Town urged to commit to a clean and healthy environment – Downtown Heritage Grant fiasco

Normand Belanger made a presentation to Town Council on Tuesday evening “to make Council aware of odour problems in the west end of town” and asking the Town to commit to a clean and healthy environment in St. Marys. He told Council that he was speaking not only for himself but also for the residents of Maple Lane Park. He took issue with Perth County Ingredients, who when asking for approval from Council for an additional drying room, stated that the company had eliminated the odour problem. Mr. Belanger said the company could control or eliminate the odour problem with proper procedures. He noted that there is little or no commitment to a clean environment in any of the Town’s statements, Official Plan, Planning Advisory Committee’s minutes or the Strategic Plan. He urged Council to change this and asked Council to investigate the “Blue Dot Movement” that is used in many countries which recognizes the right to live in a healthy environment.
Once more the grants that were set up to help businesses in the downtown to beautify their stores has divided Council. Mary and Casey Van Den Berge, owners of ‘Sun Rayz” applied for a Heritage Grant for improvements to the windows at their store. The application was approved but when the work was completed the Town said that the work was not done according to was submitted. The Van Den Berges disputed this and as is their right appealed to Council for a ruling. The pointed out that the Heritage Committee said they were in favour of the grant being paid but some councillors disagreed. Coun. Carey Pope read aloud the letter from the committee and was one of three to vote against the grant being allowed. Also voting against were Couns. Craigmile and Hainer. The motion to pay was finally approved with Couns. Osborne, Van Galen and Winter voting for, as did Mayor Al Strathdee, who cast the deciding vote.