Council hears PC Connect update, approves new housing planning strategies

Religious banners for town?

  • Community   Wednesday, September 21, 2022   St. Marys Independent Staff

By St. Marys Independent Staff
The new Blaise app has helped Perth County Connect improve its data reporting capabilities, according to a quarterly report presented to St. Marys Town Council.
Maggie Kerr, Transit Project Coordinator for Perth County, and Stephanie Potter, Corporate Initiatives Lead at the City of Stratford, brought the report forward which highlighted the new booking app, Blaise. According to Kerr, over 560 rider profiles have been created and more than 720 rides booked using the app. Blaise was launched on June 1st and their overall data up to August 1st shows a total of 8,546 rides.
In July, PC Connect ran a Free Ride Week promotion which resulted in 483 rides. This week represented 94 percent of the average monthly ridership. Kerr said PC Connect is hopeful that the promotion "will encourage new riders to continue leveraging the service and increase long-term ridership."
The Council also formally approved changes to the planning process for new residential projects, which were previously discussed at the August 23rd Strategic Priorities Committee meeting. The first approval was in relation to the Planning Advisory Committee's role in reviewing Planning Act applications, inspired by the Ontario government's Bill 109 which aims to reduce "red tape" related to housing projects. 
Several changes to the municipal planning process were approved including the reduction of time to deem an application complete and issue a notice of application, as well as reducing the minimum circulation period ahead of Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) meetings from 20 to 15 days. Applicants now will complete certain reviews and approvals prior to submitting the application and PAC deferrals will be eliminated.
Later in the meeting, Reverend John Goodwin brought a delegation to Council requesting religious banners be hung in place of the Pride banners. Council voted 4-3 in favour of referring the request to Town staff for consideration as part of the draft Commemorative Policy proposal.
According to Goodwin's delegation, the Town of St. Marys hanging Pride banners is "entirely different" than if an individual hangs a flag or banner displaying a belief of theirs.
"Banners and flags represent a regime and the whole population of St. Marys now has to live under it, agree or not," Goodwin said.
Goodwin also added that some may not agree with his proposal and what the banners he is advocating to hang represent. However, because some disagree with what Pride represents, equality regardless of gender or sexual orientation, the Town's precedent set with the Pride banners should nullify that concern.
"You must now make this service available to all, whether everyone around Town is in agreement or not," said Goodwin. "We want banners because you do it for other people."