Sunday, June 29, 2014

Upheaval in Sutton - No Transparency From Town Council:


The all-new town Council was elected last November to oppose the deemed unnecessary and wasteful 4 million dollar rebuild of Town hall.  Six months ago that was the opinion of the current mayor plus 3 former mayors, one of them taking responsibility for those election promises by the “Alliance Sutton” team.  They can now not plead lack of many decades-long knowledge of building.  Yet some do.  Just 3 months later, our new Council, with one honourable exception, voted 1/3 million dollar for architecture, and engineering by Groupe SM.  Those engineers were features in the Charbonneau Commission for the stragagème of generating a large problem, then getting a large grant from Québec and then becoming the consultants of the case.  Think Sutton.

There is NO debate that the current water and electric systems are legal and functional, that there is no humidity in the basement or ground floor, or that there is any fungus in the air capable of causing illness.  This was said in a final report by “our” microbiologists.

Recently, the mayor confirmed that there are no such problems. Why then did he never get an estimate for their promised staggered work to GRADUALLY deal with building needs.  To justify the expense, the mayor prefers to quote an estimate by the consultants of $m1.5 for replacing 100% of the electrics and plumbing and much of the structure.  Subsequently Groupe SM was sanctioned for their reporting that had included this not detailed (or justified) high dollar figure.

The Council, Alliance Sutton, promised exemplary transparency and respect [end quote].  There is THE problem.  The official website calendar shows 1 council meeting, of June 2, yet does not list the other 4 “special meetings” with agendas and that are supposed to be public.  How is anyone to guess there were other meetings with resolutions taken?  Worse, there was no notice to sign a register for a referendum about the project.

There was no mail-box flyer to all tax payers.  A few citizens paid for a flyer (thank you) but with 1 weekend and the Fête Nationale in between, it arrived the day before the register and that closed before any of our 50% of weekenders could arrive from The City, had they known.  There were no 2 weeks of notice plus a flyer, and nothing for the 27th on the website calendar apart from the bicycle race.  Nothing else. 

Despite the gross lack of information we were only 34% short of signatures triggering a borrowing referendum.  Moreover, likely all signatures were from former Alliance friends because they promised NOT to do the project!  There is no doubt that there would have been double or triple the required signatures with proper warning and, like in the old days, the register open on a Saturday.   

Why does the Alliance team not alert the public?  It seems that all they legally have to do is post a paper in front of Town Hall.  Considering that the average citizen lives about 5 kms away, I cannot think of a worse insult.  This borrowing and expense is about $1200 per permanent resident, women, men and child.    

They can now go ahead, legally, but only if they build an elaborate space for a few “community groups” that, as per a $12,000 report, sometimes meet  with at most 12 attendees, now served elsewhere.

They can now spend at least $m4 for a once unanimously deemed wasteful unnecessary project while condemning the office employees to live for 1 or 2 years in mainly window less yet to-be-built offices.     

My guess is that we would save at least $400,000 right now calling off the project.  That’s a lot of freshing-up of town hall.  “Change the rugs and paint the walls” said one of our consultants about a typical office.

The person in charge of the website as per resolution 2014-01-058, and the Directeur Général under which she works, should be severely reprimanded for not posting 5 of 6 official Town events in June, objectively and regardless of politicians.

I am more than disappointed as a once enthusiastic “Alliance” voter.  At least the former mayor was transparent and had a superb website about Town Hall, now defunct.  The term “town hall” cannot even be found in the official “Sutton Bulletin” of June.   

Eddie Vos, M.Eng.
Glen Sutton
450 538 0465

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