It was a sign of what lies ahead for city staff in St. Thomas. An overview of the proposed 2017 advertising sign bylaw ran into stiff opposition at this week’s reference committee meeting.
Amendments to the existing bylaw to deal with portable signs in the downtown core faced vocal opposition from more than two dozen small businesses and area sign companies.
The bylaw would prohibit portable advertising signs in the downtown business area and limit them to one per commercial lot outside the core and three per industrial lot.
A-board signs would still be permitted but would have to come in off the sidewalk at the end of the day.
It’s a restriction similar to what’s in place in London and Sarnia.
Kristie Morgan is discovering her dream of bettering the lives of adults with developmental handicaps has run afoul of the city’s zoning bylaws and her bid for a zoning amendment will be front and centre at Monday’s meeting of council.
Morgan operates what is referred to as an “adult day nursery” at 24 Elizabeth St., which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Its a residential setting — known as Time For You 2 — where adults with special needs are catered to through a variety of activities that teach life and social skills while providing a much-needed respite for the families of these individuals.
The adult nursery is unique in St. Thomas, however the city would rather Morgan move her operation to an area zoned as industrial or commercial.
Monday’s council meeting was most decidedly the tale of two aldermen.
The definitive issue — who should attend and how much should be spent on conferences and conventions.
Council has budgeted $6,000 for attending such functions this year and four members had sought to attend the Ontario Good Roads Conference coming up in Toronto.
Trouble is, that would eat up about $5,500 of that figure on just one junket.
Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman and the committee chairman, in this case Ald. Tom Johnston, should be the only attendees. Ald. Sam Yusuf read the situation correctly and graciously withdrew his request to participate. In the process exhibiting political maturity beyond his two months of council experience.
On the other hand, Ald. Mark Cosens scoffed at the budget
, calling the amount diminutive, and asserted he will be in Toronto.
It doesn’t matter there is a fixed budget to deal with. It means nought council is attempting to set an example of fiscal responsibility for ratepayers who are picking up the tab in any event.
No, this is all about entitlement — and a complete disregard for the understanding the mayor and aldermen are elected to serve the people.
The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has completed a pre-election survey of area businesses to list and rank priorities as seen by local employers and employees.
Of 26 topics and issues measured, harmony and co-operation among all local governments is the top issue. On an importance scale of 1 to 10, survey participants ranked harmony and co-operation with an average score of 8.93.
Rounding out The Top 10 issues:
2. Value for taxes 8.86
3. Having a visible “Vision” statement prioritizing short-term & long-term projects 8.36
4. Increasing local focus or resources on economic development 8.33
5. Downtown or commercial area(s) quality and development 8.06
6. Local buying/sourcing of products & services 8.00
7. Roads, water services, sewers and sidewalks 7.96
8. Waste management, collection & recycling 7.77
9. “Customer Service” by municipal staff 7.77
10. Municipal debt load 7.71
The electoral tide just may have turned this week after the disturbing display of tag-team thuggery at Tuesday’s council meeting.
A crimson-faced Ald. Tom Johnston and a trying-hard-to-remain-detached Mayor Cliff Barwick partnered in a highly-orchestrated attempt to pummel Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman over last month’s boil water advisory.
If you remember, while the city and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health stuck to protocol (a procedure that seems to evolve on a continual basis) Jackson-Chapman utilized cyberspace to tweet the information hours in advance of officialdom.
Boy, was that a social faux pas on her part.
It’s been a week since the boil water advisory and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health has finally checked in with their post mortem on the course of events.
Monday at city hall, Mayor Cliff Barwick stressed the city notified the health unit at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 19. He went on to note, “Now, at that point, our obligations to notify the health unit had ended. From then on, the ball was in the court of the health unit, and we will do everything we possibly can to assist them.”
In her media release issued today, Aug. 26, Laura McLachlin, director of the health protection department, advises “the health unit is not responsible for notifying users of the drinking water system. That remains the responsibility of the water system operator working for the municipality.”
That is the case, but as Barwick emphatically pointed out at city hall, “And this is perhaps where some improvements in protocol could be made.”
A review of the role of all partners can’t come soon enough.
Here is the full media release from Elgin St. Thomas Public Health