Council roundup: More feedback sought on gateway project

·3 min read

Niagara-on-the-Lake councillors have decided to give the public two more weeks to offer their comments on the proposed gateway at the intersection of Mississagua and Queen streets.

The current design featuring a 25-foot obelisk has sparked some loud, negative feedback, prompting the extension.

“I think we’re gilding the lily here by erecting a tower in a community where we have lots of existing, beautiful genuine assets that have been here so long,” Coun. Clare Cameron told committee of the whole Monday night during a marathon six-and-a-half-hour session.

Cameron expressed her displeasure that this was the only design presented to council, when there was an alternative design by the Seferian Design Group. She requested that a previous concept, known as the “The Origin” design, also be made available for public and council consideration instead of just the obelisk design.

The $250,000 project is funded by a donation by NOTL philanthropist Gerry Kowalchuk.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero expressed support for the controversial design.

“Believe me, I’m not a heritage planner nor am I an artist,” she said. “I do have some questions about the obelisk, though, and whether or not that represents Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

The town's online Join the Conversation page will open on July 27 and close on Aug. 22. Both designs presented by Seferian at a May 27 communities in bloom meeting will be included on the page.

The town is aiming to begin construction on the gateway in spring 2022.

Phragmite-fighting tractors

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake spent $416,046 on the purchase of a tractor and specialized equipment to help in the battle against phragmites, according to a report endorsed Monday.

Phragmites are an invasive species of perennial grass that causes damage to ecosystems across Ontario. Phragmites release toxins from their roots into the soil to kill surrounding plants and outcompete them for water and sunlight, according to the provincial government.

Shipping delays due to COVID-19 caused the price to be $8,046 more than originally intended.

New breathing apparatus

for NOTL firefighters

A $415,615 debenture was approved by councillors to aid in purchasing self-contained breathing apparatus for the fire department.

The total cost of the new equipment is projected to be $902,630.

“Self-contained breathing apparatus are an essential component in protecting the health and safety of firefighters, providing the firefighter with the ability to breath and communicate in hazardous atmospheres,” a report from NOTL staff says.

The town currently has 66 units, 18 of which have had critical failures. The units are over 10 years old and in need of replacement, the report said.

Fireworks restrictions

Council has tasked town staff with drafting a report that comments on restricting the sound level of fireworks.

The “quiet fireworks” referred to by staff have rank around 75 decibels in sound, compared to the 120 for regular fireworks, according to Coun. Norm Arsenault.

The reports are not expected to come about for six months, chief administrative officer Marnie Cluckie told councillors.

Public input will be sought at a future date regarding any firework or lighting restrictions.

Ryerson Park renaming

Councillors unanimously expressed their support for the renaming of Ryerson Park in consultation with the Niagara Regional Native Centre.

Evan Saunders, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report

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