Former mayor asks council four questions

Former Mayor Dennis Staples
Former Mayor Dennis Staples addressed council Monday night about the Beckwith Street Redevelopment Project. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: March 19, 2019

Former Mayor Dennis Staples addressed Smiths Falls council Monday afternoon in connection with the Beckwith Street Redevelopment Plan.

During his address, amongst other comments, he asked — and wanted answers for — four questions: why his letter of Feb. 19 was not part of the council agenda on Feb. 25 in keeping with the Procedural By-law section on correspondence; why were the 150 emails received by Council on the Beckwith Street Redevelopment Plan not placed on a Council or Committee of the Whole agenda; what actions would Council take on the two previous  delegations from Vince Hamilton and Justin Duhamel; and would you provide assurances that future delegations will be heard?

He was willing to leave his notes for Council’s perusal.

Councillor Chris McGuire commented: “It’s great to have these meetings in the community but I’ve never been invited to one and I’d love to show up. It’s a good way to engage.” He added there seems to be “a lot of ideas of backroom conversations that I’m not aware of. By not getting invited to meetings it eliminates an opportunity for that dialogue.”

He continued he was willing and open if invited — but to invite him via email. “I’m not on Facebook. I think it’s a toxic forum right now.”

Mayor Pankow assured Staples future delegations would be heard. Staples concluded: “My experience has been that providing an opportunity [for the] public to be heard, to [take] part (they may not agree with the final decision) but at least they will have had an opportunity. If that was allowed — maybe I’m old-fashioned, he acknowledged — it might put an end to this grief you’re going through and the public is going through. Without it I think you’re going to have a continuation of this.”

Mayor Pankow pointed out there have been “13 individual opportunities for public feedback as well as email and telephone calls and individual meetings through the length of this project, going back to 2017 [and up to] to January of this year.”

More answers will be forthcoming at future Committee of the Whole and Council meetings.

Article by Sally Smith

4 thoughts on “Former mayor asks council four questions

  1. NORMA FORD

    Councillor Chris McGuire commented: “It’s great to have these meetings in the community but I’ve never been invited to one and I’d love to show up. It’s a good way to engage.” He added there seems to be “a lot of ideas of backroom conversations that I’m not aware of. By not getting invited to meetings it eliminates an opportunity for that dialogue.”
    Councillor McGuire forgets that he already attended the first of these meetings. These meetings are not secret, well advertised on Facebook but then that’s social media.
    Council needs to wake up and get their head out of the sand. Announce a Public Meeting and actually listen to the people, over 3,100 signatures on a petition is nothing to ignore and is more than a drop in the bucket of 150 emails mayor pankow says he has received. Delegations of one person to council no matter how many take place is NOT the same as a Public Meeting.

  2. NORMA FORD

    “Councillor Chris McGuire commented: “It’s great to have these meetings in the community but I’ve never been invited to one and I’d love to show up. It’s a good way to engage.” He added there seems to be “a lot of ideas of backroom conversations that I’m not aware of. By not getting invited to meetings it eliminates an opportunity for that dialogue.” Councillor McGuire has a short memory as he attended the 1st meeting.
    “Mayor Pankow assured Staples future delegations would be heard:. The answer should have been, council will call a Public Meeting so everyone can get their questions answers not a select view so they can “craft” their answers. They should already know the answers, they took all of two weeks to change a decision that took over 10 months of the previous councils time to investigate. They took two weeks, plenty of time to make an informed decision – not. Call a Public Meeting immediately mr. mayor.

  3. Donna McRae

    13 opportunities, next time you need to ask mayor, when where and what time because it seems like over 3000 people missed all these so called opportunities, you shouldn’t always write what your told especially by your favourite buddy it just makes you look bad as a reporter just my opinion

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