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UPDATE with correction to descriptors – Delegations on Beckwith St. redevelopment present to Council

by | Mar 14, 2019 | Local News | 10 comments

Justin Duhamel speaks to council on March 11th, 2019

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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  1. David Wiens

    Interresting that we gave the actual numbers of people and businesses petitioned where the mayou simply said “most of the people I’ve talked to …. ” That could be 3 out of the 4 I spoke with. We actually have signatures!

  2. Brenda Cavers

    I think the new plan looks terrific! Maybe some people who oppose it will have to take some parallel parking classes again….

    Glad to see forward thinking regarding active transportation.

    • jeff mintion

      My feeling is both old and new are faulted regards to loss of parking , CLEARLY WATCH THE VIDEO , It was topic loss of parking . Should it have been addressed at the last town hall meeting ? The Mayor stated at the meeting before , a televised event was his preference , yet his actions on this topic are to only engage by his own admission is use a flawed platform is perplexing to me . It seems like a needless hard path method of dropping the ball yet again on the topic of engagement , that does not need to be . Putting a stain on the project should not be a mandate of council

  3. Mike besseau

    Its not about parking..


    What a load of fiction. Plain to see that this station has a very one sided view of the situation happening in Smiths Falls.

  5. Peter Nauer

    The mayor doesn’t have a vision. He has an illusion. He can tell us what he wants. Cars are longer than wide. Therefore, with parallel parking there are some spots lost. I’d like to see him using a backdoor wheelchair lift on a parallel parking spot.

  6. Peter Rotzal

    Your apology confirms my trust in honest reporting, mistakes can be made. (hopefully future reporting will recognize BOTH sides of any issues) THX Peter

  7. Randy Desjardine

    Thanks for taking the time to edit the article, it saves me the trouble of filing a complaint with the CRTC, for the blatant misrepresentation of the delegations presentations, and the overall tone in this article. This is not in keeping with the standard in the code of conduct, the public has come to expect from Lake 88. I tune in every morning to listen to the news, which is usually an excellent mixture of National, Provincial and local news. However yesterday morning, I was quite taken back, when I listened to the report on the delegations’ submissions. Now admittedly, I am not a math major, but it seems like quite an engineering feat, to come up with the exact same number of parallel spaces, as angle spaces with the new Complete Street model. Especially, when the average car is at least 3x long as it is wide. Perhaps more investigative journalism is required for this story.

  8. Kylie

    Perhaps Mr. Duhamel will accept the apology. In my opinion, the author of the original article has been thoroughly discredited due to producing a blatantly biased piece, though. Where was the Editor?


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