Our Mayor, Leslie O’Shaughnessy pegged signs into the ground all the time as a real estate agent. Some were probably deeper than those in this ice rink. Did he get a permit or check with power and gas authorities before spiking away? Yes, I know that the rink stretched over onto city property, but so did the paved over section of the Vincent’s drive way.
After three police cruisers visited the family and the threat of financial intimidation from the city, instead of allowing a discussion or process as outlined by Councilor Justin Towndale and championed by at least one other councilor, the Vincent’s pulled down the boards at night in frigid cold. Due to a seasonal warm spell last week there was a pool of water under the main ice surface which flooded into the street. The result looked something like this.
The pink marking showing how far up the city driveway the city claims as property.
Fissures now ripple the surface of the once flat perfect skating surface so lovingly cared for by Brian Vincent and friends.
These are deep and the rink has now slanted down as the pad gave way without the supporting water and slush.
Why did Mayor O’Shaughnessy and CAO Norm Levac give the order to City Manager Bill De Wit to attend with heavy machinery and force the Vincent family? Why not wait as per the communication from Councilor Towndale and MacDonald? With temps freezing most likely an extra week of seasonal weather most likely have saved the ice surface and allowed the Vincent family to shore up the ice pad for their children and neighbors.
In a Hollywood movie the neighbors and town folk would come around and help rebuild the rink. This being Cornwall the Vincent’s will be putting up their house for sale.
The Vincent family are the target demographic that the City of Cornwall spends money every year trying to attract; a young professional couple with a gaggle of kids ready to attend our schools and build all of our futures.
How many people reading this story and watching National news will read this and what will their perspective of our town be? Why? When people hear the name Cornwall will they now think, “yeah, that’s the city that ripped down the kids hockey rink.”
Yes, laws are there for a reason. I’m not advocating breaking any. The Vincent’s weren’t either. At the root you have some people who clearly feel an entitlement that they don’t deserve pulling some strings through a former councilor.
Likewise the excuse of only applying by laws when there’s a complaint line espoused by the Mayor I have a hunch will result in an awful lot of complaints to the by law department. Again, fumbling the ball instead of dealing with issues.
There are many people that think like Andre Cardinal; but very few ugly enough to publicly share what he did on facebook. That not a single person said a peep about his comment about a small group of families ruling a block from behind the scenes is scary. It goes against the grain of fairness and civilized society. It’s essentially gang like.
As councilor Towndale wrote in our earlier piece:
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.
So why the rush? What was so critical? Many residents complained that many city streets had still not been cleaned from the most recent storm yet the city had spare staff and vehicles for an ice rink that really wasn’t harming anyone? It’s boggling. Was that even the right by law to be working under or was it the Fence By Law 040-2008?
Yes, at first the by law issue was a management issue which Norm Levac as CAO failed at handling justly, but once the issue hit the media then it became political and that’s when council and Mayor O’Shaughnessy failed.
We elect people to lead. Councilors Bernadette Clement, Maurice Dupelle, Andre Rivette, Carilyne Hebert, and Claude McIntosh, failed the community with their silence. Councilor Elaine MacDonald gets a free pass due to the sad passing of her husband David Denneny who was a very very nice guy. (Condolences Elaine) while Brock Frost gets a free pass because after seeing him this morning he looked medicated and probably is out of it.
The villains in this story are quite clear. There were other interpretations and solutions. Clearly the feeling is that this council were unwilling to debate this in open council and clearly rejected what the public wanted which is odd as they are elected to serve we the public. Over 2,200 people have signed the petition to save the rink and over 3,000 have voted by a margin of 94% to save the rink.
A man from Kemptville drove all the way down to place a RIP marker in front of it today.
As our Junior’s won Gold and made Canada proud last night Cornwall’s “elite” destroyed a little rink where little girls got to play hockey within the safety of their own home.
It’s funny as I get asked far too often why I stay in Cornwall. The answer has always been clear. I have a lot of friends here. I have ties to the area now. I have ties to Montreal and Ottawa. I don’t like living in a Big City.
But the hate, ignorance, cronyism, corruption, bullying and racism can add up. Of course no place is perfect, but really it seems Cornwall should get some awards for worst politicians, worst marketing, worst reputation, worst place to set up a small business, worst place to try and run an online newspaper from….
I of course won’t be moving. This is my home. I’ve always thought that the bad guys should be the ones to move, like Chris Savard and Scott Armstrong did. Like Brock Frost most likely will be shortly, and Bob Kilger likely has as well.
Will I move one day. Probably. But not today, but today is the first time that I really feel like moving. And that’s sad because I too am the type of demographic that Cornwall needs, and the reach of CFN is such that it should be a tool for promoting what’s great in this city instead of scratching my head as literally thousands of other people are doing over this destruction of something that we as a city should have embraced or as I had written earlier, invited the Vincent family to City Hall to sign our book.
In a city with no open Ice rinks begging people to volunteer the city just shut down and destroyed one fully funded and tended by one family; a family that is now going to hop over the city line to South Glengarry and not have to worry about this sort of grief ever again.
We saw some change this past election. It looks like we need more change and we need to move forward.
I want to personally say thanks to my community for throwing their support behind the Vincent’s and loudly supporting their rink. I hope this is a trend for important issues in this city and I think it’s time to hold those elected officials accountable and for them to stop hiding on important issues as so many of them did on this ice rink.
Cornwall has black eyes, but black eyes heal. It’s time for those eyes to see more clearly and for people to step up like Councilor Towndale did.
And it’s time for CAO Norm Levac to retire immediately as per his original promise of leaving for December 2014.
This sort of embarrassment can never happen again in our city and there needs to be a public investigation into how it happened from who made the original complaint, who made the official complaint, and how expedited the rink’s destruction.
Leslie O’Shaughnessy campaigned on Transparency and Accountability. The people of Cornwall elected him to change how things are done at City Hall. This has not been change. He needs to apologize or resign, and the Vincent’s deserve their rink back.
Jamie Gilcig – Publisher – The Cornwall Free News
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