There was one small gesture at last night’s meeting of Council that’s worth mentioning. I only stayed for the first hour to catch the deputations and the prioritized issues and then took a walk along the Rotary Algonquin Fitness Trail. The time was better spent taking the walk.
Courage and principle are terms not often associated with politicians, although it would be unfair to label our Councillors as politicians, in reality they are more like stewards entrusted with responsibility for the Town’s interests. But there was some courage and principle displayed last night by Councillor Dave Williams. It concerned Item 8.6 the appointment of three new board members to the Downtown Business Association. As you may recall the Chair of the DBA was recently dismissed by Council and three board members resigned in protest. The dismissal was, to say the least, controversial and it was passed by a bare majority of the Council, Mayor McGarvey and Councillors McCauley, Horne and Saulnier.
Both Councillors Horne and McCauley were absent from last night’s meeting which meant that the Councillors who voted against the dismissal of Lis McWalter from the Downtown Business Association formed a majority of the Council present. To try and rectify what many consider a wrong Councillor Williams proposed an amendment to Item 8.6 that would invite Ms. McWalter and the board members who had resigned to join the DBA Board. The Mayor asked if there was a second for the amendment, and not withstanding a few grimaces, there were no takers and the amendment was not considered. Had the two other Councillors stepped up it would have passed by at least a 3 to 1 vote. But it didn’t get that far.
I suppose the two other Councillors felt it was ‘water under the bridge’ or perhaps that reversing an earlier decision would weaken the authority of Council. Regardless, it continues a long tradition of organizations choosing to take the less demanding path, often at the expense of an individual. Too often abuse is institutionalized and protected by the ‘system’. Councillor Williams is to be congratulated for his courage and resourcefulness. It’s not easy bucking the system and trying to right a wrong, but you need to do what you can.
The rest of the meeting pretty much followed the agenda script for as long as I attended. The decisions will be recorded in the meeting minutes that should be available no later than Friday this week at the Town’s website.
A few interesting points arose in the Councillors’ reports, deputation and questions of Staff portions of the meeting:
- Councillor Saulnier noted the accumulation of dog poop on the Rotary Algonquin Fitness Trail by the Stockey Centre. I have seen the same problem on the Rose Point Trail. No the stuff doesn’t disappear with the snow. Pick it up people.
- Item 9.1.5, the severing of a lot associated with the P.S. Dock Company was approved with some compromise on the part of the applicant and the Town. It seems like a reasonable outcome.
- The issue of the TD Green Streets grant for a Market Square Park facelift was raised. The Chief Administration Officer, Rob Mens, suggested the project was possible but significant changes were required. I’m not sure that’s really the case but it provides cover when Council ‘cans’ the project. And yes, they will ‘can’ the project, but later when it has faded from public view and it is receiving much less attention. Ever wonder why things never change? It’s because change takes effort and courage, which too often are in short supply.
I’ll check the minutes when they are published and provide an update as appropriate on anything else that warrants mention.
Signs of Spring. Signs of Hope. (Parry Sound in Black & White)