Ayer’s Cliff coun­cil news

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Kyl Ch­hat­wall Ayer's Cliff

An event­ful coun­cil meet­ing in Ayer’s Cliff on Mon­day night in­cluded, among other things, a few proud mo­ments for mayor Alec van Zuiden.

First, the mayor and coun­cil warmly rec­og­nized Pub­lic Works Fore­man Jim Shar­man for his thirty years ser­vice to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ayer’s Cliff, and pre­sented him with the gift of a watch. Sec­ond, mayor van Zuiden noted an­other im­pres­sive dis­tinc­tion for an­other mu­nic­i­pal em­ployee: Mike McKenna, fire chief for both Ayer’s Cliff and North Hat­ley, had the hon­our in early Septem­ber of pre­sid­ing as mas­ter of cer­e­monies over the un­veil­ing of a new na­tional memo­rial in Ot­tawa, ded­i­cated to all the Cana­dian fire­fight­ers who have passed away in the line of duty since 1848.

The Cana­dian Fire­fight­ers Memo­rial is the fruition of nearly a decade of plan­ning and fundrais­ing, and bears a fi­nal price tag of about $5 mil­lion, $2 mil­lion of which was raised di­rectly by the Cana­dian Fallen Fire­fight­ers Foun­da­tion (CFFF), of which Mr. McKenna serves as Sec­ond Vice Pres­i­dent.

The cen­tre­piece of the memo­rial is a six-me­tre statue of a bronze fire­fighter with its right arm out­stretched and point­ing to a con­cep­tual map of Canada. On the map, 1,111 names of Cana­dian fallen fire­fight­ers are en­graved in gran­ite.

The de­sign work was partly ex­e­cuted by in­ter­na­tion­ally-renowned artist and nov­el­ist Dou­glas Cou­p­land; and the un­veil­ing was in­au­gu­rated by Gover­nal Gen­eral David John­ston.

Not only did Mr. McKenna have the hon­our of em­cee­ing the event, but his wife, Karen Robin­son, sang the na­tional an­them to kick off the cer­e­mony.

Un­of­fi­cially, the fu­ture of the Ayer’s Cliff Fire Depart­ment was also dis­cussed at length at Mon­day Night’s Coun­cil meet­ing.

The pos­si­bil­ity of a joint agree­ment be­tween four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties—Hat­ley, North Hat­ley, Can­ton de Hat­ley and Ayer’s Cliff—to share fire ser­vices was in­for­mally tabled, but not voted on. No con­sen­sus has been reached be­tween any of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on this point and any vote at this time would be pre­emp­tive.

Of­fi­cial busi­ness that was voted on in­cluded a pro­posal for some fur­ther engi­neer­ing as­sess­ment work on the side­walks on Maple Street, to the tune of $4,600. Coun­cil voted nearly unan­i­mously in favour, save Coun­cil­lor John Ba­trie who voted against.

Later in the meet­ing, Ba­trie ex­pressed the tongue-incheek opin­ion that vot­ing for the as­sess­ment was like “throw­ing $4,600 out the win­dow.”

It was also proudly an­nounced by Mayor van Zuiden that com­pared with last year, crime was down in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity by over 50%. There had al­ready been twenty crim­i­nal in­ci­dents at this time last year; whereas this year there have only been nine. Au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dents are also down by a half, and there’s been a 150% in­crease in the num­ber of speed­ers pulled over by the SQ, a re­sult of a greater po­lice pres­ence in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

In a bit of dra­matic irony, one of the fi­nal or­ders of busi­ness of the evening con­cerned the case of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ayer’s Cliff vs “Cliff” the dog and its owner, res­i­dent Monique Duch­es­neau.

Coun­cil voted whether or not to levy a fine against Ms. Dusches­neau in re­la­tion to a few in­ci­dents where Cliff at­tacked and bit pedes­tri­ans and passersby. At first, Mayor van Zuiden cau­tiously said that these bit­ing in­ci­dents had hap­pened “more than once.” Later, it was re­vealed that there were at least three sep­a­rate in­ci­dents where the dog at­tacked some­one.

France Coloumbe was the only coun­cil­lor to vote against the mo­tion to levy the fine, ar­gu­ing that Ms. Duch­es­neau had al­ready done ev­ery­thing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity asked of her to pre­vent fur­ther at­tacks. To this, the

mayor replied that not all pre­ven­ti­tive mea­sures had been taken; for in­stance, it was sug­gested to Ms. Duch­es­neau that the dog might be med­i­cated to ren­der it less dan­ger­ous.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Ms. Coloumbe joked that the vote had re­ally come down to a ques­tion of whether or not the other coun­cil­lors were dog-lovers; to which Coun­cil­lor Peter McHarg light­heart­edly re­marked that no, in fact, it was more a ques­tion of whether they were peo­plelovers.

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