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September 2020 Newsletter Now Available

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Allan's Place Update

At the upcoming Committee of The Whole meeting on Monday October 5th representatives from Durham Non-Profit Housing Corporation will be in attendance to give an update on Allan's Place in Cannington. If you have questions or concerns regarding Allan's Place please feel free to PM me or send an email to wschummer@townshipofbrock.ca. There have been some concerns expressed in our community and this is your chance to take those concerns to the people who manage the facility.

You can also call me or leave a message at 705-432-8464




Arena Infrastructure Grant - What's Up?

While other municipalities in Ontario are finding out if they have been approved or denied for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Grant it would appear that either no news for Brock is available or it's not being shared. Brock applied for the grant for the proposed Sunderland Arena expansion project when the intake opened about a year ago. While it has been understood that news of the grant would come in late June or early July there is still no information flowing down to Brock Council members. The grant has been massively oversubscribed and there is nowhere near enough money to go out to the applicants which means there are going to be many disappointed people and municipalities in Ontario. Some have already expressed their disappointment including Wasaga Beach.
Wasaga Beach, other municipalities, have learned whether they were successful or not in getting grant money. Why can Brock Council not find out?
Wasaga Beach, other municipalities, have learned whether they were successful or not in getting grant money. Why can Brock Council not find out?

Members of Brock Council have requested updates on numerous occasions, but no replies appear to be forthcoming. Even inquiries to MPP Laurie Scott's office get no replies.
Council has been patiently waiting for the answer on this and discussions at the Council table about the proposed Sunderland arena expansion have been muted while the application was being considered. Should Brock fail to obtain the funding it may be finally time to have the real discussion about whether $7,500,000+ is best spent on the refurbishing of an arena vs. a more viable and productive investment in our recreational infrastructure in Brock.

I made it clear during the 2018 campaign that I did not want to again broach the arena issue in Brock during this term. The last term of Council, through the BARF Committee, decided to keep all three ice surfaces operating. However, if there is going to be ongoing discussions about spending Township funds on an expansion project costing millions more than originally planned and grant funding lost then perhaps our hands are being forced on the issue.

Is it time to seriously consider what other municipalities have achieved and consolidate our arenas and community centres? If there is to be no federal and provincial infrastructure grants for the proposed Sunderland project (with our MPP being Infrastructure Minister) perhaps we need to take a hint and rethink the proposal put forward by The Sunderland Lions before more taxpayer funds are spent (so far well in excess of $150,000 of taxpayer funds have been spent on engineering work alone). The Sunderland Lions have been very generous in their offer to assist in the project funding but their contribution does represent a minority stake and the timing of additional funds through Development Charges adds another wrinkle in this ever-growing mess of escalating costs and diminishing returns.

The NEW Fenelon Falls arena and community centre built on time and on budget for 40% more than the proposed Sunderland area refurbishment. Is Brock's idea a good use of over $7,500,000?

Many municipalities near and far are getting much more done for relatively comparative amounts. Fenelon Falls built a brand new arena and community centre for $10.5 Million and that also included money for new roadwork leading to the centre. They built in on budget and on time. Brock is going to spend $7+ Million to refurbish an arena while others build brand new centres for 40% more? Spending anywhere near those amounts make me nervous but perhaps there’s a reason we may not receive the grant money (or have not received it).

It is unfortunate that members of Council can’t get the answers other municipalities, and their residents, have been able to. It is frustrating to be working in the dark but recent events are pointing to that being the norm rather than the exception which is truly sad.


My Public Statement On The Integrity Commissioner's Report To Council

In 2019 Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell filed an Integrity Commissioner complaint against me for a litany of issues she found offence to (many before the last election).  This past month the Integrity Commissioner submitted his report which found I have done nothing wrong.  The bill for this unnecessary investigation is close to $6,000 which is payable by the taxpayers of Brock Township.  The following is my public statement on the issue.  Full report from the Integrity Commissioner is on the township website.

I welcome receipt of The Township of Brock Integrity Commissioner’s report on the complaint filed by Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell against me last year. The Integrity Commissioner conducted a fulsome review of all issues brought forward and found no wrong doing by myself.

In addition to the items identified in the report there are some other facts which I believe would be useful for members of Council and the public to know. Should anyone wish documented confirmation of any of these statements I would be happy to provide it.

1. On more than one occasion prior to this complaint being filed I reached out to Councillor Campbell proposing that we meet to discuss any differences and gain a better understanding of where each of us were coming from. These offers of reconciliation were either ignored or refused outright. That of course is Councillor Campbell’s right to do so. Unfortunately, the filing of this complaint will cost the taxpayers of Brock close to $6,000 in legal fees. Much has been said lately about why this had to reach the Integrity Commissioner. Rather than having a productive discussion she made my overtures of reconciliation part of her complaint. This is Councillor Campbell’s complaint and it is Councillor Campbell who refused my attempts to discuss and possibly reconcile any issues.

3. Some of her complaints were a result of her not carefully reading or understanding that The Township Social Media Policy does not apply to members of Council. It’s unfortunate that The Integrity Commissioner’s valuable time was wasted with a complaint about a policy that does not even apply.

4. Many of Councillor Campbells complaints did not even have to do with my time on Council and at times pre-dated this term of Council by many years which would be out of the realm of responsibility of the Integrity Commissioner. Many of the complaints were baseless and lacked any supporting evidence. In fact, for a complaint which included accusations of personal attacks by me Councillor Campbell made a number of statements in the complaint which could easily be considered personal attacks against myself including accusations of misogyny and chauvinism. Councillor Campbell also made the baseless accusation that I only attacked women through my social media posts. This very personal accusation of chauvinism against me is also unfounded and I gave numerous examples where I criticized male members of Councils… I do not discriminate.

5. Criticizing our politicians is an important part of our democracy. It is also important to note, as I indicated to The Integrity Commissioner, that I have not always criticized Councillor Campbell. In fact, I gave evidence of a half a dozen samples of social media posts where I either supported or commended actions and statements by Councillor Campbell. This is not the behavior of a so-called cyber-bully.

6. It is disappointing that it has taken the Integrity Commissioner and almost $6,000 in fees to make it clear that members of Council are NOT expected to follow herd mentality. The Integrity Commissioner has clarified something we all should know…. That we are individuals and we are free to express our dissatisfaction and opposition to policies set forth by The Municipal government we are a part of. The idea that we should all “tow the party line” is as absurd as the idea put forth by Councillor Campbell in her complaint that I, as a member of Council, should automatically agree with anything a Lions Club does simply because I am a member of a Lions Club. We do not abrogate our rights and freedoms simply because we have been elected.

7. I also must say that I am disappointed in the involvement of others in this complaint behind the scenes. During the investigation it became evident that private correspondence between myself, The Mayor, and the former interim CAO was provided to Councillor Campbell as she used this as evidence in her complaint.

8. There is one apology I would like to make at this time. I would like to apologize to the taxpayers of Brock Township for an almost $6,000 bill levied against them for an unnecessary process which I attempted to reconcile before the first hour was billed.

This process, again, could have been avoided if all parties involved (both those at the forefront of this issue and those behind the scenes) had agreed to sit down and discuss matters. As The Integrity Commissioner has said… The complaint process is to be the “last resort”. Running off to The Integrity Commissioner should not be the first move especially for a member of Council. It is sometimes the only option for a member of the public but there should be better resources at The Council Table to work through disagreements and problems. The recent trend of thinking The Integrity Commissioner is the way to solve all problems is troubling to say the least. This is now the second Integrity Commissioner complaint leveled against a member of Council by another member of Council in the last year and that is a troubling trend indeed.