Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 54


Who Wants To Pay $40,000 To Lose Their Sauble Paradise Home?

 

Editor:

 

It’s a bit hypocritical for  Mr. Dinardo to argue  that Ms. Mason  has put herself forward as the official representative of the people of Sauble, and then turn around and imply that he speaks for me by saying “We need to decide how that growth is best managed” and “ We need to develop infrastructure to grow carefully and safely” and “We need to get something for our tax dollars”, and “Right now we don’t get much.”

 

Ms. Mason’s use of the word “we” is simply a reflection of the clearly and overwhelmingly expressed view of most residents.

 

Views clearly expressed in the October 2010 sewers public meeting, where at least 90% of the people who spoke were against sewers.  Views clearly expressed in the election of October 2010, where 67% of the vote went to candidates opposed to the $70 million dollar sewers proposal.  Views clearly expressed in comments made to those candidates as they went door to door canvassing, one of which estimated that more than 98 per cent of the Sauble voters who did not have businesses were opposed to sewers.

 

Mr. DiNardo’s argument that Sauble “will continue to grow”, that “You can’t stop that”, and that “We need to develop infrastructure to grow carefully and safely” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. 

 

After 25 or more years of looking, no problem has been identified that would support even considering the seventy-million dollar unwanted, unnecessary, unjustifiable sewers system proposed in December 2010 by the now-discredited consulting engineers. 

 

Because the big sewers proposal is unnecessary, unwanted, and unjustifiable, it will not be implemented.  And without sewers, while Sauble growth may not be completely stopped, it will be very limited.

 

We will, without the sewers “infrastructure”, go carefully forward, with growth confined to residences compatible with private sewage systems.  And as Ms. Mason makes clear, without the proposed sewers infrastructure forced upon us we will be better able to retain/regain the quiet rural community ambience that most of us so cherish, and that brought most of us to Sauble in the first place.  Thankfully, we will be able to avoid the “plight of Wasaga.”

 

Mr. DiNardo suggests that when sewers are installed and some of the “naysayers” are forced to leave their magic Sauble paradise because they cannot afford the fifty thousand dollar up-front capital cost or the seven hundred dollar a year operating cost, the “naysayers” will soon be ecstatic to learn that their treasured Sauble homes sold for more than they would have had sewers not been installed.

 

There is absolutely no evidence that homes with sewers will actually sell for more than they would without.  And the trouble people on Sauble communal water systems are having selling their homes suggests that values will more likely drop if expensive communal services are added.  It’s a huge stretch, but just for illustration imagine that house values go up ten thousand dollars with the installation of sewers.  So…I pay fifty thousand to get sewers… but I get ten thousand more for my home……  now let’s see …that’s…uhh…………….

 

Hallelujah!  … Paradise lost and it only cost me forty thousand dollars!

 

My only question for Mr. DiNardo is “where might I send my thank you letter?”

 

 

Craig Gammie

SaubleBeach

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 53


Clarification – The Apparently Untouchable CAO Cook

 

In my Commentary 51 , I indicated that TSBP CAO Rhonda Cook had had manipulated the policy making process to get the procedural bylaw section 13.5 switched from wording 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.

 

to wording 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.

 

I still feel very strongly that the by-law as passed (“with approval from council”) is undemocratic, and that COA Cook’s switch maneuver was completely inappropriate.

 

In Commentary 51, I indicated that in the October 25th council meeting “the [unauthorized-switch version] by-law passed third reading, unanimously, without a hint of question or debate.”

 

That was inaccurate. Councillor Jackson in fact did not vote in favour of the unauthorized-switch version of the by-law.

 

And in several previous meetings, councillors Bowman and Jackson did argue strongly against CAO Cook’s “with approval from council” version.  

 

The discussion of whether a single councillor can send a by-law to debate after first and second reading started back in the June 28, 2011 council meeting, when the mayor ruled that a member could only send a by-law for debate if a council majority supported sending it for debate.  The discussion prompted my Commentary 31.

 

Councillors Jackson and Bowman were strongly opposed to the mayor’s ruling and garnered support of council to clarify the rule, in the fall, to make it clear that one councillor could have a by-law sent for debate, without requiring council approval.  I applauded this turnaround in Commentary 33.

 

Then CAO Cook pulled the unauthorized “switch” from “without having to get approval from council” to “with approval from council”.  As indicated in Commentary 46, in the October 18 Committee of the Whole meeting the unauthorized “switch” was challenged by Councillors Jackson and Bowman”, but was unopposed by several others.

 

And the “unauthorized-switch” version passed third reading October 25th.

 

 

Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 52


No Evidence Of A Contamination Problem From Sauble Septic Systems

 

Editor:

 

It appears that Terry Hutchinson’s objection (October 21 OSST) to Gail Mason’s claim (http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3334888 ) that sewers are neither necessary nor wanted in Sauble is based on his assumption that only an “engineer” or a “health official” would know what’s right for Sauble, and his assumption that Gail is neither.

A Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) “health official” was asked for, and did provide, (October 25, 2010), a “report”.   In that “report” author Bob Hart of GBHU fraudulently portrayed data from a small part of Sauble as data for all of Sauble, and drew baseless, unsupportable conclusions about all of Sauble, in the process destroying not only his own credibility, but also that of the whole GBHU team.  Mr. Hart made a veiled admission to this fraud in his November 9, 2010 “follow-up” letter to council.

The engineers that said that sewers are needed were the Genivar engineers, who completely destroyed what little credibility they had by developing a seventy million dollar plus “solution” to a purely hypothetical “problem”, freely admitting they did not know whether a problem even existed, and costing taxpayers over one million dollars to develop a “report” proposing that “solution-without-a-problem”.   (Fortunately they were dismissed for it).

 

And the vast majority, including engineers, scientists, teachers, and other credible, caring, thinking Sauble residents spoke out at the October 2010 public meeting at Sauble Beach against the proposed Genivar/ Dwyer seventy million dollar fiasco.

 

A careful analysis of the relevant data supports Ms. Mason’s assertion that sewers are not needed.  A careful analysis of last October’s election results and public (sewers) meeting audio record supports Ms. Mason’s assertion that the vast majority do not want sewers.

 

If I had to choose from whom I would get the facts, I would not choose the Genivar engineers or the so-called GBHU “health official”, or letter-writer Terry Hutchison, or John Close.  When it comes to integrity, these people are nowhere near Ms. Mason’s league.

 

In his August 22nd letter to Minister Bartollucci, Mr. Close implied that Sauble septic systems are contaminating well water.  In an interview with OSST, Mr. Close was more explicit, stating that “he was just doing his due diligence in making senior levels of government and the public aware of the history of a problem of septic systems contaminating well water throughout the town…”. 

 

When challenged to produce any evidence to back up his assertion, he could not, because no such evidence exists. 

 

The evidence is clear.  If Sauble septic systems are contributing contaminants to wells or ditches or drains or the lake, (and there is no evidence that they are), it is at most a tiny fraction of the observed contamination. 

 

If a few Sauble septic systems are contributing, they need to be fixed.  Finding the few and fixing them is warranted, but a seventy million dollar plus sewers system to eliminate a possible problem from a few bad septic systems is nonsensical.

 

Of those that oppose an unwanted, unnecessary, unjustifiable seventy million plus sewer system for Sauble, Mr. Hutchinson says: “Those who have their heads stuck in the sand should pull them out before they inhale or ingest E. Coli.”

 

It’s Mr. Hutchinson that needs to “pull out”.  I’m wondering if it may not be sand in which a few people have their heads stuck.

 

 

Craig Gammie

SaubleBeach

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 51


The Apparently Untouchable CAO Cook

 

In my commentary 46, I showed how TSBP CAO Rhonda Cook had, without authorization, switched the draft procedural by-law section 13.5 from the agreed upon wording:

 

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.

 

to wording 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, without authorization, taken out the words “without having to get approval from council” and inserted just the opposite words “with approval from council”.

 

Policy is made, or at least is supposed to be made, by the elected representatives.   The staff role is to provide policy formulation information when asked for it, and to implement policy.  But it is not a staff role to formulate or influence public policy.  Any insertion of the CAO’s personal views into the policy formulation process is unacceptable.  This particular insertion is especially serious because not only were policy document words changed without authorization, but also the unauthorized change was hidden from the public.  There was a breach of procedure, and a breach of the public trust.

 

The draft procedural by-law, with COA Cook’s unapproved switched-in wording, came up for third reading in the council meeting of October 24th.

 

Given the severity of CAO Cook’s breach, I expected that council would send the by-law back to staff to be corrected, and that CAO Cook would be appropriately reprimanded.

 

Instead, the by-law passed third reading, unanimously, without a hint of question or debate.  Not a word from any member of council.  The whole October 24th council meeting was over in less than twenty minutes.

 

Unelected CAO Cook is influencing policy.  So much for democracy.

 

But with every devious move by the apparently untouchable CAO Cook, more and more residents become more determined to get the situation corrected. 

 

I hope to see an end to the nonsense, soon.

 

 

Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 50


No need for Sauble Sewers

 Editor, OSST:

 Dan Kerr’s November 11 letter about Sauble sewers may have had a little different impact than what he intended. While his tongue-in-cheek presentation of himself as a stupid opponent of Sauble sewers was clearly intended to mock and denigrate the real opponents of the insane 70 million dollar Sauble sewers project, the letter did nothing more than demonstrate Mr. Kerr’s ignorance.

 Mr. Kerr suggests that the Grey Bruce Health unit must be right about Sauble needing sewers because they are, after all, the health unit.  That’s why Mr. Kerr, in October 2010, when he sat on TSBP council, asked the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) for a letter in support of Sauble Sewers.

 Mr. Kerr was very pleased with the October 25th, 2010 letter from Bob Hart of GBHU, until he found out that in the October 25th letter Mr. Hart had fraudulently portrayed data collected in the tiny downtown Sauble core as data for all of Sauble, thereby destroying his own credibility and that of the whole GBHU.  In a November 9, 2011 letter to Dan Kerr, Mr. Hart made a veiled admission to the huge error in his report. And in a December 2, 2011 report to council, I demonstrated that the GBHU view that sewers are needed at Sauble is baseless, and worthless.

 Mr. Kerr suggests that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has some concerns about septic systems at Sauble.  This is typical Kerr, claiming some authority said something but providing no reference for readers to check to see if the MNR actually said what Mr. Kerr claims they said.  Without the reference, I am skeptical.

 Mr. Kerr suggests that Sauble sewers must be needed because town staff support Sauble sewers.  I think Mr. Kerr must be talking about one former public works manager, Phil Dwyer, who in an October 2010 public consultation was so confident in his own thinking ability that he substituted his own views for those of the Sauble residents because the Sauble residents were, in Phil’s words, “irrational and misinformed”.  There is no one on town staff with the ability to know or determine if sewers are needed at Sauble.

 Mr. Kerr implies that high ditch “readings” are caused by septic systems.  He should know better.  My letter to council of October 31, 2010, submitted while Mr. Kerr was a councillor, completely debunked the septic-systems-contaminating-Sauble-ditches-myth.

 Mr. Kerr suggests that because Sauble residents are the only ones using septic systems, we must have it wrong.  First of all, Sauble is not the only community. HopeBay, Red Bay, Howdenvale, even parts of Wiarton are on septic systems. And even if Sauble residents were the only ones using septic systems, so what?  Sauble residents are quite capable of deciding, without Mr. Kerr’s “assistance”, what the proper course is for Sauble.  The last thing Sauble residents need is another arrogant outsider (Mr. Kerr lives more that 25 kilometers from Sauble) telling Sauble residents they are “irrational and misinformed.”

 Mr. Kerr’s gratuitous shot at Sauble Councillors Jackson and Bowman (“they don’t know the difference between new sewers and septic reinspection”) is ridiculous.  Councillors Jackson and Bowman demonstrated that the engineering firm Genivar had proposed a 70 million dollar “solution” to a “problem” which Genivar freely admitted was no more than conjecture, and of which there was no evidence.  The two councillors were also responsible for getting the engineering firm fired for that misstep, and for getting the whole sewers process put on hold until an ad hoc committee could answer the simple question “is there an identifiable, scientifically documentable problem related to Sauble septic systems?”

 Like John Close did in October 2010, Mr. Kerr suggests that Sauble is a “Walkerton 2”, waiting to happen.  All that shows is that Mr. Kerr is just as ignorant of the facts as Mr. Close is.  Sauble resident W. Yule’s rebuttal of Mr. Close’s fear mongering shows how ridiculous the “Walkerton again” comments are.

 Mr. Kerr accuses Ms. Mason of illegitimate claims of representation, basing his accusation only on Ms. Mason’s use of the first person plural as in “How many times do we have to inform you that sewers are not necessary for the majority of residents in Sauble”, and, We have repeatedly told you through letters, e-mails, public meetings, newspaper articles, documented reports, etc., etc., that sewers are not necessary in Sauble” (emphasis added)Rather than claiming to represent anyone, Ms. Mason, in using the word “we”, is clearly only making statements of fact based on observation of the dialogue in public meetings, in submissions, and in letters.   But then, not having participated in any constructive way, how could Mr. Kerr possibly know how we Sauble residents are speaking out to save our little Sauble community from the ravages of scoundrels the likes of Mr. Kerr.

 No one will ever take Mr. Kerr’s rants very seriously, just as no one ever listened to a word he said in council.  I have to wonder what would motivate him to once again try to sell his bag of tiresome hackneyed mistruths.

 After “no sewers”, the most popular comment at the TSBP strategic plan public meeting on October 13th at Sauble was “leave us alone”.  Mr. Kerr should take heed.  Because what happens at Sauble is none of Mr. Kerr’s business.

 For readers of print versions, all links (underlined text) are on craiggammie.com.

 

 Craig Gammie

SaubleBeach

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 49


RE: November 15,  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=46014

 An Html version is at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=46012

 Comments on a few interesting items in the Council Agenda Package

 8.4       KLAGES01-2011 Waiving of Rental Fees for MPP Bill Walker

 Councillor Klages is recommending that the town give MPP Bill Walker a meeting room at no charge, in violation of Town policy.  The recommendation should be refused.  Members of the Corporation of TSBP have to pay to rent a meeting room.  Bill Walker is not even part of the town.  He has no special status and is if anything less entitled to a free room than members of the town. He must be treated the same as any other citizen looking for a meeting room.  To give him a free meeting room would be a cost to the taxpayers of TSBP.  To give him a room for free is clearly not in the interests of the people of the town.

 Besides, Bill Walker gets a constituency allowance to cover constituency expenses.

 The fact that TSBP is the only municipality not offering a free meeting room to MPP Walker is totally irrelevant.

 Money paid in taxes for legitimate municipal services is fairly put in the hands of council, as long as it is spent on legitimate municipal services.  Councillors have no business deciding how taxpayers will use the money that’s left over after they pay taxes for legitimate municipal services. Councillors would be out of line deciding that some of the resident’s left-over money should be given to Bill Walker. It’s not council’s right to decide that the taxpayers will subsidize or support Bill Walker.

 The issue should not have even come to council.

 8.14 CLK62-2011 Request to Hunt on Town Property

 Please, councillors, just say no.

 8.19 CAO98-2011 Municipal Internship Program

 CAO Cook considered having a clerk–intern, but recommends against it.  I agree with her recommendation.  It would be costly to the town, with no benefit.

 9.1 Sauble Water and Sewer Environmental Study Report Consideration

 The draft addendum 3 ESR was submitted to council December 2010, but was not approved. The draft recommended option 5a, a 70 million dollar unnecessary, unwanted, unsupportable disaster.  The recommendation of the 70 million dollar “solution” was made in spite of the fact that no problem had ever been identified, and certainly no problem that could justify the 70 million dollar “solution”.  Council “tabled” the ESR pending an ad hoc committee doing what the consultant should have done but failed to do, namely determining if there is any evidence of a problem related to septic systems at Sauble.

 The committee has not really looked, but after several months, the committee has found absolutely no evidence of a problem with Sauble septic systems.

 So the ad hoc committee has barely begun its task, has no idea if there is a problem or not, and has extended the date of completion of their task to December 30 2012.

 The draft December 2010 addendum 3 ESR is garbage.  A key issue with the draft, that council seems to have accepted, is that the draft ESR failed to define a problem.  (That’s why the report was tabled and the ad hoc committee formed).

 Several other problems with the draft report include:

 Failure to follow the proper class EA process (started with solution and hypothesized a problem to fit the solution)

  1. Failure to define a problem
  2. Failure to determine the cause of any identified problem
  3. Failure to consider an adequate range of alternative solutions
  4. Failure to properly analyze all alternative solutions (completely missed economic analysis)
  5. Failure to use proper decision process for choosing from among alternatives
  6. Failure to conduct proper public consultation regarding the switch from preferred option 3 to option 5a

 These are taken from several Part II order requests that have already been prepared.  Based on the number of people who have indicated that they will submit a part II order request if council approves the draft, I expect that records will be set.  I expect that any one of the above draft ESR concerns is sufficient to have it rejected by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).  I believe that taken as a whole, the concerns are much more than sufficient (to have the draft ESR rejected.)  There is virtually nothing right about the draft ESR.    The draft ESR should not even have made it to council.  The draft ESR is, or should be, an embarrassment to staff.  The ESR is an affront to the people ofSaubleBeach. It is an additional affront every day that the report remains on the table instead of going into the garbage bin where it belongs.  Council has enough evidence to throw it out, and council should throw it out.  Council should definitely not accept it at this point.  If council cannot see fit to throw out the 70 million dollar fiasco report, council should at least defer a decision until after the ad hoc committee completes its task.

 

Craig