A major Canadian fishing tournament is coming to Belleville, but not without a lengthy debate at city council Monday night.
The city’s grant committee made a last-minute presentation to city council on the Berkley Fishing Series tournament.
It was asking for a donation from the city and in-kind help totalling $32,000 for the first year of a possible three-year event.
Manager of Economic Development Karen Poste told councillors the tournament could bring $1.2 million dollars worth of benefit to businesses here and national exposure for the city.
Councillor Egerton Boyce said “We’d be crucified” if it went to Quinte West.
Councillor Mike Graham said he felt council was “being held hostage” with the last minute request, and there was no guarantee of the return for the city since there “could be a rainstorm that weekend.”
Councillor Jack Miller expressed concern about the last minute request, and wondered if the city was doing “due diligence.”
Councillor Jackie Denyes argued against, saying the group had not presented an application nor provided insurance papers to the grant committee. She told Quinte News maybe the Economic Development department should take over the work of the grant committee.
Council decided to support the tournament on a recorded vote of 6-to-3 with Mayor Taso Christopher, Councillor Mike Graham and Councillor Denyes voting against.
Slowing down traffic
Belleville is slowing down traffic in the heart of the city, an area holding two schools.
Monday night city council decided to change the speed limit on Victoria Avenue from George Street to Pinnacle from 50 kilometres down to 40.
Traffic committee chair Councillor Mitch Panciuk told council the committee considered this a “unique area with two busy schools and five kindergarten classes, sports and and churches.”
Panciuk said the city police department is looking at placing crossing guards in the area.
Councillor Mike Graham said he is a big fan of crossing guards because speed limit signs are no good unless they are enforced.
A new labour agreement
The City of Belleville has approved a recent collective agreement between transit workers and the municipality.
At Monday’s meeting, council approve a bylaw on the four year deal for members of Unifor local 1839.
It gives workers a 2% increase this year, about 1.6% next year and a similar raise in 2018 and 19.
Mike Armstrong with Unifor says the agreement is in line with others across the province and provides stability for the 29 employees until 2020.