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Coming Up: September 23

Council meets on Monday. The agenda includes:

  • Election Signs

  • 2020 Community Group Funding

  • City Administration Bylaw

  • City Entrance Features

Following is more information and my take on agenda items.

As always, any mistakes or opinions belong to me and me alone, not to Council or City staff.

While I express my current views below, I always go into meetings ready to listen and with an open mind. I learn new information and participate in debate. This always informs, and sometimes changes, how I vote on issues.

If you would like to watch the meeting or read any of its supporting material for yourself, you can do so by clicking here. The City will post the highlights of Council’s decisions here.


Election Signs

In my opinion, there is a problem with our bylaw governing election signs. It states that signs can only be put on City property “as designated by Council.” But Council hasn’t designated any sign locations. Instead, it has created rules around where signs cannot go. These rules are often inconsistently applied, and figuring them out takes a lot of work from our staff.

I’ve written more about issues surrounding our election sign rules here.

Last meeting, I presented this Notice of Motion. It will be debated on Monday.

If my Notice of Motion is successful, the main action it lays out is to direct administration to create a list of locations where campaign signs will be allowed in future elections. These locations would be discussed, possibly changed, and approved by Council at a future meeting.


Community Group Funding

Community Group funding was recently debated at a Council Committee of the Whole Meeting.

At Committee, it was determined that 2020 funding would continue for all organisations at the 2019 levels. On Monday, Council will be deciding on whether or not to confirm this decision.

You can see the recommended funding levels here.

I intend to vote in favour of confirming these funding amounts, with one exception. The Street Performers Festival is granted $14,000. However, this is less than they received last year and less than their 2020 request. My understanding at the Committee meeting: there was a typo and they should be getting $15,000. I will be asking about this on Monday night, and may move to increase their funding to $15,000.


City Administration Bylaw

Over the past two years, the City’s corporate structure has undergone very significant changes to make it more efficient and better able to deliver on community priorities.

One change that was made: our City Clerk now reports to the City Manager instead of the Director of Corporate Services.

The City Clerk undertakes a number of roles which are governed by City bylaw. This bylaw needs to be changed to reflect the City Clerk’s new place in our organisation structure. For this reason, Council will be debating a new City Administration Bylaw.

I intend to vote in favour of this bylaw.


City Entrance Features

Council will be debating City entrance features.

This project was initiated by the previous Council, which set aside $150,000 for it. However, at that time, the province hadn’t finalized plans for the new bypass. For that reason, the City has only recently been able to move forward with this project.

After undertaking public consultation, management has developed three concepts for possible entrance features. They can be viewed here. It is now recommended that Council direct administration to proceed with detailed design drawings and permits and hire a contractor to install these features.

This is a tough topic for me. I have two competing views:

  1. If I had been on the previous Council, I honestly have no clue how I would’ve voted on setting aside money for this project. However, we are in a different environment today: we are seeing significant social challenges in our community, and are likely facing provincial funding cutbacks. If this was a new project being pitched, I likely wouldn’t support it. I think these entrance features could be great for our community as they welcome visitors and create pride of place for residents, but for me there are other larger priorities right now.

  2. Council needs to act as a body, even after elections. New Councils should be incredibly hesitant to kill projects initiated and fully funded by the previous Council. If a community gets into the habit of shifting gears every four years, it will waste a lot of money and not deliver on community priorities well. I don’t completely support these entrance features. But I don’t know if my opposition is strong enough that I want to vote for Council to make a course change on a project which has already received significant work.

I’m torn on this. I’ll be putting a lot of thought into it over the weekend. I welcome any feedback you might have. But where I’m likely to go:

I think I’ll be supportive of these if I think they will make an impression and will last. But, based on the concepts I’ve seen, I’m not convinced yet. Design one looks great, but I don’t know if it is feasible from a construction perspective. The other two designs are bland and very similar to the County signs already up in our region.

There is a good chance I’ll vote in favour of proceeding with detailed design. However, I’m unlikely to vote in favour of directing management to hire a contractor. I think it would probably be good for Council to see a detailed design before moving forward.


Delegations

At every City Council meeting, members of the public are welcome to come address Council on any topic. So that we know they are coming, we ask people to fill out a Delegation Request Form.

This week, there will be two groups coming to talk to Council:

  • The MD of Greenview Men’s & Master Men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Committee will be coming to give an update on how their event went and present the City with a thank you memento

  • A private citizen will be talking to council about the Safe Injection Site and encampments in the city


That’s what is on our agenda for Monday. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

You can comment below. Or, you can contact me at dbressey@cityofgp.com or 780-402-4166. I'm happy to talk online or over the phone. I'm also always willing to setup a time to meet for coffee.

We also always have great conversation in the GP Round Table group on Facebook.

After Council meeting, you will be able to find highlights posted by the City here.

Thanks for reading!

-Dylan