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Councillors decide to mind their own beeswax (9 City Council briefs)

Sorry councillors. You're not the boss of Art Gallery of Algoma!
The 600-box animation collection at Art Gallery of Algoma includes original production cels from the popular Canadian production The Raccoons, which aired from 1985 to 1992. (YouTube)

After six years of trying to stick its droopy nose where it didn't belong, Sault Ste. Marie City Council voted this week to ease off on the Art Gallery of Algoma and its director Jasmina Jovanovic.

On June 8, 2015, at the urging of then-councillors Steve Butland and Susan Myers, council voted to call Jovanovic on the carpet to explain why it was hanging on to a collection of animation cels valued in 2009 at $11 million.

The gallery was shelling out $700 a month to store the 600-box collection, even though it was rarely exhibited and had little to do with the gallery's mandate.

Our 2015 city councillors demanded Jovanovic appear before City Council to either explain the collection's potential benefit to the gallery, or to offer suggestions on how it might be appropriately and legally divested.

Jovanovic never accepted that invitation.

She reports to the art museum's board, not to City Council.

For years, the Butland/Myers resolution remained on City Council's backlist of unresolved resolutions.

On Tuesday, at the request of deputy city clerk Madison Zuppa, councillors quietly dropped the six-year-old request, after agreeing with Zuppa that it was "not within the city's jurisdiction."

Other dust-covered resolutions withdrawn this week dealt with upgrades to the Sault's Class D roads, green laneways, and replacing the Millennium Fountain.

Zuppa pointed out that the new downtown plaza will have a land-based water feature that will effectively replace the beloved Millennium Fountain.

Some other nummy bonbons from Tuesday night's City Council meeting:

  • a rat's nest of outdated parking restrictions on Simpson Street has been tidied up. Just prior to this week's council meeting, city staff recommended an even clearer version of the new rules. Councillors agreed that current parking prohibitions on the west side of Simpson Street from Queen Street East and Wellington Street East will be removed. All parking on the east side of Simpson from Queen to Wellington will be prohibited
  • the city will pay $123,950 to lease voting tabulators from Dominion Voting Systems for the next municipal election, despite some bellyaching about performance of vote-counting methods used during the recent election
  • Robertson Restoration (818185 Ontario Inc.) was awarded a $92,560 contract to repair 13 windows at the Old Stone House Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site
  • Sault Ste. Marie will apply for funding from the federal First Nation - Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative with one or both of Batchewana First Nation and Garden River First Nation
  • a proposal to continue this year's Pointe des Chenes beach bus pilot project for a second year was referred to the upcoming budget deliberations. The morning beach runs were not well used and are expected to be cut in 2022
  • an agreement with the Ontario government accessing infrastructure dollars to replace the stairs and ramp and other feaures of the Civic Centre's entrance plaza was approved
  • councillors approved an exemption from the city's noise bylaw for this year's Remembrance Day commemoration on Nov. 11
  • a previously rejected sale of 69 Old Garden River Rd. to Northshore Sports and Auto was approved, allowing a major expansion of the powersports business