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Think bigger, councillor urges

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


With all due respect for the work that went into it, Councillor Greg Burns asked that deliberation of a report outlining the structure and responsibilities of a possible Centre Pier Planning Committee be scrapped.

Burns's reason was that a committee of an entirely different kind is what is needed.

"I believe we need to widen the scope of the study," he said at the committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday.

"We have an opportunity, as council, to initiate a broader vision of what we want our community to look like."

By focusing on the centre pier itself instead of potential linkages to the downtown that maximize the use of what he termed no man's land (the area between those two points, including the old Canadian Tire property), he said council is unnecessarily narrowing its scope.

"I don't think this report really meets the needs of the community at this point in time. It isolates two areas from each other, with nothing happening in between.

"I know we can go above and beyond that."

Creating an innovative plan to connect the two areas is something that can be handled by the residents of the municipality with their own expertise and dynamic vision, as opposed to hiring consultants, he added.

"Our citizens have expressed their desire to be more involved in directing their own community. Let's not lose the chance."

Burns asked to defer the report and request staff to come back with a revised plan.

"I sit on the Centre Pier task force and couldn't agree more," Councillor Mary Lou Ellis said.

"I am very concerned we are getting into a silo thing. I think we all feel, from time to time, that we don't need consultants for everything. We have an engaged public — let's call them to the table."

Council agreed with Burns, and a report can be expected in the new year.

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