The Mississippi Mills Council Chamber was packed to overflowing this evening for the vote on the adoption of a Heritage Conservation District (HDC) in Mississippi Mills. The evening started off with a feisty verbal altercation between a spectator and Mayor Shaun McLaughlin over the prominent placement of a Lanark Landowners Association banner that was displayed in the centre of the spectator’s gallery and clearly visible to council. Council was packed with advocates of both sides of this contentious issue and those who opposed the adoption of the Heritage District dug in their heels and refused to remove the sign. Mayor McLaughlin declared that no meeting would begin until the banner was removed. The police were called but took a good half hour to arrive. By then, the matter had been resolved with seating placed in front of and obscuring the sign .
Councillor Denzil Ferguson, who opposes the HCD, asked for recorded vote which was duly held. All council members with the exception of Councillors Ferguson and Paul Watters voted for the establishment of the HCD.
A Heritage Incentive Grants program available to owners of properties in the HCD was also approved with minor amendments to the composition of the Heritage Advisory Panel which will administer the grants. The grant amounts range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000. based on 50% of eligible construction costs of the approved work. The grant funds approved by the municipality must be at least matched by the owner of the property.