City Hall was busier than usual for a council meeting held in Port Colborne.
A group of residents wanted to hear about an important issue for their hamlet but did not seem satisfied with the town’s actions.
Regional Councilor Barbara Butters spoke on behalf of some residents about what she called a handshake agreement with Sherkston Shores regarding access to Hamlet residents.
Other issues addressed by council included the approval of patios on West Street and the expropriation of land.
Legal opinion required
During the regional councilor’s report, Butters had “deviated a bit from the usual”.
She spoke about the changes made by the resort of Sherkston Shores in terms of access for residents of the L0S 1R0 hamlet.
Butters explained the story of an informal agreement to allow Hamlet residents to access and use the park, beach and some of the amenities.
“It was an offering made at the time because the people of the hamlet are experiencing a lot of aggravation living next to the park,” Butters said. “The reality is that there are still huge traffic issues, noise issues, trash and litter issues, and those are just a few of them.”
In 2018, the city entered into an agreement with the station to sell the unopened road allowances of Empire Road and Michael Road.
“Part of that deal was also about access,” Butters said.
She said, yes, access is denied.
“Residents want an equal and just solution,” Butters said.
She asked the board to direct staff to seek legal advice on the deal and speak with former staffers to learn more.
Scott Luey, the general manager, said he thinks the best way forward for the city would be to get a legal opinion on the first deal and what it includes.
Luey said he would be introduced to the council in a closed session before coming out in public.
Port Colborne Council passed a motion following Butters’ request for staff to seek legal advice and provide a position on this and to contact previous city staff for signing information.
They also asked Sherkston to allow entry to the park as in the past until this matter is resolved.
Approved patio expansion on West Street
Greg Poisson, owner of the Canalside restaurant, asked the council to grant the restaurant permission to continue operating the hillside patio on the east side of West Street.
Poisson said the restaurant had used the same location for the past two years. He said they want to add wooden stairs with a railing, which will be removed at the end of the season.
Councilor Angie Desmarais said she had heard of problems from residents, but admitted the comments were about four to one in favor of the patios.
Council approved a motion granting Canalside permission to have the patio for another year.
Expropriation of parts of Bridge Street, Lock Street and Park Avenue
Council approved the expropriation of land sold by the city in 1919 located in Lockview Park. Private ownership bisects the city’s land within the park. The city wants to combine all the parcels of land into a single city-owned parcel.
Economic Development Officer Bram Cotton said the city is following the appropriate steps.
He said there had been no contact with the owner or anyone associated with this property for about 30 years.
Cotton said approving the report would be the next step down the road. The next step, he said, would be another public notice.
“There is an expropriation inquiry that must be filed within 90 days, which we are prepared to file when it’s done,” he said.
Cotton said he was told the process, which has already begun, would take about 18 months, which would be completed in December.
“I believe that by the end of this year or at least the beginning of next year, we will be in a position where we can move forward.”
Council voted to accept the report.