Void in Commuity Leadership as Less than 100 Attend Strategic Planning Exercise In Cornwall Ontario

jg2CFN –  There is a void in community leadership in Cornwall Ontario.   It’s not just Mayor Kilger and his cabal of councilors who spend their time covering up scandal after scandal making Rob Ford look like Mike Duffy.

We allegedly elect people to serve in political office because of their ability to lead.   They tell us their qualifications during elections, but at the end of the day how many times does that leadership simply turn into cronyism, partisan politics, and simply passing of the buck to consultants or city management?

Is that leadership?    Same for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Team Cornwall in our city.    So far all Mr Kevin Hargreaves, who if the buzz is true wants to be a mini Rick Shaver and now has political aspirations and wants to run for council, has achieved is gone hat in hand and got a discount from the city for the use of the Civic Complex for their Spring Show.   How do you cut taxes to business when you cut revenue to the city?    Instead of fixing the ills of the Spring show just ask for a break on rent?  Is that community leadership?

Our local economy is under such severe downward pressure Pawnshops are stopping to take pawn.  I spoke with one owner that said it just sucks up too much money.  He cited one example of someone having a $15 item that they pay $5 per month in pawn fees for and have since 2010!   Another shop is cutting down to 4 days open and stopping pawn while another is simply cutting back what they’ll accept to the point where they essentially aren’t really a pawn shop.

When the pawn shops are suffering that’s a Canary in a Coal mine.

Empty stores and struggling businesses.  As a seller of advertising we hear the horror stories on the street as businesses struggle.

That’s why community leadership and people working together are so important and that’s why yesterdays Strategic Planning Community Consultation was such a complete and utter failure.

As one person pointed out:

We just had one in 2011.  Did they do any of the things they talked about back then?

Was it just for the benefit of new CAO Norm Levac?  Does he wish to imprint his own vision for the city?  I’m not sure after he fumbled the ball on the 100 Letter Cornwall Campaign.

“We are embarking on an important strategic planning exercise, and input from the public is a key part of this exercise,” said Norm Levac, Chief Administrative Officer. “I would encourage residents to join us at this session and provide input on their concerns and priorities for the City.” 


Which is a valid question as it was under this council’s mandate.  So I pulled the info and here it is below.   It’s almost like Bob Peters took all the hot button topics and just threw them at a wall?    The photo is pretty, but can you tell me what it means?   It reminds me of those little building blocks I played with as a kid way back and would stack.  Only these blocks have catch phrases on them.

Less than 60 people attended the four hour session at the Civic complex.  Of that group many were either connected to the city or agency that are connected to the city.   Out of a city of 46,000 you already have failed.  Do we blame the taxpayers or do we ask why would the city, for such an important process, schedule it on a weekday afternoon and not really advertise it especially on the most read newspaper in the city of Cornwall?

That meant that the only people who could go would be those most likely either retired or on city payrolls.   Nothing wrong with those people, but surely you would not get the results that you would if say….600 people showed up as happened with the Waterfront Consultation process?

Will any result discussed at council have any true merit or weight given the extremely low turnout by the population.

While Syd Gardiner was the only councilor to show up; it was council that decided to waste taxpayer dollars by having this exercise.

And that ladies and gentlemen are some of the reasons why the City of Cornwall is where it is.   Community leadership from the top down.    And if you look at the media report of another newspaper you can see and smell the whitewash which is why it’s so critical that people not only hold our politicians accountable, but our media as well.

All this on the same day that Cornwall Living magazine came out.  The City spends around $20K per year pimping out this brochure for friends and family of Bob Peters and his little clique and advertisers of the Seaway News.   If you’re not part of that inner circle as many have complained, you’re not considered to be living in Cornwall.

My questions as to how much this very futile series of exercises are costing the taxpayer have also yet to be answered by City Hall.

You can post your comments below.


City Council Strategic Priorities – 2010-2014
City Council Strategic Priorities


Over two days in February 2011, Cornwall City Council
met to establish strategic priorities for the current term
of Council.


The sessions were open to the public and included
reviews of various reports including, but not limited to, a Financial Sustainability Review, Solid Waste Management Program and the 2011 Five Year Capital Forecast. The Strategic Priorities adopted during the previous term of Council were also reviewed.  This report summarizes
the priorities and objectives established at the meeting.
It is expected that these objectives would be expanded
and revised as necessary over the next four years.


Council established two guiding principles that will govern decisions and actions over the next four years:


  • Fiscal Affordability
  • Sustainability


These guiding principles will help direct efforts that fall
within three strategic priorities:


  • Economic Development
  • Social Development
  • Environmental Stewardship


Graphic of City Council’s Strategic Priorities (PDF)




Fiscal responsibility


It is imperative that fiscal issues be considered as municipal programs and services are developed and delivered. There is a clear recognition of the need to keep municipal taxes as low as possible, and the responsibility to ensure expenditures are efficient and affordable.


On June 21, 2011 Council met to establish a goal of minimizing any future tax increases over their four year term. Having recently passed the 2011 budget which resulted in a 1.1% increase in the tax levy, future tax increases over the next 3 years will be capped at 7% net of any new assessment growth. This will allow residents and businesses to effectively budget, knowing that the overall objective will see Cornwall taxes continue to remain at or below the rate of inflation.


Council and administration acknowledged that financial decisions, procedures and reports need to be transparent and accountable.


In June 2011, a brochure explaining the 2010 City budget was distributed to all City tax payers.  The brochure can also be found in a printer-friendly format on the City website.


2011 Property Tax Information Brochure (PDF)

Long term planning with regards to both operational and capital budgeting is a fiscal model that is desirable.




Programs and services need to be developed with regards to ongoing sustainability to ensure that decisions do not have a negative impact on City operations in future years.  Cornwall needs to be developed in a manner that is sustainable, from an economic, social and environmental point of view.
Council also identified a number of objectives that could be established in order to meet the strategic priority goals. Action/business plans will be identified and developed that can be implemented to meet those objectives.


Economic Development Priority Objectives


  • Taxation Level
    – Police Audit
    – Prov/Fed Tax Revenue
  • Business Park Development
  • Airport
  • Waterfront Development
  • Infrastructure
    – Asset Management
  • Port of Entry
    – CBSA
  • Bridge
  • Development Charges
  • Population and Business Growth
  • Regional Interaction
  • Tourism
  • Communication/Image


Social Development Priority Objectives


  • Arts and Culture
  • Medical Recruitment
  • Skills Development
    – Education
    – Literacy
  •  Population Growth
    – New Residents
    – Immigration
    – Retain Youth
  • Accessibility
  • Recreation
  • Communication


Environmental Stewardship Priority Objectives


  • Solid Waste Diversion
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Efficiency
  • Land Use Planning
    – Brownfield Program
    – Infill Development
    – Housing Stock
    – Property Standards
  • Environment Sustainability Plan
  • Active Transportation
  • Urban Forest
  • Communication


As action/business plans are further developed, they will be submitted to City Council.  During the term of Council, regular reports will also be provided to Council with updates on work associated with the strategic priorities.


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  1. Dear Jamie

    darn you…and your support of Beavers of Guidon park

    Don’t you know relatives of these guys, the city bumped off, killed a guy in Belarus yesterday!!!


  2. Never heard of this one. I bet you advertised it for free and I didn’t see it. I will only guess that the Holy Gilles Latour was in the magazine. Now I’ll look at their website. Adieu.

  3. And of course Lecky’s wife front cover, lets see how many Stewart pics or brainless stories will be in it, Peters picks or that of his kid again, we know Holy Gilles Latour will be mentioned a time or three, what else did I forget Bob Peters?

    Oh yes, call centres and distribution centres is Cornwall’s new attraction at just better then minimum wage so people from Ottawa, Montreal why not think of moving to Cornwall?

    Wonder if it mentioned anything about our corrupt mayor and council and how many millions they blew off covering up their lies? that I doubt will be mentioned.

    Totally sickening how this clique just loves promoting themselves and their ignorance on the backs of the taxpayers.

  4. As a participant for all four hours of the City of Cornwall’s “community engagement” exercise last Wednesday, that was covered by CFN (and by other local media as well), I must say that I found the exercise extremely useful in many ways.

    For a start, I think it was a brilliant move by the organizers to use City Hall middle managers as small group facilitators.

    In the group I joined, which was ably facilitated by Emergency Management and Community Safety Coordinator Bradley Nuttley and Purchasing Supervisor Steve Rand, there were two Master’s degree students in urban planning from Queen’s University in Kingston (who are working as interns for the “Heart of the City” project) and an 80-year-old native Cornwallite called John Mazi. As it turned out, we were all “transplants” to Cornwall except John.

    We had a good discussion for an hour or so before the other three participants had to leave and I was left with Brad.
    However, we were soon joined by Donna Silver-Smith who is the Program Manager for SLC’s Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement program, which, I learnt, was actually the organizer of the “community engagement” session and which has already trained around 50 middle-level managers at City Hall.

    Anyway, here’s a list of some of the learning I gained from the exercise:
    1. City Hall seems to have very competent middle-level managers who seem to have definite aptitude for “community engagement;”
    2. City CAO Norm Levac seems to be sincerely looking for input from the community, but, as he reportedly said, “it would be great if there’s consensus on some issues. That’s what we’re looking for.”
    3. The people or “human resources” of Cornwall are a relatively underused resource that can be “mined” at such sessions.
    4. Such face-to-face sessions between the residents and City Hall representatives help foster communication, trust and goodwill.

    As it happened, Donna told me that a deliberate decision was made not to have the session facilitated by Council members or senior City Hall managers.

    Thus, although Councilor Syd Gardiner and CAO Norm Levac were in attendance, they seemed to be mainly just “observing.”

    That said, it also needs to be recognized that the session was somewhat superficial, as reflected in the relatively sparse attendance (around 45-50 members of the public) and no reference documentation.

    Nonetheless, it would be great if the session proves to be the start of an ongoing process of grassroots community consultation in Cornwall.

    In fact, if Cornwall developed such a “municipal culture,” it would start to distinguish itself as a municipality in Canada because, as many of its residents know, it is a “hidden jewel” with some wonderful “raw assets.”

  5. Jamie an excellent article as usual. I don’t know anything about that magazine with Bob Peters and his wife. I do say this and it is true that if you are not part of the clique then you are considered that you don’t live in Cornwall. I have been through all this and it is very small town thinking. When I left Cornwall I dealt with big city mentality and it is what I prefer – nobody knows anyone else – we see one another and some say hello and others just walk off.

    The people of Cornwall have to change and change big time to make it better and stop feeling that everyone of you is lesser important than the other. Money doesn’t buy happiness nor does it cure serious illnesses. You are who you are and you go on from there at making your life meaningful because you are no less important than the Kilgers, the Samsons, the Kanebs, the Peters or anybody else. People with the money have destroyed what Cornwall really means. The real heart of the city is the people who live there and not the made up politicians who are there to impoverish the people.

  6. Strategetic Leadership is a futile exercise for what it is worth.
    It’s costly, inefective,time consuming( like hoping to find a genie in a bottle) and must be constantly reviewed and changed (like the weather) every day is a different day and different personnel with different viewpoints. The world does NOT stand still.

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