Yes you heard it here first folks. Chris Carrier is running ………….
…….6kms per day 5 days a week and is looking great by it.
I recently had a chance to sit down with our ex mayor on a very pleasant Saturday morning at Ashanti. I have been a little hard on him in some of my past posts. This was an opportunity for me to get his side of the story directly, plus find out what he thinks about the current administration. I realized while talking to him that all of my previous views and opinions have been based on a tainted media, his political foes and by people that have not met him or know him. I believe in light of what we now have governing us, it might be time to take a second look at Mr. Carrier and his legacy.
He allowed me to interview him and ask some fairly pointed questions. The following is my interview. It is long so I have divided it into 2 parts the second part I will post in a few days:
Nobody: Can you describe to me in two words your opinion of our current town council?
Mr. Carrier: The current Council consists of 9 individual members and a 2 word summary is rather difficult. A 2 word summary of many of the decisions made by this current council I would describe as “fiscally incompetent” (selling of COLLUS, recreational facility structures, closing the rail lines, acting as the applicant Admiral site development) , “woefully ignorant” (revocation of the draft plan of approval based upon the Growth Plan for Simcoe County), “ethically challenged”(violating section 106 of the Municipal Act on bonusing by acting as the applicant for a development proposal), “lacking consistency” (not increasing the density for one development-Pretty River Estates yet increasing density for Admiral Development).
Nobody: The patio issue has been hung around your neck like an albatross and the last municipal election was fought over it. What was your role in that situation as mayor?
Chris Carrier: I voted to keep the patios against the buildings yet I still have people ask me why I voted to have the patios curbside. The confusion may have resulted from the BIA’s recommendation to move the patio to the curb. Council believed the BIA executive had consulted and had the agreement of the restaurant owners. Apparently they had neither. When it became apparent of the lack of consultation and harmony within the BIA for their executive’s support of the recommendation for a curbside patio-council became involved with issue more directly than we should have been required. The emotional debate resulted in a polarizing effect with various stakeholders. It was difficult to manage the messaging as so many different viewpoints were being aired in various media and methods (blogs, advertisements, protests, editorials and of course during television broadcasts of Council meetings). The real impact to local business owners who relied on the patio traffic to help them with their overall bottom line in running a business was the deciding factor for me. I agreed with their viewpoint and voted to have the patios remain curbside. I did try to convince others with a differing viewpoint but to no avail. The outcome of the election of 2010 was impacted by this debate.
Nobody: What is your view of the soon to be constructed recreation facilities?
Chris Carrier: I thought the initial decision to implement a committee to review the needs and to recommend to council a solution for our recreational needs was a good tactic to take. Looking back to the previous multi-use discussion and in particular those on this current council who were also on that previous council and who voted (Sandra Cooper, Rick Lloyd, Ian Chadwick, Mike Edwards) to overturn the decision to build a multi-use facility and return several million dollars in grant money, it did not-does not surprise me of the debacle we currently are in. A rejection of the committee’s recommendation (one of the finest pieces of research and plans I had seen in my years in politics), a decision out of left field with little regard for the public input and an open and transparent process. There were better solutions in 2004 and these same people ruined that opportunity and are once again demonstrating their fiscal incompetence and disregard for the better opportunities provided in the committee’s report.
Nobody: Bearing in mind that if Collingwood decides to reject a casino within its boundaries Wasaga Beach will very likely vote to approve one within our neighboring municipality. For or against a casino?
Chris Carrier: Collingwood Council has already debated and voted to reject a gaming facility within our boundaries. It remains to be seen whether or not a future vote by this Council will occur. Mayor Sandra Cooper consulted with Clerk Sara Almas about whether or not Council would have to have a vote for reconsideration in order to move forward based upon the recommendations contained within a report about the Integrated Destination Resort Facility/Development that would include a gaming facility of some kind. I personally thought if a gaming facility were to be built it would be best at the Village at Blue but that of course would be for a discussion and decision by their residents. For reconsideration to occur Councillor’s who already voted no to a gaming facility (Edwards, Chadwick, Lloyd, Hull and Cunningham) will need to present a motion for reconsideration and a then a 2/3 thirds majority of Council as whole must approve the motion.
I have been asked by a number of people how I would have voted and I usually start off saying that it is a difficult matter to consider. I would have a been a NO vote. In looking at the public consultation over the last upteem years a casino-gaming facility has never been part of the equation. From what I have heard in listening to years of public discourse I truly believe a casino is not in Collingwood’s best interest. Casinos are touted as revenue sources for all kinds of public charities-I feel they are a tax scheme to fund issues that our Provincial governments lack the will to provide the necessary funds to ensure more open and inclusive communities.
It remains to be seen whether OLG will go ahead with a casino in Wasaga Beach subject to their community’s process desires but yes I do agree that Wasaga Beach seems to be a willing host. A casino should be reviewed in the planning context as any commercial enterprise and the impacts of lost revenue (there is only so much discretionary spending) to neighbouring communities should be part of the evaluation process. That is why the site location is critical in the discussions. I do not watch the Council meetings that often (rarely in fact) but the debate on the casinos was an exception. I thought the discussion was this Council’s finest moment-most everyone spoke from the heart and with a commitment to their view of who we are as a community. I was not surprised it was a 5-4 vote nor was I surprised it was a NO vote. I believe it was the correct vote.
Nobody: Another situation that ended up being painted as your fault was the Admiral Collingwood Building fiasco, myself included. What was your actual roll in this?
Chris Carrier:In October 2005 the public meeting was held in Council Chambers chaired by Mayor Geddes and that was the beginning of the public process of this development application.
In July 2006 a local ratepayers group appealed Official Plan Amendment #5(Admiral Collingwood Development) to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Also in July (18th) 2006 the developers also appealed Official Plan Amendment #5 (Admiral Collingwood Development) to the Ontario Municipal Board. The scheduled hearing date is March 2007.
It should be noted that the County of Simcoe modified OPA#5 forwarded to them by the Town of Collingwood and it is this modified OPA#5 that has been appealed. The scheduled hearing date is July 9th 2007.
It would seem unlikely that the building could have been completed in the summer of 2007 as stated in the media by Mr. Assaff when his own appeal made that outcome improbable at best.
If the development were to have preceded and built in the summer of 2007 it would have required signed agreements and standard financial securities in place before any construction could begin.
If neither appeal were to have occurred let us review the posting of the required securities. If the development group posted all necessary securities they could have begun construction but it is a moot point because of both appeals. That being said various schemes for posted securities in November 2006 and early December 2006 were brought forward to Mayor Geddes and Council for consideration and following senior staff and legal advice none were approved as an acceptable method of payment. All of this information is documented and is based upon fact not speculation and leads to the same conclusion it is at best improbable construction could have been completed in the summer of 2007.