The City of Cornwall forms a “Lay Committee” to “select” people to focus on issues that they are brought to council. Again, people are hand selected by council members on the lay committee. In Cornwall that means Mayor Bob Kilger, who skipped both Waterfront Consultation meetings; Councillor Glen Grant, Councillor Denis Thibault, Councillor André Rivette, Councillor David Murphy.
Councilors Thibault & Grant are on the actual waterfront development committee.
It’s odd; as the Waterfront Development committee, chaired by Lee Cassidy, kept spouting off about wanting to hear from the public they very clearly had an agenda; to actually want to focus on developing the parcel of land that the city owns in the park. Why?
Ms Cassidy doesn’t get the optics of Mr. Perkins not disclosing his Landlord?
According to VP Guy Menard, because an interested party asked if a bigger developer would be interested. Does that make any sense to you? Didn’t to most in the room either. There also was a hubabaloo from the committee over a “Ribbon” of green along the waterfront, but who wants to hang on the waterfront looking at the back or front end of a Condo? Would you pic nic in front of that?
To this scribbler it’s all about process. When you replace nearly 80% of a committee I ask why? In this case it clearly looks like members of the Lay Committee didn’t like the answers the committee members were giving; that they didn’t feel development should occur in the park. So they were replaced by developers and even tenants of developers in the case of Mr. Roy Perkins who’s Rona store is owned by Mr. Menard’s firm.
According to Ms Cassidy neither gentlemen made this disclosure at the formation of the committee nor did she see a reason why they should?
One resident saw a conflict of interest issue however when discussing the process and the development of public lands for private purposes by a committee stacked with developers.
Zip to the 14:13 mark of the above video to hear the challenge.
Again it comes down to process. Elements have seemed to want the Legion’s Ball Diamonds or parts of for some time now. Imagine would you a request that went something like this:
“We’d really like to develop this part of the city. We know you’ve worked hard and created an amazing facility, but we’d like to offer you another location and help assist you with some more resources.”
Ms Poirier speaks at the 6:29 Mark of the video below.
As opposed to dark of the night sneak attacks to steal the land. Which do you think gets better results? Again, this comes down to process.
Calling these meetings on a Tuesday? Without notifying the public in the most read media in Cornwall? Does that make sense or does that seem like an agenda? What would happen if only say, forty people showed up instead of the close to 600 between the two meetings? Holy Gilles Latour this reeks of foul political gerrymandering!
Parking lot questions?
An issue with Lamoureux Park is that it’s not used enough, but when it’s full there simply is not enough parking. Putting a condo in the parking lot surely would not resolve those issues. Is there nothing less Hillybilly like than seeing hundreds of cars parked on grass at an event?
Things get a bit wooly!
I attended both sessions. Particularly disturbing was the move to divide the crowd. Instead of a standard Town Hall type session it was decided to break the crowd into groups with each table having a committee member reporting back. This was rebuked by members of the crowd. After protesting moderator, Pat Finucan, (close associate of Mayor Kilger) asked for a show of hands and in spite of about only a quarter of the hands going up to support moving to tables stated:
And that ladies and gentleman is the issue. The elected officials and their hand picked committee simply do not seem to be respecting the voice of the majority which if these two meetings were of any indication hugely show that the public does not want its park messed with. Could you imagine condos in Central Park in NY or Lafontaine Park in Montreal?
Table Talk led by VP Menard and local developer Bill Kaneb at the table.
The crowd erupted into cheers when local lawyer Etienne St. Aubin demanded the committees resignation which led to further criticism of the process. Does anyone think that Moderator Pat Finucan really was a “Neutral” party?
Councilor Rivette heard the crowd loud and clear!
And at the end of the day; the response from the city was not to terminate this committee and issue an apology to the public. The response was:
Waterfront Committee pleased with response to open house
Over 300 residents visited the Cornwall Civic Complex on Tuesday, June 12th to participate in a pair of open house information sessions hosted by the City of Cornwall’s Waterfront Development Committee.
Through the open houses, residents were asked to provide feedback on possible development opportunities for the eastern parking lot area of the Cornwall Civic Complex as well as Lookout Point, the former oil tank lands and the T-ball lands east of Marina 200.
More than 100 residents attended the afternoon open house which took place in Salon B of the Civic Complex, and that was followed by an even larger crowd for the evening open house session.
“The Committee was thrilled with the turnout and the lively discussions that took place,” said Lee Cassidy, Chair of the Waterfront Development Committee. “Clearly, the community has a keen interest in the waterfront. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend and participate in this important discussion.”
At the open houses, residents had a chance to fill out a questionnaire and review various maps of the subject areas, and they also heard a presentation on the history of waterfront development in Cornwall and the current consultation exercise. Moderator Pat Finucan invited attendees to participate in roundtable discussions on the areas being explored. Time was also set aside for individual questions and comments.
Through the roundtable discussions and individual remarks, a wide range of opinions were expressed during the two sessions. They included everything from preserving parking, greenspace and the Legion Park ball fields to generating new activities on the waterfront and encouraging development on the former oil tank lands.
“There were a lot of well-considered comments and arguments put forward, which was great to see,” said Stephen Alexander, General Manager of Planning, Parks and Recreation. “It’s clear that many Cornwall residents are very passionate about the waterfront.”
For those who weren’t able to attend one of the sessions, the questionnaire and related information is available on the City website until June 29th. Residents can click on the ‘Waterfront Consultation’ graphic on the homepage of the City website (www.Cornwall.ca) to access the questionnaire and information.
Copies of the questionnaire are also be available at various locations including City Hall, the Civic Complex, the Aquatic Centre, the Benson Centre and the Cornwall Public Library, and completed questionnaires can be dropped off at any of these locations.
City Council has approved the consultation exercise, and the results of the consultation will be collected and presented to Council at a future date.
Are you insulted reading this release? I know I was. I was there for both sessions as was Kevin Lajoie, the city stooge that wrote it. Underestimate the crowd and not a single word of the vast response of negativity by those in attendance? Is the City of Cornwall going to come up with some mystical numbers showing support for a condo in the park after the public’s clear response of no?
So what do taxpayers in Cornwall do? They clearly spoke with a very loud voice only the have the city reject their call via this Magical Mystery press release?
In a fair world some heads would roll. Surely councilor’s Grant and Thibault should resign from the Lay Committee and this entire waterfront committee as per Mr. St. Aubin’s request (and the one I printed a few days ago) should resign or be folded.
They clearly have no moral mandate from the public. If council could appoint them, council can pull their plug and to any honest person that clearly is the only choice.
But that’s not where this should end. I think the public is owed an explanation as to which councilors pushed for this. Was it just Thibault and Councilor Grant who also pushed hard to get a friend of his a job for his daughter at City Hall? So hard in fact it’s been speculated that a whole new job classification had to be created to accomplish it?
We need more transparency at city hall and we need much much more accountability. Is it any wonder why our taxes are so high when these sorts of games occur. We also need the media to truly cover the news. CFN was the only media present at the night meeting and the coverage of the afternoon event was timid at best.
Smart people always say.
Follow the money.
In this case methinks we don’t have to sniff to far to find out whose at the bottom of this. The answer is which of our elected officials and bureaucrats will do anything about it?
You can post your comments below.