Nina Bifolchi

Newsroom – Silenced Again

posted April 8, 2016

Coordinated Committee of Council was held on Thursday April 7, 2016 starting at 8:30am.

Our first meeting was the Community Services Section. Things were moving along nicely until some council members took issue with one of the staff reports/recommendations. Discussion lasted approximately 45 minutes on this one topic with the conversation going in circles before the chair finally called the vote. I wasn’t one of the council members who had a lot to say on this issue, but I respected the fact that some felt the need to talk it out and have their questions answered.

Then the afternoon came where I quickly realized that (in my opinion) some council members found a new tactic to silence those of us who may question things that I believe they don’t want questioned.

The Main Street Market and the kiosks are a new addition to our beach front and in my opinion as I have stated before, have not followed the same process that any other development would have been required to follow.

So here we are at this meeting approving kiosk leases and I still do not have answers to my questions.

-Council had yet to see a site plan for this area. I have asked on a number of occasions but was told it wasn’t completed. However, at this meeting I found out that there is a site plan and it was already shared with the Health Unit. Why not council members? I was informed that the site plan, costing and full picture for this venture will be shared with council next month. In my opinion that’s a little late considering approvals and signed leases are now in place.

-With the approval of the Main Street Market and the Kiosk concept, Council passed a resolution for 3 year terms on these kiosks. Why are we now approving 1 and 2 year terms?

-A $250.00 deposit is not sufficient when the Town has to pay the full price of construction for these kiosks. What if the operators decide to walk away? It’s only $250.00 out of their pocket but a lot more out of the tax payers.

-If memory serves, council approved kiosks that would be required to be appropriately fitted for any cooking requirements. Now we are allowing BBQ’s outside of them instead.

-Similar to the bar leases there are a number of differences with what should be standard clauses in these kiosk agreements. Why would the town “intentionally delete” (and state it as such) the “Covenantor” clause on one lease?

-Why do some operators for the same price, get 2 parking spaces when others only get one? Was everyone told they could have 2 if they wanted them? We aren’t charging more for those who get 2.

-Staff made the comment that the operators could operate as many months as they want. That’s not what myself or others around the table understood the terms of the kiosks to be. Also, there is only a one year warranty on these kiosks. They probably should be stored inside for the winter as I don’t recall a maintenance program/budget and we will want to keep them in the best shape possible in hopes of getting a few years out of them.

After approximately 5 minutes of discussion, before having all of my questions answered and prior to Councillor Bray having the opportunity to ask all of hers, Councillor Smith asked the Chair (Councillor Anderson) to call the question and that there be no more discussion. She was supported by three other council members (Mayor Smith and Councillors Stockwell and Ego) and questions and answers stopped.

I can’t seem to understand why I’m silenced when asking questions about the kiosks or the beach front properties and leases. Questions and answers are not just for me, but for our public so that the process is transparent. What am I missing? Why do some not want me asking questions?

I believe it is important that I continue to try to get past the “silence me” barrier and find out what it is that myself and the public is not supposed to know.