“I would like us to become known as Canada’s music city,” Coun. Maggie Burton said at the regular Monday council meeting.
She’d like to see St. John’s promote that official designation, much like councillors in Montreal recently discussed dubbing it “metal music city.”
“I think that sort of official designation as recognized by the city, or the province, or the country can help to be a tourism draw,” Burton said.
“People would want to come here and participate in our wonderful music scene. I think specifically St. John’s is the cultural capital of Canada as it relates to music, and for many other things as well, but I’m focusing on music.”
Burton referred the idea to staff and is welcoming a broader discussion amongst the public.
“I want to hear what the community thinks first. If everybody disagrees – maybe nobody agrees with me – so, I’d like to put it out there for discussion first, like an informal engagement on my part.”
Burton said depending on how that conversation goes, the idea could possibly be put forward as a motion at council.
Burton is also a musician, and said she has first-hand knowledge of the city’s “fantastic music community.”
“I want to highlight it on the international stage as much as possible.”
City seeks proposals for new parking meters
On Monday the city issued a negotiable request for proposals for supply of new parking meters, pay stations and related services.
The goal is to begin installing the new pay stations and meters by this fall.
All meters and stations will be cashless for at least the first year. After that, the city will evaluate the impact of not accepting cash and determine the best long-term approach.
According to the city, parking meter vandalism between 2015 and 2018 meant a $2.8-million loss in revenue.
The systems are going cashless in order to protect the new hardware from future vandalism.
Coun. Debbie Hanlon, transportation lead, said the ideal proposal will provide a variety of payment options such as credit, debit, pay-by-phone and smart cards that use digital currency.
The request for proposals also includes new software for e-ticketing and to allow changes to paid parking permits.
Council approves $33K for downtown Christmas décor
The city approved on Monday spending $33,000 from its community capital funding program to improve the Christmas decorations in the downtown area.
“Downtown decorations in the past number of years have been woefully inadequate,” said Mayor Danny Breen.
He said it’s time the decorations be revamped.
It’s a 50 percent cost-shared initiative between the city and Downtown St. John’s, with the business improvement area group matching the city’s funding amount over five years.
Outer Ring Road cleanup set for May
Mayor Danny Breen joked that if anyone is shopping for a mattress, the city “could probably open a mattress store on the Outer Ring Road.”
“It’s quite a mess,” he said.
To that end, a cleanup of the area – a joint effort between the city and the province – is scheduled for the end of May.
Breen said last year’s cleanup was hampered by bad weather which delayed the cleaning for so long most of it was grown over by the time they got to it.
He said he met with cabinet minister Bernard Davis on Monday, who relayed the province is moving on the project earlier this year to ensure the trash is cleaned up before it’s grown over.
Internal audit changes approved
Council voted to fully accept all recommendations on internal audits made by an external panel.
The recommendations were made to improve accountability and transparency.
Some of the key recommendations included adding another staff member to the city’s internal audit division, ensuring there are two public representatives on the audit and accountability standing committee, reviewing the internal audit process every five years, and creating a bylaw to strengthen independence of the internal audit function.
The panel’s recommendations were made in response to calls from the public to establish a municipal auditor general.
Mayor Danny Breen said the panel did not recommend establishing a municipal auditor general at this time, but instead made several other recommendations.