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Mon, 09/11/2017 - 10:18 -- Chris Cooke

Asking for the truth is not a Code of Conduct issue

Mayor and Council:

My name is Don Taylor and I live at 317 Emma Street in Sarnia. Today I’m emailing regarding a lack of accountability at Sarnia City Hall and a lack of work at Centennial Park.

As someone who ran for City Council in 2010 I’m appalled that this Council is sitting on its hands while not taking the staff to task. In 2010 I spoke to Councillors who agreed staff needed to be held more accountable for department budgets and projects like Centennial Park.

So, my question regarding Centennial is who did the planning? To suggest there were unforeseen problems is not a sufficient answer.

As a kid growing up in this City we were told not to swim in Sarnia Bay due to poor water quality. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know that years of dredging would stir up sediment and make it impossible to pour concrete for boat ramps. Simply put the bottom of Sarnia Bay hasn’t had time to settle.

Of course this would be the responsibility of the project manager and the Chief Administrative Officer Margaret Misek - Evans. We are now some $5 million over the original cost and I’m sure at $11.7 million we haven’t seen the end of this project.

The Mayor has asked for a breakdown and been denied. My fear is we will never know the true cost of the Centennial Park remediation.

Today I emailed the Ontario Ombudsman to see what, if anything can be done to provide a breakdown of costs and where the money has been spent. I suppose I could go the Freedom of Information Act but we have seen how requests are handled by the Chief Administrative Officer and City Clerk.

If the Mayor can’t get the answers I’m sure someone like me doesn’t have a hope with this regime.

As elected officials you are employees of the people who put you in office. It is your duty to speak to me and all taxpayers and take to task anyone and everyone who thinks it is okay to open City coffers and not be accountable. As taxpayers we want and are entitled to answers.

Which brings me to the Suncor Agora. It is another disaster. Why hasn’t there been any activity since the area was prematurely opened? Did City staff drop the ball on this too?

Enough of the hand holding and singing Kumbaya at Sarnia City Hall.

How about a public meeting, municipal investigation or third party be brought in to get to the bottom of Centennial Park cost overruns and the boat ramp failure.

How much money has the City lost this year by not collecting boat ramp fees? As City Council I implore you to ask this administration the tough questions. Trying to get to the truth is not a breach of the Code of Conduct.

Sincerely,
Don Taylor, Sarnia

Centennial Park is a mess, Margaret Misek–Evans should be fired

Dear Publisher:

Who is responsible for Sarnia’s new and “improved” Centennial Park?

After four years of waiting one has to wonder at the unfinished result. From the original of simply laying a clay cap to remediate the park’s contamination at an estimated cost of $4 million to nearly $12 million the administration has created a facility worse than the original.

The previous play area that had green space and shade trees has been replaced by acres of concrete.

The new playground is located in the middle of nowhere, without even a swing set to be found.

Lingering 15 minutes on a hot sunny day may result in heat stroke. So beware.

When junior wants to use the washroom, the “luxurious” porta – potties are situated 200 yards away. Finding them could be a challenge due to a lack of signage.

Permanent washrooms by the Agora remain unfinished and unreachable, surrounded by mounds of earth, mud and old construction material.

It is obvious the project ran out of money so only “essential” tasks were undertaken.

One of these was to destroy a very useable boat facility with four boat ramps, replacing it with a seawall above the high water mark, effectively prohibiting the launch of small sailing craft and canoes from shore.

Sea cadets, sailors, canoeists and paddle boarders are plain out of luck. As for fishermen and power boaters they have absolutely NOTHING.

The City’s Chief Administrative Officer, Margaret Misek – Evans should be fired. I don’t care for excuses. Whoever is responsible for the loss of this regional facility needs to suffer serious consequences.

Finally, to give credit where credit is due, we must thank our “Fab Five” Councillors (Gillis, MacDougall, Scholten, Mitro and White), never forgetting Councillor Kelch who invariably sides with the aforementioned.

This band gave the Centennial project to Misek - Evans to manage. Remember these people and reward them accordingly at next year’s municipal election.

Sincerely,
Brian Wallace, Sarnia

 

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