Council roundup: More feedback sought on gateway project

Niagara-on-the-Lake councillors have decided to give the public two more weeks to offer their comments on the proposed gateway at the intersection of Mississagua and Queen streets.

The current design featuring a 25-foot obelisk has sparked some loud, negative feedback, prompting the extension.

“I think we’re gilding the lily here by erecting a tower in a community where we have lots of existing, beautiful genuine assets that have been here so long,” Coun. Clare Cameron told committee of the whole Monday night during a marathon six-and-a-half-hour session.

Cameron expressed her displeasure that this was the only design presented to council, when there was an alternative design by the Seferian Design Group. She requested that a previous concept, known as the “The Origin” design, also be made available for public and council consideration instead of just the obelisk design.

The $250,000 project is funded by a donation by NOTL philanthropist Gerry Kowalchuk.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero expressed support for the controversial design.

“Believe me, I’m not a heritage planner nor am I an artist,” she said. “I do have some questions about the obelisk, though, and whether or not that represents Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

The town’s online Join the Conversation page will open on July 27 and close on Aug. 22. Both designs presented by Seferian at a May 27 communities in bloom meeting will be included on the page.

The town is aiming to begin construction on the gateway in spring 2022.

Phragmite-fighting tractors

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake spent $416,046 on the purchase of a tractor and specialized equipment to help in the battle against phragmites, according to a report endorsed Monday.

Phragmites are an invasive species of perennial grass that causes damage to ecosystems across Ontario. Phragmites release toxins from their roots into the soil to kill surrounding plants and outcompete them for water and sunlight, according to the provincial government.
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