During the General Committee meeting last week at Barrie City Hall, the council deliberated on various items.
Community Safety Meeting update –
Ward 9 Councillor Sergio Morales shared updates regarding the Community Safety Committee Meeting held on September 19. However, he failed to address the disrespectful comments by deputants towards the Busby Centre and individuals grappling with homelessness and mental health challenges. The Busy Centre provides comprehensive support through street outreach, drop-in services, and shelter facilities to those affected by poverty, homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues. In the past, Morales has taken a firm stance against permitting critical remarks about the police, while surprisingly allowing such comments to be directed towards the Busby Centre.
Approved Motions –
There are a number of motions approved including invitation to Barrie’s provincial and federal Members of Parliament to provide update on provincial and federal matters. The council also approved investigation into various pedestrian safety measures.
Conflict of Interest –
Councillor Morales declared a conflict of interest when the discussion turned to Pattison Outdoor Advertising’s request for a billboard exemption in Ward 9.
“I have a one billboard left for this company. I bought a big contract a while ago. So I have one more and that constitutes a financial relationship,“ he said. “The billboard prices have gone up significantly since then.“
However, he did not disclose when his business relationship with the company began or describe his prior experience in the field before securing a contract with them.
Another conflict of interest issue surfaced, reported by Ward 3 Councillor Ann-Marie Kungl. Barrie’s internal audit revealed that the city did not receive its entitled share of revenue from the Barrie Colts’ use of Sadlon Arena, a team owned by HorsePower Sports and Entertainment Group. Although Kungl did not personally receive any direct benefits from the Barrie Colts, her employer did.
We are interested in hearing your thoughts on whether there should be greater transparency concerning the business interests of council members.
Deputy Mayor Robert Thomson proposed an amendment aiming to ensure the Barrie Colts comply with the terms of the existing agreement before moving forward with the execution of a new lease agreement.
Tree by-laws –
The ecological offset policy finally got teeth with the city imposing hefty fines for unauthorized tree removal and prioritizing waterfront reforestation. It is aimed at ensuring compliance and visibly transforming the urban landscape towards sustainability.
The amendment proposed by Deputy Mayor Robert Thomson outlines penalties for tree removal without a permit, setting fees at $140,500 per hectare and $1,220 per tree. It also adds a priority for planting 1,000 trees along the waterfront, with a requirement that 50% of citywide tree planting be dedicated to this project annually until completion.
That was the update from last week’s meeting, and many of these items were discussed again during this week’s City Council meeting. We will also provide updates on those discussions.