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Peterborough City council recap: Marathon meeting ends with half of the agenda left untouched

General committee meeting turns into marathon event as half of the agenda remains untouched

It had all the makings of a marathon meeting, including the lengthy list of items on the agenda, along with a few presentations to get through.

There was no shortage of contentious issues on tap either, but still, council couldn’t even get through half of the reports before voting to defer the remaining items until the next cycle of council.

READ MORE: Feasibility study examines future of Peterborough Memorial Centre

A closed session meeting prior to the general committee meeting ran late and set the tone for the rest of the night.

Then three presentations which dealt with the community branding initiative had Brand Health back before council, outlining a new slogan and branding campaign. City council then heard a presentation about the aging Memorial Centre, and nearly four hours later city CAO Allan Seabrooke took the podium to deliver the highlights of the 2017 year-in-review corporate update.

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Council was able to get through one more report before voting to defer the rest of the items on the agenda until clearer minds could prevail.

Council will have to wait until mid-April before they hear a report, detailing the fallout of the negotiations between PDI, the electrical distribution arm of Peterborough Utitilies Inc. and Hydro One.

City staff had been in negotiations to selloff PDI to Hydro One for two-years until Hydro One abruptly pulled out of the deal earlier this month. In his report, Mr. Seabrooke suggests that city staff spent considerable time and money working on a deal and now he proposes that the city and council evaluate its options in order to recoup some of the lost expenses–but those details will have to wait.

READ MORE: Hydro One halts talks to purchase Peterborough Distribution Inc.

Just like council will have to wait to hear how the city and its Utility Services Director Wayne Jackson propose to move ahead with its Transportation Master Plan while addressing the short term plans and dealing with The Parkway extension being off the table for the time being.

Council was able to unanimously agree about a new tagline for the city.

‘Outside The Ordinary’ was presented as the city’s new slogan by Brand Health president Paul Hickey. This was the third time the local marketing firm addressed council regarding the city’s branding project but it appears third time is the charm as those around the council table were able to see the big picture.

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Hickey delivered a passioned filled presentation that included a video montage of local business and cultural leaders, sharing what Peterborough meant to them.

City Hall is looking to rebrand itself, including upgrading its website, logo, city slogan and more and hired Brand Health to spearhead the project.

Council gave the new slogan and logo its support while councillor Dave Haake wondered why they didn’t present it like this the first time.
‘Outside The Ordinary’ is a play of an initial tagline pitch which read: ‘Live Outside The Ordinary’ that council rejected.

“Here’s my question, why didn’t you break it down like this the first time?” asked councillor Haake. “It was amazing how it all tied together and it probably would have saved you a few sleepless nights and a few phone calls from me.”

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READ MORE: ‘Live Outside the Ordinary’ proposed as new slogan for Peterborough

Council also heard from Jon Hack of Sierra Planning and Marion Larue of DIALOG who have been hired to lead the major sport and event centre feasibility study, which is looking to replace the 62-year-old Memorial Centre.

The arena planners presented the first phase of the study which described the Memorial Centre that is the current home of the Ontario Hockey Leagues’ Peterborough Petes’ and the Major Series Lacrosse and defending Mann Cup champion Peterborough Lakers as “functionally obsolete.”

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Asked if the Memorial Centre is worth reinvesting in, the planner’s short answer was “no”.

With a fixed seating capacity of 4,000 seats, the arena is undersized and doesn’t fully serve the community, said Larue and argues much of the infrastructure doesn’t meet current building codes.

Phase two of the study will look at locations for the new OHL arena and entertainment facility, along with providing design specifics and budget details.

In the meantime, a public information and input session regarding the new facility will be held April 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the Evinrude centre.

READ MORE: City considers scrapping old motto for ‘Peterborough: Where Roads and Rivers Meet’

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