Renfrew – Town of Renfrew staff have been directed to work with a businessman regarding a possible road closure for an art fair.
Patrick Mills sent a letter to council hoping to have Argyle Street North closed between O’Gorman Street and just before Melcher Heating and Cooling, which is just before the train tracks trail. He is planning an Arts Fair for July 31 and August 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While he advised only one side of the street would be used, and local traffic will be able to access their homes, he stressed there could not be high levels of traffic.
However, at a special council meeting held Tuesday, July 20, council did not approve the closure.
But Clerk Kim Bulmer noted staff did offer a compromise, which is to close O’Gorman Street between Argyle Street North and Bridge Street.
Reeve Peter Emon questioned why the motion is not to accept what was requested but to provide an alternative.
“From a staffing perspective, the closure of Argyle with residential and mixed-use properties is very difficult,” Mr. Bulmer said. “It’s a connecting road and adds challenges.”
He noted the only reason council is discussing the letter, which was sent July 15, is because of the special council meeting held to discuss another matter, otherwise it would not have been discussed until after the event, as the next scheduled council meeting is not until the second week in August.
Council Tom Sydney questioned if Mr. Mills is aware of the alternative being proposed.
“We’re probably surprising him,” Mr. Bulmer said. “Without this special meeting, we wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
“Because there was a special meeting, we threw this on here to facilitate some discussion.”
Councillor Andrew Evans was glad that manager Michel Asselin took the time to consider the letter and provide an alternative.
“If the director is suggesting putting forward this, if it’s all right by the applicant, then I’d be in favour of that,” he said.
When questioned by Reeve Emon about more information regarding the event, Mr. Asselin said council had as much details as staff.
“There is no real plan, no rationale or layout for the site other than a request to have Argyle Street North between O’Gorman and Melcher’s Heating closed,” he said.
Mr. Asselin said with council’s permission he can work with the applicant to “potentially close O’Gorman” discussing the encroachment of private business onto a municipal right-of-way, realizing there should be insurance requirements, similar to that of the (restaurant sidewalk) patio situations which require insurance.
Council agreed that Argyle Street North is not to close and that staff work with Mr. Mills regarding the possible closure of O’Gorman Street.
Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader