Tale of the 'superdots': A few takeaways

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I must credit Coun. Larry Journal for coining the term “dotocracy.”


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That’s how he quippingly referred to city manager Janette Loveys’s system of councillors placing stickers (blue dots and orange “superdots”) on flip charts listing potential priorities suggested at their goal-setting meeting on Tuesday.

“At least it’s not a game of Twister,” joked noted councillor-humourist Mike Kalivas.

“That’s the budget,” added Coun. Matt Wren.

But council’s exercise in dotocracy, in which one superdot equalled five blue dots, all spread out across myriad suggestions ranging from completing Reynolds Park to revamping the economic development department, offers many serious takeaways.

As we previously reported, the most dotted item on the charts proved to be re-evaluating the case for the planned twin-pad arena in the west end.

Reviewing the mandate of the economic development department, with a clear mandate and measurable goals, came in a close second in this admittedly unscientific process.

And another clear takeaway is that, for many on council, this term will be an age of municipal integration.

Mayor Jason Baker has never hidden his support for closer integration between Brockville and its municipal neighbours, going so far as to support further amalgamation. Among his suggestions for priorities this council term is a shared services agreement with our regional partners.

Different iterations of this idea drew one superdot and another five blue dots (so, really, two superdots), making it an A-lister for the coming term.


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In fact, Baker even linked municipal integration to the persisting questions about a twin-pad arena, suggesting Brockville and Prescott, among others, pool their resources amid shared arena woes.

“There’s an opportunity for us to build the recreation facility that we want to build on our own, in a five-municipal partnership, and I think we should have that conversation before a shovel gets put in the ground in Prescott, or a shovel gets put in the ground in Brockville,” said the mayor.

Coun. Jeff Earle also voiced support for closer integration, albeit with an eye to protecting Brockville’s bottom line.

“We need to settle on our position, re our integration with our neighbours,” said Earle.

“Most of those have the same problems we do and we need to figure out how we’re going to interact with them,” added Earle, who also cited the common arena issues.

“How do we work as a group to provide arenas, provide libraries, provide parks, provide festivals? Because it’s not fair that our citizens have to pay the bill for everything.”

One can speculate on the response Prescott Mayor Brett Todd might have to a regional arena project that does not, presumably, carry into the future the name of Leo Boivin.

Arenas, however, are only one aspect of this drive for integration and if this superdot momentum builds there will be more strident overtures made to our neighbours.

Finally, there are takeaways among the much-discussed items that proved less dotworthy.


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The Aquatarium was a recurring topic, with councillors repeatedly stressing the need for some kind of resolution that makes this anchor attraction sustainable. But then, the Aquatarium doesn’t need a superdot; it’s hard to imagine anyone around this table wanting to head into the next election with that facility still a problem in voters’ minds.

And council remains preoccupied with youth crime, in a community still grappling with the tragic death of Damian Sobieraj nearly a year ago.

Earle listed dealing with the drug culture in the city as one of his priorities, while Coun. Larry Journal suggested hiring police foundations students from St. Lawrence College for bylaw enforcement and “police surveillance.”

“I think that people would feel much more secure in parks, especially in the evenings, if we had this type of a strategy put in place,” said Journal.

Dots or no dots, this remains a hot issue among some councillors. Nathalie Lavergne, who owns a downtown business, listed public security as a key priority, then implicitly tied it to what she called “waste management on the Internet”: Shutting down free WiFi between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“You know, we’re doing that for tourists and everything, and then you have business owners that are like saying that they have people in their backyard, they have people, like on the front step,” said Lavergne, before cutting short that point when she supposedly got a look for Coun. Leigh Bursey across the horseshoe.

Not all late-night WiFi users are potential criminals, of course. But she promised to talk about it later, and I have no doubt we will hear about it.

City hall reporter Ronald Zajac can be reached at Rzajac@postmedia. com.

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