Two delegations both ask council to reverse decision on angle parking

Posted on: March 12, 2019

Brief is the only word to describe the two delegations at Committee of the Whole Monday evening in Smiths Falls. Despite loud protests from outside — barking dog, honking horns and hollering — two men stood, presented (within a short space of less than 10 minutes each when they were allowed 20), and sat.

Vince Hamilton spoke first noting he was not representing a group but many individuals, and Justin Duhamel spoke second, as a delegation of one. His was the more cogent, passionate one using anecdotes from his canvassing of the business community during his talk.

Hamilton’s presentation was number heavy and factual; Duhamel spoke from the heart.

Hamilton said he had petitions containing 2,607 names. The petition was very clear, he added, to revisit and reverse council’s decision for Option 1. “It was clear in its request for a public forum.

“These people want a public forum — a real public forum, which you have consistently denied,” he added.

He continued that door-to-door canvassing had just started, and then read a list of 35 Smiths Falls’ businesses all with petitions “requesting a public meeting.”

Justin Duhamel stepped up to the podium. He confessed that it was his voice council had been hearing outside at the megaphone over the past three weeks. He wanted council to hear his situation.

“My family owns the building at Russell and Beckwith on the west-side corner; there are nine apartments upstairs, some two-bedroom. They rely heavily on street-level parking. Plus there are multiple ground level units that rely on parking.”

He continued that in the near future with the completion, and opening, of the Rideau Hotel with ground level retail, there would be an increase in demand for parking while a decrease in the supply of parking. “We’ll be facing a crisis.”

He added some thoughts on the unfairness of the issue not being addressed during the election campaign. “A lot of people feel very sore about that. They were basically led to believe that this was settled, and now realize it wasn’t.”

He spoke briefly about other business owners he’d approached. “A lot of these people aren’t political,” he emphasized. “They’re trying to do their jobs, trying to fuel the economy, to make the economy run.”
He went on: “We’re being faced with two summers of construction on Beckwith St. This is compounded by a serious reduction in the capacity of parking while at the same time we’re anticipating a dramatic increase in economic activity and demand for service downtown.”

In his opinion he told council they were “committing a planning malpractice by making a choice that dramatically reduces the capacity for people to access the core of the Town.

“There’s a rift in the Town,” he added, “almost a civil war. Businesses are feeling threatened,” he said, acknowledging that some council members felt threatened in the process, too.

He concluded, that, in his opinion, “the only solution is to reverse the decision that was made here and go back to an angle arrangement.

“That’s what I’m asking you to do.”

Photo caption: Justin Duhamel asked council to reverse its decision about angle parking Monday night.

Article / Photo by Sally Smith

9 thoughts on “Two delegations both ask council to reverse decision on angle parking

  1. Patricia Headlam

    Vince and Justin presented the facts and figures in a clear and concise manner..They were prepared for questions from council which were not forthcoming..Mayor and council had their minds made up as they stated publicly.These two men did not come to ask questions of the council..But to present the wishes of over 2800 signatories through evidence presented to council. To the media, please do not try and slant this meeting to be anything but camouflage by council and Mayor Pankow to appear transparent..

  2. Kathleen Hamilton

    Hometown news again has failed to verify their facts.” Both asked council to reverse decision”. perhaps they should try investigative journalism and interview the presenters. Instead they give only their version of what was actually said. I expected nothing more from them so I am not really surprised.

  3. Vince Hamilton

    “Two delegations both ask council to reverse decision on angle parking”

    I noted with some shock that the above was chosen for the headline and, even that, was wrong. I, Vince Hamilton, was one of those (only 2) delegations and did NOT ask council to reverse the decision on angled parking.

    That would have been very simple to have verified.

  4. NORMA FORD

    Councils attempt to show they are open to discussions. Fail. Just shows their disrespect for the community and that was made very clear to anyone watching the meeting. Not one question or a hint of a question. While the camera was focused on the presenters, I would have liked to have seen what I imagine the bored faces of a few on council, that would have told the story clearer than words.

  5. Crissy

    So Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Duhamel are now being scolded via local media for being “number heavy[sic]” and also simultaneously having “harangued” council, as per the Lake 88 opinion piece today? The Council is moving the goal posts again and now Hometown and Lake 88 “News” are spinning Hamilton’s presentation of facts and Duhamel’s efforts to improve dialogue as somehow simultaneously “haranguing” and too “number heavy.” I sure hope the people of Smiths Falls are not the ones funding these media sources that are clearly running PR interference for the Council.

    1. Vince Hamilton

      Thank you so much, Crissy, for actually viewing the video of the council meeting.
      The reporter’s rendition that my presentation was ‘number heavy’ is amazing since I was presenting a numbered theme – petitions.
      The characterizing of Mr Duhammel’s presentation as being harranging is laughable if one actually views his presentation. He was very polite and even congenial. But then you actually saw the video and know this already. I question whether the ‘reporter’ did.
      Thank you again for your valid comments.

  6. Kylie

    Mr. Hamilton did not ask council to reverse the decision on angle parking.
    The COW meeting, including the presentations from Hamilton and Duhamel, is public and everyone can judge for themselves. This is just more misrepresentation of the facts to enable council’s disingenuous behaviour.

    1. Vince Hamilton

      Thank you, Kylie, for getting the facts straight despite the article’s spin. I do appreciate that you watched the actual video to see for yourself.

      I see very little comparison in what actually happened at the council meeting and what was ‘reported’.

  7. Kim Hamilton

    Gosh y’all ARE trying, but several rewrites in and you’re still not telling the truth. The headline isn’t even accurate. Why not watch the meeting, if you were unable to actually commit to researching…and attend? What is the point of this story at all? “I heard a thing about a thing.”
    No wonder people turn away from this ^ and towards social media for their information source.

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