Admittedly, I’m still adjusting to Brantford’s committee-to-council structure. Having councillors discuss and debate issues sitting as committee of the whole in one week and then rehashing (maybe) the same issues a week or two later. It’s a different structure than I’d been covering in previous lives, where committees of council still report to council, but there is no established committee of the whole structure.
That said, there are two Greenwich-Mohawk brownfield related items coming up at the Aug. 27 council meeting ripe for second-sober-thought reconsideration.
The first is the financing plan portion of the remediation of the brownfield, presented to the community services committee Aug. 13. The committee’s decision was to defer approval of the financing plan to its next meeting Sept. 10— mostly as a delay tactic of having to commit $19 million of the city’s debt room to cover the costs of ending up with a clean site, without any clear idea at this point as to how it will be cleaned or what will happen after it’s clean. That delay may impact the federal government’s $12-million commitment as that money’s not in the city’s coffers and its arrival is based on a council-approved financing plan to remediate the lands.
On Aug. 27, council can change that decision and eliminate the deferral, to move ahead with what’s proposed, or some other option.
The other sober-second-thought opportunity comes out of Monday’s operations and administration committee decision to remove security guard coverage from 347 Greenwich St., the Massey Ferguson portion of the brownfield. There’s been security guard coverage there as a means of deterring further fires and other issues at the site. There is a gatehouse by the entrance of the Canadian Military Heritage Museum where the guard is posted and that person conducts periodic rounds through the site.
There was plenty of confusion Monday between this guard and the one posted since the April fire at 66 Mohawk St. It’s the 66 Mohawk St. one that causes the most frustration over wasted dollars and was probably the likely target when the 347 Greenwich St. site was removed from the list in the security guard contract renewal.
Once again, on Aug. 27, council can reverse the decision— approve the contract extension that includes the 347 Greenwich St. site but issue additional instruction to cancel the 66 Mohawk St. guard ASAP. There was only a single voice pointing to this solution Monday night, so it’ll be interesting to see if others join it Monday.