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Town Legal: Motion to Make Mayor Pay $1,302.62 “Not Authorized” By Law

Photo Credit: Creative Commons / www.allenandallen.com

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”.

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Here We Grow Again: 141-149 Main St. East (Cole’s Florist) “Open House”

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:

https://www.letstalkgrimsby.ca/141-149-main-street-east

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 nsimon@grimsby.ca 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

NewsNow: Resident Threatened With Charge Under Elections Act For Sign

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:
https://www.wn3.ca/2021/02/03/resident-threatened-with-charge-under-elections-act-for-sign/

NOTICE: Ward Boundary Review ZOOM Meeting – January 26, 2020 @ 5:30 PM

While it came to our attention just recently, it is still worth noting that the Town is having a public meeting (via Zoom) for it’s ward boundary review. To ensure adequate representation in local governments, municipalities will regularly review their ward composition.

If you would like to have a say on how your area should be represented at Town Hall for the next election, tonight is your opportunity to have your say. Only a handful of people have registered for the meeting, so residents are encouraged to participate.

You can register for tonight’s event (January 26th @ 5:30PM) at https://www.letstalkgrimsby.ca

NOTICE: Committee of the Whole – Fifth Wheel Development – November 09, 2020

The Committee of the Whole, and subsequently Council, will be taking another and perhaps final look at the Losani/Fifth Wheel re-development on Monday night. The agenda has some reports from the Town’s Planning Department and their outside consultant.

You can read the agenda at this link: http://bit.ly/TOGW20201109

Note: The agenda was published late Friday afternoon (3:45 PM), after the 12 Noon deadline for delegations. Anyone wishing to speak on this development is advised to immediately contact the Clerk’s office for their request.

Tune in on Monday @ 6:30 PM via Facebook Live or at the Town’s livestream of the meeting at: https://vimeo.com/grimsbycouncilchambers

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