Cornwall Ontario – This writer is starting to think someone at City Hall doesn’t like moi? I’ve lived in this lovely home in downtown Cornwall now for seven years. Unlike CAO Maureen Adams I actually live in Cornwall. I pay the costs of her policies and mishandling of our finances that have led to tax levies rising almost 20% for two consecutive terms.
I personally find it very sad that some at City Hall don’t seem to realize that they SERVE the public which includes myself as opposed to burning through public cash for vanity projects like the farce that is the Benson University project, the new Bank of Montreal building purchase, or even renting 34 parking spots for four years from St. Columban’s church.
My lovely downtown home has a basement of which I try to rent out a room to a St. Lawrence College student at the beginning of the school semester. I’ve done it twice out of the seven years I’ve been here as I’m not looking for a “roommate” or tenant, but just want to help a bit.
I put an ad on kijiji renting the room “all in” for under market rates. Honestly it’s rewarding in that I feel I’m helping a young person on their journey, and learning from them too.
A few years back a young man taking a welding course applied to my kijiji ad, which specifically said the room was for a SLC student. After coming to see the room and chatting we both agreed to move forward.
He explained that he was on Ontario Works and not being prejudiced I was still happy to help him build his life.
Then the city weirdness kicked in sadly. Ontario Works is manned by City of Cornwall staff. They demanded to know who owned the building I live in which is really really weird as it really isn’t their business. They had the kijiji ad. They had the letter from me to rent him the room.
We humoured them and gave them that bit of info and they then came back and demanded more info. It felt like harassment and it was not only delaying this poor student who desperately needed a place to live, but also meant that valuable time to find a replacement student if necessary was being used up. He really wanted the space as it’s downtown, in a good part of town and included internet.
His Ontario Works agent then demanded to know how much I pay rent.
That simply isn’t their right. We don’t live in a communist state. I’m not on any government programs or subsidies, and frankly it’s not their business what I or anyone in this situation pays for rent or other personal info.
It also isn’t legal or the law. And while OW cites that it’s a policy it clearly isn’t in the act. And what’s in the act is what is law.
Which is why I had to enlist the assistance of James Moak who besides being Cornwall and Kingston’s preeminent Paralegal, specializes in Landlord and Tenant law. He represents both sides right across the province and knows his stuff.
He stated for this story:
Based upon the inadequacies of the motion served I’m confident the motion will be dismissed with additional costs incurred to the citizens of Cornwall.
After reviewing the appropriate government of Ontario acts this poor student lost his housing and we moved forward with the torts of a loss of income and negligence on the City.
This precedent could impact students who are on assistance as many people that rent rooms simply wouldn’t want to bother even interviewing people for their rooms if they have to start disclosing personal info to a city government.
And students on OW have enough issues to deal with. They don’t need this drama either.
The question wasn’t even whether I was singled out because of some thin skinned folk at City Hall or not.
This is where it gets weird.
The city’s expensive Ottawa Law firm, BLG, drags out the defense process, and this week has now presented a motion to dismiss.
The defense of this $3600 claim probably has cost about $3K to date. The motion to dismiss alone would cost close to $5K and when lost probably another $1500 in cost award.
Then the settlement hearing and trial would cost probably close to $20K. And ultimately when the city most likely loses there would be another cost award in addition to the claim value or award given by the courts.
That’s a lot of cash for something that simply might be someone at City Hall abusing their position in a year with record tax increases.
And that’s the frustrating point of cases like this. Council will take the heat for a management issue, but ultimately if council doesn’t hold management responsible they are in fact blame worthy.
This is a case that should never have been in this writer’s opinion. It’s abuse to the poor student for what many feel has simply been grudges from managers at City Hall against myself. The City boycotts CFN. It also cut funding to it’s public art gallery while I was on the board which ultimately resulted in the gallery closing. In fact the city and council were offered the Permanent Art collection(valued at over $600K) in exchange for the last monies owed by the gallery(about $15K) and never responded either.
Should tax payers have to foot the bill for agendas by thin skinned managers that probably shouldn’t be in their roles if they don’t understand that their livelihoods are based on serving the public and that I too am part of that public?
And should a city council tolerate or conspire with city officials to harass and abuse a local resident and taxpayers simply because they may not like certain truths being exposed on this newspapers pages?
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your opinions below.