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Council Follow-up, week of April 25, 2022

Updated: Jan 6

A positive recommendation coming out of the Town & Gown Committee, to encourage more student engagement for the upcoming municipal election. And no obvious code complaints. Should we start raising our standards again?

General Committee

Happy to report that this week had no obvious Code complaints – although perhaps we're just adjusting to a new lower bar? There was certainly some obstructionist behaviour, but relatively minor, in comparison to recent weeks.

Most items passed on consent and the meeting lasted only an hour. A quick list of the items carried without discussion:

  • Investigate City Procedures and Policies to Encourage Greater Diversity on City Committees (A recommendation from the Anti-Racism Task Force. Great news!)

  • Participation in the "it Starts With Me" Initiative (also an Anti-Racism Task Force recommendation)

  • Establishing an award for Senior / Caregiver Of The Year

  • Adding 56 William Street to the Municipal Heritage Register

  • Issue Notice of Intention to give 125-127 Dunlop St. E. a Heritage Designation

  • Budget and Business Plan Year-End Report (2021)

  • Year End Development Charge Reports and Treasurer's Statement (2021)

  • Year End Cash In Lieu of Parkland Report and Treasurer's Statement (2021)

  • 2022 Tax Ratios and Capping Policies

  • Southshore Community Centre Facility User Agreement Renewal

  • Investigate pedestrian & cyclist safety and possible signalled crossings at Collier & Bayfield St. intersection

  • Support Bill C-216

The first bit of obstructionism came from Councillor McCann, who held the "Bike The Night" item. McCann took issue with Aylwin's expense budget going towards the project, and wanted to have Aylwin fundraise for 30 days instead. As everyone else around the table seemed to clearly understand, what a Councillor does with their expense budget is not subject to Council approval – it is for each Councillor to spend on what they feel is important to their constituents, and is not under Council oversight. The only reason this motion was before Council was because the Active Transport Committee doesn't have a budget of their own to run such events, so needed to know they had the City's support to put this event together. McCann was asked to withdraw his amendment (first by Aylwin, who noted its inappropriateness and lack of respect, and again by Kungl, who explained how further funding was going to be proceeding, once Council gave their support to the project), but he refused. The amendment failed, with only McCann voting for it. The motion as originally presented was approved – i.e., the City will help produce promotional materials for the event, funded by Aylwin's expense budget.

Councillor Kungl had held the Municipal Names Registry item (adding names to the "pool", from which streets, etc., may be named), in order to add a request to staff to consider adding the names of the original Barrie Flyers (Barrie's first men's hockey team) to the street name listing. This amendment carried, as did the original addition of the names Kenyon, McPhee and Woolvett.

The issue of the Jonathan Court Catwalk was held by Thomson. The original item of discussion was to ask staff to investigate the feasibility of closing access to the catwalk, due to ongoing safety issues. Aylwin explained that there had been ongoing issues with some students from Barrie North, including some altercations, litter, trespassing, etc. Constable Keira Brooks has been working with the school, families, and residents in the area, and while there has been mixed reaction to the possibility of closing the catwalk, it's the only solution she saw to the problems. Thomson was concerned that closing the catwalk would set a bad precedent and had a number of concerns – many of which Aylwin said had also been concerning to him, but in talking with Constable Brooks, thought it made sense to have staff look into what options might be possible. The arguments then descended into all the reasons why the catwalk shouldn't be closed (Thomson, J.Harris, Harvey, Ward), instead of what the item was actually about – i.e., gathering information (as repeatedly pointed out by Aylwin, Kungl and N.Harris). Disappointing as well, to hear them discount the work already done by Constable Brooks, the school and families, and in particular J.Harris blaming new residents for the complaints (and imply that his brother's opinion was more valid than those of the residents, school leaders, and Constable Brooks's). Where it became notably obstructionist was when Harvey asked if there had been a full CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) review and report on the issue? Aylwin explained that Constable Brooks is trained in CPTED principles and had applied them to her assessment of the area. Harvey dug in and wanted to see the results, chastised Aylwin for not having this information on hand before bringing this request for information to Council – and without having this information, would vote against the item to get that information for Council. (Hence our belief he was being obstructionist with his objections.) It was very frustrating to see Harvey et al fighting against the simple act of gathering information to find possible solutions for the real concerns of Barrie residents.

Finance and Corporate Services Committee

The Agenda got switched around a bit, with the 2021 Investment Management Report presentation going first. The Report itself was received, and the Committee accepted adoption of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) integration framework, as well as adding the statement to the Investment Policy about considering both ESG and traditional factors in forming an investment decision. The presentation and report were quite informative (as was the discussion), if you'd like a better understanding of what ESG is all about, and how it will affect the City's Investment Policy going forward.

The County of Simcoe also gave a presentation on the Social and Community Services they oversee – again, highly informative, and worth a watch! The pandemic has seen a great rise in those experiencing homelessness, as well as bringing more "hidden homeless" into the system, as isolation restrictions prevented some of the temporary solutions that were available pre-pandemic (couch-surfing, etc.)

The other recommendation approved today was to amend the Seniors Advisory Committee's Terms of Reference. All other reports were received and will be brought to Council next.

Downtown Barrie BIA

scheduled for this week, but switched to April 19 without notice

Minutes: not yet available

Watch Again: not made available

Agenda: not made available

Engage's Summary: not possible, since we were not given notice of the date change, nor are members allowed access to the video after the meeting is concluded

A very disappointing step away from transparency and accountability – this meeting was originally scheduled for April 26, and no notice of the change was given to membership. Considering that 1) no Agenda was posted on the website, either, and 2) the BIA voted down allowing member access to meeting videos last month, it appears all members will have to wait several months until they post the minutes to know what was discussed.

Seniors Advisory Committee

Town and Gown Committee

One great recommendation coming out of this meeting, as far as public engagement is concerned! The Committee recommended that the City work with Georgian College to encourage greater engagement of the student population in the upcoming municipal election. We're looking forward to what Access Barrie and the Elections Team come up with!



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