Highlights from the Feb. 2 Council Meeting

Posted on Thursday February 02, 2023

Woodstock – At their first afternoon meeting of the year, City Council met Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Woodstock City Hall. Some of the items or decisions coming out of the meeting include:

Budget Approval for Cowapolooza

Council approved the budget for Cowapolooza 2023, allowing staff to move forward with booking entertainment and vendors for this popular community event. The City organizes or supports more than a dozen special events and festivals each year that contribute to a vibrant community. These free community events create opportunities for residents to connect with each other through shared experiences. Cowapolooza will return this summer on Friday, Aug. 18 and Saturday, Aug. 19 at Southside Park. The approved 2023 budget for this event is $120,000. This approval comes in advance of the full budget discussions which Council will be having later in February, before approving the final revenue budget in March.  

Requesting City Services for Community Events

Council also approved a new policy that will govern how community groups request services from the City for community special events. Currently, many requests go directly to Council for approval, without discussions with staff to see if they have the ability to support. The new policy will see the requests going first to staff for review by an Operational Management Committee. The committee will review and evaluate these requests before being submitted to Council for final approval. This will help ensure staff can fulfill the request for support without negative impact to core services.  

Annual Building Report for 2022

Council received the Annual Building report, detailing the construction activity that took place in Woodstock in 2022. The total value of construction activities was $199 million, up from $195 million in 2021. Residential construction values made up 66 per cent of the total, with industrial construction making up 23 per cent. There was also a significant jump in the commercial sector construction value which was $13.5 million in 2022 compared to $5.3 million in 2021.  

Reduced Transit Fares for Citizens Living in Low Income

The Reducing Poverty Together Committee submitted a request to Council asking them to consider reduced bus fares for residents with low income or who are living in poverty. Council directed staff to prepare a report outlining best practices of tiered bus fare programs in Canada and outlining the challenges and opportunities for implementing such a program.

Symbols of Hate, Profanity or Obscenity

Council received a report from staff, bringing forward comments from the City solicitor relating to a bylaw prohibiting profane language on signs on private property. The report explains that a bylaw banning signs with obscenity or profanity would contravene the Charter Freedom of Expression rights. The report also included response from Woodstock Police Service, who confirmed that enforcement of such a bylaw would be difficult because it does not meet the threshold for charges under any criminal legislation.

The solicitor’s report also provided a review and comment on the City of London's Graphic Image Delivery Bylaw. London’s bylaw regulates the unsolicited delivery of graphic images by requiring them to be concealed in a sealed envelope, clearly marked that it contains graphic images that may be offensive or disturbing to some people. Council directed staff to prepare a bylaw, similar to the City of London’s, to regulate the delivery of graphic images within the City of Woodstock.

If you would like more information about these, or any of the other topics discussed during the meeting, visit Council meetings are live streamed on the City’s YouTube channel and recordings of the meetings are also posted online following the meetings. 


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