Accessibility, cannabis and T’Railways maintenance top council agenda
The Port aux Basques Town Council met on Tuesday evening, Oct. 9 to discuss matters, including improvements to Coleman’s grocery store, the T’Railways hazard and upcoming cannabis legalization.
Melvin Keeping was the only councillor not in attendance.
Following are some of the highlights from the meeting: Coleman’s Grocery Store Council intends to meet with representatives of the Coleman’s food chain to discuss improvements to its store. Council has been working on a beautification and improvement plan to the downtown area, and Coleman’s has announced plans to improve their store, including the frontage.
Mayor John Spencer wants to see accessibility into the store addressed for residents with mobility issues.
“Wheelchair access is a big issue. They don’t have access currently. They say they have it, but I’ve witnessed many times over the side street is blocked,” said Spencer.
The mayor says customers attempting to access the side ramp often have to contend with traffic and poorly parked vehicles, including delivery trucks.
Meanwhile the sidewalk near the store has been ripped up so that a low back can be poured for vehicles to more easily access the parking lot.
Although the province has plenty of new regulations in place for the upcoming legalization of cannabis, Coun. Jim Lane believes that council must examine its own too.
“We’re definitely going to have to look at some bylaws,” said Lane.
The mayor concurred, noting that a recent series by The Globe and Mail has a lot of tips and recommendations for municipalities that council may wish to look at.
“We’re going to have to get into that,” agreed Spencer. Affordable housing Town manager Leon MacIsaac confirmed that the proposed location for the affordable housing project on the site of the former Bruce Arena has passed its environmental assessment and is proceeding according to plan.
“The consultant has issued a set of drawings and matched the specifications to build to Gateway Village Corporation,” said MacIsaac.
Lane spoke at length about the hazard surrounding the rampant overgrowth reducing visibility and impeding traffic on the T’Railways in the western region. ATV tourists often enter the T’Railways from Port aux Basques, and Lane is worried not only about safety, but potential impact on tourism.
“The trail is everybody’s responsibility really,” said Lane. “I think as a council we should be writing the Minister of Tourism and say, ‘Hey, you people need to get your butts in gear and clear that T’Railway because it’s to a point now where the T’Railway is dangerous.’”
Lane said he has his own brush cutter and would go do it himself were he permitted, but economic development officer Shauna Strickland noted that nothing can be done by volunteers without proper permission from the Newfoundland T’Railways Council.
Strickland also noted that Tourism Southwest purchased a large cutter at the cost of $10,000 several years ago for a non-profit group which could be brought out if permission is granted.
“You’d have no problem getting volunteers,” according to Coun. Justin Blackler.
Marine Atlantic administration building
Marine Atlantic sent a letter informing council that given the need to comply with all regulations for its new administration building near the Bruce II Sports Complex on Hardy’s Arterial, construction likely won’t begin before spring of 2019.
Internal stakeholder consultations, detailed design drawings and development of tendered packages are ongoing, and more information will be delivered to council as progress continues.
Members of the Port aux Basques Town Council include, front, Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland, Mayor John Spencer, Coun. Justin Blackler; (back) Coun. Chester Coffin, Coun. Jerome Battiste, Coun. Jim K. Lane and Coun. Melvin Keeping.