CORNWALL Ontario – Rookie City Councilor (and Liberal nomination hopeful Justin Towndale has spoken out regarding the Monaco rink status.
He sent CFN the following communication.
He is only the second councilor to publicly speak out regarding the rink that the city sent trucks and police to yesterday.
Please see my comments on the rink issue below. I sent that email on Friday, and then emailed Laura (also below) immediately after. I received a reply that a review would take place this morning and I had been expecting a discussion today, but unfortunately, this was not the case. Your phone call was my first indication about the removal. I asked about it, but did not receive a reply until the removal had been confirmed. Today, once the removal started, my hands were tied. As a single Councillor, I cannot stop a removal order. Even with three, we cannot.
Part of my hope for a delay was so that alterations could be made the rink, as discussed here: http://www.ottawasun.com/2014/12/26/fight-continues-to-save-cornwall-familys-outdoor-rink
Excerpt: “If there are no pegs, it’s not to be considered a structure,” de Wit said. “They can put a 2×6 or 2×10 down as long as its not fastened.” Contacted on Christmas Eve, Laura Vincent welcomed the option.”
Some people are attacking the Municipal Works employees who executed the removal order. This is not fair, as they are simply doing their jobs. In the end, responsibility either way rests at the top with us. Personally, I still would have preferred a different outcome. Or at the very least, an opportunity to discuss the issue in depth.
As we can also see from this email below Mr. Towndale was one of the few trying to show leadership and sanity regarding the rink.
That would beget the question as to why CAO Norm Levac and Mayor O’Shaughnessy instructed a city manager, Bill De Wit to show up on January 5th to carry out the rink removal order and essentially bully and terrorize the Vincent family who had to take time off of work. Why were three police cars needed at one point? Other media are claiming that people refused to remove their vehicles, but that simply wasn’t true.
There were two vehicles parked in front of the Vincent home at one point, both of which were removed without incident.
Maybe it’s time for Norm to fulfill his promised retirement as CAO?
—– Forwarded by Justin Towndale/CITYHALL/CityCornwall on 01/02/2015 04:25 PM —–
From: Justin Towndale/CITYHALL/CityCornwall
To: Norm Levac/ENG/CityCornwall@
Cc: Councillors@CityCornwall, Leslie O’Shaughnessy/CITYHALL/
Date: 01/02/2015 04:25 PM
Subject: Monaco Crescent Ice Rink
Good Afternoon All,
I hope that everyone had a great holiday season, and a very Happy New Year. As the holidays come to a close, I am writing to formally request an extension to the take down order that was issued to the Vincent’s for the ice rink that they have erected. Unfortunately, I am not sure where to send this request. I am also not sure if I can make such a request alone, without a formal motion at a Council meeting. As such I am emailing the CAO and Clerk, so that it can be passed along to the appropriate department and persons responsible, or so that I can be provided with feedback and direction. I have also copied the Mayor and City Council for their information.
By-Law 56-2003 states that any encroachment (in this case, the rink) must be removed within 10 days of notice being served. The notice was served on December 22, 2014 at 11:50AM. The date for removal given is January 5, 2014, which is technically 10 business days. However, it does not take into account the holiday season. Christmas Day and New Years Day are statutory holidays and are not usually counted as business days.
In addition, with the holidays, and with City Hall being closed from 12 noon on December 24, until January 5, there was only one real business day, December 23, available. The reason I’m brining this up is not due to semantics, but because it has been difficult to actively pursue this issue at this time of year. This matter is of interest to at least three Councillors, including myself, and it is something that we would like to attempt to address. However, again, due to the time of year, it has not been possible, and the January 5 deadline does not take this into account. Basically the notice period takes place when almost everyone is off. If the Vincents were to file an encroachment review request, the first possible day to submit it is January 5, the same day that the removal order takes place.
The purpose of the by-law is not lost on me, and it was put into place for a valid reason. However, at the same time, by-laws are made and amended by City Council. As Council has the ability and authority to review by-laws I strongly believe that we should at the very least have the opportunity to take a look at the issue. I would like to see it on the agenda at our next meeting, which is January 12, and will be looking to add a motion to the agenda so that we can have a discussion.
I’ll also be very candid here. Because the story made national news, Cornwall did receive a ‘black eye’ as The Seeker put it. I strongly believe that Council should be able to take a look before the rink is taken down. Once it is taken down, it is too late to have a discussion. As an elected representative, it is my job to represent the residents of this city when they have an issue with administrative policy. I am also a representative of the City to the rest of Ontario, and Canada. It is also my responsibility to promote Cornwall, and to ensure that we have a positive reputation.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this.
And here is an email he sent Mrs. Vincent.
Date: 01/02/2015 04:36 PM
Subject: Fw: Monaco Crescent Ice Rink
Good Afternoon Laura,
Below is an email that I just sent to City Council and our CAO and Clerk. I am still hoping for what I consider a positive solution to the issue at hand. I mentioned an encroachment review in the email. I’ve attached a link that explains the process for a review:http://webcache.
googleusercontent.com/search? q=cache:7xcfASnTOI0J:www. cornwall.ca/en/ planningandpermits/resources/ EncroacmentAgreement.pdf+&cd= 1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca
I’m not sure if the link will work for you or not. A copy of the procedure is supposed to be on the City website, but isn’t working. I had to creatively find a cached (backed up) version of it. So the formatting will look a bit odd. Basically, there is a formal process for you to initiate a review of the City’s decision to issue a removal order. However, it looks as though the fee is $200.00, and it requires sketches. Unfortunately, I cannot get a better copy of, or clarification on, the process as everyone is off until January 5th, which is why I am hoping to at least get a temporary extension so that we can have the opportunity to take a better look at the issue.
I will do my best and keep trying.
All the best to your girls tomorrow at their tournament.
Thanks, and talk soon,
Or as Councilor Mark A MacDonald stated in an email to council.
It is completely absurd that the first order of business in the new year, was for the city to send in the heavy machinery to deal with an issue that could have been resolved by being a little more considerate. It seems a bit heavy handed.Mark A MacDonald
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