Renfrew Mercury EMC

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March 29, 2012

Transcript of Renfrew Mercury EMC

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  • NEWSNEWS Your Community Newspaper

    2 The Renfrew Mercury EMC - Thursday, March 29, 2012R0011328695-0329

    From front page

    Five council members supported the motion Mayor Bill Ringrose, Reeve Audrey Green, and councillors Gail Cole, Clint McWhirter and Tom Anderson.

    About 15 members of the public sat in the audience, including Renfrew BIA chair Lisa Vincent, who was extremely pleased by the decision.

    Obviously were thrilled, said Vincent. We hoped we had the support of council, and it shows the concerns of our members are heard and are considered serious and compelling.

    As for what the future holds for downtown metering, Vincent speculated the motion will resolve a lot of related problems.

    Its time that enforcement was stricter, said Vincent, noting it was resoundingly clear (from discussions during the public meeting, in particular) that there needs to be reinforce-ment because the nes (that few people pay) are looked on as a joke.

    Whatever happens, improved enforcement is a key part of the motion, said Mayor Ringrose. The mayor said higher nes, which will be shouldered by those ticketed for parking in-fractions, will leave the appropriate message.

    EVANS SUGGESTIONS

    Evans suggested property be set aside so employers and employees of downtown busi-nesses have a suitable place to park at a suit-able price, of $30 or so per month.

    If enough of those parking spots arent avail-able, near the main street, then he suggested the town look at buying additional property for that purpose.

    Evans said his suggestions, for a sustainable downtown parking plan, were based on opin-ions he garnered from council, BIA members and the public at large.

    Parking areas or passes or business employ-ers and employees could still be developed by the town, as they have been in the recent past. The same suggestion was made at the March 19 public meeting by Bob Flynn, owner of the downtown business, The Korner Hutch.

    The new motion, however, could have long-term negative nancial implications, said Ev-ans following Mondays vote. There wasnt enough back-and-forth (discussion). They (council members) took the easy way out this is going to cost us money.

    Coun. Miller said he wasnt distraught about the motion, just disappointed. The local resi-dents he spoke to didnt feel parking meters were a problem, but they were concerned about how some paid their nes and others ignored them.

    I dont think we resolved anything. I dont think the parking meters are a detriment to busi-ness downtown, I really dont, said Miller.

    Other council members spoke out in strong support of all or most of the BIA s recommen-

    dations brought forth in the March 19 meet-ing.

    At the outset of Mondays (March 26) dis-cussion on parking meters, Mayor Ringrose announced: Now its council turn to propose something and take a stand.

    Coun. Anderson strongly supported removal of the meters before years end for a 12-month trial, a three-hour time limit for anyone parked on the main street, and the towns adoption of a provincial offences bylaw ticketing system.

    NOT MAKING MONEY

    Coun. Cole prefaced her remarks with the comment, Ive heard many people say we have the nicest downtown in Ontario. And credit is due to the business people in down-town and the BIA.

    Cole added that she wanted to see that repu-tation maintained by listening to what the BIA is recommending and pursuing a 12-month trial of no parking meters.

    Rigid and effective enforcement of the towns bylaws (for parking and other issues) is also needed, said Cole.

    And just to be clear, were not making money in parking, added Cole.

    She also stressed that the town isnt making money on the parking meters. The town re-ceives about $80,000 in parking revenue over 12 months, but the annual payout of $38,000 for a Renfrew Victoria Hospital equipment program often comes from the parking fund as well as local taxes, noted Cole.

    In 2011, for example, $11,853 came from the parking fund, with the remaining $26,000 and change coming from the local tax levy. The year 2012 is the last of 10 years of the towns annual contributions to the hospital.

    MCWHIRTERS RESPONSE

    Coun. McWhirter said the bottom line is that BIA members should know whats best for its members, and that it behooves council mem-bers to listen to the BIA s recommendations, including a trial with no parking meters.

    He also asked for bylaw enforcement to put teeth into the tickets because the current sys-tem is a disservice to the town.

    Reeve Green said she agreed with the BIA s recommendations. Green said she supported the hiring of an outside rm for bylaw enforce-ment because town staff is already busy enough with other work.

    I think the meters, the way they are now, is a total loss, said Green.

    Its a joke. You get a ticket and some people pay and some people dont.

    Mayor Ringrose said a report would come back from senior staff members on how to put a better parking enforcement plan in place. He anticipated completion of a report in less than two months.

    Mercury photo by Steve NewmanRenfrew Reeve Audrey Green provides her opinion on parking meters downtown. Look-ing on, from left, are councillors Tom Anderson and Jim Miller.

    BIA pleased with councils move

    Mercury photo by Steve NewmanTeacher Mike Wright steps aside, following his presentation on plans for Renfrew Collegiate Institutes Relay for Life, as students Joe Steele and Meghan Forgie tell council members about features in this years program.

    Looking to surpass $500,000Steve Newmansteve.newman@metroland.com

    Renfrew Collegiate Institute students arent taking their reputation for granted, as one of the most proli c Relay for Life high school organizers in the province.

    Already about 50 students are part of the organizing committee for this years sixth annual RCI Relay, as committee members start raising awareness about the May 25-26 grand nale and related fundraisers.

    With the $95,000 we hope to raise this year, that would bring us to over half a mil-lion dollars (over the six years), teacher and Relay for Life staff advisor Mike Wright told Renfrew council members Monday night.

    So its been quite a commitment for this tiny town, but were the second high-

    est fundraising (Relay for Life) fundraiser in the province behind a school in Guelph that has close to 2,000 kids.

    For a school of 450, were doing quite well.

    Wright, whos an annual xture on the organizing committee, was joined in the council chambers by the 2012 RCI Relay for Life committee chair, student Meghan Forgie, and student Joe Steele, chair of the nance committee.

    They played a video with footage from a previous Relay for Life, including imag-es of cancer survivors walking the relays opening survivor lap.

    See COUNTDOWN, Page 3

  • NEWSNEWS Your Community Newspaper

    The Renfrew Mercury EMC - Thursday, March 29, 2012 3

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