Mayor and councilor spar
The town of Placentia proclaimed the end of March ‘Multiculturalism Week’ in Placentia and resolved to turn their outside Christmas lights on to honour the celebration. ‘Purple Day’ was also proclaimed as Mar. 26. ‘Purple Day’ aims to raise awareness of epilepsy.
At the Mar. 20 meeting of the Placentia town council, a review of the previous meeting minutes revealed some omissions and corrections the council cleared up before moving on to new business. Discussions related to the question on hiring local workers at a marshalling yard in Argentia and if the town could push harder for the hiring of people from the area.
Discussions also touched on the demolishing of St. Edward’s school, a new crosswalk light for the students of Laval High School and Councilor William Woodman provided an update on the Urban Municipalities Committee meeting he attended.
Questions raised and debated
Shortly after a couple of other items were touched on, Mayor Hogan challenged Councilor Noella Collins on why she questioned his absence at a recent public meeting about the Sir Ambrose Shea lift bridge.
She responded that she was asked the question by a number of people at the meeting and felt it should have been raised since there was no explanation for his absence.
He asked her why there should have been.
She responded that he was elected mayor for a reason - to represent the people of Placentia.
Mayor Hogan said in a recent Charter article about the issue, she stated that council had all agreed to be at the meeting, but Mayor Hogan took issue with that, stating he had no intentions of going to the meeting, and that his limited mobility was an impediment to attending, which he reminded her, stating that she was a worker in the health care field and should have realized that.
Councilor Collins took strong issue with that, noting she asked the question as a councilor, and not as a health care professional, and she saw what he said as an attack on her professional life, which she felt was inappropriate. She said she wasn’t going to sit down and “take his crap.”
Mayor Hogan began to respond when Councilor Bernie Power asked why this was being discussed at council since he didn’t see what this had to do with the business of the town.
Mayor Hogan explained he felt if he couldn‘t attend the meeting for personal reasons, he shouldn’t be condemned for that by council.
Councilor Bernie Power said he didn’t think the mayor was being condemned but Mayor Hogan said he wanted to clear the air on the issue since he wasn’t planning to attend the meeting, which he said was for the public, not for “photo opportunities.”
Councilor Collins took issue with that remark and asked if it was directed at her, but quickly explained she wasn’t there for that but to represent and stand with the people of the town on this issue of the bridge. She also went on to say that if he was implying she was seeking to be noticed, she wouldn’t do it riding on his coattails as she believed he implied in a recent The Charter article. She said he also commented that she should know better, to which she said she knows “a lot better.”
She said Councilor Wayne Power did a good job of facilitating the meeting but there was no mention of why the mayor wasn’t attending that night.
“People in this town look for your presence, you weren’t there... and my last comment on it is, some of your comments in the paper about me not knowing any better, sometimes, I could be the type to look at this from a legal perspective,” said Councilor Collins. “Your comments before made this town pay out an awful lot of money, and if I had to go and look at an avenue of that, I might just look at that. I was out there speaking as a councilor, not as a health care worker.”
She also noted her father sat on council for a number of years while he had a number of medical issues but that didn’t prevent him from attending meetings important to the townspeople.
Councilor Collins also had words for Deputy Mayor Dan Greene, who, she said, “can have his monthly smirk.” She told him to be careful of who he laughs at when councilors speak, which she found to be utterly disrespectful, and would not take it from him anymore.
Mayor Hogan reported to council on what the Executive Committee had discussed in their last meeting, which included the two job postings the town issued for the enforcement officer and seasonal recreation director. There was also an update of the housing development progress the town is seeking, either at Shaw’s Lane or Ville Marie Drive extension, although neither has been settled yet.
There was some discussion about the plans for a swimming pool for Placentia being pursued by the Placentia Lion’s Club, and how to access money that could help the project.
It was noted that the Dunville Ladies Hospital Auxiliary is celebrating 40 years, and the Placentia council certainly supports the work they do.
Mayor Hogan also touched on federal minister Peter Penashue’s visit to Placentia recently in which he announced money for the 350th celebrations underway this year in Placentia. Mayor Hogan said he also spoke with the federal minister about other infrastructure needs of the area, as well as taxing issues.
Councilor Kevin Power presented the Finance committee which recommended a number of issues, but discussion focused around the Placentia Lion’s Club swimming pool project and how much it would cost the town when completed, but it was agreed in the end the town supports the project.
Councilor Bernie Power presented the Public Works committee report with a number of recommendations, without much discussion needed on any of them.
Councilor Noella Collins presented the Heritage and Tourism committee report with an update on the Placentia 350th celebrations and the Special Events assistant position, which was recently advertised. She also presented the Parks and Recreation committee report with an update on Winter Carnival, and an announcement that Regatta Day will be held on July 21 this year.
Councilor William Woodman presented the Municipal and Community Services committee report, update the council on the animal control report, the Urban Municipalities conference he had attended, and of who council can keep residents updated about town events, etc. Discussion regarding having an LED sign or using automated telephone systems would be more appropriate and effective. More information on the options was needed.
Finally, asked if they had any other issues to be discussed, Councilor Bernie Power asked who was monitoring the bridge to ensure large vehicles weren’t using it. He said he was aware some drivers were not using the honour system, and he wondered if there shouldn’t be more done to prevent this.