Letter: ‘Friends’ should stop wasting their efforts on council

It’s time for an appeal, or a community vote of ‘no confidence’

To the Expositor:

Kudos for the excellent op-ed piece ‘Central Manitoulin rule-breaking motion rooted in cultivated culture of secrecy’ (January 20, Page 5) by ex-reeve, journalist and experienced senior civil servant Perry Anglin. Appears Mayor Richard Stephens has caught himself between a rock and a hard place with his gambit of playing both sides against the middle. The recent months of community kerfuffle over the sneaky and questionable motion to seek tenders for the demolition of the community owned Old School in Mindemoya has prompted concerned citizens to finally question activities by the mayor and his cronies on council for not passing the smell test. Ironically, after last week’s published comments by the mayor, claiming to be against the council’s motion, Councillors Derek Stephens and Steven Shaffer immediately called for the mayor to resign. Strangely, this was for breaking council “rules of procedure,” to keep his opinions to himself, rather than for not re-considering the constructive suggestions made by the Property Committee, including the well-researched presentation by Jim Smith. 

Am also impressed by the excellent letter to the editor by Judy McAulay. She cuts through the baffle-gab and focuses on the core issue of the council’s responsibility for the conservation and protection of its community assets and the need to consult relevant government legislation, such as the Ontario Heritage Act. Ms. McAulay astutely recognizes the “conflict of interest” in the position of the council. She makes the important point that the government provides “an appeal process through a Crown agency, comprised of the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Conservation Review Board, a tribunal that hears objections to municipal and provincial decisions. It’s time for concerned members of the community, such as the Friends of the Old School, to stop wasting their efforts on this unreceptive amateur cast from a Manitoulin production of Nikolai Gogol’s brilliant satirical play, ‘The Inspector General,’ and appeal to this Conservation Review Board tribunal. If council rules of procedure do not allow for a community vote of no confidence, someone needs to donate a vaudeville hook to yank this embarrassing ‘Gong Show’ act off the stage.

D.S. McPhail