Hudson ‘Open’ for business
By Nick Zacharias
PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK
A request for struggling businesses to use ‘Open’ illuminated signs in Hudson was deemed allowable provided they’re not animated or flashing.
Opening question period for the February meeting of the Hudson town council saw only one participant writing in. Resident Benoît Blais wrote to ask about an access to information request he’d submitted December 2, 2020 regarding the Sandy Beach development, for which he has yet to receive an answer. He wrote that receipt of the request was confirmed, but when he reached out again after the 20-day waiting period had elapsed (along with a 10-day grace period) he was told by the town that “…because of COVID they can’t provide the information within the lawful period. When is the town going to meet its legal obligations to the citizens? We all understand COVID employment constraints, but is it not also true that a lot of time was spent last year digitizing files? Either way, when can I expect to receive the information?”
Mayor Jaimie Nicholls responded that the digitization of files was ongoing and will take years to complete. As to the specific request, he said, “Simply to put this bluntly, there are some files that are not accessible to the public.” He cited, as an example, floorplans of individuals’ houses which he says are protected by privacy and not disclosed to members of the public even via access to information requests. “Access to information does have boundaries,” he said. He confirmed that any information, should it be accessible, will be made available in due course. He did not provide a timeline.
In regular business, council appointed resident Andrea Spitzer as the newest member of the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC), approved the write-off of outstanding receivables in amounts under $5, authorized the granting of a $22,995 contract to Laboratoire GS Inc. for a geotechnical study for Main Road as part of the redevelopment initiative, and amended a by-law allowing for the placement of two single temporary driveway shelters per household (as opposed to the existing standard allowing for one single shelter or one double shelter).
Nicholls also announced, “We are hoping to offer our summer day camp service this year,” and as such council awarded a contract to third party L'Air en Fête to run the program. He asserted that the cost would be similar to that if the town ran it themselves. In the summer of 2020, no day camp was offered in Hudson and residents who needed the service were encouraged to take advantage of a program in Rigaud instead.
‘Open’ for business
Owner of local restaurant Sauvé’s and president of the Hudson Hospitality Association Andrew Dumas spoke up during the live question period in the latter part of the meeting. He said he was “…following up again to see if there’s any advancement on the ability for us to use illuminated ‘Open’ signs for our businesses, a lot of which are struggling right now.”
Responded Nicholls, “I’m happy to say that council has discussed the issue and we’ve arrived at a consensus to allow illuminated signs.” He said they would have to crunch down on providing a standard set of parameters for signs, underlining that animated or flashing signs would be a proscribed, but fairly modest lit ‘Open’ signs would at some point in the near future be allowed.