Group to discuss ‘The Spot’ vandalism
Coun. Williams questions peer’s representation of council
PARRY SOUND – In the New Year, community groups are meeting to discuss vandalism at The Spot.
Although no new vandalism has appeared since the Town of Parry Sound installed a surveillance camera November 19 at the corners of Isabella and Church Streets where Parry Sound High School students congregate, there are still concerns about trash at the site.
At a meeting last month, town approved Coun. Bonnie Keith to meet with Near North District School Board representatives, Mac’s Mart manager of security and loss prevention Sean Sportun, and Crime Buster staff.
For months town staff and council attempted to work with Parry Sound High School students to clean up The Spot, where they congregate, on the corners of Isabella and Church Streets.
At the beginning of the school year the town began a pilot project, installing benches and garbage cans as requested by students to hopefully encourage pride and a sense of ownership for the youth.
In June, council passed a resolution presented by town bylaw enforcement officer Tammy Purdy and Keith, which outlined the 30-day project that also included the installation of a surveillance system.
Prior to the start of the project, council had stressed that there would be zero tolerance for vandalism.
Shortly after the project began, benches were moved about, the garbage cans tipped over, and cigarette butts strewn about.
Prior to council’s approval, Coun. Dave Williams asked if Keith would be representing council at the meetings.
“I don’t think I would be appointed to the committee to just speak for myself, I think I’m being asked to go and try and work on the issue as the town representative,” Keith said. “Certainly I would say any decisions made at that meeting is going to come back to council. I’m not going to be making worldly decisions.”
Williams wanted to ensure if Keith was representing council, that she represented the majority of council’s views.
“Council’s dealt with this ongoing issue for a while, and it’s quite clear that the last time council dealt with it there was a desire to part ways with this congregation with the youth at the area,” said Williams.
“We all know who voted for and who voted against, so I would encourage any members of council on a committee or at a meeting to represent the greater desire and will of council rather than potentially a view that may be in opposition of council.”
Coun. Keith responded, saying. “I just want to say quite politely, if council so deems that I should be attending the meeting to represent council, I will conduct myself in the most professional and most ethical manner that I have always tried to conduct myself at meetings.”
Mayor Jamie McGarvey said he had full confidence that Keith would continue to present herself professionally, as she has in the past.
“This is very clear, this is just to discuss the continued vandalism at the corner and I know that councillor Keith will bring anything back to council and have a formal alliance here at council as we move forward,” said McGarvey.
“I have complete faith in councillor Keith in how she will conduct herself,” he added.
Coun. Dan McCauley added, “I think it’s important to have these meetings to try and solve the problems that they have.”
Council passed the report and recommendation for the first meeting to take place early in the New Year.