© Geraldine Brophy
Coun. Josh Carey addressess members of Corner Brook city council during the Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 meeting.
CORNER BROOK — It’s only been a little over two years since Corner Brook City Hall opened, but a section of the building is about to undergo a renovation.
Ever since the facility opened, Coun. Josh Carey said there have been complaints about the council chambers from the public and from council members.
Following Monday’s council meeting Carey said since taking office in September the current council has brought up the issue with staff on six occasions.
“We immediately saw that there was a need in council chambers to relocate the city clerk and that the desks visually were presenting difficulties for council in communicating with each other in council chambers.”
Carey said the city clerk’s desk is located about 20 feet from the mayor’s which creates problems legislatively and for communication. He said if the clerk needs to pass documents to or communicate with the mayor she has to get up and walk over.
“That should not happen,” said Carey following Monday night’s council meeting.
As for the desks used by councillors, the front of them is quite high and results in an obstructed view.
“When I said tonight that you can barely see at times the eyes of the councillor across chambers I’m not exaggerating on that,” he said. “That is the way that it is.”
Not only that, but spectators in the chambers also have trouble seeing what is happening because of the setup.
“This is the people’s chambers, it’s not council’s chambers, it’s the people’s chambers and they need to be able to see what’s occurring in it,” he said.
So at Monday’s meeting council took their desire for change a step further by voting to approve a motion to have the necessary changes made to the current setup. That motion was presented by Coun. Tony Buckle, chair of the city’s operations committee.
Carey is vice-chair of the committee, and during the meeting he said it wasn’t necessary to make the motion because the changes and cost of the estimated $9,500 renovations fall within approval limits under guidelines and polices set forth by council and also fall within approved spending limits.
He said council has received one quote on the work and directed and encouraged staff to seek others, but through the motion also set a deadline of Jan. 30 to have the work completed.
There was some comment during the meeting by chief administrative officer Mike Dolter that the desks may not be able to be adjusted because of the way they are constructed.
To that Carey said later that if it can’t be done then staff should bring the reason why or issue with it to council.
He said the direction is to correct deficiencies with the current desks and council feels it is correctable.
“There’s no need, from our point of view, at the present time to replace any desk in this chambers.”