Wat­son brings up con­cerns with Ford about down­load­ing, pot shop lo­ca­tions

PressReader - Tke Channel - Wat­son brings up con­cerns with Ford about down­load­ing, pot shop lo­ca­tions
Mayor Jim Wat­son brought up down­load­ing, pot shop lo­ca­tions and the con­cerns of fran­co­phones dur­ing a meet­ing Mon­day with Premier Doug Ford in Toronto.Ac­cord­ing to the mayor’s spokes­woman, Livia Bel­cea, Wat­son “asked the premier to avoid down­load­ing onto mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties when tabling the 2019 provin­cial bud­get.”The spec­tre of down­load­ing provin­cial pro­grams to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties would es­pe­cially touch Wat­son since he was the On­tario mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs min­is­ter who signed the 2008 up­load agree­ment with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on be­half of a Lib­eral provin­cial gov­ern­ment.Ot­tawa city coun­cil on Wednes­day will be­gin its own 2019 mu­nic­i­pal bud­get process and one of the un­der­ly­ing con­cerns is the po­ten­tial im­pact of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives’ first provin­cial bud­get. The PC gov­ern­ment has been on the hunt for provin­cial bud­get sav­ings and city hall is wait­ing to see if any cuts will af­fect fund­ing for mu­nic­i­pal pro­grams. The Fi­nan­cial Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice of On­tario on Mon­day warned of a grow­ing provin­cial deficit in its eco­nomic out­look re­port.Mean­while, Ot­tawa coun­cil is poised to di­rect city de­part­ments to keep spend­ing in­creases at or be­low three per cent in 2019.Bel­cea said Wat­son also pressed Ford to al­low mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to con­trol the lo­ca­tions of cannabis re­tail stores and their prox­im­ity to schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres. Un­der provin­cial rules, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can’t use plan­ning re­stric­tions to dic­tate where provin­cially li­censed pot shops can be lo­cated.Coun­cil on Thurs­day will de­cide whether pot shops can open in Ot­tawa. On­tario mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties must tell the provin­cial gov­ern­ment by Jan. 22 if they are opt­ing out of hav­ing pot shops. The ma­jor­ity of coun­cil is lean­ing to­ward al­low­ing the shops, but even those who are in favour of wel­com­ing pri­vate cannabis store­fronts are wor­ried that the city has no say in where the busi­nesses can be lo­cated.Wat­son shared with Ford the con­cerns of the re­gion’s fran­co­phone com­mu­nity, al­though it would have been hard for the premier to miss the cov­er­age of fran­co­phone demon­stra­tions in sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing a large one at Ot­tawa City Hall last Satur­day. Peo­ple are upset that the PC gov­ern­ment is cut­ting the of­fice of the French-lan­guage ser­vices com­mis­sioner and can­celling plans for a French-lan­guage univer­sity. (In the wake of the con­tro­versy, Ford has an­nounced a new Min­istry of Fran­co­phone Af­fairs).Other top­ics dur­ing their meet­ing at Queen’s Park in­cluded fund­ing to com­bat guns and gangs, sur­plus provin­cial land be­ing used for af­ford­able hous­ing and ad­di­tional help for Ot­tawa res­i­dents deal­ing with the af­ter­math of the Sep­tem­ber’s tor­na­does. Wat­son also up­dated Ford on the Con­fed­er­a­tion Line LRT project.

Mayor Jim Wat­son, right, drew at­ten­tion to is­sues with On­tario Premier Doug Ford in Toronto on Mon­day,

© PressReader. All rights reserved.