Tuesday, April 17, 2012
During a recent Council meeting, Town staff pointed out to me a gentleman sitting in the front row who was using a small machine to audio-tape Council’s proceedings. This surprised me since we are fortunate that our local Cogeco Cable company regularly video tapes and broadcasts Council meetings. (In fact, I am always pleased when residents inform me that they regularly watch our Council meetings on Cogeco!)
At least one member of Council saw the gentleman’s action and raised a “point of order.” While the Town Clerk read from our procedural bylaw – which was approved in 2005 and allows for recording of Council meetings with expressed written consent – the gentleman ceased his recording. (That meant that I did not actually have to rule on the matter.)
Because Council recently approved some major audio and video improvements to Pelham’s Council Chamber, our meetings should be totally accessible and available for future reference.
Within the last year, the Town applied for and received an “enabling accessibility grant” from the Federal Government. The grant “…supports community-based projects across Canada that improve accessibility, remove barriers, and enable Canadians with disabilities to participate in and contribute to their communities.”
The grant funded improvements include:
* Microphones at each Councillor’s seat and at the presentation podium;
* Speakers to assist members of the public to better hear the proceedings;
* Video cameras, able to record all meetings – including public meetings, Committee of Adjustment meetings, or special meetings (that Cogeco does not currently tape);
* Media inputs for Cogeco, so that their set-up and take-down time will be dramatically reduced to five minutes.
These improvements will also mean that the Town will be able to “stream” digital recordings from the Town’s website and to offer and maintain a record of all meetings.
I hope that these changes will not only make it easier for folks to hear the proceedings of Council or Committee of Adjustment, but also that it will make Council meetings even more accessible to you and your neighbours.
For example, if there’s an issue you read about in the newspaper and you want to see what the discussion looked like, you should be able to do so from the Town’s website.
I hope that these improvements will help advance one of Council’s Strategic Plan themes – “An Engaged and Integrated Community” – by increasing opportunities for you and your neighbours and friends to interact with Council and I and for Council and I to better interact with you.
You may contact Mayor Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or read past columns at www.pelhammayordave.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Have you noticed the signs announcing the imminent reconstruction of Regional Road #20 from Rice Road to Station Street?
Since I wrote about the project a few months ago, you may recall that this is the final phase of the reconstruction and expansion of Regional Road #20 from the 406 to Pelham Street. Because of the length of the stretch of roadway, the complexity of the work, and the costs involved, the Region undertook this work in phases.
The actual final construction area will be from just east of Rice Road to just east of Station Street.
I was pleased to support the inclusion of $3.0 million in the Region’s and $750,000 in the Town’s 2012 capital budgets for this work.
The works will include adding a centre turning lane (where appropriate), installing a couple of new “islands” to help calm traffic and delineate turning sections, realigning the Hurricane Road intersection, and preparing for an intersection leading into the East Fonthill Secondary Plan lands (the +450 acres to the south of Regional Road #20). The Town’s money will fund the installation of a sidewalk on the north side of the road, replacing and upgrading the existing watermain, and replacing or repairing the existing sanitary sewer laterals.
Although this section is shorter than previous phases, it is more complicated because of the more urban setting and the total reconstruction of the intersection at Rice Road. It is also of a higher profile.
Norjohn Contracting and Paving Limited, a division of Walker Industries, won the reconstruction contract.
I understand that staff anticipates the construction to begin the third week of April and could run for a maximum of 110 “working days.” If we continue to get reasonable weather and things go smoothly, the work could be substantially complete by Labour Day; if they run into snags, the contract could run through late September/early October.
To help facilitate traffic, the contractor must maintain two lanes open at all times. They also plan on paving in “echelon” – side by side – to avoid joint problems like those developed in previous phases.
Regional staff assures me that they will be in contact each of the local businesses regarding access issues prior to any actual construction taking place. Further, they will attempt to mitigate all negative impacts on abutting residents and merchants, including noise and dust control.
I am pleased we are moving ahead with this work and continue to improve our community.