Wow, I was asleep at the switch and missed last week’s special meeting of council. While it certainly is my responsibility to keep on top of ‘special’ meetings of council I really wish that the town would ‘push’ announcements like this using an RSS feed or Twitter. I regularly get RSS feeds with timely announcements from many organizations. Heck, you can get updates from this site using an RSS feed. There is also the option to get updates through Facebook. And I’m just ‘Jo Public’, not a municipality with staff and IT expertise. I guess it all comes down to having a ‘real’ social media policy for Parry Sound. Council has passed rules on what can’t be done. How about a policy on what should be done to proactively keep residents informed of late changes to important meetings? If we are sophisticated enough to institute online voting we should be able to use push media to keep the public informed of changes to council meetings, the issues to be covered, and what will be voted on.

I have a question that I hope someone can answer. Does Cogeco record and rebroadcast these ‘special’ open meetings of council? If not, do these meetings effectively become ‘closed’ meetings of council where we need to depend on the official meeting minutes for the outcomes and the North Star for ‘colour commentary’? If you know drop me a note at I’ll also be at Tuesday’s council meeting and will ask the Cogeco technicians directly.

Agenda Highlights:

4.3 – the old pump house is the subject of a citizen letter. There is interest within the community to ensure the old pump house, which was originally built in 1892 to provide fire protection to the town, is not demolished. Ideally it would be purchased with the intent of adaptive reuse. There are many options for a purchaser to retain the character of the building while updating it to 21st century amenities. This pump house is also the subject of agenda items 9.5.2 and 10.3.2.

4.5 – there is a petition to keep Parry Sound transit on the road. It seems about time for council and staff to renew that discussion. It seems to have been quietly pushed back because there is no easy answer. But like budget discussions, this is an issue that will benefit from earlier and more discussion, not being left to the point where there is only one option; generally a poor one. Let’s get going on this. Parry Sound is interested in seeing some leadership on this issue.

8.5 – Lis McWalter and Jon Anderson will be added to the Citizen’s Finance Committee.

9.3.1 – an oops resolution. Apparently the Belvedere Heights people put in access gates at the parking lot without the required prior approval. A resolution of council is required to revise their site plan. I’m still wondering how a $5.00 parking fee will be accepted given the concern about a 25 cent increase in the town’s hourly parking rate. Will it effectively become staff parking? This really is a vulnerable population, the aged and their families. I hope that families will not be hesitant to visit family because of the charge. There is separately (Item 4.4 – letter) a request that Belvedere be reopened to two-way traffic. That would really ‘screw’ the option for free parking and force people into the lot. How about opening the lot to the public after 6:00 PM or so to permit visitors and residents to park and enjoy the views from Belvedere Hill?

9.5.1 – is a resolution that requests budget money to inspect the condition of the piers of the Imperial Wharf, that’s the one at the bottom of Champagne Street. It’s a bit annoying that the town is required to pay to ensure a major multibillion dollar corporation is meeting their obligations to maintain their properties and assets for the safety of the public and the environment. Don’t get me started on how I feel about Imperial Oil (Esso, Exxon) and their stewardship of their former oil storage property in town.

There are a number of additional issues on the agenda, but these are the bigger items as far as I’m concerned.

See you Tuesday night. There are several more items on the agenda. Check out the town website for the full agenda and head over to the library or town office to review the council package.

Bridge Art – Hoot, Chirp, Squawk