City releases press release about outcome of meeting during meeting
By Kevin Woodhouse
What began as a public consultation meeting in the city of Beaconsfield monday night on the topic of installing a 60 foot high billboard within the city limits ended in a walk out when the more than 100 in attendance left before the meeting was adjourned.
Mayor Georges Bourelle told the assembled at the beginning of the meeting that the company Cogeco pitched the billboard concept to the city with promises of $300,000 in revenue every year.
A representative from the billboard company gave a tepid pitch that the mayor admitted afterwards that it was also his first time hearing the presentation.
During the Question and Answer portion of the evening, not one resident had support for the billboards. Concerns ranged from homes within 500 feet of a billboard lose property value, $300,000 in yearly revenue comes out to a tax break of less than eighty cents a week for the average home as well as the fact that a six story high billboard to be located on City Lane and Beaurepaire Drive would be overlooking some resident’s homes or be seen .
Other residents resented the fact that in terms of revenue possibilities for the town should not be limited to one idea represented by one company.
While resident Brigitte Garceau commended council for looking at different sources of revenue. But I think the way you have gone about it is why you have such opposition. We have been here for over an hour asking questions and not one positive comment from the residents.
“I agree we have not heard one comment tonight that is positive but I want to remind you that we have 6,200 homes in Beaconsfield.” Bourelle stated, implying that the residents who had come to the public consultation was not a representation of all comments about a possible 14 feet by 48 feet billboard.
“I want to come back to transparency and governance, what is objective of this evening,” Garceau told the mayor. “If we are looking at different sources of revenue I would have thought we would have had a few presentations to see what is available to us. What is on the market. Instead of having a monopoly where by you were not disclosed until this evening.”
When the citizens in attendance found out that the city of Beaconsfield had sent out a press release to the media about the outcome of the public consultation while it was still happening, the mayor lost control of the meeting.
Resident Daniel Mongeau told Bourelle “if this was not a done deal how do you explain the fact that the city sent out a press release ten minutes ago? And it does not reflect the feelings of residents.”
Some comments from the assembled prompted Bourelle to threaten to eject a resident. During the process, Bourelle had threatened residents to be “quiet or we will not go on” when citizens spoke out.
When the senior citizen who was threatened with removal gave the mayor the go ahead, it was suggested by another citizen that “I think we should all be kicked out.”
And that is exactly what the citizens did. The assembled stood up and left the meeting.
The city is supposed to make a final decision on the billboard June 15th but if Monday’s meeting was any indication, the project will never see the light of day.