March 17 city council wrap-up:
RV, boat parking; residential hydroponic gardening; city’s cultural mosaic
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin opened the March 17 city council meeting at city hall in Hull by noting that council will be spending $2.9 million to modernize the city’s fleet of municipal vehicles. “Updating the fleet with better-performing vehicles that will need fewer repairs means we will be better able to deliver services to citizens,” he promised. The mayor mentioned that the city will study a “cultural mosaic” project, part of the festivities surrounding the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The mayor announced the ministry of municipal affairs’ plans to simplify the accounting of municipal finances. “It will be easier for municipalities (to satisfy ministry standards), but
there will still be oversight by auditors and scrutiny by the media for the citizens,” he said.
To honour St. Patrick’s Day, Councillor Mike Duggan commented, “Ireland is part of our city’s heritage. An Aylmer school bears the name D’Arcy McGee; Robert Conroy built the British Hotel, and the Aylmer barrister Thomas Patrick Foran was the first graduate of the University of Ottawa. I’m sure I’m not the only one here with Irish blood!” He saluted the work of St. Paul’s parish and Fabrique St. Paul since the church was destroyed in 2009. “Thanks to their efforts, we will be celebrating the first mass in that new structure this Easter.” To applause, he added, “Last week I was misquoted in a daily newspaper. My message to everyone is ‘Don’t believe everything you read. Go to the source!’” Councillor Maxime Tremblay summed up the cultural mosaic project: “It’s worth it to invest in a study when it comes to a large project with meaningful economic benefits. We must (perform due diligence).” He noted that the city worked with a Le Plateau developer to reduce the size of a planned seven-storey Place du Musée residence. “This structure will be lower, and the developer will keep the higher density projects for the Coeur du Plateau.”
Councillor Louise Boudrias invited residents to an April 29 meeting on forming a neighbourhood association in her ward. Councillor Denise Laferrière congratulated teens in her sector who worked on an anti-bullying project, “Faces of Intimidation”, while Councillor Daniel Champagne announced the city would be stabilizing Rue Pinot.
Councillor Myriam Nadeau said, “The city will use zoning to speed up the process of building social housing (which is good news because) … the demand for low-income housing is always greater than the supply.” She invited citizens to an April 8 consultation on the naming of public docks along Jacques Cartier Street. Councillor Gilles Carpentier announced an increase in the number of parking spaces at the hospital from 795 to 1044, “. . . . to reduce the pressure on surrounding streets.”
Councillor Sylvie Goneau mentioned the Salon de la Femme, March 28 and 29, when she and others will discuss how women can get into municipal politics or join the business world. She also invited farmers and other agricultural producers to an open-door event, April 1, on municipal bylaws and zoning that affect agricultural land and projects.
Councillor Stéphane Lauzon reported that $45,000 has been raised for Entr’aide Famille, an organization that collects good-quality used furniture and appliances for families in need.
Councillor Marc Carrière invited people to a bingo night at the Knights of Columbus hall in Buckingham, March 26, to raise funds for the Notre-Dame Parish, while Councillor Martin Lajeunesse urged people to join teams for next June’s Relay for Life.
Citizen Mireille Barry presented a petition from 200 residents asking for a changed bylaw allowing campers and boats to be parked in the front homes. The Mayor and Councillor Goneau addressed the issue, hoping for early changes to the bylaw but without making any promises to that effect.
Michel Bourgon submitted a petition from 400 people complaining about the dangerous traffic on du Sommelier Street, in Limbour ward. To the complaints, the mayor answered, “In the 15 months this council has been here, we have made progress. You will have a solution soon.” Councillor Cédric Tessier gave his support to the petition.
Jacques Demers suggested that tele-commuting from areas like Buckingham and Aylmer could reduce stress, particularly for those unhappy with the Rapibus service. Councillor Carpentier agreed that tele-commuting might ease traffic congestion while the Des Draveurs bridge is being repaired.
Finally, one young man discussed his group’s prototype for hydroponic gardening. “In an ideal future, every household will have its own hydroponic garden, so that it is self-sufficient. Along with the brown bins and blue bins, the city could hand out residential hydroponic systems.” Councillor Boudrias invited him to make a presentation at the Healthy City Committee and Councillor Laferrière said he should also work with the Environment Committee, noting that the city wants to encourage urban agriculture.