Comments about the November 20, 2012 Council Agenda (Craig’s Commentary 2-48)


The pdf version of the full agenda package is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=51735

An Html version is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=51733

Following are comments on a few select agenda items.
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In spring of 2012 the Ontario Ombudsman investigated closed meetings at TSBP, and found 3 contraventions of the closed meeting provisions of the Municipal Act.

The clerk swept the Ombudsmans’s report under the table, claiming that it wasn’t a real investigation, and conveniently forgetting to mention the contraventions to anyone.

Councillor Kirkland was so adamant that “they” had done nothing wrong that he wanted to track down and punish the person that lodged the complaint.

Instead of correcting their unlawful behavior, Clerk Cathrea and Mayor Close, who control the meeting agendas, have contravened the closed meeting rules more and more.

Items which should not be in closed are in closed. The general description of items in the agenda consistently falls short of what is required by law. And Council has been illegally voting in closed.

All of these contraventions are because Ms. Cathrae and Mr. Close don’t want the public to know about their shenanigans. All the items are in closed to hide from the public the fact that money is being illegally taken out of the treasury. All the items are in closed to hide the fact that certain people are taking care of themselves first and the pubic not at all.

And if any councillor doesn’t approve of the contraventions and dares to challenge what is going on in closed sessions, they are threatened and intimidated to keep them from telling the resident all the bad things going on behind closed doors.

The November 20 agenda has seven items in closed. Most or all should be in open.

Agenda Item 4.5 Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose AND Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals affecting the municipality or local board (Sauble Beach Land Claim)

This should be in open. The residents need to know. So the residents can know, (because staff will tell us nothing and council members are gagged), I have a new web page dedicated to providing information about the Saugeen Ojibway First Nation Land Claim.

It’s at: http://craiggammie.com/

(and click the SOFN Claims tab).

The material on the website is mostly material that John Strachan and I got from the court files.

There is clearly something missing from the court files, namely the argument by the plaintiff (Saugeen Ojibway First Nation) of why the beach from main street North to seventh street belongs to them.

I will try to get that document.

I think the claim is groundless. And bogus.

Item 4.6 Advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose AND Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals affecting the municipality or local board (Litigation and Insurance Considerations)

The title of a closed item is by law supposed to give the public an idea of what the item is about. Not even councillors have any idea what this one is about. Another contravention. Why can’t Clerk Cathrae comply with the law? (But then again, what do John and Angie care about the law?)

Agenda Item 7.3 Mike Davis, Cuesta Planning-Reconsideration of Parkland Dedication Fees

The Consultant Davis wants county parkland fees waived for his Sauble Beach client. The consultant wants council to make a resolution in support of his bid to have the county remove parkland fees.

There are two reasons to deny the request (for a supporting resolution). First, it is not within TSBP jurisdiction to lobby the county on behalf of some consultant or even some resident. The consultant needs to fight his own battles at county. TSBP council has better things to do. Second, it’s a bad idea. If parkland fees are waived then income to the county is less and the shortfall has to be made up with extra county taxes for the rest of us. That is not fair and it is not in the public interest.

Agenda Item 8.3 MLEO28-2012 Dynamic Beach By-Law

Currently the dynamic beach by-law applies to the public beach and to several privately held parts of the beach. Staff are recommending that the private properties be excluded from the by-law.

The staff recommendation relies upon two “legal opinions” regarding whether the dynamic beach by-law is enforceable on private property. Both of those opinions say it is not.

The two opinions are worthless. They are worthless because they were requested and paid for by the very people promoting non-enforcement of the dynamic beach by-law on private land, namely Angie Cathrae and John Close, with no control to ensure that the requesters did not influence the “opinions”.

The two opinions cannot possibly be considered objective.

It is clear that Ms. Cathrae influenced at least the O’Melia Opinion, and maybe even drafted it. It is thus a contrived “opinion”. It should carry no weight in the decision.

In addition, I submit that the O’Melia’s opinion letter is a poorly researched piece of junk. I believe that the O’Melia conclusion (that the by-law is unenforceable on private property) was predetermined and then an argument was hastily prepared to fit the predetermined conclusion.

A more complete critique of the O’Melia position is at:

http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/critique of omelai opinion of 2012 10 15 re dynamic beach law.pdf

The Greenfield Barrie opinion is similar. Requested and paid for by people who had already decided on the answer. And without any kind of control to ensure that staff did not influence the outcome. The Greenfield Barrie “opinion” is also worthless.

The only legal opinion that should matter here is the one done by Donnelley law. That opinion was done pro bono, with absolutely no outside influence, and can be considered unbiased and objective.

That Donnelley law opinion says the by-law is legitimate and enforceable on private property.

An alleged contravention of the Dynamic Beach by-law on private property will be heard in Owen Sound provincial court on Thursday November 22. This will give an indication of whether the by-law is enforceable on private property. Council should defeat the by-law, or at least wait until after the court case.

What is the rush?

Agenda Item 9.2 Notice of Motion-Councillor Turner-Equal Access to High Bandwidth Broadband (November 6, 2012)

Jim Turner wants council to support, by resolution, Uxbridge council’s resolution to the Ontario Government to change broadband licensing policies. This is a matter for the Uxbridge area MPP’s. It is outside Uxbridge Council’s scope. And it is certainly outside TSBP council’s scope.

Item 10.2 By-Law 130-2012 A By-Law to Implement a Sewage System Re-Inspection Program

Most residents of TSBP are very conscientious about making sure their septic systems are working properly. But there are a few who just don’t give a damn. These are the few that are willing to risk their neighbours’ health. It is for these few that a septic inspection program is necessary. It is unfortunate, but you can’t tell until you do the inspection, so you have to inspect everyone.

The proper inspection protocol is the March 2011 protocol developed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

It doesn’t have to be, and it shouldn’t be, the expensive TSBP program. That program will cost residents $300 for the inspections, and no matter who does the inspections, it will cost residents tens of thousands in completely unnecessary “upgrades”.

And with Genivar doing the inspections the unnecessary upgrades will cost that much more.

Genivar are the people who tried to sell us and are still trying to sell us a 70 million dollar solution to a problem that does not exist. If they come on my property I will arrest them. Using whatever force is appropriate for the circumstances.

Item 10.3 By-Law 131-2012 Being a By-Law to Amend By-Law Number 44-2009 Being a By-Law to Adopt the Manual Governing the Policies and Procedures for the Corporation of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (Grants and Donations)

Grants and donations are governed in law by section 107 of the Municipal act, which is:

“107. (1) Despite any provision of this or any other Act relating to the giving of grants or aid by a municipality, subject to section 106, a municipality may make grants, on such terms as to security and otherwise as the council considers appropriate, to any person, group or body, including a fund, within or outside the boundaries of the municipality for any purpose that council considers to be in the interests of the municipality.”

The interests of the municipality here mean the interests of the Corporation, meaning the interests of the residents as members of the corporate body, meaning the public interest.

Yet the draft grants and donations policy does not mention the public interest, and does not even allude to the public interest.

Section 107 of the act should go in the policy. And “in the public interest” must be included in the decision criteria.

Craig

The Rest of the Story


 

 

> —– Original Message —–

> From: “Vivian & Gordon MacDonald” > To: “Jim Turner” <jim.turner@southbrucepeninsula.com>

> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 6:46 PM

> Subject: RE: Budget

>

>

>> Jim, how much training have you had in being a good councillor?

>> Vivian Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 1:43 PMSubject: Re: Budget  Vivian

 

 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

 On November 1, 1945 I was added to the mix and began my training to be a

 good councillor.

 I learned tolerance from my father as well as impatience with authority and

 stupidity from my mother.

 Throughout my successful years in the Ontario education system, during which

 I earned school letters for academic success, I was exposed to much that

 would stand me in good stead in later years.

 I was a voracious reader, especially the libertarian works of Bastiat,

 Hayak, Rothbard and of course the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand so

 aptly delineated in her monumental novel Atlas Shrugged.

 I must confess that I was at least as much entertained as informed by my

 reading and hope you will not hold my entertainment against me when

 considering how much the information I soaked up has assisted me in my new

 political career.

 I own the complete works of Robert Heinlein, which taught me to apply

 libertarian philosophy within the social system, first editions of all the

 novels of Tom Clancy which gave me insights into political reasoning and

 intrigue as well as learning how to deal with the destructive and divisive

 side of the body politic and the social insights of Glen Beck and Bill

 O’Reilly in the battle against the forces of government intrusion into the

 lives of free people.

 My ten years as an employee of BellCanada and my tenure as a member of the

 board of the BIA and C of C taught me to work successfully within a hierarchy

 and my forty years as an independent business owner in both distribution and

 retail has assisted me in the area of fiscal responsibility.

 I have, by all accounts that matter, successfully raised five children to

 adulthood which taught me, among other things, to mediate disputes and

 choose carefully the words I use in doing so.

 Since being elected as councillor I have attended numerous seminars and

 training sessions, many provided by AMO and most recently OGRA/ROMA.

 I keep a copy of the Handbook for Councillors handy for reference and have

 read and understand the procedural bylaw of the town and have more than a

 passing familiarity with the Municipal Act.

 I have never missed a council or committee meeting that I was elected or

 assigned to attend.

 I even answer demeaning, accusatory and provocative emails and phone calls

 from anyone as you can surely attest and consider the exercise to be a part

 of the ongoing learning and training process.

 

 I hope your question has been answered and now one of mine for you.

 Do you still wish me to provide information on the “parking lease” item in

 the budget? If so please supply the department and line item as requested or

 in the alternative contact the Manager of Financial Services at 5195341400

 ext 104 so she can locate and read back to you the explanation which I

 believe already exists in the budget minutes.

Sauble Pollution Study Indicates No Problem Warranting Sauble Sewers (Craig’s Commentary 2-47)


Over the summer there was a pollution study done at Sauble.  In several commentaries I expressed concern that the study contractor, Neil Hutchinson, would find both E. Coli. and caffeine in some samples and would make the ridiculous, unsupportable claim that positive caffeine test in a sample with positive E. Coli. indicates that the E.Coli. came from a septic system.

It seems my concerns were well-founded.

Neil Hutchinson’s draft report was circulated to members of the Sauble Sewers Ad Hoc Committee on Thursday November 15th.  The report was discussed by the committee in a meeting on November 16th.  Members of the public were allowed to be present, but were not permitted to see the draft report.

Here is what I learned from the discussion.

There were 100 private Sauble wells and sand points tested.

Two of the 100 tested positive for E. Coli.  (2% were positive, essentially the same as the 1.8 % in the 1996 survey.)

One sample tested positive for caffeine.  It was not one of the two that tested positive for E. Coli.

Ditches and beach drains were also sampled.  Most or all were positive for E. Coli, but all were below the provincial limit for recreational water use.  Most or all were also positive for caffeine.

In the draft report, author Neil Hutchinson concluded that there is no widespread pollution problem.

(This conclusion and the data put to a lie the Genivar Environmental Study Report (ESR) of December 2010 and must put the Genivar ESR and the proposed 70 million dollar sewers project straight in the garbage bin.)

It appears that in the pollution study report author Neil Hutchinson concluded that because there was caffeine and E. Coli. in the ditch samples, the E. Coli. in the ditches was from septic systems.

Several committee members pointed out that Hutchinson’s conclusion was groundless and invalid.  The committee agreed to have Hutchinson remove this invalid conclusion from the report.

With the report, as amended, showing no problem and certainly no problem warranting the 70 million dollar Genivar “solution”, the pro-sewer members of the committee, namely Jay Kirkland, Robert Ciprick, and chairman Gary Roberts, started damage control.

Chairman Gary Roberts suggested making the sewers decision based not on the pollution study data, but rather on Gary Palmateer’s claims of the problems of septic systems (Gary Palmateer is the buddy of Gary Robert’s who in a three hour presentation to the committee misrepresented the bad effects of septic systems).

Committee member Robert Ciprick went way out of the committee scope, arguing that the sewers decision should be based on economic benefits of sewers rather than on the data from the amended Hutchison report.

Committee member Jay Kirkland appeared to support that there was no problem warranting sewers.  But he knows that the December 2010 Genivar ESR showed E. Coli.  levels in the ditches at some times several orders of magnitude above the provincial standard (of 100 colony forming units per milliliter).

So when Mr. Kirkland said in the meeting “we don’t need sewers as long as the E. Coli. in the ditches is less than the provincial standard”, was he just waiting for the right time to pull up the Genivar data and say “oh my gosh …. look at these E. Coli. levels  … they’re way above the provincial standard … I guess we need sewers”?

I’m keeping an eye on those three.

The final report from Hutchinson should be available for public review the week of December 3rd.

The committee owes their report to council by the end of this year.

An audio record of the November 16 committee meeting is at:

http://craiggammie.com/audio/2012 11 016  ad hoc re hutch draft report.WMA

Craig

Jim Turner E-Mail Shows He’s Unfit To Represent Constituents (Commentary 2-46 amended)


Jim Turner E-Mail Shows He’s Unfit To Represent Constituents

Readers might be interested in a November 11 e-mail exchange between Councillor Jim Turner and a constituent regarding the controversial Genivar septic inspection contract.

The e-mail just below was sent by a constituent to all council members. It is the exact original e-mail except I have replaced the constituent’s name with xxxxxxxxx:

———————————–

From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To: John Close ; Paul McKenzie ; Jim Turner ; Karen Klages ; Marilyn Bowman ; Janice Jackson ; Matthew Standen ; Chris Thomas

Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:14 AM

Subject: Genivar

It was my understanding that Genivar was “fired” by the Town of SBP for lack of a better word “incompetence” during the Sauble Sewer Fiasco.  Can you please enlighten me then why on earth you would award them a contract for septic inspection?  This company has cost the taxpayers of this municipality dearly and should not be given another blank cheque.

I would like an answer to the above!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

——————————————————-

Councillor Turner’s reply to the constituent is just below.  It is exactly as sent by Mr. Turner to the “constituent”, except I have replaced the constituent’s name with xxxxxxxxx):

——————————————————-

From: Jim Turner <jim.turner@southbrucepeninsula.com>
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 1:50:55 PM
Subject: Re: Genivar

xxxxxxxxx

So nice to see you’ve put me back on your list of people to provide you with answers. I would have been unable to comment on a previous question you asked as to why a staff member was in attendance with me at court.  Had I been able to comment I would probably have told you that how she spends her personal time is none of your damned business so thanks for not putting me in a position to appear rude.

I have never before found you to be lacking any words  but please allow me to help!

“for lack of a better word “incompetence” ???”

A better word might have been “for completing a plan they were commissioned by previous council to prepare”

I know that phrase isn’t as catchy as incompetence but then truth seldom is!

“Fiasco?” 

Surely you meant Proposed Project!

“why on earth you would award them a contract for septic inspection?”

Maybe becausePryde Shropp McComb(division of Genivar) submitted the best bid based on a “blind” evaluation of the criteria in our RFP and council was looking after the best interests of the whole town.

Not wanting to lack a better word I chose carefully:Blind: noun –  unable to see (the name of the bidder before choosing)

“should not be given another blank cheque”

You should choose your words more carefully since a contract to do work  for a specific price is not a blank cheque and a statement like that illustrates a lack of knowledge on your part that would lead some to believe that attempting to “enlighten” you would be fruitless!

I hope  this fulfills your request to “enlighten me then.” and please feel free to include me in your next round of questions as I am more than willing to help you come to an understanding of the process and procedures at council.

Please make sure your questions have nothing to do with my court case as I am still diligently following the advice of the excellent lawyer you and the rest of the taxpayers have provided to defend me and offering only – for want of a better word – No Comment.

———————————————–

That “No Comment” was the end of the Turner e-mail.  From here on is my commentary (Craig), and is not part of the constituent and Turner e-mails.

Democracy is participation, by the people governed, in the policy process.  The only reason why we don’t put the whole assembly of the people in an arena to make TSBP policy is because it would be too unwieldy.  So we elect “representatives” to go to the assembly on our behalf, and to “represent” us.

We didn’t elect “representatives” to judge us, to harass us, to hurl snide, sarcastic, vitriolic remarks at us, to denigrate us, to libel us, to slander us, or to do anything else except “represent” us in accordance with their oath of office (“I will truly, faithfully and impartially exercise this office to the best of my knowledge and ability”).

So could someone please tell me (Craig) how Councillor Turner got elected?

And note Councillor Turner’s brag that he got staff to pay his legal bills – with our money!  (Maybe it’s also a subtle Jim Turner threat, namely:“if you come after me I’ll get my Chief Financial Officer to hire expensive lawyers to fight you – and we’ll do it with your money” ?)

Craig

Residents Are Rightly Wary of Sauble Pollution Study Report (coming November 16) (Commentary 2-45)


A pollution study was conducted at Sauble over the last several months by the firm Hutchinson Environmental.

The results will be presented on Friday November 16 to the TSBP ad hoc Sauble Sewers committee.

The study method is based on Hutchinson’s assumption that you can determine whether any E. Coli. found came from septic systems just by testing for caffeine.

That assumption is false.

Ad hoc committee members, council members and residents should be very wary of Friday’s report from Hutchinson.

If Hutchinson has detected caffeine and E. Coli in any samples, and tries to claim that the presence of caffeine shows that the E. Coli. is from septic systems, the report should be thrown in the garbage, and the Hutchinson people should be escorted out of Town, and Hutchinson should not be paid.

The Hutchinson scientists are not capable of determining E. Coli. sources, and should not be drawing any conclusions about sources of E. Coli.

A full critique of the Hutchinson testing proposal is at:

http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/Critique of April 20 2012 Hutchinson Proposal.doc

 

Craig

Watch Your Wallets – More Than Sauble Will Be Negatively Impacted By Septic Inspection Program (Commentary 2-44)


In my Commentary  43 I said that Genivar had a serious conflict as the contractor doing septic inspections, and I urged Sauble residents to send Genivar a no-trespass notice.

In the resulting dialogue on http://craiggammieblog.com/  I also said that the TSBP inspection protocol was ridiculous and unacceptable, and I indicated that no one will be allowed on my property to test to that protocol.

I also indicated that someone other than Genivar would be welcome to inspect my septic system if they used the very sensible protocol of the Ministry of Municipal affairs and Housing.

Several readers called or e-mailed to remind me that there’s more to the Town Of South Bruce Peninsula than Sauble Beach, and that the bad septic inspection protocol with Genivar at the helm is a disaster not just for Sauble folks, but for all residents in the Town who have a private sewage system.

The readers are absolutely correct.  And I needed that reminder. And I deserved the “nudge”.

If any company uses the stupid TSBP septic inspection protocol anywhere in the Town (not just Sauble) they will find “problems” that do not exist, and the Town will order “upgrades” that are not needed, and residents will suffer unnecessarily.

And with Genivar doing the inspections, it will be that much worse.

My apologies for ignoring  the residents of Oliphant, Red bay, Hope Bay, Allenford, Adamsville, Colpoy’s Bay, Hepworth, Hope Bay, Howdenvale, Mar, McIvor, Park Head, Purple Valley, Red Bay, Skipness, Tolmie, those parts of Wiarton on private systems, and all places between and around.

I urge all residents of the Ttown to issue a no trespass order to Genivar in Port Elgin.

There is a template no-trespass letter at:

http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/2012 11 08 generic to genivar no tresspass.doc

Craig

Watch Your Wallets – Genivar Has The Septic Re-Inspection Contract (Craig’s Commentary 2-43)


Genivar is the engineering firm that started the big lie that the E. Coli. in the lake at Sauble is from septic systems.

Genivar is the engineering firm that recommended a 70 million dollar Sauble sewer system “solution” and then contrived a phony “problem” for their 70 million dollar “solution” to solve.

Genivar is the engineering firm that was fired because their misrepresentations cost the people of the Town 1million dollars and produced nothing but headaches, grief, shady science, and a worthless report (which is on hold still).

There is broad agreement that we need some form of septic re-inspection program.

But in the search for someone to do the septic re-inspection program, it should have been clear to council that Genivar has a huge conflict of interest and thus should not even be considered.

In the November 6th council meeting, Concillor Jackson clearly explained the conflict of interest concern.

I see the conflict as follows:

  1. Genivar has a history of finding problems that do not exist.
  1. Genivar has made it clear through their own actions that they need to be carefully watched.
  1. Genivar stands to gain a $70 million dollar contract.
  1. The more “problems” that are found in the Sauble septic re-inspection program, the more upgrades will be required, even if the “problems” are contrived.
  1. The upgrades will be very expensive.
  1. The more expense to upgrade septic systems, the more attractive the $70 million dollar “solution” looks.
  1. The more attractive the $70 million solution looks, the better the chance that it will be implemented.
  1. The better the chance that it will be implemented, the better the chance that Genivar will get the contract to build the $70 million dollar plant.

Council in this situation should have looked to the two Sauble councillors for direction.  They should have looked to the Sauble Councillors for insight on what the people of Sauble want.  They should have looked to the Sauble councillors for insight into what is in the best interests of the people of Sauble.

So what did council do?

Six of them, over the protests of the Sauble representatives Janice Jackson and Marilyn and their one supporter Karen Klages voted to give the re-inspection contract to Genivar.

Six of them voted for a phoney reinspection program.

Six of them voted to screw the residents of Sauble.

Six of them voted us into a process that could cost each resident $50,000, unnecessarily.

One councillor, Jay Kirkland, said to reporter John Divinski that the septic re-inspection program has absolutely nothing to do with the Sauble sewer project and needs to proceed.

Councillor Kirkland is correct about the “needs to proceed”.

But “the septic re-inspection program has absolutely nothing to do with the Sauble sewer project”??

C’mon Councillor Kirkland.  Do you really think you are fooling anyone?  The septic re-inspection program in the hands of Genivar has everything to do with the Sauble sewers project.

There is no way I am going to get screwed around again.

Today I sent a “no trespass notice” to Genivar and to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

In brief it says “you are forbidden to come onto my property to do a septic inspection, and if you do trespass you will be arrested and charged with trespassing.”

A generic version of the letter is on my website as a word file at:

http://craiggammie.com/My Documents/2012 11 08 generic to genivar no tresspass.doc

I encourage all TSBP residents with septic systems to send in a similar letter.

 

Craig