Lanark County Interval House slipped up by MOU surprise

Sidewalk LCIH
Photo credit: Brian Turner.
Posted on: December 10, 2020

A visibly angry Erin Lee, (Executive Director of Lanark County Interval House) joined the committee of the whole meeting as a delegate via Zoom to express her frustration in dealing with town staff regarding a sidewalk issue in front of Interval House’s thrift shop on Bridge Street known as As Good As New. According to town staff, a member of the public had complained about the slippery surface of an inspirational sidewalk art installation. Lee had received permission from the town through an application process completed in June before the artist began their work. The town had made Lee aware of the complaint, and her staff at the store had been diligent in keeping the painted sections of sidewalk clean and free of ice and snow. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a request for LCIH to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with the town to minimize liability on part of the municipality. It was suggested to Lee that if the sidewalk could not be made safe, the artwork would be power-washed off. She also was concerned that there were no details supplied by town staff as to what the MOU would state and what timelines and performance standards would be set.

She felt her organization was being treated badly by the town even though LCIH had been a good community member for over 40 years and continually supported many charitable causes throughout its history. An MOU would involve legal and a board of directors’ reviews, a workload that seemed inappropriate to Lee. At the end of the discussion, Councilor Andrew Tennant volunteered to apply a clear acrylic sealant mixed with sand on the artwork to provide a better grip. Lee stated she would join him with her roller. The committee did not waive the town’s request for an MOU.

Article by Brian Turner