It was a very special evening on Monday night, with a Special Council meeting that largely focused around the special subject of “Banking Signing Authorities”. Interestingly enough, “authority” or a lack thereof seems to have been the essence of the lively discussion.Continue reading
As mentioned in our previous post, a petition requesting the Province look into recent actions of Grimsby CAO Mr. Harry Schlange, is now gaining steam in the media. Local talk-radio station CKTB had an interview this morning with Grimsby resident Mark Kossek, who started the petition which has garnered nearly 1,000 signatures to date.Continue reading
What happens when you step away from the computer for a day? When it comes to issues at the Town… a whole lot apparently! This day has been a media (and social media) smörgåsbord with the CAO, Harry Schlange and the Councillors who rally behind him… as the main course.Continue reading
A late addition to tonight’s Committee of the Whole agenda is interesting correspondence from the Town’s legal firm, Aird & Berlis. In the letter, John Mascarin provides legal clarification on a recent motion ordering the Mayor to pay $1,302.62 due to a breach of the Code of Conduct that was deemed by the IC as being “trivial and without consequence”.Continue reading
At an unusual Thursday night sitting of Council, it was learned that the CAO/Town Manager, Mr. Harry Schlange, had terminated the employment of three senior staff members on Tuesday.
Near the start of the meeting and before reading the closed session declaration, Mayor Jordan stated:Continue reading
The Town will be hosting an (online) “open house” meeting for the Losani Homes proposal at 141-149 Main Street East, the current location of Cole’s Florist and Garden Centre.
An open house meeting is your first and important opportunity to “take a kick at the can” and let the applicant know what you think of the plan they have brought before the Town.
You can check out the relevant application documents at this link here:
Don’t think it fits with the character of Main Street East? Don’t just sit there, register to participate in the Zoom meeting (via tablet, laptop or by telephone) and have your say.
Registrations for the meeting can be secured by emailing Nancy Simon by firstname.lastname@example.org before noon on Friday March 26th. The meeting goes live on Monday March 29, 2021 @ 6PM.
If you want to spectate only, you can follow the meeting at the Town’s Vimeo page, or catch the simulcast via our Facebook page.
For a critical opinion on the proposed development, you can visit SaveMainStreet’s page at this link here: https://savemainstreet.ca/news/open-house-141-149-Main-St-East.html
It appeared to be a long agenda… and for the most part it was. There were a few “saves” on items that looked like they might turn into marathon debates, so the majority of business, except the closed session was finished well ahead of the 11th hour.Continue reading
Queen’s Park has published it’s annual Public Sector Salary Disclosure, better known as “The Sunshine List” for 2020. Last year saw 19 Town of Grimsby employees making over $100,000, up from 13 employees in 2019.Continue reading
With the most recent Committee of the Whole/Council meeting clocking in at almost 9 hours (excluding breaks), the question of whether a system that was touted as promoting “efficiency” has really delivered up to it’s promise or not.Continue reading
According to an article in the latest NewsNow, one resident was threatened with charges under the Elections Act for displaying a sign that was classified as an “election sign”.
The sign in question says “Who Speaks For The People of Ward 3?”
The Town’s “Sign By-law” 97-45 (link here) is the current in-force By-law regarding signs and it defines an election sign as follows:
There certainly is no municipal, regional, provincial or federal election underway nor does the sign appear to support a candidate or political party. What the sign appears to support is the exercise of Section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or simply “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression”.
It is not an absolute right, as Section 1 of the Charter can curtail rights with “such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” on the freedom of expression. For instance, the pre-COVID adage of “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre” serves as an example.
In this case however, should the resident decide to pursue a Charter case, Town administration and their legal team would be hard-pressed to prove that the sign By-law can revoke that enshrined right. Section 1 of the Charter sets a very high bar.
Interestingly enough, one of the Town’s legal team, Mr. John Mascarin, co-penned a legal brief in 2002 entitled “Is The Writing On The Wall For Sign By-Laws In Canada?”. In that paper, the authors reviewed a then-recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on signs and how Charter rights and municipal sign By-laws interact.
“Given that the sole purpose of municipal regulation is to place limits on the means of expression, applicants have had little difficulty meeting their onus of showing that there has been a prima facie infringement of their rights.
The difficulty from a municipal lawyer’s perspective is that, once the
onus has transferred, justifying limitations in a sign by-law is extremely difficult under the rigorous s. 1 test.”
You can read the entire paper at this link here.
The current sign By-law dates back to 1997 and since that time there have been significant decisions that affect the enforceability and application of this type of By-law. Perhaps it is time for Council to look into this specific matter and bring this document into conformity with legal practice and judicial standards.
You can read the full NewsNow article at the following link: