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Council Follow-up, week of February 7, 2022

Updated: Jan 6

Lots of highlights this week! The Market Precinct Task Force got the go-ahead at General Committee, as well as the new Stormwater Climate Action Fund Program, and Transit Service Guidelines. The Wastewater Asset Management Plan got initial approval at City Building Committee, and will now go forward to General Committee. And the City's new Official Plan also made it through initial approval at Planning Committee, along with an amendment to increase the Affordable Housing target from 10% to 15% for medium- and high-density residential developments.

General Committee

An exciting presentation from the Market Precinct Task Force, with their final recommendations, and their vision for the new Market Precinct, based around the downtown Transit Terminal and waterfront. Keep an eye out for a Staff Memo to Council by the end of March, with the intended timelines and resource requests. Councillor Kungl proposed an amendment to ensure that a community commercial kitchen be included in the design plans. There were a few friendly "tweaks" from Deputy Mayor Ward, Councillors Thomson and J.Harris, and Mayor Lehman, and all voted unanimously to include this. Councillor McCann attempted to introduce another amendment to give preferential treatment to BIA businesses, but after it was made clear that the rest of council saw that as micromanaging of the consultant, did not bring it forward. In the end, the motion to hire a contractor or consultant to prepare the plan for the Market Precinct was approved unanimously, and with much enthusiasm! As Councillor Aylwin noted, the west end of downtown has been struggling, and "this will bring a lot of love" to that end of Downtown Barrie. We're looking forward to seeing this develop!

Approved on consent (i.e., without discussion):

  • Adoption of the Stormwater Climate Action Fund Program, to be introduced in 2023, including updating the water and wastewater billing software, and creating two new dedication positions to implement the program

  • Approval of the new Transit Service Guidelines

  • Approving the 2022 Internal Audit Work Plan, and receiving the 2021 reports

  • Receiving some confidential information to do with affordable housing (a mystery for now!)

  • Approving the guidelines for managing the new Recreation and Sport Community Grant Program

  • Invite Barrie Families Unite to present to General Committee

  • Extend the Town Crier's appointment to the end of 2022

We almost made it through a meeting without a concern, but then we got to the "Announcements" portion of the meeting. Unfortunately, Councillor McCann continues to flaunt Section 11.1, 14.1, 14.2 (and potentially 11.3) of the City's Code of Conduct, as well as the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, using City time and resources to promote his personal pet project (the "I Heart Barrie" sign – which his own website states is self-funded), solicit donations, and make sales – which also go to funding his personal pet project. [ACCOUNTABILITY]

Of further concern is that the motion (referred to on his website) that Council approved to enable this project (21-G-166), the City was ONLY to support this if there were a 100% fundraising commitment of $200,000 by October 10, 2021, with 75% of donations paid to the city by the same date. As this financial condition was not met on time (and, according to his own wording, has still not been met), it is very troubling to see the City go against Council's direction, and not only support this project, but allow him to continue to use City resources to raise money for his personal project, in breach of the Municipal Act, as well as the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

City Building Committee

This was a whirlwind, one-hour meeting, with lots packed in! The main focus was on a presentation about how to potentially manage the City's LDD Moth Infestation this year, as well as a presentation on the proposed Wastewater Asset Management Plan. The Plan was approved unanimously by the Committee, and will now go before General Committee for approval.

Other items approved to be sent forward to General Committee:

  • The addition of 72 Burton Avenue to the Municipal Heritage Register

  • A revised mandate and objectives for the Arts Advisory Committee

  • Investigating potential sponsorship opportunities with the Barrie and District Realtors Association (BDAR) for the Heritage Barrie Committee

  • Endorsing a Bike The Night event for September 2022

Planning Committee

Approval of the City's new Official Plan, which will now go in front of General Committee for approval. One amendment, as introduced by Councillor Aylwin, to increase the Affordable Housing target for medium– and high-density residential developments and redevelopments from 10% to 15%. We were very pleased to see this passed, and pleasantly surprised that it was passed unanimously. Of note, Councillor Harvey indicated that at one point he would have been against this amendment, but found the StatsCan report from 2016 that showed 12.2% of the local population is considered low-income, and the number is growing, so raising the target to 15% only made sense. Thank you to Councillor Aylwin for introducing this Amendment, to Councillor Harvey for his (pleasantly surprising) support, and ALL Councillors (minus Morales, who declared conflict) for voting in favour.

It appears there may have been a record set in resident participation at a Public Meeting! This was in regards to a proposed rezoning to multi-use (MU2) for a proposed back-to-back townhouse development at 189-197 Duckworth – though it was never made clear why MU2 was requested instead of a residential zoning, since the proposal only included residential units. That appeared to be of concern to several of the residents, who asked that a detailed Site Plan be registered before the new zoning be approved. Other common issues were height and density being outside of current zoning, safety and traffic around Codrington Public School and neighbouring family homes, destruction of old-growth trees, accessibility issues, no affordable units proposed, and not fitting the character of the neighbourhood. There was only one speaker in favour of the project, citing the city's housing crisis and need to provide "starter" homes for first-time buyers. There is a lot of correspondence to the City regarding this project, and Ms. Banfield indicated that this might not come before Planning Committee again until early 2023, realistically.

Heritage Barrie Committee

Council Compensation Review Committee


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