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Decision on new Admin Centre delayed – again – amid continuing public concerns

March 22, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Kira Wronska Dorward

Debate over New Tecumseth’s proposed Administration Centre continued to rage at Town Hall on Monday night.

Council had postponed discussion of this issue, asking for staff to come back with alternative options that they might continue to fine tune with the public in order to arrive at a solution agreeable to, if not all, most.

To say that this issue has been divisive among Councillors and the public would be an understatement, with seemingly no resolution in sight.

Earlier in the meeting, Councillor MacLellan alluded to a sentiment that struck home with much of the public when, in response to Councillor Jebb’s comment on an unrelated issue that one complaint from the public is too many, she pointed out “You all discounted a lot of feelings when it came to the Administration Centre.”

On that note, a resident took the podium to draw attention to the “two-thirds vote that wasn’t actually a two-thirds vote” that had delayed discussion of this issue at a previous meeting. “Just because nobody called it doesn’t matter for me as a resident…I have great difficulty letting this slide.”

Arguing directly with Mayor Milne, who asked her to refrain from being rude, she asserted, “I’m asking a question that no one is answering here. This was a mistake that was made that has to do with the integrity of this Council…and it is really, really lacking at this point.”

Alluding to the previous comment made by Councillor MacLellan, she continued, “One is too many. I’ve got 500 signatures right now against this building.”

Members of Council, including a vocal Mayor Milne, asked her to modify her discourse.

Councillor MacLellan, who has been vocally opposed to the Administration Centre, or at least advocating for more consideration before appropriating funds, commented, “I’m really happy that staff brought this all back to us, but I don’t think we should be moving forward with spending any money at this point until we knew what the province is doing with us.”

She also advocated the need for a new Alliston library, and suggested splitting up the portfolio between the two communities as an alternative approach.

At this point, discussion was turned over to CAO Blaine Parkin who emphasized that “it’s a significant investment for the Town and should be discussed at great length. I’m going to ask Council to step back and consider…that we are here for customer service and we need to do it efficiently.”

Parkin asked that Council consider their allocation of services “in a more horizontal manner.”

“What I’d like Council to consider is considering services horizontally and collectively…why wouldn’t we want our residents to have access to our basic services at any level of interaction?”

He suggested a combination of methods, including greater use of the new Town website as well as person-to-person interaction at various smaller “community hubs” already in existence, such as the Tottenham recreation centre, would result in the greatest percentage of Town services meeting the greatest percentage of interaction with the population.

He seemed to suggest that rather than building one central location to house access to information about the Township, Council consider alternatives that “get that information they require anywhere in our community. If we were to look at any type of administration space, I would recommend a local hub…and drive more people to it.”

Included in this approach would be the planning of public transit in the Township.

Considering that it was almost 11 p.m., Deputy Mayor Norcross moved that further discussion of the proposed Administration Centre be conducted at its own separate meeting, at a future date to be determined.

“This is a fulsome conversation that should engage our entire community. I think this item should be its own meeting.”

It was then moved that more discussion would take place at a future working session of Council.


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