Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 48


RE: November 1,  2011 Council Agenda

 The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=45719

 An Html version is at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=45717

 Comments on a few interesting items in the Council Agenda Package

 8.2 MCKENZIE02-2011 Event Proposals

 Councillor McKenzie is concerned that Economic Development Officer Danielle Mulasmajic has prepared a report on the request of someone other than her boss Rhonda.  I applaud Councillor McKenzie for challenging this kind of practice.  TheEDO is paid by the town and is supposed to work for the town and should report to Rhonda and should be denying requests for services from anyone else.  The “report” is just the tip of the improper practices iceberg.  …. 

 8.5 PW100-2011 Snow Removal Request for Second St. S

 MakingSecond street south a year round road may increase property values and assessments and taxes.  Some second street south residents may not want this.  The town should consult first with all potentially affected second street residents.

 8.7 FS51-2011 Loan Application-Infrastructure Ontario, Amabel Sauble Water Systems Capital Upgrade

 The CFO has found good loan rates for users of the Sauble area small water systems.  Excellent.

 8.8 FS52-2011 2012 Capital Budget and 5 Year Forecast

 The capital forecast shows many items being paid for from general tax revenues that might be more appropriately paid for by users.  (See agenda PDF version pages 84 to 102.) Examples include Wiarton water distribution, Wiarton Wastewater treatment plant, Amabel Waterworks, etc.   A statement of rationale would be nice.

 8.11 EDO26-2011 Sauble Chamber of Commerce Support Letter Request

 Shane Sargent wants another $8000 from the taxpayers for another commercial venture.  This should be denied. The town has a right to collect taxes in order to fund municipal services.  The town has no right to collect taxes from residents for use for something that is not a legitimate municipal service.  Giving the $8000 would also be (another) contravention of the Municipal Act section 106 regarding giving taxpayers money in support of commercial operations.  Section 106 very clearly says “assistance prohibited”.

 8.12 EDO27-2011 EDC Terms of Reference

 The Economic development committee developed new terms of reference Sepember 14.  They were turned down in COW October 14th.   Now they have redrafted the terms.   The redraft is as bad as the September 14 version.   The redraft gives the EDC way too much latitude.  The terms should be rejected.  The EDC is a rogue committee, totally out of control, and is doing the town immense harm.   Now they want to relax their terms of reference in a way that will allow them to do even more harm.  The EDC should be disbanded instead.

 8.13 EDO28-2011 Draft Strategic Plan Public Meeting

 The EDO wants council direction regarding when the public should be consulted on the draft strategic plan report – before council gets the report or after.  I think the public consultation should be in the summer of 2012, when the seasonal residents are around.

 8.14 CAO89-2011 Wiarton Chamber of Commerce M.O.U.

 The Wiarton Chamber claims that the MOU between the town and the chamber gives them the arena free of charge in the three days before the wiarton willie festival.  They cite section 2.3 of the MOU (see page 141 of the pdf version of the agenda package.)

 The chamber claim is preposterous.  Sections 2.4 and 2.5 of the MOU make it very clear that the arena is not included as an in-kind gift to the chambers anytime before the actual event.

 The chambers request for free use of the arena before the willie event must be denied.

 But we might consider giving the Wiarton Chamber of Commerce the 2011 “extreme audacity award”.

 8.15 CAO90-2011 Alternate [ATV] Route to Clarence Avenue

 ATV’s use Clarence Avenueas part of “their trail”.   The residents of Clarence avenue  are bothered by the ATV’s and the residents want Clarence streetadded to the list of streets where ATV’s are not allowed.   The residents of Clarence avenuehave a right to quiet enjoyment of their properties, their homes, their street.  The ATV club members have a desire to use Clarence Avenue, but they have no right to disturb the residents.   We the inhabitants can give them permission (through our representatives), but they have no right.  There is no way the ATV club members desires should trump the residents’ rights.

 Rhonda Cook, as usual, says residents-rights-be-damned, and is recommending against the residents.

 Council should reject Rhonda’s recommendation.

 Council should addClarence Avenueto the no-ATV’s list.

 8.17 CAO92-2011 Wiarton Sewers E-Mail/Varley

 In an e-mail to councillors Jackson, Bowman and Klages, Pat Varley objected to money budgeted for d-line repairs being redirected to the Wiarton sewers study.  Rhonda’s rambling response does not answer the objection.  I agree with Mrs. Varley.   The Wiarton sewers study should be capitalized, funded by loan, and charged to sewers services users, and should not come from the d-line budget item.  But Mrs. Cook is right in saying that stormwater system repair of problems not caused by deterioration of the sewer lines should be funded from general revenues.

 Costs of digging up roads should be allocated based on whether sewers or stormwater lines are the problem that required the roads to be dug up (and replaced).  I expect it will be a mix.

 Craig

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Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 47


Economic Development Committee bullying, intimidation tactics against councillors Standen and Jackson are shameful and inexcusable – the EDC must be disbanded

 Councillors Jackson and Standen sit on the Town of South Bruce Peninsula Economic Development Committee (EDC).  They are on the EDC as councillors, as representatives of the people.  Their role in the EDC is the same as their role in council, or in Committee of the Whole, or in any other committee of council.  They are on the EDC to ensure that  the EDC serves the inhabitants, (the town corporate body), and to ensure that the EDC does not try to serve special interests to the detriment of the inhabitants.

 Ms. Jackson and Mr. Standen are competent councillors who are dedicated to the interests of the inhabitants, and who take their role as representatives of the inhabitants very seriously, and who are very capable of taking care of the public interest in EDC meetings.

 But they are up against a large majority of EDC members who only want to serve themselves, and they are up against a number of EDC members, including the mayor, who have no qualms about playing dirty to further their personal agendas, and to shut out the public interest, and to shut out any councillor who protects the public interest.

 Dirty tactics have included (but are not necessarily limited to):

 1.      Trying to bully councillors Standen and Jackson into resigning from the EDC,

 2.      Trying to bully and intimidate councillors Jackson and Standen into changing their position on the EDC Terms of Reference, and,

 3.      Bullying Councillor Jackson to support the EDC budget at Committee of the Whole during budget discussions.

 Trying to get councillors off the EDC

 It’s supposed to be a committee of council.  Committees of council do not need to have members of the public.  The EDC has been opened to include members of the public because it was thought that that would be of benefit to the inhabitants (as a corporate body).

 Even though it is contrary to the public interest, the public members of the EDC, and the mayor, are pushing sewers for Sauble.  EDC member councillor Jackson is vehemently opposed to installing $70 million sewers for Sauble, as I understand it on the grounds that no problem has been identified, no need has been demonstrated, the vast majority do not want sewers, and installing them now would be contrary to the public interest. Councillor Standen, also a member of the EDC, is supportive of Councillor Jackson’s position, as is council as a whole (implicitly through the “January resolutions”).

 Using the pretext that Councillors Standen and Jackson missed some EDC meetings, the EDC chair apparently asked both to resign.  The real reason for asking them to resign from the EDC was that Councillors Standen and Jacksondid not support the rest of the EDC position on the Sauble sewers issue.  Here’s a typical statement from the chair:

 MM:    I will also say that I have some concerns that some of our members…..Ok we talked about.. the sort of policies and procedures that….with respect to attendance…I’ve got a little note here but it would probably be a little antagonistic to read it out right now…I will also say that I have some concerns that some of our members might be here simply to make sure we don’t accomplish major development initiatives  .. and I will again emphasize that we’re an economic development committee not the economic non-development committee.. I think if anyone on the committee believes they should not be undertaking …we should not be undertaking …..economic development initiatives… then they might reconsider…their status on this committee…I think the proper venue to oppose the EDC recommendations is at the council level… not this committee level…..and that does not mean we have to agree on everything…not at all….because that wouldn’t be right democratically…or representative of the communities wishes… but it does mean that we have to be moving ahead with the same overall goals… and if there’s somebody on this committee and they’re here principally to put roadblocks up on development…I don’t think that this is the venue for that to happen…   (EDC Agust 23rd)

 This statement above was clearly directed at Councillors Jackson and Standen.  And who knows what was in the “antagonistic note” that the chair had prepared but decided not to read?

 The statement above is an outrageous affront to Councillors Jackson and Standen, and to the public.  Councillors Jackson and Standen are on that committee as representatives of the public.  It is none of the chair’s business how many meetings the people’s representatives miss.   And it is not up to the chair of the EDC to decide whether the representatives of the people are fulfilling their roles as protectors of the public interest. It never, ever was a role of the committee or anyone on the committee to supervise, direct, criticize, or reprimand councillors for doing their duty, or for anything else.  I am deeply upset that someone appointed by council and given the privilege of participating in the Economic Development Committee would have the audacity to call two councillors and suggest that the councillors resign from the EDC.

 The chair of the EDC has offended all the people of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula by suggesting that anyone who challenges his schemes is somehow working against the people. The chair’s attempts to silence any opposition to the chair’s personal agenda are inexcusable.

 The chair and majority of the EDC are putting the town in jeopardy by soaking up taxpayer funds in the pursuit of schemes that are outside the law, outside the Municipal Act, and outside of what council asked the EDC to do.     Rather than being asked to resign from the EDC, good councillors Jackson and Standen should be applauded for trying to get the EDC off this rogue path to ruin.

  Bullying and Intimidation

 The EDC terms of reference are already way too lax, and actually encourage the EDC to do things way outside the bounds of the Municipal Act and way outside any expressed wishes of council, and way outside what is legitimate use of taxpayer’s resources. 

 In spite of this, the EDC took it upon themselves to revise the terms of reference so as to make their bounds even looser.  Council did not ask the EDC to revise their terms of reference.

 Draft terms were presented by the Economic Development Officer in the EDC meeting of September 14.

 There was a discussion and a “resolution” :

 MM:    adoption of these terms of reference to be put forth at council .. do we have a seconder?.. John…all in favour? …  opposed ?  …carried

 The proposed terms were submitted to Committee of the whole as part of the October 4 agenda.  Committee discussed the terms and on a four to four recorded vote decided not to accept them.  Councillors Standen and Jackson voted not to accept the terms.

 In the EDC meeting of October 12 Councillor Jackson was berated, bullied, intimidated, and even threatened for voting in COW October 4 against the adoption of the revised terms.  Councillor Standen was not at the EDC meeting, but was bullied and intimidated in absentia.

 Some excerpts from an unofficial transcript, which show the bullying, are included here:

 MM:    ….our committee here approved [the draft terms of reference] …..unanimously.. no dissenting votes… this went to the last committee of the whole meeting…and my understanding is that it was discussed vigourously and was put to a vote and was turned down by a vote of four to four.. and I’m also of the understanding that two of the members of the EDC that voted for it [at EDC]… at the committee of the whole voted against it..

 JJ:       I didn’t vote [at EDC].. I wasn’t present when it was created here…that was the first time that I was presented with it.. I wasn’t here when that terms of reference.. so …

 MM: (interrupting):  but you get the minutes

 JJ:       I voted against it…..

 MM:    (interrupting)  Why?

 JJ:       I definitely voted against it [because two clauses were beyond the scope]

 MM:    (Interrupting)  but it was unanimously passed at the committee and there were no dissenting votes

 JJ:       OK well what I’m saying is I wasn’t here for that.  I didn’t see it.. OK … the first time I had to deal with it was in council ….  there were two items in there that I had a problem with.. one was the ability to go after funding.. which I felt was a council decision.. it wasn’t something that this committee should be undertaking.. and the other was moving forward with infrastructure development.. and I think that again that is a council initiative.. so those are the two things that I had a problem with…the balance of it I didn’t really have a problem with anything.. but the way that it’s set up in council is we had to either vote for it or against it.. we couldn’t  take out … like I initially suggested that we remove just those two clauses and pass it.. that’s not the way that it works.. you either have to vote for it as a whole or against it.. and so that’s how that went down…and yeah other people on council had a problem with those two clauses as well…which is why it ended up being voted down

 MM:    I guess four people did.. so…

 ——————————————————-

 JC:      you could have intervened and said: –  I read my minutes.. I know you’re moving forward on this …please understand I have concerns here and that I will not support –  .. and that’s the appropriate  ….  how we’re supposed to be working here..

 ——————————————————

 DS:      We did discuss all these amendments to the terms of reference …  everybody around this table agreed that that’s what we wanted to put forward  … it wasn’t a case of [the chair] didn’t go around and ask everybody.. we took a vote and we all agreed unanimously that’s what we wanted.. and that’s where we’re at …  so that’s my problem

 —————————————————————-

 KM:     …but in fairness to the committee there’s got to be a better way that if you don’t agree strongly enough that you’re going to vote against it.. that we hear about that before it goes to council.. so how do we learn from this that we’re not in this situation again where it will take us another month to get what we want… so I’m just asking the question how do we deal with members who can’t be here but that feel so strongly about something that they’re actually going to vote against what we’re recommending… how do we incorporate that input to see if we can modify it before it goes to council.. or that we can get your assurance that you’ll at least abstain.. if you abstain I have no problem but if you’re actually voting against what we recommended.. it creates a wedge between me and you… and I don’t want that… I really don’t.. but I’m gonna learn from this that we don’t do this again… I’m throwing that out

 ——————————————————–

 Did an EDC member really say: “if you’re actually voting against what we recommended… it creates a wedge between you and me.. and I don’t want that… I really don’t.”???   And on paper it loses a lot.  I was at the meeting.  The words, the tone, the body language were clearly bullying.  Outright intimidation.  The comment is outrageous.  And so are all the other bullying comments.

 The September14 vote on the motion on the table (see above) regarding the terms of reference was not recorded, but I believe it was unanimous in favour.  But it was an endorsement to send the draft “terms” to council.  It was not an explicit endorsement of the terms.

 Council members change their minds all the time between meetings, and during and after debate.  If a councillor was somehow stuck with a position taken at the EDC, or with someone else’s position taken in their absence, then any subsequent debate at council and/or discussion with the public would be meaningless.

 A good councillor (like Ms. Jackson or Mr. Standen) would never close their mind to different perspectives from other council members and from the public.  Because that would be undemocratic.  And a good councillor would never close their mind to new insights.  So no vote in the EDC can possibly mean that a councillor will support the terms of reference no matter what new insights or arguments have been presented.

 A councillor can defer making up their mind right up until the second the clerk asks for their vote.  A councillor can change their mind right up until the moment the clerk asks for their vote.  It’s called democracy.

 So any explicit or implicit support of any EDC recommendation by a councillor must be taken only as support for sending the recommendation to COW and not as tacit commitment to support it in COW or in council or anywhere else.

 In the COW October 4 meeting two EDC members voted against the September 14 proposed terms of reference.  Because the draft terms were not in the public interest. 

 For some EDC members to suggest that this was somehow a breach of protocol is ludicrous.  If it’s in the public interest for a councillor to vote against something, then the councillor should vote against it, regardless of whether somebody thinks that councillor supported it at the EDC level or not, and regardless of whether the councillor read the EDC minutes or not, and even regardless of whether the councillor supported the terms at the EDC or not.  The public interest is paramount.  And anyone who thinks that a councillor has an obligation to take a firm and clear position at the EDC and then never change their mind doesn’t understand our system, and does not understand how committees of council work.   No councillor is required to take a position at the EDC and no councillor is required to stick to any position that the councillor may have taken in the EDC and no councillor is required to indicate to anyone in the EDC at any time where they stand on any issue.   Because the councillor’s role on committee is to further and protect the public interest, not take direction from the EDC chair or anyone else on the EDC.

 And councillors should never be subjected to such outrageous bullying.  And especially from Mayor Close, who had the opportunity and the power to protect the councillors from the bullying and to stop the bullying, but chose instead to side with the bullies and join in the bullying.   Inexcusable.

 The EDC is a committee of council.  Unelected  members of the public are invited to be on the committee.  Committee membership is a privilege granted by the people.  It is not  a right.  And committee membership does not give any member the right to chastise an elected member of council. 

 The bullies on the EDC need to get off their bloody high horses and think about the public a little bit instead of themselves.  And they need to be kicked off the EDC.

  Bullying Councillor Jackson to support the EDC budget at Committee of the Whole during budget discussions

 To make matters even worse, in the October 12th EDC meeting councillor Jackson was further bullied into tacitly indicating that she would support, at COW and council, the EDC budget request developed October 12. 

 MM:    Do we have support from our council members for [the EDC budget]?

JJ:       Yes

 MM:    OK

 The chair was asking councillor Jackson if she could be counted on to vote for the EDC budget at council.  He has no business asking.  Again, with the tone and the body language, which I observed, this was clearly bullying.  It is especially important that Councillor Jackson makes crystal clear that she supported sending the EDC budget request to COW, but did not, and will not, and cannot necessarily commit to supporting the draft EDC budget at COW or council.

 Some Thoughts

 The municipal act requires all legitimate committees of council to have at least 50% elected members just so no special interest group or anyone else can get control of a committee of the people’s representatives and pull the kind of stunts that have been pulled in the EDC.

 If the EDC is allowed to continue out of control, they will do immense harm to the town. 

 I urge readers of this “commentary” to let council members know that the control of the EDC by a non-elected special interest group is unacceptable.

 I also urge readers who are concerned about bullying to express to council members that for the public interest, and for the safety of the councillors who sit on the EDC, the EDC should be disbanded, or at very minimum reformulated so that the EDC is a legitimate committee of council with at least 50% of the committee members being members of council.

 

Craig

 

What Local Stupidity!!!!!


It is really interesting that our trusted Civil Servants and the politicians that drive them are all blabbing about spending money locally to promote the local economy and creat jobs!!

They are all being paid by us the tax payers of this community! Yet they price themselves out of the market!

Exaple # 1

A local company has about 200 tons of building material waste that has to go to a landfill. Local tipping fees for the waste at the muncipal dump $100 per ton. No negociation.

In Hamilton they will take the same waste for $35.00 per ton plus trucking $20.00 per ton. Guess where the waste went along with the wages paid for the demolition and the trucking. That would be Hamilton!!!!

I am sure the local contractors could have used the money from that job to oh maybe pay their taxes here. Or perhaps take one week less pogey and work.  But no it is going to a big company in the city!!!!

Buy local and get screwed!! Let’s send the money somewhere else!!!

Example  #2

In Grey and Bruce we have rock and lots of it! Our dump in the TSBP has about 10 years life left. If we were to take out of our waste stream all organics we would extend the life of the dump by about an additional 10 years.

By taking out the organics we could create top soil, you know that black stuff that we can grow stuff in.

But when this was presented to our town leaders,  they refused to talk about it until a certain Blogger appologized to a certain Civil Servant for historic postings!

Are we not glad we are all growed up!!!

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Bruce

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 46


 23 October 2011

 

Unauthorized Staff Tampering With The Procedural Bylaw –  An Affront To Council And The Public

 An amended procedural by-law is on the October 25, 2011 agenda for third reading.  This should not be passed.

 There was clear consensus in the August 9 meeting that section 13.5 would read to the effect that:

 after first and second reading of a by-law, one time only, and without having to get approval from council, any member can have the by-law sent to Committee of the whole for debate.

 In the September 20 COW agenda, without council approval, the CAO or her staff surreptitiously switched the proposal to just the opposite of what council agreed to on August 9th.  Section 13.5 was switched to read to the effect that:

 after first and second reading of a by-law, one time only, with approval from council, any member can have the by-law sent to Committee of the whole for debate.

 The CAO had taken out the words without having to get approval from council and inserted with approval from council.

 In the October 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, during discussion of procedural bylaw draft section 13.5, Councillor Jackson indicated that she was opposed to the draft wording of section 13.5 because it was wrong and because it was not what council had agreed to.  Councillor Jackson also indicated that council had agreed in August that in the fall council would clarify the section to say that one councillor could send a by-law back, one time, without need for approval to do so from council.

 CAO Cook responded to Councillor Jackson “yes but we changed that”.

 COA Cook was correct.  Somebody did “change that”.

 But the change was made by CAO Cook, not council.

 The switch was in my view deliberate, unacceptable, inexcusable staff tampering.  The switch without council approval was a very serious breach.  

 I have been through the agendas, minutes, and audio records of all meetings since August 2nd.  I have found absolutely no indication of any council agreement to change the wording to anything like:

 after first and second reading of a by-law, one time only, with approval from council, any member can have the by-law sent to Committee of the whole for debate.

 On October 20 I challenged CAO Cook to send me the date of the meeting in which “council changed that”, and also the official record of the change.  I also indicated that if I had not heard from her by noon on Monday October 24 I would take that to mean: that in fact there is no record of council changing the wording or meaning of section 13.5; that in fact council did not change the wording; that in fact council did not in any way authorize the change; and that in fact CAO Cook or her staff changed the meaning and the wording, without council authorization.”

 CAO Cook responded:

 “I will be unable to respond to you in the time line outlined.  This does not mean there is not a record, just means I don’t have time to look as I have other priorities at the moment.  When I get a chance we will forward.”

 This is a stall tactic, an evasion.  It’s designed to delay, until after third reading on October 25th, any discussion of the matter of CAO Cook making a significant change to the draft by-law without council approval.

 I find the CAO’s actions inexcusable.

 It means is that the public can no longer trust staff and must find a way to check everything staff does or says.   This is not a good way to run the town corporation.

 If council were to pass third reading of by-law 119-2011 in the Council meeting of  October 25it would be an endorsement of the CAO’s practice of freely changing the record without council approval.

 If council were to pass third reading of by-law 119-2011 in the Council meeting of  October 25it would be a serious affront to the public.

 Third reading must be delayed until the matter of the unauthorized switch is openly discussed and resolved.

 In a separate report I have expanded the “switch” argument and included supporting excerpts from meeting minutes, agenda information, and transcripts.  The report is at:

 http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/Report 2011 10 16 – Unauthorized Staff Tampering With The Procedural Bylaw.pdf

 

 Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 45


16 October 2011

RE:  October 18,  2011 Committee of the Whole Agenda

 The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=45426

 An Html version is at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=45424

 Comments on a few interesting items in the Committee of the Whole Agenda Package

 4.1. 10:30 am Catherine Smart, PLAY in Bruce Grey

 The organization is requesting funding support.  The program is a good one.  The cause is noble.  And people should be encouraged to donate.  But donations to programs like this must be by choice of the donor.   Forcing residents to donate through a grant funded by tax dollars would be improper because it would remove that choice, and it would make doners poorer against their will.  The request should be denied because taxpayers should not be forced to pay for something that is not a legitimate municipal service.

 4.2. Bill DeAngelis, Garry Drachenberg and Elia Edwards, Associated Engineering-Oliphant Water Treatment Plant

 In the agenda package is a report on the Oliphant water system.

 It’s kind of buried in the report, but it does indicate (page 35 of the agenda package) that the Oliphant water treatment plant was shut down January 18, 2011 because the Ministry of Environment issued a Notice of Violation on January 11, 2011 because at times the required free chlorine residual was not being achieved at the primary disinfection stage.

 The report also recommends changes to get the plant operational and in compliance.

 My only question is why was it hidden from the public that this corrective work was going on.

 Readers should note a related agenda item 7.6. Litigation or Potential Litigation, Including Matters Before Administrative Tribunals, Affecting the Municipality or Local Board (Fiddlehead).

 5.6. SWSRAHC2-2011 Extension of Ad Hoc Committee and Council ESR

Consideration Date

 The ad hoc committee was originally asked to make its report in August 2011.  An extension was granted to October 2011.  Now an extension is being requested to December 2012.

 Part of the reason for the extension request is that in spite of efforts on the part of several committee members to focus on finding out if there is a problem related to the sewage management system, the committee is spending most of its time doing other things. 

 The committee does need an extension, but it should be granted conditional on the committee focusing from this point forward 100% of their effort on answering the question “is there evidence of a problem?”. 

 The committee report in the agenda package also indicates four “conclusions” that have been reached “At this time” by the committee.

 The first committee “conclusion” is that:

 “The sands beneath the Sauble area provide a very porous material for movement of contaminants causing more concern than other soil materials.”

 The writer seems to be implying that Sauble sand is inadequate for treatment of septic tank effluent and that septic systems are contaminating groundwater.  If this was the writer’s intent, then it is ridiculous speculation.  The committee is supposed to be finding out if there is a problem, not speculating.  In speculating that there is a problem instead of determining if there is a problem, the report writers are making exactly the same error as Genivar and Phil Dwyer did in the December 2010 draft Environmental Study Report (ESR).   We have had all too many calls for a $70 million unwarranted, unnecessary sewers system based solely on somebody’s unfounded speculation. Unfounded speculation is what got the ESR put on hold.  Unfounded speculation is what got John Close in hot water over his August 22nd letter to Minister Bartolucci.   Unfounded speculation is what caused loss of credibility in the Grey Bruce Health Unit over their October 25, 2010 letter to then-councillor Dan Kerr. More unfounded speculation is not what is needed here.

 The second conclusion suggests:

 “Many contaminants can move large distances and stay viable for long periods of time under optimum conditions.”

 So what?  We want to know if contaminants do travel in Sauble sand to water supplies.  Under actual Sauble conditions – not under “ideal” conditions.  The conclusion is an irrelevant stating of the obvious.

 The third conclusion is:

 “Small amounts of some contaminants can cause serious health concerns including illness and mortality, particularly in individuals with compromised health situations.”

 Again, this is stating of the obvious.  What is important is what the risk is at Sauble.  What we need to know is whether Sauble septic systems are causing problems.

 The fourth “conclusion is:

 “Evidence from one site inNorth Americais not necessarily relatable to other sites and consequently research at individual sites is required to determine risk at a particular site.”

 With the fourth conclusion the report writers seem to say that the first three conclusions are not really relevant because they are drawn from experience elsewhere.  So if the conclusions are not relevant why are they being put before council and the public?

 The committee has accomplished very little and has really nothing to report.  The report writer should just say so instead of listing silly irrelevant “conclusions” to make it look like they have accomplished something.  The committee should admit that the chair has got the committee so far off track that it has spent 90% of its time trying to find a solution to a problem which the committee has not even shown to exist, and less than 10% of its time addressing its purpose of seeing if there is a problem related to human sewage management at Sauble.

 5.9. CLK59-2011 Procedural By-Law Update

 In the August 9 committee of the whole meeting, a consensus was reached that a section of the procedural by-law would be clarified to read to the effect that after first and second reading of a by-law, one time only, and without having to get approval from council, any member can have the by-law sent to Committee of the whole for debate.

 In the September 20 COW agenda staff surreptitiously switched the proposal to just the opposite of what council agreed to on August 9th.  Staff switched the proposal to read that

after first and second reading of a by-law, one time only, with approval from council, any member can have the by-law sent to Committee of the whole for debate.

 Staff  took out the words without having to get approval from council and inserted with approval from council.

 Furthermore staff hid the switched wording by burying it in a 258 cow agenda package without any flag to alert the public and council of the switch.

 (The ruse worked.  Neither council nor the public caught the “switch” until two weeks later on October 4th.)

 I find the “switch” an outrageous breach of the public trust on the part of staff.

 I find it absolutely unacceptable that an employee or employees of the town would abuse their control of the agenda package and so deceive their employer.

 Council needs to address the breach of trust.

 And the procedural by–law section 13.5 needs to be put back to the August 9 consensus, including the words “and without having to get approval from council”.

 For those who cannot believe that a “switch” like this could happen, in a separate “commentary” I have expanded the argument and included supporting meeting minutes, agenda information, and a link to transcripts.  See http://craiggammie.com/

under the “commentaries” link.

 Other parts of the proposed by-law are also troubling.

 Removal of Schedule “B”

 Schedule “B” was removed in the April amendments.  This was yet another staff proposal to shut out the public.    The public are the municipality.  Members of the public have a right to know what other members of the public are proposing to council.  I do not know of any member of the public that wanted schedule “B” removed or agreed with removal of schedule “B”.   This should be decided in favour of the public.  Schedule “B” should be returned.

 Removal of provision that committee correspondence go solely to council and staff

 By-law 93-2009 section C6.6 reads:

 Each committee shall submit reports solely to Council and staff on all matters connected with their duties, within the approved Terms of Reference or referred to them by Council.

 In April, 2011 that was changed to:

 C6.6    Each committee shall submit reports to Council on all matters connected with their duties, within the approved Terms of Reference or referred to them by Council.

 The words “solely” and “and staff” were removed.  This gives committees license to send reports on any topic, and taking any position, to anyone, without council authorization.  This is a problem.  Because it means unelected people are speaking as if they are representatives of the town, and of the inhabitants.   A good example is correspondence gone out from the Economic Development Committee chair, completely unauthorized by council and in my view completely at odds with the public interest.

 The word “solely” should go back in.

 This was a significant change in April.  Also significant is that the change was not listed in the April summary of changes – it was just slipped through by staff.

 This is a second example of deliberate and unacceptable staff tampering.

  Who decides what’s Defamatory ?

 Section A12.4 reads:

 Correspondence containing obscene or defamatory language will not be directed to the appropriate department for action or response and will not be placed on any Council agenda.

 This does not say who determines what is defamatory, but in practice it has been the Clerk, CAO, and Mayor.  This is unacceptable.  The clerk and the CAO are employees of the municipality.  The municipality is the inhabitants.  The inhabitants as a group are the employer.  It is ridiculous that the employees are deciding whether correspondence from a member of the employer group is “defamatory”.  Whether something is “defamatory” should be decided by all of council, not staff, and council should be unanimous to declare correspondence “defamatory”.  At minimum two-thirds.  And if it isn’t clear, council should err on the side of transparency.

 CAO and/or Clerk determining if delegation information being provided is new

 Section A15.6 says:

 A delegation, once heard, shall not be entitled to be heard on substantially the same matter for a period of three (3) months from the date of first being heard,unless new information is being provided to assist Council in its decision making. 

The proposed addition is:

 It will be determined by the CAO and/or Clerk if the information being provided shall be deemed to be new.

 This should be a council decision, not staff.

  The public should have much more time to review and comment on proposed changes.  One month should be a minimum.  For the public interest.

 5.13. PW93-2011 Water Meter Installations Status Update

 The water meter report includes as a recommendation that for people who chose not to have a water meter installed and did not have a meter installed, if they do have one installed now, will pay the cost of meter, installation, and inspection out of pocket.

 The cost of meter installation up until September 30 was paid for out of grants and water system reserves for Wiarton users, and by loan for Sauble area users. 

 The water meter issue has been handled very badly.  Users were repeatedly given the lie that meters and installation would cost them nothing.   Users were repeatedly given the lie that average per cubic meter rates would go down.  And large volume users will be hit with an unfairly punitive three-tier rate system. 

 All of this has been extremely divisive.  All of this has given the impression that “they” (staff and council) are out to get the residents on communal water systems.

 Now staff wants to punish those few who protested the unfairness by not making an appointment to have a meter installed.

 This is unjust.

 All Sauble area users have to pay off the loan taken out to install meters to date, whether they actually installed or not.

 There is no reason why those who decided to install after September 30 should have to help pay off the loan and pay out-of-pocket too.  That would be paying twice for the same thing.

 This punitive proposal smacks of a certain staff member on another personal vendetta.

 Council should send this one to the garbage bin.  With dispatch.

 5.17. PW97-2011 Hope Bay Roads

 Hope Bay Roads and culverts are in such horrible shape because so many tax dollars are  illegally given to the tourism industry that there is pitifully little left for road maintenance.  Over $500,000 per year in “bonusing” is given to the tourist industry. 

The money should be used instead for legitimate municipal services, including road and culvert maintenance.

Craig

Just So’s Ya Know Folks


Hick Meets City
 
 
 
 
 
 
As some of you know, I fancy myself as a bit of a cook! I do a mean road kill! I do have an interest in Vive La Poutine in Owen Sound. I also had the opportunity to partner up with Mr. Ray Emmes in Toronto in a Place Called Balluchon Raymond Inc. in Toronto on 225 Sorauren Ave.
Raymond or Rainman as I call him, has done an outstanding job promoting Grey and Bruce County and county food products.
Viva La Poutine supplies Balluchon with foods grown locally and produced locally.
Balluchon is establishing a location here in Bruce county next spring featuring in-house roasted coffee and pastries and light lunches following breakfast.
 
Raymond and Balluchon is featured today in the New York Times and I understand that the Times is doing a story on Bruce County and Balluchon’s Bruce County location to be announced early next week.
 
 
I will keep you in the loop!
 
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Bruce