Cornwall council meeting hears of elephants in lemon pie

Councillor Parker Beer leads council through twists of discussion that leaves mayor confused

Nigel Armstrong NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca
Published on July 16, 2014

Cornwall

©Town of Cornwall

Cornwall councillor Parker Beer lent confusion to the town's July council meeting, asking why council was picking on him, having no clue what he was voting on, and talking of elephants in lemon pie.

The strange twist of affairs began when council was in the process of dealing with three pieces of legislation allowing it to issue tickets.

First council changed the existing animal control bylaw to allow staff to issue tickets for that area of law. The changes required reading lengthy motions, back-to-back, on the exact same subject, with precise administrative language.

Beer appeared ready to vote against a third and final reading after voting in favour of the same motion moments before.

Then council moved to that next step in permitting the town to issue tickets.

"All those in favour," said Mayor Barney Fullerton.

"Is that property maintenance?" asked Beer.

No, he was told, that would come next.

Staff stepped forward to sort out the papers on his desk and remind him he voted in favour of the exact same motion during first reading one month ago.

"OK, good enough," said Beer, and voted in favour.

Then came the issue that Beer was really itching to address, a motion to allow tickets under the property maintenance bylaw.

"I think the town should clean up their own doorstep first," said Beer, appearing to get combative. "You won't do anything."

Mayor Barney Fullerton look strained.

"I'm kind of lost here," said Fullerton.

"Yah, I guess you would be," said Beer, going on to describe Beer's effort to get a property cleaned up, only to have the alleged offender granted a development permit.

Again staff stepped in to explain to Beer that the only thing council was doing was adding the right to issue tickets in these cases. The law remains the same.

"It's not targeting you," said Fullerton.

Beer then challenged the provision of this law that requires residents to get burning permits.

"Not too many people abuse the situation," said Beer. "Let sleeping dogs lie. Farmers shouldn't have to get a permit."

He then voted in support of the resolution.

Finally, from the same committee, came a report of police statistics for the first half of 2014. Traffic tickets  in Cornwall were down compared to the same period a year before.

Councillors debated if that was good news because of fewer speeders, or bad news because of less enforcement.

"It all boils down to this," said Beer, speaking of the police officers. "These fellows couldn't track an elephant through a lemon meringue pie."

It was too much for Deputy Mayor Corey Frizzell who turned aside in a vigorous effort to control laughing.

The meeting carried on, with effort, around them.

NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/NigelPEI