Discussions of a short term rental by-law resulted in police being called to a Alnwick/Haldimand Township Council meeting in Grafton on Tuesday, July 18, 2023.
Northumberland OPP were called to the regular council meeting at approximately 7:30 p.m. when the regular session was shut down after things became heated.
When Today’s Northumberland arrived, there was a group of people at the back of the town hall on County Road 2 and two OPP officers standing at the rear entrance to the building.
“I don’t know how many more times to say it – it’s been shut down. Thank you so much,” said one officer to the people in the parking lot.
Deputy Mayor Joan Stover said there was a Ad Hoc committee trying to get a Short Term Rental by-law in place.
Mayor John Logel was on by way of video, at the Council meeting was Deputy Mayor Joan Stover, Councillor Greg Booth, Councillor Mary Catherine O’Neill, and Councillor Mike Ainsworth. Also in attendance were Dave Dawson, Acting CAO Pat Kemp and Deputy Clerk Yolanda Melburn.
Alnwick/Haldimand Township Fire Chief Dave Dawson prepared a report which was on the agenda and were going through the proposed by-law.
“We decided the best plan of action would be to defer it – and then how quickly it all turned.”
“I said I thought we were getting close and then the gallery just erupted and they would not be respectful.”
Stover said there was about 50-60 people who were yelling words like, “shame.”
It got so bad that Stover said, “we feared for our safety and we left and waited until the Acting CAO called police.”
“I wouldn’t say it was riot mode – but you get that many people that were really ramped up and yelling – we went into a safe part and waited for police to attend.”
Two OPP officers attended asked people to leave the building approximately five times.
That’s when Council felt safe once again.
“We couldn’t finish all our meeting tonight because I adjourned the meeting just for safety concerns.”
“We just can’t have residents acting like that. I hope going forward when they do chose to come to the town hall and sit in on a council meeting – I do hope they will be respectful. If they have any concerns – bring them forward.”
Stover said all of Council wants to see the by-law in place, “and events like this just slows it down.”
“You just can’t have that in a public building.”
The Short Term Rental By-Law that council is trying to put in place, will mean people who are going to have short term rental will have to go through a licensing program, and have licensing officers attend and do an inspection for a legal short term rental.
Because of the “performance” at tonight’s council, Stover said it’s once again stalled.
Today’s Northumberland tried to speak with a number of people apart of a committee that were organized, but no one, including the Chair would comment.