Napanee Council round-up: Pride, planning, parking, and more

Napanee Town Hall, designated a national historic site of Canada in 1984, is awash in the early evening light of May 9, 2023. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

Greater Napanee Town Council met on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, for their regularly scheduled meeting ahead of the May 11 Special Meeting of Council, which will receive public thoughts on a proposed sale of property by the Town. However, the less conspicuous meeting was not without some of its own ups and downs.

Previously, at the April 25, 2023, meeting of Council, Greater Napanee Pride submitted a letter, which stated, “As part of the pride month celebrations in June, Greater Napanee Pride is planning to refresh the crosswalk at market square that was painted last year, hang banners downtown along the march route, and refresh the picnic tables and any other pride related visual displays that require maintenance.”  The banners were a new addition last summer and read “Everyone is welcome here – Greater Napanee Pride” with the hashtag, “#proudformanyreasons,” in a nod to the town slogan, “Greater Napanee: greater for many reasons.”

Despite the fact that Town staff had specifically aided with the wording of the letter, according to Town Clerk Jessica Walters (who said “It’s not an intention [of Pride] to add anything new this year.”), Council requested a more specific listing of the tasks to be undertaken coming up to Pride Month celebrations in June.

Banners celebrating Pride month were a new addition to the town in June 2022. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

“I think this council is very supportive of the movement,” Mayor Terry Richardson expressed, but he noted that Council wanted more specifics due to this being a new Council that may not be aware what was done last year. At this week’s meeting, a much more detailed list was presented and was received by Council for information, and approval. 

Councillor Mike Schenk was the only vote against the requests by Pride, citing that he was specifically against item number four in the letter, the hanging of “35 Pride Banners across Town with the help of Town staff along the parade route on Dundas St. and along the boardwalk at Springside Park with [a Pride] Flag at Town Hall and The SPC where our evening events take place.” It should be noted that at the April 25 meeting, Schenk had expressed that he didn’t want to see Napanee Pride treated any differently than other groups, specifically “Heart and Stroke” and “Fire Prevention.” 

Ward 1 Councillor, Michael Schenk was the lone voice opposing the hanging of banners that read “Everyone is welcome here. Greater Napanee Pride. #greaterformanyreasons.” Image from Town of Napanee Website.

His objection, he stated, was based on the cost to hang the banners. However, earlier in the evening, Schenk inquired of the Clerk whether hanging the banners was against the flag-raising policy of the town, to which Walters replied, “That falls under the visual installations piece of our proclamations policy, which says groups can make their proposals of what they would like to do for visual installations, staff will look at them to see if we have the resources to do this… what I have been told at this point is we do have the resources to accommodate this request.”

At another point in the conversation, Councillor Dave Pinnell raised the question of where the Pride flag raising and flag raisings, in general, would take place. The clerk pointed out that town policy was amended in 2022 to say that flags would be raised at Town Hall “once we got a flag pole to do that. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a flag pole here,” nor at 99 Advance Ave, the new administrative building.

The topic of displaying Pride flags in Greater Napanee has been in conversation since 2019. In June of 2021, the motion to display the flag at City Hall was denied, and a flag was instead installed at North Fred Hall, a much less prominent or accessible location.  Finally last year, the town declared June to be Pride Month and hosted its first ever Pride.

At this point, the Fire Chief, Bill Hammond, spoke up, “Through your Worship, we’ve taken great pride in raising a flag in front of the fire station at 66 Advance every year. We will continue to do that this year as well.” Hammond took great care to emphasize each word of this statement, especially the words “great pride.”

Brant Zatterberg, Manager of Community and Corporate services, then volunteered that the flag poles had “been delivered it’s just a question of when we can get the installation done.” 

In other agenda items, with no objections, Council approved requests that the Town proclaimed May 10, 2023, to be Lupus Awareness Day, and May 12 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. As well, June 11 to 17, 2023 will be World Blood Donor Week in Town, with June 14 being World Blood Donor Day.

The meeting began with a presentation of the Town’s new Access E11 Citizen Request Management Software, which is already being used internally. The purpose of the presentation was as a first step in letting the Council and residents know about the change, as well as the abilities and ease-of-use of the program.

Citizen concerns and concepts

Next up were three deputations. Brenda Radix was first to present her concerns in relation to the motion that was approved at the February 14, 2023, Council meeting, which resulted in the ‘No Parking’ signs being removed from the east side of Huffs Lane. Radix said she represented a number of citizens on Huffs Lane who signed a letter about their concern that the decision will have a negative impact on the safety of the residents, particularly during the winter months.  

The letter states that the concern is “borne out of experience and incidents that have occurred in the past, specifically in the winter. It is common practice for some people who are ice fishing to blatantly park their vehicles illegally directly underneath the ‘No Parking’ signs on both sides of Huffs Lane,” making it impossible for emergency response vehicles to access the Lane unimpeded, creating difficulties removing snow. This will only be exacerbated if the ‘No Parking’ signs are removed, the letter asserted.

Max Kaiser was next to appear on behalf of Lennox and Addington Agricultural Society with a formal request the Town to re-install fencing along the western boundary of the Fair Grounds, along Richmond Park Drive. According to Kaiser, the fence was taken down by contractors at the time the street was being developed. The Fair Board was not consulted and did not consent to the removal of this fence. Now that the Town has assumed the roadway, it falls to the Town to restore the fence. This fence is important to the Board, partly due to the fair being a paid entry event and the fence providing site access control. They hope this can be done prior to this year’s fair, which begins on Friday, Aug. 4, Kaiser expressed. Council received the request for information and referred it to Town staff for follow up.

Hubert Hogle made a deputation with regard to creating a tree-planting program in the Town. He suggested that Council might consider seeking funding by “Adopt A Tree” sponsorships. Finding a sponsor for a tree should be easy, said Hogle, “there is probably nothing in the world any easier to find a sponsor for than a tree.” He suggested new tree plantings in public spaces might be funded by individuals, families, or small businesses, and they would have a small plastic sign recognizing the donation on the new tree support post for as long as the support post is required. Council directed the suggestion be forwarded to Town staff.

New Deputy Clerk

The Town passed a By-law that saw Shannon Kennelly, Legal Services Coordinator, appointed Deputy Clerk for the Town of Greater Napanee.

Deputy Clerk Shannon Kennelly. Image from LinkedIn professional profile.

Business Plan 2023

CAO John Pinsent submitted the Town Business Plan for 2023. It contained key themes (corporate priorities) that will guide Town activities; “These may not be found discreetly in the priority list but are foundational to how we work as a team,” wrote Pinsent in his report. They include the following five corporate priorities, as stated in his report.

  • Understanding our role in the community: Coming out of COVID with a new Council, new leadership and the completion of foundational planning documents requires a revisit of how we support the community. The manner that we support community groups, the new committees of Council, and volunteer groups are issues that need a fresh look.
  • Building a financial management acumen: Managing resources is everyone’s responsibility. We will develop a resource management process with staff and ensure that we understand how we maximize the effectiveness of our resources. This will include work on asset management planning.
  • Developing a performance management system: We have embarked on a journey of performance and need to formalize the process by which we define goals and expectations for employees, monitor and then report on performance. Every employee requires and deserves feedback on their performance.
  •  Developing a customer service framework: The move to 99 Advance Ave. has made the requirement for a customer service framework more evident as we have had to change some of our processes. We also need to develop and communicate customer service standards and expectations. The relationship between staff and residents and the standards of service we provide to all residents needs to be defined and available for all to see.

As always this is a quick round-up of the topics Council discussed. You can always check the agendas for Council Meetings on the Town’s Civic Web portal, and you can watch council meetings live and after they occur by visiting the Town’s YouTube channel.

One thought on “Napanee Council round-up: Pride, planning, parking, and more

  • The Mayor and his Ward Councillors can’t do their due diligence and read the previous meeting approvals on the pertinent subject matter? Those are historical documents. Written specifically for this reason. Lazy and incompetent. It’s Council’s responsibility to read the Agenda that they receive prior to the meeting and be up to speed. Wasting the taxpayers money to do everything twice?

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!