Barrie City Council Highlights

City of Barrie Council: Meeting Highlights – June 4, 2024

Hope you all had a great weekend! City Council is coming up a day early this week (Tuesday June 4th) as many of us are attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual Conference during the latter half of the week.

Council items will focus on ratifying decisions made  last week during General Committee, so a few updates to note:

Adult School Crossing Guard Program:

  • The recommended motion from staff was for General Committee to receive the report for information purposes (and no action be taken).
  • Lots of dialogue on this last week. A few councillors were supportive but many worried about ongoing costs, city risks/liabilities, equity (only 9 out of 50 schools identified as meeting need), and lack of partnership with school boards.
  • This item was referred to a future Community Safety Committee meeting so we can approach school board with a recommendation for a ‘buy in approach’ whereby schools can indicate if they are interested in participating in an adult crossing guard program, the city would cover up to $6k/per interested school, and the remainder subsidized by school board or possible through school fundraising (total cost estimated at $10k per school, so city would be covering 2/3 of costs). This approach needs to be fleshed out a bit more at the Safety Committee but I do think a collaboration with the schools is wise if its feasible. I believe ongoing conversation is better than just receiving the report and doing nothing with it, so I am happy with this outcome as a small step in the right direction. Open to thoughts or questions!

Lease of Additional Speed Enforcement Cameras

  • Council is giving staff in authority to lease two additional automated speed enforcement cameras to be funded through the program revenue in the operating budget. Data from the first 2 speed cameras are showing positive effect on reducing speed so I think this is a good purchase.

Grant Adjudication Process

  • Recall that the recommendation was for staff to be replaced with council members on two adjudication panels (Bright Futures Barrrie Grant & Recreation and Sport Community Grant)
  • Lots of debate on this too. In the end, council will be adding 2 community reps to the Recreation Panel with 3 staff; Bright Futures panel will consist of council members from the safety committee.
  • I am not as pleased about the lack of community representation so not totally supportive of this approach, but on the positive side we tasked staff with examining grant processes and models of other municipalities which I think will help inform our process moving forward.

Other relevant items:

Yard Waste

  • I have been pushing hard for a change on this, as have other councillors in wards where pick up days are in the second half of the week. It looks like we are being heard – yay! I expect yard waste to move back to designated days – same day but opposite week of garbage – effective week of June 17th. More communication will follow. For now, it will still be bi-weekly pick up for yard waste….but I’ll be pushing for a change to weekly during Fall due to expected high volumes.
  • Just as an FYI – this change to service levels was not something this current council voted on. Part of the dialogue occurring now is how we prevent major changes to service levels taking place between election cycles.

Multi-Purpose Field

  • Lots of debate on this topic still occurring! Very valid opinions on both sides. For the most part I am trying to provide factual information as there’s still some incorrect statements floating around. I am providing site walk-a-bouts to those requesting it. I’ll be scheduling one during the evening of June 17th or 18th if any of you want to join. I’ll confirm date/time shortly.
  • As mentioned, based on council direction, staff is moving forward with their investigative work at this time (ecological impact, LSRCA input, archaeological assessment, etc). Any new information will be shared once I have it.
  • I consider this an ongoing discussion as we wait for more information and listen to resident perspectives. I’ll add this to our next meeting agenda as well.

Grass Cutting

  • I have been getting a number of complaints re. grass cutting so I asked staff if there’s been any issues with staffing or service levels. This was their response: There have been no changes to our grass cutting service levels, as directed by Council this past fall (2023).  Our cutting schedules are the same, however, due to the rain and perfect growing weather for grass this year the grass is growing faster than normal.  Most people also are not aware that the dandelion flowers grow at 2-3 inches per day, so the standard cutting cycle of weekly cutting of a neighbourhood park means the flowers are full height within 3 days, so the park looks uncut after a short time.   Once the weather heats up and it rains less, crews will catch up to the grass growth.  This is typically by mid-June.

Its been a really busy few weeks, so I’ll be sending out invites for our next meeting very soon! Still need to recruit the two new members – I promise to get to that this week😊

Thank you, and as always send me any comments or questions,