Occupy Collingwood releases survey results…
NEWSFLASH! Disgruntled citizens’ group ignores the 11% of residents who are happy with the decisions made by town council…
But that’s just me, a glass-half-full kind-of-guy. Or in this case, glass-one-ninth-full…
I do find it interesting that BTC’s survey results somewhat mirror our poll results from last week. Either the ‘silent majority’ happy with council do not have computers, or people unhappy with council are just more motivated to answer online surveys and polls; I think the latter, and that was a question I poised to BTC
kingpin spokesperson Brian Saunderson (declaration of conflict of interest just to address any concerns about media credibility – yes, I am a friend of Brian, and I regularly tell him he’s a nincompoop).
At least… I suspect that will be the argument by BTC’s naysayers, that the complainers are more motivated to fill out a survey. Just look at everything this council has accomplished, they’ll say. And, as noted by Councillor Chadwick, the list is not inconsiderable (albeit slightly embellished — yes, this council codified free parking on evenings and weekends, but that has been the practice since meters were installed on the main street), especially when one considers the waste from the previous council: $300,000 or so wasted on a fight with the school boards over education development charges; untold thousands poured into Heritage Park for an aborted wellness centre; $100,000 or so spent dicking around with Admiral Collingwood Place. About the only thing positive accomplished was the redevelopment of the main street, and even that couldn’t get done with out the catastrophoque that was the patio debate. Oh yeah, and the library (in which we also ‘parted ways’ with the original architect and built a charmless monolith).
But all those accomplishments come with an asterisk if there’s a question of process, a sense the bounds of policy and legislation might have been pushed for the sake of expediency and the appearance of “getting things done.”
Just look at the debate on the Admiral Collingwood Place project. Rightfully an election issue, with a desire by the community to see something happen at the corner of Hume and Hurontario, council expedited the planning process for the developer, even stepping forward to cover some of the costs and acting as the applicant to change the zoning and official plan without regard whether the municipality would be on the hook for any challenges. The mayor took part in about about three ribbon cuttings, including in front of a model of a building that had neither site development nor zoning approval.
The same goes for the purchase of the Mountain View: something needed to happen to the corner to clean it up, but the town acted without a financial commitment from the province. Even though we were fortunate to get some cash out of the MTO, the appearance is the town was able to save the developer some demolition costs – and it looked like we skirted around the need for an archaeological assessment.
And then we come back to the rec facilities. Yes, the town’s procurement policy allows sole-sourcing, but every best-practice document I’ve come across for municipalities, and other levels of government, recommends against it, and advises to go to an RFP – especially when we’re talking a multi-million-dollar project. As Councillor Chadwick said during a council meeting two weeks prior to the decision to buy the Sprung structures, “it makes me nervous to sole-source anything.” Oh, yeah, and the process on the Sprung Shield. As someone who was quite put out council wasn’t included in on a decision about whether the pancake breakfast would be held one Canada Day (this was a few years back), it’s odd that Chadwick seems nonplussed council was not being informed that a decision had been made not to vandal-proof the fabric membrane structures — even though council clearly received information on the layer, and it was part of the sales job on Aug. 27, 2012.
I know some people in town get sick and tired of all this talk of ‘process’; during a conversation I had with someone the other day, I noted that there’s 20% of us concerned with 80% of what happens in local politics. But policy and process are important — they are the underpinnings of local democracy. Throw them out the window, or even just gently nudge them into the pane, and it starts to open the door to — or the appearance of — favoritism, nepotism, and handshake deals on golf courses.