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Misplaced priorities: City Council Prioritizes Street Naming over Warming Centers and Housing Issues

At the City Council Meeting on October 4, held at Barrie City Hall, a range of topics were discussed. 

With winter on the horizon, there’s growing concern over insufficient funding for warming centers, which activate when temperatures dip below 15 degrees Celsius. Moreover, the challenges of housing affordability and homelessness are intensifying. Current high inflation rates, compounded by the potential of rising interest rates, could further burden residents.

Yet, these pressing issues were notably absent from the October 4 City Council meeting’s agenda. Instead, the Council allocated nearly a third of the meeting, or 30 minutes, to debate street naming policies, a topic that saw councillors in personal disagreements. An additional 20 minutes was dedicated to the presentation by the non-profit Art and Water about their floating arts and culture festival. The executive director of Art and Water presented the organization’s achievements and future plans. Since its foundation in 2009, the organization has offered a mix of children’s theatre, waterside events, and a Muskoka chair art exhibit, enjoying steady progress over the years. With an eye on expanding to Barrie for a children’s theatre aboard a pirate ship, council members showed interest in the project.

Deputy Mayor Robert Thomson’s motion to reinstate the policy of naming streets after elected council members from the current term was approved. Councillors Kungl and Hamilton introduced an amendment to remove this naming convention, pointing to potential reputational hazards and the unpredictability of individual actions post-service. This proposed change met with resistance from Councillor Morales, who expressed frustration over the challenges in tabling the amendment and its overall clarity. Interestingly, both Mayor Nuttall and Councillor Morales have made similar oversights in the past.

Follow the timestamps to jump to the relevant section of the video. 

Timestamps –
0:00 Intro
0:00:02 Student delegation from Zweibrucken, Germany
0:23:00 Items from General Committee Report Sep 27
0:28:00 Street Naming Policy
0:58:00 Items from General Committee Report Sep 27
1:05:00 Presentation by Art and Water 
1:25:00 Annocements

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