PARRY SOUND - ‘The Spot’ is going to be a little less comfortable.
A council decision has put an end to a municipal pilot project that placed benches, garbage cans and cigarette butt receptacles at the corner of Isabella and Church Streets.
Beacon Star file photo
Located at the corner of Isabella and Church Streets, the area is a popular meeting place for students at the nearby Parry Sound High School. The area has become notorious for vandalism, litter and teenage smoking. As a result, the area has been a regular topic of conversation at town council.
At this week’s meeting, a majority council vote defeated a recommendation that would have kept the benches and cigarette butt containers at ‘The Spot’.
“The benches are going to be removed, the youth are still at this time allowed to congregate there but surveillance cameras will be going up shortly,” said Tammy Purdy, a bylaw enforcement officer with the town.
The recommendation caused significant discussion around the council table. Potential solutions for the area have long been sought as many in the community consider it an eyesore.
Councillor Bonnie Keith said councillors had several reasons for wanting to remove the benches.
“One of the reasons expressed by some councillors for the defeat of the resolution was that by approving the resolution the town was encouraging youth to smoke at the intersection,” said Keith.
Over the last two years, the Spot has been the site of numerous acts of vandalism. The water booster station at the site has had graffiti on its walls and doors. The building has had its locks broken, electrical box damaged and the eavestrough has been torn off.
Council has previously approved the purchase and installation of surveillance cameras, projected to cost $4,000, to monitor and hopefully prevent further damage to the damage.
This week’s vote signals the end of a pilot project that was kicked off back in June. Placing the benches, garbage cans and butt containers at the site was proposed to be the first stage of the plan which, if successful, would have led to further beautification of the area.
From the onset of the project it was said that if there is any vandalism to the area the pilot project would end. Placing a fence around the area has also been discussed.
“I was personally disappointed, but I respect the process and Council’s decision,” said Keith.