Even though the draft budget loomed large on the agenda at Smiths Falls’ Committee of the Whole, it was Councillor Wendy Alford’s desire to revisit a decision made almost a year ago regarding angle parking on a revitalized Beckwith Street that grabbed attention Monday.
Alford said this was a once in a generation decision. “It’s an opportunity to forge a new path for the next 50 to 100 years and deserves as much consideration as we can give it.”
Councillor Jay Brennan, who sat on last council, said he wouldn’t support the resolution regarding angle versus parallel parking. “Every councillor listened to everyone. It was polarizing with strong opinions on both sides. I have enough comfort in the option chosen. I have no intention of changing.”
Mayor Pankow commented that Smiths Falls has changed dramatically from a year ago. “We have a deeper understanding of how many people live here, and what the demographics are.” He added that both Tweed and the Centre for Active Transportation will be at council next week making delegations on the changes. He added he would support the motion.
Councillor Peter McKenna said that during the election campaign there was a quieter group who didn’t speak up; these were the walkers, the cyclists who wanted to see a complete street.
He supported revisiting the resolution.
Councillor Niki Dwyer commented that if she had been sitting in the chair she is presently sitting in ten months ago she would have supported parallel parking, hands down, But “I respect the public consultation that did take place, and respect the democratic process that the previous council undertook and used to make an informed decision. On that ground, I will not support the motion.”
Councillor McGuire wanted to know financial implications. He agreed with Councillor McKenna that it often became a toxic debate during the election campaign. “He further agreed with McKenna that “the consultation process left out a quieter, more timid part of the population.”
CAO Malcolm Morris said staff would dig up the previous consultation for this new council to look at and make its own interpretation of the findings.
Councillor Alford pointed out that often governments go back and revisit their decisions adding that in the end the decision could very well be the same.
Straw vote: Yeas — Alford, McKenna, McGuire, Pankow. Nays — Brennan and Dwyer.
At the later council meeting, a resolution of intent was passed: “Resolution 2018-02-62, passed Feb 26, 2018, approved the angle parking option of the preferred Beckwith Street redevelopment concept; [now] council deems it desirable to review and discuss all the options that were presented by Parsons with the possibility of repealing the 2018 resolution by January 21, 2019.”
A motion to repeal simply needs a majority vote.
CAO Malcolm Morris’ employment contract was renewed for a further five year term.