The news article, “Brighton expanding industrial park” from June 07, 2012 raises many questions regarding costs and delays in completing the Brighton Industrial Park expansion project. Considering this article and the current situation in the Brighton Industrial Park, it is imperative that in the interests of transparency and accountability there should be a full and detailed report regarding the expansion project costs and timelines.
Councillors Martinello and Tadman have put forward the following motion for debate at the September 2, 2014 meeting of Brighton Council asking for such reports.
Whereas the law of Ontario, & particularly section 224 (d.1) of the Ontario Municipal Act states,
“It is the role of council to ensure the accountability & transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;” and
Whereas there have been a number of high-value & high profile projects & issues that seem to drag on & on without reasonable explanation;
It is recommended that Council direct staff to present a written report, at every council meeting starting with first meeting in September 2014, on the following projects/issues:
a) court case against Brighton for Ontario Water Resources Act infractions at the Brighton sewage plant;
b) reconstruction of Terry Fox Drive;
c) construction of Brighton Industrial Park; and
d) installation of LED streetlighting throughout Brighton.
It is further recommended that reports described at preceding contain, as a minimum, the following information.
a) estimated date of project completion;
b) work completed during the reporting period;
c) problems encountered during reporting period & actions taken to remedy these problems; and
d) percentage & amount of budgeted money spent to date of report.
Not only do I believe that the requests in the preceding motion are appropriate, I believe that Brighton Council has moral and legal obligation to ensure that this information is provided to the taxpayers of Brighton.
As I wrote in an earlier post, “In the interest of Transparency and Accountability“, Councillors Martinello and Tadman asked for similar reports in November 2013 for the Sewage Treatment Plant and the Industrial Park (Phase 1) expansion. That motion was defeated by Deputy Mayor Craig Kerr and Councillors Tom Rittwage, Emily Rowley and Mike Vandertoorn.
In the interim, the Ministry of the Environment has taken legal action against the Municipality of Brighton for non-compliance . Yes, “we” (you and I) are being sued by the Provincial Government and “we” are paying to defend the court action. Tell me, how does it feel to be sued? Do you think that it will affect your reputation as well as your pocket book?
Instead of using our tax dollars to ensure that we have an efficient, environmentally sound sewage treatment system that is compliant with Provincial standards, these four Councillors would seem to prefer spending our tax dollars defending lawsuits.
Also since the defeat of the November 2013 motion, the Industrial Park expansion has been further delayed. Delays always cost money, whether they are incurred now or down the line!
It doesn’t take an idiot (or maybe it does) to notice that although the road in the Industrial Park expansion has been paved with asphalt, there are still services that have not been completed to make the lots “investment ready“.
Why are we led to believe that it is inappropriate to ask questions of Council and that we are not entitled to know how, when and why our tax dollars are being spent? As I recently commented to a local resident, “accountability takes many forms and does not necessarily mean that someone has to be fired (but it can). Accountability helps ensure that the taxpayer receives the best result at the best price”
There is a significant trust deficit between the Municipality and the taxpayers of Brighton. Comprehensive and transparent reporting on this and other such projects will help to bridge that deficit.
As I have said before and I will say it again, “Brighton is facing huge infrastructure challenges and we need a new approach to address these challenges that is both, transparent AND accountable to the taxpayers of Brighton. The current status quo is not acceptable and must change!”
If your strategy is “build it and they will come”, you had better get it built
Brighton Industrial Park expansion project concerns
The muddy waters of transparency at Brighton Council became a little clearer