Mayor tries to stifle uproar

Mayor tries to stifle uproar

Tue, June 24, 2008

DRIVE-THROUGH CONTROVERSY: Some on city council are still upset that last week’s meeting was postponed


With drive-through dissension flaring up again on London city council, the mayor last night asked city politicians for “co-operation” in avoiding an argument.

She didn’t get much.

Anne Marie DeCicco-Best was drawn into the week-old fracas that erupted when safety concerns led three members of council’s planning committee last Tuesday to walk out of an overcrowded public session on proposed restrictions on drive-throughs.

“I’m asking for a bit of co-operation here,” said the mayor, who was out of the city on vacation last week.

“I guess my requests are going nowhere.”

Coun. Roger Caranci, frustrated over his inability to move a motion at the aborted planning meeting, pushed the mayor to open up debate on the confusing controversy.

She declined, prompting a bold response by Caranci.

“Last week, democracy was not heard in London and the same thing is happening (here),” he said. “You’re not letting us speak tonight.”

“That’s correct,” DeCicco-Best said.

“That’s wrong,” Caranci replied.

The confusion surrounds how many votes were held at the public-input session.

Three planning committee members — Nancy Branscombe, Gina Barber and Judy Bryant — say the committee agreed to postpone the public participation last week, due to overcrowding.

Three others — Caranci, Bud Polhill and Paul Van Meerbergen — say no such vote took place.

All six do agree a motion to adjourn lost to a tie vote, prompting Branscombe, Barber and Bryant to walk out in frustration.

The committee secretary at the meeting says the two votes, postponement and adjournment, did take place.

Van Meerbergen, Polhill and Caranci all disagreed.

Bryant, Branscombe and Barber honoured the mayor’s request last night and remained silent on the issue.

Re-opening the acrimonious debate made little sense, especially considering the public-input meeting has been re-scheduled for July 15 at Centennial Hall, the mayor said.

City staff are recommending tightening restrictions on where drive-throughs can be built in London. The fast-food industry is calling that a ban.

Yesterday, Tim Hortons’ officials delivered petitions signed by 42,000 customers asking council to vote down the changes.


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