St. Marys Journal Argus
The arms-length Heritage Committee of St. Marys has thrown yet another delay in the path of Councillor Don Van Galen’s efforts to have the Mill Race Park refurbished, and now Councillor Stephen McCotter is calling on the town to move as quickly as possible to eliminate “a safety hazard.”
“If we don’t move forward with a railing, nothing’s ever going to happen,” McCotter said at a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16, after hearing a report that the Heritage Committee recommends planting a hedge as an alternative to a railing.
“A more aesthetically pleasing visual barrier, such as a small hedge or garden, would be more fitting for this park,” states the Heritage Committee report.
Questioned by Councillor Bill Osborne about the report, CAO Kevin McLlwain responded the town “is not in a bind” regarding its original plan to install a railing using a $10,000 grant — received as a second-place prize in a Van Galen-led application to a corporate brand-building competition. McLlwain noted the Heritage Committee simply made recommendations in keeping with its role under provincial legislation.
The CAO added that administrative staff was not aware at the time the railing recommendation was made that the Mill Race property fell under Heritage Act designation. He stressed this has nothing to do with the much more recently-approved Heritage Conservation District.
McCotter, however, pushed McLlwain for clarification that Council was not being asked to reverse a decision about the railing.
“It’s a safety hazard,” he said. “I can’t believe we haven’t done anything to prevent people from going out there . . . And to suggest a hedge is going to provide more safety than a railing, I don’t believe that’s true.”