Regulations adopted in September. The next steps of the are as follows:

  • Draft of Regs referred to COTW then to Council for consideration of adoption-in-principle, then sent to the province for review as required by the Urban and Rural Planning Act
  • Launch of the Plan and Regulations for public review, continue to meet with key stakeholders and City advisory committees and experts panels, other interest groups, business roundtable group
  • Council adoption of the Envision Plan and regulations with any changes from public consultations. Refer to minister for provincial release and Commissioner’s Hearing
  • Commissioner’s Hearing
  • Council consider approval of Plan and Regulations, send to Province for gazetting

The Noise Bylaw Working Group that I requested in the fall is soon ready to get started, which will basically be myself, Councillor Jamieson as Ward 2 Councillor, and some staff members having a conversation about what we can better to address the issue of noisy vehicles in the City. 

On Monday March 19 Council will vote on the COTW discussion on the restructuring of MACY, the Municipal Advisory Council on Youth, which is suggested to become The Youth Advisory Committee, the Youth Municipal Leader Program, and an action group Youth Volunteering @ St. John’s (75 people strong!). I will write more about this next week after it comes to Council for a vote. 

I’m starting office hours in coffee shops/public locations around the City, and will rotate between wards on an ongoing basis. March 15 today marks my first one and I look forward to continuing to meet people around the City!

Have thoughts about any of my projects? Reach out and we can chat.

How you can get involved with the City of St. John’s: Some calls to action for residents

Nominate someone for Senior of the Year! Last year there were NO nominations, let’s increase those numbers and recognize how much seniors contribute to our city. Councillor Stapleton is the Council Champion on the Senior’s Advisory Committee.

Are you a historian/archival expert, Planner MCIP, or landscape architect? Apply to fill a vacancy on the Built Heritage Experts Panel. I’m the current Heritage Lead on Council and I really appreciate the work done by this group.

Educate yourself on the particulars of the 2018 Capital Budget, and read Councillor Lane’s blog post about it. He’s lead of the Finance portfolio. One example of a capital project is: Yellow Marsh Area – Storm Water Detention – $1,000,000. The Yellow Marsh area forms the headwaters to the Rennie’s River system. Stormwater management of this area will allow the City to meet the requirements of its Net Zero Run-off policy. To accomplish that some stormwater detention ponds will need to be constructed in the Yellow Marsh area. CBCL Limited is currently working on a study to determine the specific locations for some of these stormwater detention ponds.

Other highlights include the wetlands study and the Metrobus review.

Multiculturalism week events are happening at City Hall next week. There is also a beautiful photography exhibit in the great hall that you should check out!

You may receive a call from the Citizen Satisfaction Survey

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