The 11th Councilor by Jamie Gilcig – How Much did the Kilger Council Spend on the My Place Event that drew 67 out of 45K citizens?

Seating capacityCORNWALL Ontario – The City of Cornwall has spent a lot of money hiring a team of consultants to initiate a new study, in an election year, focused on Cornwall being our place.  Of course it’s phrased “My Place” and judging from the behavior of the Mayor and his cronies on council the term has a feeling of literal meaning…

The bill for this hot mess of course is on the backs of taxpayers.   Emails to the city for the cost of the CONSULTANTS and program were not returned as of press time.

The meeting drew 67 people; most of which were either on the city payroll or close to it.  A lot of “the clique” or wannabe cliquesters.    A few of those who put their names forward to run for council also attended.    There were also a small group of the usual concerned citizens.

Essentially there was very few of the public that showed up and what is notable is that event organizers either engineered that or felt that the public would not show up as there was sitting for little more than the 67 souls that showed up.

Mayor Kilger opened up by congratulating the people for coming out in such weather; but it was the warmest evening in over a week with zero precipitation.  The event also took place on a night when there was no NHL regional hockey.  No Sens, Habs, or Leafs games.  See that’s what consultants figure out!

Former Councilor Mark A MacDonald boycotted the event.   He had the following to say:

The low turnout sends a big message — this city is facing a huge crisis and this is the best they can do — maybe 70 people including staff. 
It proves that people have lost confidence in this Council. 

So the question is why even bother in this situation?   Should the voices of that small turnout have any impact on a city of over 45,000 people?     Have the people lost confidence in their elected officials or were they simply not notified in a timely manner?  For example why wouldn’t the event be advertised in the city’s largest newspaper?

The timing even of the exercise, in the final year of a four date mandate that has been an embarrassment to the city.    Does the public really expect this group to come up with a 20 year plan when they couldn’t even resolve how to deal with Geese, Pigeons, and Beavers?

Finally does it make sense to burn through City Cash when Critical Reserves are as low as they are for such a circus type show that will have little to no impact for this term as well as the next?

Almost all of us that live in Cornwall care about our future; not just our own.    The act of getting the public involved is critical; but it also has to be genuine and there are some core issues that have not been addressed this term; nor have they been addressed in this exercise.

So far the only ones winning have been the consultants.

We need more transparency and accountability in Cornwall.  We need more inclusiveness; but most importantly we need to learn to work together.   Could you imagine such a turn out in nearby Brockville?

You can post your comments below.

The City’s press release for the event issued 13 days before.

Residents invited to attend ‘Cornwall is My Place!’ event

January 16, 2014

Cornwall residents are invited to take part in an inspirational evening of ideas and discussion about the future of their community.

‘Cornwall is My Place!’ is an interactive opportunity for all interested citizens to participate in the planning for the future of our city’s growth and development.

The event will be held on Wednesday, January 29th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pmin Salon B of the Cornwall Civic Complex. The event is free and open to all.

What does the future hold for Cornwall?  The evening will begin with an encouraging perspective on the Cornwall of tomorrow and the benefits of living in a mid-sized city.

After this introduction, residents can enjoy refreshments and dialogue with their neighbours about what makes Cornwall a great place to live, work, and play.

The ‘Cornwall is My Place!’ event is part of the Complete Cornwall au complet project to update the City of Cornwall’s Official Plan, a document that will guide change and growth in Cornwall for the next 20 years.

Complete Cornwall au complet will provide a roadmap for Cornwall so we can become a more liveable and sustainable community as we grow,” said Ken Bedford, Planning Division Supervisor. “The City has retained the Professional Planning Services of Dillon Planning Limited and Watson and Associates Economists to undertake the comprehensive technical review and public / agency input aspect of the initiatives.”

A City Official Plan Review / Urban Settlement Boundary Steering Committee will oversee the initiative, to be conducted by a Planning and Economic Development Team.

Complete Cornwall au complet will update and revise the City of Cornwall’s Official Plan and determine an Urban Settlement Boundary area, which guides land use in the City.

“The Official Plan is important for determining the location of everything from housing, to parks, to infrastructure, to commercial and office development, for example,” said Mr. Bedford. “The Official Plan was last modified in 2002 so it’s time for a renewal. So much has happened in Cornwall since then.”

The other key aspect of the work, the Urban Settlement Boundary, will define and delineate the area for the City’s Urban type development expansion into the Plan’s future.

Because the Complete Cornwall au complet plan is a reflection of the priorities of the City, producing the document will involve active and meaningful public input. There will be a number of opportunities for the public to offer input as the project progresses.

“We hope that everyone will contribute to creating this positive vision for the future of the City of Cornwall,” said Mr. Bedford.

The exercise will take about 9 months to complete, and will likely be reviewed by City Council in August.

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