Posted September 5, 2012
In the past few years there is increasing evidence that too much of the public’s business is conducted in private, behind closed doors often out of city hall.
There are provincially mandated rules that elected officials must abide when conducting the public’s business. This council ignores the fact that they are stewards of the public corporation and its assets. As such, they are a corporate board of directors with the fiduciary responsibility of governance.
There have been several instances where members of council gather to discuss business in private – out of the glare of the press and public. As a result, we the owners of the Guelph Corporation, really never know what is going on.
The message from the council chambers is carefully managed by a squad of communications employees so as not to reveal policies or background created in private.
This another example of mushroom politics — keeping the taxpayers in the dark.
The classic case of this secrecy and manipulation of the facts is the decision to build a $34 million compost plant. Little is known how the decision was reached, or the terms of the contracts with key contractor Maple Reinders and its subsidiary Aim Environmental Services.
Question: Who decided to build a plant with a 60,000 tonne annual capacity when the city only required processing10,000 tonnes of wet waste per year?
Question: Why hasn’t the city revealed the total operating costs of the plant? Will it ever become a profit centre?
Question: Besides the Region of Waterloo, who else is involved in supplying wet waste to reach the plant’s capacity? And what are the terms?
Question: Why is it taking more than a year to get the plant operating?
Question: What other methods of handling waste materials were considered?
Question: How is Guelph’s waste being processed today and at what cost per tonne?
Question: Why did the city opt for spending another $15 million on a waste collection system using large bins, when it could have converted to a biodegradable plastic bag system costing millions less?
Question: If and when this compost plant becomes operational, what are the plans to dispose of the compost?
Question: What does the city intend doing about the odours the plant is generating after the Mayor promised smell-control would be a priority?
With an estimated $50 million of taxpayer money already committed, these are questions that need answers. And citizens are entitled to them.
Far too many meetings among staff and councillors are held in private.
There is only one answer. They don’t want you to know!
The only way to change this abuse of the public trust is to demand that the public’s business be conducted in the open in adherence with provincial law.
Aux barricades, mes Amis!