UPDATE with correction to descriptors – Delegations on Beckwith St. redevelopment present to Council
This is an update to a story that was published March 13th. Some of the content has been revised to better represent what occurred at the meeting. The words “harangued” and “clearly angry” were not appropriate descriptors of Mr. Justin Duhamel’s presentation to council. We apologize for any misleading or erroneous wording in the previous article.
Smiths Falls council’s invitation to residents to field delegations that could engage council in a dialogue over the Beckwith Street Reconstruction did not work out as initially planned.
“We were fully prepared to answer questions, but we didn’t get any questions and that was the whole purpose of this,” said Councillor Wendy Alford.
The first delegation by Vincent Hamilton, presented council with petitions signed by residents, non-residents and 35 business, only some of which were located downtown. “These are individuals who want a public forum, a real public forum which you have consistently denied,” he told council.
The second delegation was by Justin Duhamel, a local business owner. “The decision to go with parallel parking is dramatically reducing parking,” said Duhamel, in direct contradiction to all the information that has been made available by both council and staff.
Duhamel went on to tell council that he has been visiting local businesses accompanied by a former Councillor, and has heard how worried people are about their livelihoods, adding that that’s why he has been standing outside Town Hall with a bullhorn for the past six weeks.
“In no way are we trying to diminish the success of our downtown merchants, yes we know it will be difficult through the transition, but most of the merchants I’ve heard from are very supportive of this change and very supportive of the vision council has for the downtown,” Mayor Shawn Pankow, told Lake 88.“Our hope was that we’d be able to clear up some of the misunderstanding that still seems to be percolating through the community,” said Pankow.
You can hear the Mayor’s statement to Lake 88 by clicking play below.
The town has issued a Notice on it’s website that answers a number of questions regarding the Beckwith St. reconstruction, and corrects the misinformation being promoted on social media. That notice can be found by clicking here.
Mayor Pankow also took to Facebook to once again try to clear up some of the misinformation. That statement is below.
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