Councillor Columbus looks to re-open community hub project

By David Judd

A Delhi councillor wants county council to look again at pursuing a community hub project.
Mike Columbus has tabled a motion to reconsider council’s Jan. 30 decision that put the brakes on exploring Simcoe sites to build a swimming pool, arena, seniors centre and other facilities together on one site.
The motion will be on county council’s agenda for March 27.
But before any debate happens, six of council’s nine members must agree to discuss the issue.
And that’s not a sure thing.
It has to do with council’s procedural rules.
Once council makes a decision, it cannot be discussed again for one year.
An exception is when six of nine councillors agree to reopen discussion.
Only councillors who voted on the winning side in the previous decision can ask for a reconsideration.
Coun. Columbus qualifies because on Jan. 30 he voted with the majority of councillors who stopped progress on a hub.
But it’s not clear if he will have the six votes needed to reopen discussion on March 27.
Four council members — Mayor Charlie Luke, Port Dover Coun. John Wells, Simcoe Coun. Peter Black and Charlotteville Coun. Jim Oliver — appear to be agreeable to another discussion.
Port Rowan Coun. Noel Haydt is dead against resurrecting the hub.
Which leaves the votes of Simcoe Coun. Doug Brunton, Langton Coun. Roger Geysens and Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg up for grabs.
Councillors Brunton and Geysens told The Maple Leaf last week that they were undecided about how they would vote on March 27.
Coun. Sonnenberg was unavailable for comment.
If Coun. Columbus gets the six votes he needs to reopen discussion, he will propose council investigate properties in the Simcoe area available for construction of a multi-use facility, with a report to be presented by April 30.
On Jan. 30, by a vote of 5 to 4, councillors rejected studying serviced properties in urban Simcoe.
Coun. Columbus’ motion would extend the search to include unserviced properties outside Simcoe’s boundaries.
In particular, Coun. Columbus has in mind looking at properties west of Simcoe in the area of the town’s soccer fields on McDowell Road.
Coun. Columbus said he had heard from owners of a few parcels that might be considered for a hub.
The issue needed a cooling off period after the Jan. 30 vote, Coun. Columbus said.
“Councillors were getting so much communication from those people in support (of a hub) and those people opposed. Emotions were pretty high,” he said.
“Maybe we’ll learn some things during the wait” to March 27, he said.


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