Feral cats and CUPE strike

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - LOCAL NEWS -

May be­gan with good news the city bud­get was fi­nally ap­proved.

Corn­wall home­own­ers found a house as­sessed at $166,771 would see a $91.68 in­crease in taxes. The city seemed to take for­ever to ne­go­ti­ate the bud­get process.

“This was a marathon of a bud­get. I can’t re­mem­ber spend­ing so much time and so much ef­fort on a bud­get as this year,” said Coun. Ber­nadette Cle­ment.

Coun­cil­lors and ad­min­is­tra­tors tried their best to get the bud­get out, and a hand­ful of mod­est cuts still caused pub­lic out­cry. and still, three coun­cil­lors voted against the bud­get, with Mau­rice dupelle, Mark Mac­don­ald and david Mur­phy cit­ing rea­sons the tax in­crease was still too high. how­ever, none of them were able to pro­vide ideas on how to re­duce it fur­ther.

“I do ad­mit we have hit a dead end ,” said d up elle .“I don’ t think there is an ap­petite around this ta­ble to get into more spe­cific num­bers or to cut staffing lev­els. But for me ,3.97 per­cent is still too high.

“I’m out of ideas, but I’m still go­ing to vote against it.”

one of the big is­sues around the coun­cil ta­ble, other than the bud­get, was a bylaw re­gard­ing cat con­trol. City coun­cil­lors had some mis­giv­ings about some of the poli­cies around the bylaw and sent the draft bylaw back to ad­min­is­tra­tion for changes. some ideas, which in­cluded mak­ing sure all cat own­ers kept their cats in­side un­less on a leash or tether, or mak­ing those that fed feral cats le­gal own­ers of those cats, were not greeted warmly.

“My neigh­bour feeds some feral cats, but they are not his re­spon­si­bil­ity, and I don’t think it is right that he would be re­spon­si­ble for neu­ter­ing those cats, they are not his ... my mother feeds birds, should she re­spon­si­ble for the birds,” asked Coun. Justin Town­dale. “Putting cats on leashes? Just no, that doesn’t make sense to me. some­times cats get out and ex­plore, that’s just what they do.”

around the mid­dle of May, CuPe mem­bers took to the picket lines af­ter fail­ing to reach a deal with the city. The strik­ing work­ers in­cluded paramedics, out­side work­ers and li­brary work­ers. More than 230 work­ers walked off the job in the le­gal strike.

“It cer­tainly didn’t need to come to this,” amanda Palieps, pres­i­dent of para­medic lo­cal CuPe

5734 said in the me­dia re­lease. “But the city walked away from us on Tues­day af­ter­noon and we didn’t see them or hear from them at all on wed­nes­day.

“we need to be talk­ing to ham­mer out a deal. It takes dia­logue to bar­gain. Their ab­sence tells us they were not se­ri­ous about avoid­ing a strike.”

The main dis­putes in­cluded con­ces­sions sought by the city and wages.

The city also an­nounced the for­mer Bank of Mon­treal build­ing on Pitt street was go­ing to be­come the new arts cen­tre. The city had been try­ing to es­tab­lish a new cen­tre for quite a while and the arts com­mu­nity was happy to hear it fi­nally found a home.

LOIS ANN BAKER/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREE­HOLDER

CUPE pres­i­dent Fred Hahn ral­lies CUPE mem­bers who held a rally at city hall on May 23, to mark one week of be­ing on strike and wel­com­ing the in­side city work­ers to the picket lines. Nathan Guin­don holds a sign with one of the slo­gans CUPE has adopted for the strike.

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