But this is more than that. This is about the future of our city and it’s become one that clearly is in the hands of the public.
If this experience has shown anything it’s that we can’t always trust those we elect and pay to protect and serve our city.
What we do know is that in early December out of the blue chemical tanks appeared. With no public consultation or apparently any consultation at City Hall the Federal Government via Transport Canada leased the former Kaneb Oil tank property to a newly formed shell company; Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc.
Our MP Guy Lauzon claimed that he knew nothing of the transaction which is an indictment unto itself.
Our Mayor Bob Kilger’s first comment was that the tanks would not stick out of the ground much. To date he has not made a statement that he himself is against the tanks while at the same time appearing in meetings on behalf of council that has clearly stated NO TANKS. Council itself has stated that they were totally unaware.
Mayor Kilger was outed about lying about his knowledge as he shared at a November 21 meeting of the Waterfront committee on the tanks with former members of the committee after the scheduled meeting. Council Grant, also on that committee lied on camera stating the conversation never occurred. That lie was shot down by another committee member that observed it.
Transport Canada revealed the timeline of communications with the City.
The tenant provided detailed information regarding proposed activities for this commercial operation at this port facility to the City of Cornwall. Specifically, Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. advised Transport Canada that they first contacted the City of Cornwall in February 2013, and that, among other discussions with the City, Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. also provided details of the project plan to the City of Cornwall in June 2013.
That led to the Mayor Kilger issuing his own statement. Again, this was from the Mayor via Kevin Lajoie of Economic Development; not council as a whole.
Mr. Kevin Pollard contacted the City’s Economic Development office in February 2013 to determine possible opportunities for securing existing storage tanks, or potentially building his own. Water access was not stated as being essential. At that time he was provided information on a variety of site options, including the Cornwall Business Park, a former industrial site in the west end of the City, and a wharf in the Morrisburg area. He was alerted to the sensitivity of the Harbour Area given the neighbouring residential and recreational uses, the lack of rail, and the lack of adequate trucking routes to Highway 401. Mr. Pollard did not extend dialogue with City officials following this preliminary and exploratory contact.
No further contact was received until June 2013 when Mr. Pollard contacted City officials on a single occasion to inform them that Transport Canada had agreed to enter into a lease. No further discussion or confirmation of the lease was ever received from Trillium or Transport Canada. No specific details, sketch or site plan was provided. The City recommended a meeting to discuss concerns regarding planning and land use issues. City officials did not provide any approval, verbal or otherwise, at any time. Mr. Pollard did not pursue further dialogue with City officials. Notwithstanding this request, the City has never met anyone from Trillium Distribution.
Gerry Samson above states around the 1:20 mark that an investigation of ED shows that they did not know. But that certainly goes against what the Mayor issued in his press release which clearly states that ED knew of the lease.
Why did Economic Development not put that in its monthly report to council? There are three people in that department, Mark Boileau, Kevin Lajoie, and Bob Peters. Why won’t the city answer which of the three communicated with Trillium?
Why isn’t council demanding to know why this critical information was not in the monthly reports?
And who else outside of ED knew? Was it shared with CAO Norm Levac and the Mayor whose first response was that the tanks would not stick much out of the ground. How would he know that if he wasn’t aware of the project?
The biggest indictment and evidence of a cover up at City Hall is CAO Norm Levac’s answers, or I should say non answer. It’s classic suck and blow and sadly this gentleman who added thousands to his salary to cover up council’s shenanigans and up his pension seems to have completely lost any integrity he may have once had.
Even Chuck Charlebois states that the people of Cornwall will most likely have to pay to remove the tanks. Does that make any sense?
There were big headlines in other media about Chuck being allowed what was thought to be a meeting of all the parties that ended being two meetings with Mr. Charlebois only speaking at the preliminary that didn’t include Trillium.
As former councilor Leslie O’Shaughnessy stated,
Without accountability you can’t have transparency.
Construction has stopped now until the next meetings occur, but these meetings are of bigger issues. With land claims in play it means that the MCA has to “allow” or partner in a deal for those lands. Or the Feds can lease the land to the city; but according to Mayor Kilger and the CAO the meetings and discussions involve all of the harbor lands which can be an expensive anchor to local taxpayers.
Chief Brian David of the MCA shares how the MCA learned about the tanks from the Media and were not consulted as is Federal law.
Councilor Grant argues to see the lease between TC and Trillium, but there is only one clear issue.
The city for some reason did not share the info of this development with Council and the public leaving them caught at the last minute to deal with not only the issue of possible tanks on that property; but forced to deal with them with the tanks already in place.
How can you even blame the Feds or Trillium in this situation?
And that ladies and gentlemen is the colossal cluster puck that our Mayor, CAO, and Economic Development have put the taxpayers of Cornwall Ontario. Council by not holding them responsible clearly are clouding the issue and instead of being honest with the public are dragging this out and potentially negotiating deals that at this time morally they should not be doing as they do not have a mandate from the voters.
The bottom line is that we the people of Cornwall should have been consulted. We still should be consulted, and so far have clearly stated we do not want these tanks.
That’s the only issue and if the city of Cornwall; ie, you and I, are forced to pay for this mess people at City Hall need to be exposed and held accountable.
The Rally starts Saturday at MP Guy Lauzon’s office on Pitt Street at 2PM and goes to City Hall.
The message is a single and simple one. NO TANKS!
Will you be at the Rally Saturday?
You can post your comments below.