What’s on tap at #StCath Council, tonight, May 11th, 2015 – http://bit.ly/1K29hjA

After several meetings in a row that went past the curfew of 11pm, it looks like we may get in under the 4 hour mark tonight. A combination of fewer delegations, presentations, and controversial motions means that, hopefully, we can be hon in bed by the curfew hour.

On tap:

  • The new FOPAC rates and fees – that is, how much if you want to rent the place.
  • The St. Catharines Accessibility Plan and how we’re doing – bottom line, pretty good, but still a lot of work to make our community accessible.
  • The potential expansion of community gardens – I’m excited by this one, as it’s something I and Coun. Ip were championing last term. I’m hopeful a few community groups take quick advantage of the new opportunities and set up shop in some of the city’s under used lands.
  • Another update on the Port Dalhousie situation – things are improving, slowly. But better than they have been.
  • The costs associated with recording in-camera sessions – I’ll touch on that at the end.
  • The animal control report – whether to go along with a new 1 year contract with LCHS, ignoring last meeting’s 10-2 decision, or allow the contract to run out on October 29th and have a solution in place before that date. I imagine I don’t need to express my opinion on this one yet again.

In the Regular Agenda, we’ve got presentations regarding the Accessibility plan, the Niagara Regional Transportation Master Plan (finally), a Public Meeting about the FOPAC fees and the Kowalik’s, who are once again asking that their property be rezoned due to the damage that’s been done by the QEW as part of the Greenbelt Review.

Regarding the recording of in-camera sessions; I am fully in favour of recording what happens in-camera, and if I’m able to be in the 2016 Budget committee, I will endorse spending the $9000 that is associated with the lower cost option. Raising fears of ‘hacking’ of in-camera recordings seems ridiculous to me; at the end of the day, there is a principle involved that we, as elected officials, need to be accountable for what we say, and staff have the same burden of accountability. Recording these meetings will help to ensure this accountability.

I believe there are some issues that require confidentiality in the moment; having in-camera meetings makes logical sense. But there needs to be an unbiased record of what was said.

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