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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  1. The meeting was a planned failure.

  2. Ron Chenier? WTF!

  3. holy heavens jamie we drew a bigger crowd on the NO TANKS tour. if thats any indication as to where the faith and support is, i’d say there are great changes in the future for cornwall. as far as hiring a consulting firm to decide what changes are to be made here in hometown cornwall i say leave it to a public vote, do we need someone from another city deciding where changes are needed in a city they know little about other than what they are being fed by council?
    office development? for who and what?
    commercial development? so the council can give away another 3.5 mil in corporate welfare? ( i still don’t quite get the gist of that one)
    housing? now is that commercial or residential? and if its commercial housing is it subsidizable with corporate welfare? if its to be residential, i suggest you look into the wait times for permits at the city works building, its disgusting when a person has the investment opportunity to build and is forced to wait in excess of 6 weeks for a permit to dig, and waiting for an inspector for continuance is horrendous.
    infrastructure? hiring locally will surely cut down on poorly installed sewers and roads made from second grade materials, concrete that falls apart after ten years of use, proper drainage for areas with high water tables, and all around shoddy workmanship.
    who needs a consultant and their exorbitant fees, ask cornwall what cornwall needs and wants

  4. Many young people are leaving Cornwall because there is no hope. My son is in contact with some of the people that he went to school with and they are all leaving. There is nothing in Cornwall except for seniors that can hardly stand up on their own let alone make a good decision. If you take a good look at who showed up this is terrible. The people of Cornwall are so used to being told what to do and what not to do and have been led for many years by a dictatorship. There is no hope for anyone who is young and all jobs will be in the big centers. Cornwall will be just for retirement and nothing else.

  5. Jules: Your comments about everyone wanting to leave Cornwall have become very nauseating. Can it would you And as far as “here is nothing in Cornwall except for seniors” well honey, you one as well! [You are part of the over sixty crowd and went to CCVS- ] and if it was not for the older adults in town standing up and participating then no one would be speaking out; that’s the nature of the beast!

    I have attended these events in the past and missed this one, but I know that may failurer to attend won’t make a like of difference in the long run.

    We really have to make a change in our electorate this fall, but we also have to be prepared to make no advances for about three years; the learning curve as councillor and mayor is a steep one and if even 50% of the current crew are replaced, it is human nature to vote things down!!

    This however does in no way justify the ridiculous spending habits of our current “leaders” – hell, they should have hired Janie as consultant on salaries/compensation rates for half the price and probably still get twice as good a job done – Jamie please make sure and save that quick study you did because three months down the road and $10,000 later, Im sure yours will be more complete!!!!

  6. it’s very displeasing to hear so many nay sayers as far as change is concerned. this is a great year for changes, we need younger people in control of what happens in hometown cornwall, some new ideas. the world does not stand still for anyone. WE can make changes, WE can THINK for ourselves. WE DON’T need council to make decisions in our best interests. WE have a SAY in what transpires IN OUR FUTURE. OUR CHILDREN need to KNOW WE WON’T STAND FOR IT ANYMORE. and have someone they can LOOK UP TO in admiration for it is NOW WE MUST DEAL WITH THE SOCIETAL PROBLEMS caused but misuse of our votes

  7. [WE DON’T need council to make decisions in our best interests.] john no disrespect we elected these peoples to speak for us they are not listning………it time for them to go

  8. fern i gather you didn’t get the gist of my entry, the fact of the matter is, we need new blood, and how can someone listen when they are too busy talking, just make your vote count this year, thats what i will be doing

  9. Jules…. I have to say this.. I read your comments on every thread or topic that is started and I cannot see one positive thing you say about Cornwall.. I may not be in love with it and I LIVE HERE you do not have to like it you live in Ottawa and bitch about there too… I have not lived here that long but I will not put all my energy into complaining about it every day…

    I love CFN and the topics for discussion while learning about lots that I did not even know before. I get the news here and what is happening in town..

    I do think this council and Mayor need to go but if folks sit on their butts and do not get out and vote and at least put effort into learning about the people who we have the choice to vote for or not…
    Sorry it has come to this but I do not like comments full of rambling negativity..
    How do you think you are helping solve the problems here?

  10. What’s with all the burnt lights? Is the city trying to save money.

  11. @John and Fern … I agree …time to elect representatives that will be accountable and transparent and truly do the job, not merely go through the motions like puppets on a string. We need to demand a return to the ward system where councilors are directly accountable to the group which elected them. This would be a positive step forward in Cornwall’s political future.

  12. Admin
    I would like to comment on what I have seen happen on “The Standard Freeholder” with regards to this story. (Sorry it is so long again)

    I followed the posts after one person made comments on the value of the meeting and how the comments in the meeting seemed to make the area still look incapable or the wrong place to do business.

    It later read that the person had attempted to post on different occasions but had the post removed at which point I was tempted to join in the conversation myself and inquire as to why. The post was a little gruff but made perfect sense. I had then decided not to after reading the comments from others that followed.
    They accused the person of having coitus with many young women and animals. I was absolutely livid seeing this later in the afternoon. This morning once again the post has been removed but the slander remains. Admin I believe you too mentioned having something on the story removed.

    I agree with what was posted, Mr. Boileau has to stop laying the Mill town trip as a platform or an excuse for his failures. Cornwall is a mill town and the people for the most part are educated for that type of work. Mr. Boileau fails to embrace the fact the city has so many people able and willing to work in a factory setting and should sell Cornwall accordingly? I highly doubt any member of council or Mr. Boileau himself would ever work in a manufacturing facility as a laborer. They come across as someone believing that type of work being beneath them.

    Considering most everything in the room within which this meeting was held, and all of the clothes on every individual in the building were manufactured in a mill speaks volumes of his ignorance. These commodities are now manufactured in countries with less environmental restrictions, manufacturing standards and less human rights. Are these poor standards not reason enough to manufacture here?
    We need mills, but we need new mills.

    The person posting also noted the council members are mostly retired mill workers. How can you shed an image when it still runs your city?
    I like Mr. Grant and what he did with the Benson center, but the Benson center and the activities within are mainly for the working class. This is a HUGE contradiction of what Mr. Boileau is attempting to shed Cornwall of.

    What Mr. Boileau and so many others individuals at his level also fail to realize is what the people truly need and are capable of. He is not living with in the demographic means.
    It is time to stop with the statistics, stop with the friends helping friends grow.

    Considering Cornwall’s past with regards to Project truth and being a low income city with an elevated social assistance rate, I would think Mr. Chenier would have a lot more morals and couth then to use getting people pregnant as an adage. As it reads he once Mr. Chenier shows Cornwall is still limited in its mentality at higher levels. but we do have lots of sex

    We need better leadership; well we first of all need leadership.
    Who would work for a company in a city that holds a business mentality “You can’t earn that much in Cornwall” yet have the right people for the job?

    What industry would open here with that mentality in its leadership.

    The people want to work but they also need the respect that goes with it. Current infrastructure does not provide that and it is all due to the mill town mentality in local administration.

    The world has grown and many other communities of all sizes have embraced that change needed to grow, unfortunately for Cornwall we still have walls dating back to the time of union beginnings.

  13. Hayley you and I both know along with so many others that Cornwall needs industries. You have to examine that you have to compete with places like China, Mexico, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. where wages are mighty low and in order to compete ones wages has to be as low as those other countries because people look for bargains. Industries have left because of the high salaries and the unions and they are not coming back. The people of Cornwall do lack education and those who were working in the mills did not have any education except for a minor few. These people were earning top dollar like $65K and more a year for operating a machine. In those countries that I have named and many more besides they earn a small fraction and they work mighty hard and that is all the employer cares for is to get the good done at a small price. The vast majority of the people of Cornwall who are educated have left and never to return and a lot of them have gone on to colleges and universities elsewhere and have found work in their fields. The young people have no other choice but to leave as well as soon as they finish high school. You sure cannot live on social assistance and it is degrading.

  14. “Former Councillor 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.”

    I would love to know where Mark A MacDonald gets these gems of his. Just because there was low attendance at the “Cornwall Is My Place” event it is possible that people had other things to do or not to do that evening. The “Cornwall Is My Place” event was not the only thing going on in the world Wednesday night. In most cities planning, budget, etc. meetings usually have low attendance, not just in Cornwall. It’s a fact of life that in cities there is a high level of apathy, people think that they cannot affect change in their city and stay away from these events. It does NOT prove that people have lost confidence in this Council. I do applaud Mark A MacDonald because he does seem to care about what happens in Cornwall. The Second Street hospital site is a good example. While I think it is commendable that he tried to organize a group to take over the site I think we have to be realistic that that would never happen. The CCH has a mandate to close that site this year as funding will no longer be available to pay the bills for the Second Street hospital site. It’s best to let the CCH get the best deal they can for the site, so they can get it off their books. If the deal we’ve been hearing about lately includes health care for the citizens of Cornwall that is even better. If the deal includes tearing down the building and starting something new, well the citizens of Cornwall will have to deal with that.

  15. Jules
    It is not as simple as people in other countries paying less wages. This is a time of the infamous social networking. People abroad have access to wages earned globally and often try to earn more in their country. I think we would be showing our lack of knowledge of developing countries to assume it is all slave labor. That only sells news and magazines for the most part.

    I believe it is more to do with our government having found a way to earn more revenue via tariffs and import taxes, something not necessary if you manufacture locally. They also have transportation costs and all tariffs associated with that. Therefore government makes out like bank robbers and the people struggle.

    These tariffs and taxes may be a write off to the company but it still costs. Also remember in these developing countries not only does government have a hand in company revenue so does their version of organized crime.

    You and I agree Mark sure has the ability to state the obvious. I to agree the CCH should be sold but does anyone know who owns the property and the building?

  16. Hailey Brown…..the Second Street site is owned by the CCH, not the city or province.

  17. Hayley you are right to a great extent indeed and also about organized crime involved. Our industries are gone for good overseas and the Chinese now hold the patents for those products and those products are not in any way as good as what we have produced. Both the government and the corporations benefit whereas the little people suffer. That is so very true indeed.

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