Public, Companies ignored – Bus station on the move

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Photo of the old bus terminal which may soon be on Dennis Street. (Dan Gray / SaultOnline.com)

“I have considered all the arguments we have received, rejecting the recommendation of the staff, but I do not find many of them substantial”, – Mayor Provenzano.

Six Councilors finally came to an agreement with Provenzano after a conversation lasting over an hour. The discussion, full of double talk, additional motions, criticism from staff and total disregard for what the majority of citizens wanted, ended with a decision to relocate the terminal.

The lengthy debate included two motions, one to have an appropriate environmental assessment carried out on a new downtown bus station and a second on the construction of a bus station, were defeated before the main motion was read.

Councilors Matt Shoemaker and Matt Scott led the first motion. Basically, they wanted a proper assessment to be done for a downtown location. During the discussion that followed, it was evident that the mayor believed everyone wanted a downtown location from his comment to Councilor Hillsinger.

“I understand everyone’s thinking (the opinion, the) only place we’re lined up, I think Councilor Hillsinger, is everyone wants to keep this downtown. Law?”

Several heads at this point could be seen agreeing with this sentiment.

The staff had provided reasons why the ACR station was not examined more closely in their report, but Shoemaker did not believe it had been done correctly.

“I think there needs to be more investigation definitely on the ACR station. And I’m not convinced it’s been as thorough as it should be, ”Shoemaker said. “If in doing this research they find something more appropriate, then I am happy to hear from them in this regard.”

At this point, Provenzano has chosen to defend city staff in light of this accusation by Shoemaker and to have his opinion heard.

“I could not support your motion to spend more money on investigating this matter because I am of the opinion, based on the multiple reports we have read and received on this matter, that staff have been thorough and the staff had a thorough investigation. But there are limited places where we could put this in the city center, ”said Provenzano. “Do we need more information before we vote on Councilor Shoemaker’s motion?

Before anyone could step in, Shoemaker responded by claiming that the EA process hadn’t started properly and it looked like that decision had already been made.

“The typical EA process begins with asking for a solution to a problem. It didn’t start that way. And Mr. McDonald confirmed that at the last meeting or two meetings ago when he was here. Usually it starts with what is the problem? Okay, our transit building is obsolete and we need a new option. This was not the case here, ”noted Shoemaker. “It started with an alternative that was already decided.”

When his motion was defeated, Councilor Rick Niro’s motion was as follows. Supported by Councilor Bruni, he tabled a motion for the construction of a new terminal in the city center.

During the discussion, Councilor Lisa Vezeau-Allen supported the terminal’s distance from downtown, citing a report that said it should stay downtown.

“I just want to bring up the Roger Brooks 2018 presentation that walked through our downtown, and Roger Brooks said it’s important to keep the terminal downtown because that’s where people stop. and start. “

In his opinion, with the current location, the only place people stop and start is Station Mall. She said moving the terminal to Huron Street could actually benefit downtown.

“While the terminal accesses the Station Mall, we certainly have many, many, many more places in our downtown area that are not within walking distance of the terminal that people need to access,” Vezeau said. -Allen. “I think it might even make it easier for people to get to places like the library and Clergue Park.”

Councilor Niro’s motion stated that moving the terminal is like turning our backs (on Council) on downtown businesses.

“Over the past few years we’ve spent a lot of time and money on staff, huge sums of money convincing people and businesses to move downtown, stay downtown, spend money. for their buildings. We had some very important matching grant projects, now it’s our turn to do something downtown. Niro said.

“I find it hard to turn my back and walk away. I think you know, if we expected people to stay downtown because we want to revitalize ourselves, we have to show them that we really mean it and we will do our part to stay downtown as well ” , Rick Niro

Just before the decision on Niro’s motion was made, Provenzano gave his expansive personal opinion on the motion. He said in part:

“I have looked at all the arguments we have received to reject the staff recommendation, but I cannot find much of the substance and the reality is this, the proposed location is in our downtown area. And it is important that we support our entire city center, ”said Provenzano. “But from my point of view, I think it makes a lot more sense to spend $ 2 million on an older building and improve that building that’s on the outskirts of our city, a building that people see when ‘they are entering our city. “

After Provenzano’s five-minute explanation of his position, Niro’s motion was defeated 7-4. The original motion to move the terminal to 111 Huron Street was approved, also 7-4.

For relocation – Gardi, Vezeau-Allen, Hillsinger, Hollingsworth, Christian, Dufour and the mayor.

Cons – Niro, Bruni, Scott and Shoemaker.

Do you think this advice completely disregards public opinion? Vote in our community opinion poll below.

Do you have the impression that the city council has ignored public opinion on several occasions since the last elections?

Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to monitor this issue and others that emerge from the board discussions.


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