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Green light for community banners

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A touch of colour and associated national pride will be on display across Wellesley under a plan to hang Canada Day banners in the core of the township’s communities.

Meeting this week, councillors approved the first wave of banners and associated hardware required to hang them, to be paid for by provincial funding provided to spruce up the downtown areas.

As it stands, the concept features the classic Canadian flag along with “Township of Wellesley” banners, but the final design has yet to be determined.

“What we need tonight is council approval to go to AMO [Association Municipalities of Ontario] to release the funds. And if everything could be done in due time, that we can have these banners in time for Canada Day,” explained director of recreation Danny Roth. “It would be the Canada flag banners hung this year from mid-June until late-July.”

The province has provided $47,606.72 to help Wellesley under the Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It is held in an obligatory reserve fund with interest earned on the balance monthly. AMO must approve the funds before they are used, and they must be spent before March 31, 2020.

While the township initially earmarked $23,000 for the banners, recent information indicates the bill could come in much lower.

“We got some information after meeting with Waterloo North Hydro that we can attach these banners to the hydro poles in a different manner than initially we had thought,” said Roth. “So that’s going to bring the cost significantly down.

“And as well, township staff will now be installing the banners rather than a company that’s going to possibly provide the banners. So again, that’s going to bring the cost significantly down.”

There would be no impact on taxpayers this year since the money comes from funds already received. However, approximately $5,500 would be allocated in the 2020 budget for the second set of banners. The plan is for approximately 61 vinyl mesh banners to be displayed in core areas of Hawkesville, Linwood, St. Clements, Heidelberg and Wellesley. While the Canada flag banners would be featured around July 1, township-themed banners will be displayed leading up to Canada Day and beyond.

Though the details remain to be worked out, council gave the nod to the idea.

“So are we going to approve this in principle?” asked Coun. Herb Neher before the final decision was passed. “Because everything is subject to change. … The number of banners is subject to change; the costs are subject to change … strictly the principle of it?”

“What we’re asking permission for is to approach AMO to approve spending the rest of that money on the banners, and then we’ll use whatever funds are left to purchase as many as we possibly could,” said chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie in response.

The banners are expected to last 5-10 years, and possibly much longer for the Canadian flag version since those will be displayed for just one month of the year.

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