Even with extremely short notice, a fair number of people came out to the Council meeting last night. The CAO had told us that Council would be asked to vote on whether to put the two ‘late’ reports on the Agenda. Those reports say that the Kitten Mill remains salvageable, and that repurposing it would be a much better financial and social deal for both the community than just knocking it down and likely leaving the property as bare acreage with a large lien on it. In other words, they refute the rationale for demolition.
We were all shocked to find that despite a promise from the CAO that Council would at least be asked to vote on whether to put the reports on the Agenda as ‘late’ items, that never happened. Now, Council members may have been polled individually before the meeting – but that’s not the same thing, as calling for a vote at Council, where people could see how each Council member voted.
So, this hugely important decision, which has irreversible consequences, wasn’t even open to discussion by Council.
Further: at the end of the Council agenda, the Reeve is required to ask if there are any questions from the public. I tried to ask a question about the issue, as did another community member – and we were shut down because the Procedural By-Law says that people can only ask questions that relate to something on the Agenda. So: refuse to put something on the Agenda (and that’s completely in the control of the CAO) and you prevent anyone from asking questions about it.
Why all the secrecy? Because, we’re told, this is an enforcement matter that must be left to staff, and Council can’t comment on it.
That makes no sense. By law, Council sets municipal policy and staff carries out those policies. Let’s be clear: Council is acting to support demolition of the Kitten Mill despite high-level reports that provide a different and better solution.
Council is behaving irresponsibly and we as community members will pay the price for its failure to carry out it’s legal responsibilities.