Collingwood’s Membership in OMWA

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This is OMWA.

OMWA stands for Ontario Municipal Water Association.

The OMWA website states,

“The Ontario Municipal Water Association is the voice of municipal public water supply in Ontario. Its members are public water supply owners and municipally owned operating authorities.”

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The OMWA website shows their Board of Directors, and also their “Executive Director”

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OMWA’s “Contact Us” page shows this,

 

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OMWA has a page that lists their “Municipal Members”. It lists roughly 175 members, including Collingwood.

The Province of Ontario has 444 municipalities.

 

Each of the 175 municipalities listed, has a hyperlink their municipal website.

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When you click on the link for Collingwood, it directs you to this page

 

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The OMWA website also has a media page, which includes contact information

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According to linkedin, OMWA has a “Communications Coordinator”

 

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It goes on to read, “Provide communications and news updates for OMWA members, coordinate website and new Twitter feed and Facebook page. Develop brochures, articles, posters, banners, etc.

 

Here is one of their twitter posts,

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Here is another,

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I don’t know if there are anymore like these because,

 

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OMWA has a fee schedule on their website, and I confirmed with the town last week that Collingwood is a paying member. The town paid their fees in 2016, and for 2017.

 

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That is all…

 

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Cooper or Trump: Who is the bigger Twitiot?

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The Urban Dictionary defines Twitiot as:

“A person being an idiot, saying stupid things, or being annoying, on Twitter.”

 

It goes further in the case of Donald Trump, defining it as:

“An idiot who sees Twitter as a Presidential form of communication by tweeting incendiary and inappropriate comments at all hours of the night.”

 

Example: “Someone please take his phone away, that Twitiot is going to get us all killed.”

 

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Why should we care what Donald Trump, Sandra Cooper, or any other elected leader posts on twitter?

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A story from Wired magazine titled “Sorry America, You Have to Pay Attention to Trump’s Tweets” points out a few of the reasons that we should.

Twitter is also Trump’s primary way to communicate with Americans. He hasn’t given a press conference since July 27. What he writes on Twitter matters.

“Trump’s tweets could indeed be major policy pronouncements, given the way he has been using this medium,”

 

“experts agree: Trump’s intentions are beside the point. His tweets have weight, and cannot be ignored.”

 

“In the absence of formal press conferences and briefings to news media, his tweets are all we got.”

 

“In every case, the reason to follow Trump’s tweets eventually reveals itself: They say more about him than his targets.”

 

Each of these reasons are relevant, even for the Mayor of a town with just over 20,000 residents.

Mayor Cooper created her current Twitter account in September of 2012, as noted in her profile.

sandra

Social Media Today explained in their story “Twitter 101: A Beginner’s Guide”,

 

You can write a short bio and promote a website – this should reflect your personal branding strategy

Sandra has used the Town website, created a specific user name and a two title bio on her main page, that show she is using this solely as a political account.

This is a very common use, and her years of tweets show that to be the case.

You can see the similarities on Trump’s page

trumptweet

Looking at the volume and content of their tweets, here is a comparison of the past seven days, June 11-18.

Number of original tweets: Trump 37, Cooper 7

Number of individual user profiles (@) tagged: Cooper 11, Trump 7

Number of hashtags (#) used: Cooper 7, Trump 7

Number of times they retweeted other peoples tweets:  Cooper 24, Trump 3

Number of times they tweeted a picture of themselves: Cooper 2, Trump 0

Number of times they retweeted themselves: Cooper 1, Trump 0

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While any individual tweet, as well as each individual category, have significance in the bigger picture, it is the second category “user profiles” that is the catalyst for this blog.


The Muse
describes it this way


“If you want to get someone’s attention on Twitter, @ is where it’s at!

@ always precedes a user’s name (i.e. @dailymuse) and is the universal Twitter symbol for public (read: everyone can see it) conversation.

Eager to respond to an interesting question? Plug in @, followed by a user name and your comment, and the recipient will be notified immediately via their @Mentions tab.

One of the great advantages of Twitter is that it is an open forum where you have the ability to reach out to anyone publicly, even if they’re not following you back.”

 

It’s simple. In order to talk to someone on Twitter, you have to address them by their username (not their actual name), preceded by an @ symbol.

Twitter profiles are very easily searched for on Google if you want to make sure you have the correct person.

I have just typed “sandra cooper twitter” into my Google search, and the result that came up at the top of the page was this;

Sandra Cooper (@mayorSCooper) · Twitter
https://twitter.com/mayorSCooper@CSLCorp thx 4 mtg/tour Pres/CEO #shipbuilding #history @TownCollingwood pic.twitter.com/WGWJU51…2 days ago · Twitter

which is the correct link to her account.

If you type “sandracooper” into twitter as the user name, it takes you to an account that is obviously not the hers, shown below.

 

sandrac
Using a persons correct “user name“, is very important.

For example, when this tweet was posted in 2014. the person didn’t bother to look up the correct user name.

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A quick search of that specific user name shows this result.

 

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Failing-at-Twitter-Ads

The point is this. If you have been an active twitter user for several years, and have posted almost 6,000 tweets, the occasional mistake can be both excused and corrected.

To make those same mistakes repeatedly, shows both an incompetence with the social networking service itself, as well as a complete lack of respect for those users who you can’t be bothered to search for correctly.

I began following the Mayor on twitter years ago. I’d noticed a few of her mistakes over time, but it wasn’t until I noticed one in particular, that I felt I had to do something about it.

On June 26, 2015, the Mayor posted this on twitter (just the image on the left of the three)

 

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You can see that the Mayor was attempting to use the CCI twitter handle (which is actually @CCI_SCDSB).

 

The name she used (@CCI) actually linked to the account pictured in the middle of the three.  The profile picture from the account was the one on the right.

 

As the Mayor was no longer speaking to me at this point in time, I handled it in the most appropriate way I knew. I sent an email, and the link, to the town’s Communication Officer.

 

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Just two days later, (then) blogger View from a Nobody posted this blog,

For god sake someone take our Mayor’s computer away from her.

In the blog, he showed examples of incorrect user names the Mayor had posted on twitter including, Jean Vanier, Hume Street, Highway 400, Sarnia, Ontario and more.

vanier
It’s been nearly two years since this series of events. I have had a number of discussions with members of town staff, as well as members of council about this issue.

The Mayor is followed on twitter by local charities, businesses, and dignitaries.

The Mayor is also followed by both peer and upper tier politicians, provincial and national organizations, and other municipalities.

The Mayor is followed by many media organizations, including both local papers.

Has anything changed in the past two years? You can judge for yourself.

There are so many errors, that I’ve organized them in categories for you.

(Note: With each pair of pictures, the image on the left is the Mayor’s tweet. The image on right is the actual site it leads to.

Businesses

collagesunset

Is Sunset Manor South Africa?

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Is Meridian from California?

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Is this Thom Vincent of Balmoral, in Australia?

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Did the Mayor intend to name Royal Lepage British Columbia?

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Not sure where she was going with this one. Was this the NSG the Mayor was trying to name/

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There is no twitter account for the Atoka Club

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Did the Mayor intend to name Chartwell in these two tweets?

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Right company. Wrong user name.  would have been appropriate.

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The Mayor’s link to CSL goes here. It’s her first attempt.

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This was her second attempt. Is this the CSL she wanted?

Organizations

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I think the Mayor was trying for the Collingwood Historical Society

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The Mayor named Trinity United Church…in Thunder Bay

collagestation

I don’t believe Collingwood’s “Station” actually has a twitter account

collagefarmer

The Mayor names the Farmers Market…in North Carolina

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In this tweet, the Mayor incorrectly named the legion, the zone, and her own town wrong

collagefoundation

Here she posted a non-existent link to the Hospital Foundation


Provincial Organizations

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I think she was aiming for the Ontario Energy Board?

collageosum

The Mayor’s link to OSUM is pictured on top. Where it actually leads is below.

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Is this the actual account for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association?

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The Mayor tries to link to the OLG


Local Dignitaries

collagedan

Is this the actual account for the new Deputy Fire Chief?

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Is this the actual account for the Town Crier?

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Here she has posted a non-existent link to Richard Rohmer

collagetrude

This is the link she posted for retired Police Chief John Trude


Politicians

 

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Top: The Mayor’s tweet, and the wrong page where it leads. Below is the correct link to the page.

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The Mayor tweets to @RMilneHF…and gets an interesting response in the next picture.

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The Mayor had incorrectly used the user name of a NY State Mayor. I’m guessing that she’d meant to post the user name of Rick Milne, the Mayor of New Tecumseth (pictured on the far right).

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Rick Milne, the Mayor of New Tecumseth, may not have a twitter account. If his town does, this is certainly not it.


Finally

collageborden

the Mayor attempts to name Base Borden

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The Mayor attempts to name our sister city Katano

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and yet again, the Mayor makes the wrong post for the town she represents

Note: These are not errors that have been accumulated since July, 2015. With the exception of a few from later in 2016, these are all are from 2017.

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The Mayor of Collingwood has shown a complete lack of respect for every single party shown in these examples. The Mayor’s public displays on Twitter, are at the very least, an embarrassment to our entire town.

Take the time to see for yourselves. The Mayor’s body of tweets, show that she is primarily interested in only two things. Promoting herself…

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…and promoting her son

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If you are concerned about this issue, follow the Mayor on twitter (@mayorSCooper)

As with the promises and voting records of any politician, these are important to document, and to remember.

Many of you may have heard about this item, from a few weeks ago (May 31st)

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It caused such confusion and speculation, that a member of the U.S. Congress introduced a bill that would make it a requirement to preserve President Trump’s tweets

Read: Congressman introduces ‘COVFEFE Act’ to make social media a presidential record

In the case of our Mayor, I can no longer keep a record such as the one I’ve detailed posted here, for as of this week…

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So, the survey question today is…Who is the bigger Twitiot?

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CGMH – Hospital Redevelopment: A Timeline of the…process

 

 

Here is a timeline of the Hospital redevelopment process, that has become somewhat contentious between the Town of Collingwood, and a number of people who are involved with the Hospital.

The links provided, are all from Simcoe.com new stories, unless other wise noted.

 

January 6, 2014 – Collingwood hospital has new CEO

“Guy Chartrand will take over the position starting April 1.”

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May 28, 2014 – So far so good for new hospital CEO

Having been involved with a redevelopment in Mattawa, he knows they take a lot of time but said it’s a priority. “I saw it the first day I came in,” he (Chartrand) said. “Something will need to happen. I want to go through the proper process.”

 

October 22, 2014 – Collingwood hospital starts planning process for future growth

Chartrand has gone through a re-development process before. He said the goal is to get some answers, including whether a renovation or a new hospital is needed. “I want the facts. I want what is feasible and what is not feasible.”

 

December 20, 2014 – Collingwood G&M hospital CEO says 2015 will bring re-development plans

“When I arrived, I could sense this was on the radar, it was of great importance,” he (Chartrand) said”

 

March 27, 2015 – Collingwood police, principals and 16 at hospital on Sunshine List

“Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Chief Executive Officer Guy Chartrand earned $152,655 in 2014 and was one of 16 hospital employees on the sunshine list. Norah Holder, VP patient services and chief nursing executive earned $163,370.”

 

April 15, 2015 – Collingwood hospital projects $1 million deficit

“We’re a very efficient and effective hospital,” CEO Guy Chartrand told The Connection last year. “Any formula you choose, will never be perfect, so we have to make it as perfect as we can with ongoing dialogue with the ministry.”

 

June 24, 2015 – Collingwood hospital CEO optimistic about future development

“What we’re really trying to do is expedite the (re-development) process as fast as we can,” he (Chartrand) said

 

November 11, 2015 – Collingwood hospital re-development project gaining momentum says CEO

“Hospital foundation executive director Jory Pritchard-Kerr said the province will fund 90 per cent of construction costs and those associated with the project. The community will be required to fund 10 per cent of the construction project, including 100 per cent of equipment, furniture and site acquisition and preparation.

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February 2, 2016 – Wasaga Beach offers to donate land for new G&M Hospital site

“At council’s last meeting, hospital CEO Guy Chartrand and board member David Finbow updated council on the redevelopment process that’s currently underway.”

 

March 23, 2016 – Town of Collingwood statement on Collingwood General & Marine Hospital

“The Council of the Town of Collingwood looks forward to continuing to work proactively with the General and Marine Hospital, and our regional partners, as the future of the facility is determined.”

 

March 24, 2016 – Collingwood will make ‘significant’ but undisclosed donation toward new hospital

“I can’t say, it was in-camera,” said Mayor Sandra Cooper. “I can’t share those details.”

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March 29, 2016 – Collingwood hospital CEO, top cop, principals make Sunshine List

“CEO Guy Chartrand earned $237,564 in 2015. Also on the list from the hospital are manager of emergency Erin Bruce ($108,166); chief of performance and clinical systems Anita Chevalier ($112,671); nurse Marg Crowley ($102,702); nurse Cindy Dillon ($104,103); nurse Ryan Foss ($100,362); manager of medical Barbara Gotuaco ($104,963); Vice President, Patient Services & Chief Nursing Officer Norah Holder ($154,401); Vice President, Corporate Services & Chief Financial Officer Michael Lacroix ($141,882); nurse Margaret MacMillan ($107,028); manager of pharmacy Patel Manishkumar ($105,278); manager of finance Janice Sandberg ($101,459); transition to home coordinator Jennifer Stewart ($101,516); and manager of obstetrics and surgical services Aimee Stinson ($105,086)

 

April 6, 2016 – Collingwood hospital to make decision on redevelopment plans in September

“The Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) will recommend a “preferred solution” to the hospital’s board of trustees in June”

 

May 10, 2016 – Collingwood hospital will narrow list of building sites down to three

“We are building this for the community so we want to make sure we provide an opportunity to provide us their thoughts with regards to where the site would be,” he (Chartrand) said

 

June 1, 2016 – Collingwood hospital announces three preferred sites for new location

“Board member David Finbow presented the options and outlined pros and cons for each (site)”

 

June 2, 2016 – Selecting new site for Collingwood hospital will be ’emotional’, says G&M president

“Questions from the audience included whether the existing hospital could remain as a trauma centre, especially for those with ski injuries, should the decision be to move the hospital to a new site. That idea, however, was discounted by Chartrand as one unlikely to be accepted by the ministry.”

 

June 7, 2016 –   Is hospital a done deal

“Worth noting, that of all those who spoke up at the meetings, only one person actually endorsed the move to a brand new site.”

 

June 12, 2016 – Collingwood wants hospital to redevelop at current location

“(Town planner Nancy) Farrer said there is about 56 acres of property surrounding the hospital, some of which is designated under the official plan in a special policy area, health.”

 

July 8, 2016 – Wasaga CAO to gather more info for town’s bid for hospital

“After an hour-long behind-closed-door discussion, Tuesday, councillors voted 6-1 to direct the town’s chief administrative officer George Vadeboncoeur to gather more information”

 

July 13, 2016 – Wasaga Beach adds $4M to offer to bring regional hospital to town

“I have said from the beginning that the Town of Wasaga Beach will support whatever site is selected providing it’s been an open, transparent, and fair process,” he (Wasaga Beach Mayor Brian Smith) said. “I have concerns when I see items left off a presentation made to the public that are blatant.

 

August 23, 2016 – Collingwood hospital board announces recommended site for new hospital

“the G&M’s board of trustees received a recommendation at its June 23 meeting the preferred site be Poplar Sideroad, a property that’s been offered for free by a private landowner. “

 

August 30, 2016 – Collingwood council supports hospital redevelopment, raises concerns about proposed site

Chartrand, hospital board chairperson Thom Paterson and facilities committee chairperson David Finbow made a presentation to council, outlining the process in making the decision and the next steps in the redevelopment process.”

 

September 6, 2017 – Email released through FOI, suggests that Jory Pritchard-Kerr (Executive Director, Foundation at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital), tried to get Councillor Bob Madigan to reconsider his vote on the hospital

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September 7, 2016 – Collingwood Hospital foundation doesn’t want redevelopment delayed

“The (Hospital) foundation launched a social media campaign last week with the hashtag #dontdelayourhospital

 

September 8, 2016 – Municipal representatives present united front in support of Collingwood hospital

“On Aug 29, Collingwood council offered support for the redevelopment in principle but wanted a peer review of the preferred site on Poplar Sideroad.”

 

September 8, 2016 – (twitter) 

“Draft Motion in support of CGMH Stage 1 Redevelopment Submission on Collingwood Council Agenda for Sep 12/16

 

September 9, 2016 – (published on a local blog)

Email to Deputy Mayor Saunderson and Councillor Kathy Jeffrey, by Bud Christensen

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September 9 2016 –  (published on a local blog)

Emails from hospital facilities committee member (?) and local developer Thomas Vincent to councillor Deb Doherty

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September 20, 2016 – (twitter) 

“Mayor Brian Smith says the hospital has promised a walk-in-clinic for Wasaga Beach and said he’s confident they will keep their word”

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September 23, 2016 – Collingwood peer review of hospital site selection process expected to cost $30,000

Coun. Kevin Lloyd was the lone naysayer. “I received a lot more information and a lot more input on this particular issue” he said.

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September 27, 2016 – (published on a local blog)

letter from Tom Vincent to council

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October 5, 2016 – Collingwood hospital submits first phase of redevelopment plan to province

“The complete plan (a 780-page document) is available upon request by emailing redevelopment@cgmh.on.ca”

 

October 25, 2016 – Town fulfilling role in hospital redevelopment process

MOHLTC staff confirmed that the Town of Collingwood is fulfilling its role as the host community appropriately by undertaking its due diligence and appreciates the Town’s responsibility to its residents.

 

November 3, 2016 – (twitter)

 

November 15, 2016 – Collingwood hospital begins fundraising pitch for new facility

“Residents could be expected to pony up more than $75 million to get the new hospital built.”

 

November 25, 2016 – TOWN OF COLLINGWOOD DUE DILIGENCE REVIEW

“Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Development Options Analysis & Report

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November 30, 2016 – Clearview commits $3.6 million to new hospital

“councillors unanimously approved putting $25,000 into a reserve account for 2017 as part of a 15-year plan”

 

December 6, 2016 – Collingwood hospital redevelopment plan gets green light from the LHIN

“The facilities committee of the hospital has selected a newly constructed hospital on Poplar Sideroad, which is expected to cost more than $400 million.”

 

December 14, 2016 – Collingwood to submit peer review of hospital plan to province

“Overall, we found the report to be supportive and positive,” said Hospital board chairperson Thom Paterson

 

January 13, 2017 – Collingwood hospital plans to go under ministry microscope

(CEO Guy Chartrand) “the Jan. 18 meeting will give ministry staff the chance to “tear apart” the hospital’s proposal to expand and move to a site on the Poplar Side Road.”

 

January 26, 2017 – Collingwood hospital CEO says delays could derail redevelopment plans

(CEO Guy Chartrand) “I’m disappointed and I keep hearing the same thing and they’re questioning our openness and transparency,” he said. “It is disturbing, because it’s not the truth. They continue, in the public eye to say we’re not open and transparent.

 

February 16, 2017 – How charities are coping with ‘donor fatigue’ (Globe)

She (Jory Pritchard-Kerr) will soon launch an ambitious capital campaign to raise $75-million of the more than $300-million needed to construct a new hospital nearby.

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Battle in the Beach: A timeline of the War in Wasaga

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The dates in this timeline, are generally of the date the news story was first posted. The hyperlinks are mainly to the original Simcoe.com news stories.

 

December 1, 2014 -Wasaga’s new mayor Brian Smith takes office

brian-smith

 

January 28, 2015 – Mayor Brian Smith approached the owners of several beachfront properties prior to any discussion with council and asked if the properties were for sale.

 

March 16, 2015 – Beach owner presents a letter of intent to Wasaga Beach, proposing to sell Wasaga Beach Development Group’s beachfront holdings to the municipality.

 

March 18, 2015 – Council discusses offer behind closed doors, along with – in the mayor’s words – the “good, bad, ugly and indifferent” of the municipality owning the land. In open session, council provides direction to Vadeboncoeur, which is approved, 6-1 (Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi against).

 

March 31, 2015 – Council again discusses the purchase of the beachfront land. A vote to give direction to the CAO is passed, 6-1 (Bifolchi against)

 

April 7, 2015 – Lawyer Michael Stahr and appraiser Peter Gignac present on the proposed purchase (Gignac’s appraisal report had been delivered to the municipality on April 2). Council votes 4-2 (Coun. Smith absent) to direct the CAO (Bifolchi and Coun. Sylvia Bray against).

 

April 10, 2015 – Mayor Smith conducts a phone poll of council members, in order to gain support for him to sign a purchasing agreement for the beachfront properties. He advises that he would be signing within an hour of the phone call .

 

April 10, 2015 – The town signs a conditional agreement of purchase and sale for the beachfront properties.

 

April 21, 2015 -During their committee of the whole meeting, councillors receive the report of engineer Dan Barill (the report was provided to the CAO on April 20), who inspected the properties along with the town’s chief building official. Following an in camera session, committee moves into open session to pass a resolution for council’s consideration to purchase the seven parcels of land for $13.8 million; Bifolchi and Bray vote in opposition.

The resolution is ratified at the April 28 council meeting, with the deal to close May 14.

 

April 28, 2015 -Wasaga council votes 5-2 to buy beachfront lands for $13.8 million

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May 12, 2015 – Committee of the whole discusses leases for the retail and bar spaces,  approving a recommendation to sign leases for Bananas and Copa Cabana with Enzo Grossi.

 

June 12, 2015 – Council changes the Code of Conduct, giving Mayor Brian Smith the power to direct municipal staff.

 

June 16, 2015 – Committee of the Whole receives an updated report from engineer Dan Barill, outlining the costs associated with repairs. At that same meeting, committee recommends the operation of The Dard be awarded to Grossi.

 

August 8, 2015 – Town hires Andrew McNeill as director of economic development and tourism.

 

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August 21, 2015 – Council fires the town clerk and the manager of planning

 

September 23, 2015 – Council gives EDO Andrew McNeill, the added responsibility for the planning and building functions of the town.

 

October, 2015 – Mayor Brian Smith and several senior staff met with FORREC

 

November 18, 2015 – Council votes to hire Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze

 

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November 26, 2015 – Council hires new clerk Holly Bryce

 

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December 4, 2015 –Casino could be catalyst for Wasaga Beach: EDO Andrew McNeill

 

December 16, 2015 -Beachfront added to potential sites for Wasaga Beach casino. Recommendation by EDO Andrew McNeill.

 

January 26, 2016 – Council members claim that information was withheld by EDO Andrew McNeill, on the bids for an operator of a beachfront bar.

 

January 29, 2016 -Wasaga council approves controversial code of conduct changes, by a 4-3 vote. Ron Anderson, Bifolchi and Bray in opposition.

 

April 19, 2016 – Wasaga Beach councilor Ron Anderson resigns

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May 24, 2016 – Mayor Brian Smith tells the media that Wasaga Distribution is not for sale

 

June 16, 2016 – FORREC Ltd. at a cost of $350,000, hired to undertake a master plan for Wasaga Beach’s downtown.

 

June 16, 2016 – 17 candidates to vie for the vacant seat at Wasaga Beach Town Council

 

June 22, 2016 – Joe Belanger selected to to fill Wasaga Beach’s vacant council seat.

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June 27, 2016 – My E-B opinion column, Taking a lesson from the Beach

 

July 5, 2016 – Council votes against Deputy Mayor Bifolchi’s request to see the minutes of Wasaga Distribution meetings

 

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August 11, 2016 – Freedom of Information request finds emails about secret meetings to discuss lease contracts, with Mayor and CAO.

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August 14, 2016 – Council finds out that in July, EDO Andrew McNeil cut a cheque for an event in held in Toronto.  The money covered fees for swimwear models who were on hand for photo opportunities.

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August 17, 2016 – Mayor Brian Smith issues an open letter countering allegations that he and the CAO held a secret meeting to negotiate leases for two bars.

August 24, 2016 – Mayor Brian Smith sued for allegedly abusing his position by negotiating, and then breaching, a deal for the operation of two of the town-owned beachfront bars. (Case still ongoing)

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September 13, 2016 – Council fires Clerk Holly Brice

 

September 27, 2016 – Break-in at Town Hall. Computer stolen.
(No charges laid to date)

 

September 29, 2016 – Town appoints temporary clerk

 

October 7, 2016 – Wasaga Beach pulls an open letter addressing allegations from a beachfront bar operators from its website, and has asked local media organizations to do the same.

 

October 20, 2016 – Integrity Commissioner report dismisses complaints against DM Bifolchi, and recommends that staff and council stop filing complaints against each other.

 

October 25, 2016 – Wasaga Distribution Board member Brian Kirkwood resigns

 

October 27, 2016 – EDO Andrew McNeill, while declaring a conflict of interest at an October 18th committee meeting, still touted his sisters firm as one of the best in the country for real estate law.

 

November 29, 2016 – Integrity Commissioner finds that Mayor Smith broke the town’s code of conduct rules when he discussed the value of Wasaga Distribution in a radio interview

 

 

December 2016 – Gerry Reinders, Director of Parks, Facilities and Recreation announces retirement

 

December 2016 – Kevin Lalonde, Director of Public Works – resigned

 

December 7, 2016 – Former Wasaga Distribution Board member Brian Kirkwood, admits that he resigned over the decision recommending the sale of the utility.

 

December 21, 2016 – Council votes to record closed-door meetings.

 

December 23, 2016 – Wasaga Beach hires their third clerk in 16 months

 

January 17, 2017 – Treasurer Monica Quinlan resigns

 

January 22, 2017 – The Toronto Star publishes the story “Can Wasaga Beach find its way out of the shade?

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January 25, 2017 – Documents show that Wasaga officials met with downtown consultant months before hire

 

January 26, 2017 – Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze rules that Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi did not breach the town’s code of conduct but…

 

January 27, 2017 – Councillor Bonnie Smith pushes for sanctions against Wasaga’s deputy mayor, in spite of Integrity Commissioner ruling

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January 30, 2017 – Senior staff resign from town hall

 

February 7, 2017…

 

 

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It’s time to call out the liars

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Remember me?

I haven’t really blogged for a couple of years now. Only a handful or original pieces, as well as posting some of my Enterprise Bulletin columns, just so that I’d have a way to archive them.

During this time, I rarely felt the urge to post anything. I share a lot of local news stories on my Eye on Collingwood Facebook page, along with the occasional opinion.

I’ve found, that since the current Collingwood council took office, there wasn’t much to write about. I was able to get access to the information I wanted, either through the town, or by filing a Freedom of Information request.

The majority of this council, have been willing to explain their decision’s when I’ve questioned them.

Process has been followed this term, (again by the majority), in spite of the constant accusations by local blogger Ian Chadwick, who appears to be stuck in a perpetual mindset that it’s opposite day.

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So why do I now feel the need to blog again?

Because I am fed up with being lied to.

Lied to by some of the politicians in Collingwood, as well as some from our neighbouring municipalities.

Lied to by residents, who are putting their own personal agendas ahead of what is best for the long term future of our town.

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In Collingwood, the public has been lied to about the our biggest issues;  the Hospital, the Airport, and the Collus PowerStream fiasco.

At last weeks Council meeting, Mayor Cooper tried to give an update on a possible casino, so that may become an issue sooner rather than later.

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In Wasaga Beach, the past year has seen two different clerks fired, Mayor Brian Smith sued, the municipality sued, a Councillor resigned and a new one appointed.

Believe it or not, that’s just part of it. While many of the issues in Wasaga Beach are still under investigation, their Town Hall was robbed, the missing contents of which. included two town laptops.

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I have a years worth of FOI’s saved up that I never bothered to publish, but the reality is, if you care enough to know the truth about any of these topics, most of the information is already public, and readily available.

“there’s nothing that’s more important in democracy than a well-informed electorate”

Game on…

How did you NOT see this coming?

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Well, it’s just the tip of the iceberg, but now you know.

Documents reveal Wasaga Beach mayor, CAO tried to keep meeting with bar operators quiet

The real question is, what are you going to do about it?

 

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The news that broke today, probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many Wasaga Beach residents.

From what I’ve read on social media sites such as Wasaga Beach News & Commentary, many residents of the municipality have had voters remorse since not long after the 2014 election.

As an avid follower of local politics, I can honestly say that not only did I see this coming, but I believe it’s potentially going to get much, much worse.

We’ve been living this in Collingwood on a grander scale,  since early in 2013. Remember this story? I know of what I speak…

Corruption in Collingwood?

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The timeline of events during this term of Wasaga Beach Council, has some eerie similarities to the events that have taken place in Collingwood.

 

April 29, 2015 – Wasaga council ratifies deal to buy beachfront lands

This rushed decision cost $13.8 million, plus everything since. Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi and Councillor Sylvia Bray opposed.

August 27, 2012 in Collingwood: Council goes ahead with fabric buildings for rec facilities

The rushed decision cost was $12 million, plus many costs since.

 

 

June 23, 2015 – Mayor Brian Smith now has the authority to direct staff

These are not powers that the public voted to give him when he was elected. Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi and Councillor Sylvia Bray opposed.

January, 2012 – Collingwood Council passes a by-law giving Mayor Sandra Cooper unlimited power to negotiate the sale of 50% of the towns utility.

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As a followup, there is a story that came out today (Collingwood CAO says Collus sale continues to cost town in legal fees) that reads,

The CAO put responsibility on the shoulders of the mayor.

“The mayor was given significant authority by council for the whole transaction,” he said. 

 

 

April 20, 2016 – Ron Anderson quits during council meeting

In announcing his resignation he said, “In my view, we are running a three-ring circus up here.”

The audience broke out in applause and someone called out, “At least someone has got some integrity,” after which Mayor Brian Smith called for order.

Anderson said he had notified the mayor before the council meeting that he wanted two staff members fired and that if they were not fired he would quit.

I wonder if either of those two staff members, were involved in the story that broke today?

 

 

May 4, 2016 – Wasaga council chooses to appoint a replacement

Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi and Councillor Sylvia Bray opposed.

I personally weighed in on that one (Read: Taking a lesson from the Beach)

 

 

 

July 5, 2016 – Wasaga council turns down deputy mayor bid to see LDC minutes

Deputy Mayor Nina Bifolchi and Councillor Sylvia Bray opposed.

 

In Collingwood: March 31, 2016FOI released this week shines light on correspondance between CAO and Collus CEO

In Collingwood, we have a Council and CAO that have been fighting for over 18 months to gain access to documents about a utility that THEY own.

In Wasaga Beach, 5/7 members of council voted NOT to even look at their own documentation. They voted to rely and trust the Mayor to look after it. I wonder if they feel the same way, after what was revealed in today’s news story.

 

 

So, what’s next for Wasaga Beach?

 

Can the media fix the problems?

No. The media can only inform you. With limited resources and a lack of transparency by the municipality, even that is not an easy thing to do.

 

Can the Integrity Commissioner, Ombudsman, or any other form of government help?

Perhaps, but they really have little power in the end, and by the time they could even get any results, more damage could be done that is even recoverable.

 

Can the OPP make a difference?

Perhaps, if something has happened that they suspect is criminal, but as the OPP stated about Collingwood this past March,

Meanwhile, the OPP Anti-Rackets squad is now in its third year of investigating allegations of impropriety tied to certain, undisclosed municipal decisions in Collingwood.

“There have been a number of (external) issues that have protracted our investigation,” said Det-Sgt. Shawn Evans this week, noting that the force would never divulge what the allegations of malfeasance might centre around unless charges are laid under specific sections of the country’s Criminal Code.

“It’s still ongoing. We’re doing our very best to wrap it up.”

 

What can be done?

Well, that’s entirely up to you. What are you prepared to do?

There is a Council meeting in Wasaga Beach tomorrow. When the story about Collingwood’s utility broke in March, there was a Council meeting already scheduled for March 31st.

When asked about the meeting, Det-Sgt. Shawn Evans of the OPP Anti-Rackets squad stated,

“If I lived in Collingwood, I would certainly attend.”

 

 

 

Embracing all the colours of the rainbow

By Steve Berman, Special to the Enterprise-Bulletin

“The NRA says you have the right to use armour piercing bullets if you’re a hunter. Why? How many deer wear bullet proof vests?” — Robin Williams

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

But in this case, we can do something about it.

The slaughter that occurred in an Orlando, Fla. club recently was sickening.

You can use another word if you like, but I trust we can all agree that the emotions we felt when we heard the news, are not ones that we ever want to feel again.

Yet history shows us that we will. Sadly, on almost a weekly basis.

I don’t want to rehash the actual events in Orlando, nor do I want to be a doomsayer about what tragedy may be next. Instead, I’m going to discuss the people who that nutjob targeted, and what weapons he used to kill them.

As most of you know, the gun debate in the United States stems from their second amendment. This amendment to their constitution, protects the right of the people to “keep and bear arms” and was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791.

The people who want guns in the U.S., argue that due to the second amendment, it’s their right to own guns and you can’t change that, but as comedian Jim Jeffries astutely pointed out in his post-Sandy Hook gun rant: “Yes, you can. That’s why it’s called an ‘amendment.'”

Personally, I agree with Jeffries when he goes on to say, “There is one argument, and one argument alone for having a gun, and this is the argument: F*ck off, I like guns.”

I mean, come on.

It was 1791, for Washington’s sake.

Since that time, the United States has seen fit to change the laws regarding slavery, civil rights, a woman’s right to vote, the death penalty, domestic violence, lobotomies, forced castration and child labour.

It was 1964 when U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued a report on smoking and health saying that tobacco causes lung cancer and is a main contributor to bronchitis. Are you telling me that in the 52 years since, the effects of being shot with a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol are still in question?

So, what about the people who were targeted in Orlando?

A few weeks ago, I touched on one example of the insanity the LGBT community faces, in reference to HB2, the bathroom bill in North Carolina.

Of course, this state still has a law on the books in which elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields, so I don’t think it’s fair to expect too much from them, but what about here at home? What can we do, as a municipality, to give our help and support to our own LGBT community?

Although there is no definitive number of people who identify as LGBT in Canada, a poll commissioned by the National Post in 2012 found that 5% of Canadians identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A 2009 Statistics Canada survey found that 2% of Canadians aged 18-59 said they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

For the sake of this column, let’s meet in the middle and say 3.5%.

That would mean, that of Collingwood’s 20,000 residents, approximately 750 make up our LGBT community.

What is our municipality doing to support them?

Did the town give a message of condolence after the Orlando massacre? No.

The flag at town hall was at half-mast last week, but you would only know why if you bothered to look it up on the town’s website.

“The flag on the Collingwood Town Hall clock tower has been lowered to half-mast in recognition of the victims of the tragic events in Orlando this past weekend,” (from clerk’s services).

From raising a Pride flag, to taking part in Pride Week (July 28-Aug. 6), virtually every community and municipality in Simcoe County does something… except for Collingwood. I took a look at the Simcoe Pride website, and I felt both embarrassed and angry, to see the huge lists of municipalities that are making proclamations, raising flags, and hosting events, yet Collingwood is nowhere to be found.

This has to stop. Our municipal leaders need to step up to the plate.

If the time comes that they do, I’d like to suggest this: Send something official to our sister city of Boone, North Carolina, advising them that in our neck of the woods, we treat all people as equals.

If Boone doesn’t do the right thing, and stand opposed to the HB2 bathroom bill (and anything similar that follows it), we will remove them as one of our “sister cities.”

I’d like to believe that if Zihuatanejo, Mexico allowed human trafficking, or Katano, Japan endorsed ethnic cleansing, I wouldn’t even have to suggest something like this.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein

Political correctness running amok

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By Steve Berman, Special to the Enterprise-Bulletin

I miss the good old days, when being politically correct meant knowing that you order white wine with the fish, and never to wear white pants after Labour Day.

Nowadays, the issues that offend people seem to change faster than Donald Trump’s campaign promises.

There are different ends of the spectrum with this issue, and people will have their own opinions and pet peeves based on what triggers them.

At the one end is North Carolina, home to Collingwood’s sister city, Boone.

Most of you are aware of HB2 (the “bathroom bill”), that was passed by a huge majority, repealing all local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances in the state, and banning transgender people from certain restrooms.

While opinions on this issue may vary, the decision by one North Carolina high school last week should be crystal clear.

High school students in Rowan-Salisbury NC schools will be allowed to carry mace and pepper spray to school, in order to help ward off an attack in a girl’s bathroom. To me, this has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with facilitating hate crimes.

Ironically, while bill HB2 was both introduced and passed in only 10 hours, the Tar Heel state still has a law on the books from 1873, making it illegal to sing off-key.

North Carolina: Come for the racing, stay for the racism.

On the other hand, there are issues that are not a matter of life and death, such as changing the words to the Canadian National Anthem, in order to make it gender neutral.

This idea has been discussed in parliament for many years, and while the most recent vote was defeated, it was pretty evenly split 144-127. Public opinion polls over the past few years seem to show that anywhere from 65-90% of Canadians feel that “O Canada” is fine the way it is.

A small group calling themselves Canadians for Clichés, wants it changed from “O Canada” to “Canada, Eh?”

Personally, I don’t care which version is sung, as long as they make it fast, and start the damn game already.

Of course, it could be worse.

The Vietnamese national anthem includes the line, “the path to glory is built by the bodies of our foes”, so, heads up China.

In a culture rife with attention to political correctness, we have to be careful not to fall down a slippery slope, in which we start finding reasons to change everything. Like if PETA started a Facebook campaign, asking the Miami Dolphins to change their name because tuna-fishing football fans are endangering the species.

For years, there have been efforts made to get the Washington Redskins to change their name, as critics claim it perpetuates negative stereotypes of Native American people. That may be so, but a quick internet search for sports teams that have names derived from indigenous people, shows that there are more than 50 U.S. high schools who shared the Redskins name.

In fact, there are over 400 teams currently calling themselves Indians, over 100 using Braves, and 74 calling themselves Warriors while using indigenous imagery.

So, where does it stop?

What happens if religious groups decide to take offence in the same manner? Say goodbye to any teams named the Saints, Magic, Wizards, Angels and Devils.

Natural disasters wreak havoc around the globe. When the memory of them becomes too painful, will we eliminate all teams named Thunder, Heat, Lightning, Hurricanes, Flames, Avalanche, and (gasp) the Maple Leafs? (Destroying hopes and dreams annually since 1968)

I guess the point of all this is, that if political correctness continues to make mountains out of molehills, then it will have lost any power it had when it was needed to fight the bigger battles.

The mole lobby by the way, tired of being mistaken for mob informants, are now demanding to be called “earth mice.”

Steve Berman is an avid watcher of local politics, and welcomes feedback to his email at collingwoodbermans@gmail.com

The Good, Bad & Ugly in Collingwood Politics for April, 2016

 Steve Berman

Wow. What a month. The Toronto Raptors won a playoff series, and the Toronto Maple Leafs won the draft lottery. Alas, I am a political columnist in Collingwood, and not a sports reporter in Toronto.

For now…

On now to the month that was…

The Good

What impressed me in April were the continuing actions taken to protest the location of the wind turbines near the Collingwood Regional Airport.

This issue has been discussed and debated at great length, and most of you have likely chosen a side.

I’m not going to re-hash the issue itself, rather, I want to give a shout out to the various people and organizations who have used their voices (and in many cases their money) in order to be heard.

On April 12, a pre-hearing on the appeal of six parties to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s decision to approve WPD Canada’s Fairview Wind project was held.

The appeals are a very expensive and necessary evil in my opinion, and are about the only thing the six parties can do in order to try to stop this project from getting off the ground.

There is, however, one aspect of this process that just doesn’t seem fair to me. The group who stands to gain the most if any of these appeals are successful, are the developers (Clearview Aviation Business Park), and while our municipal and county tax dollars are being used to fight this appeal, this group has not yet publicly kicked in a dime of their own money.

On April 21, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson did his part, by putting forward a private member’s resolution in the Ontario legislature asking the Liberal government to cancel WPD Canada’s Fairview Wind project, and a number of people (including some local press and politicians) took the trip to show their support.

Predictably, his resolution was defeated.

As long as people keep using their voices to fight for what they believe in, I’ll continue to use this space to recognize them.

The Bad

They say don’t bite the hand that feeds you, but when it’s covered in $100K of delicious pork…

A few weeks back, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport announced 2016 Celebrate Ontario recipients, and Collingwood got some cash to the tune of over $103,000. Overall, the province gave out $15.3 million this year, to support 200 festivals and events that will draw tourists, stimulate local economies and create jobs.

So, why is this bad, in my opinion?

Because this is something you do with “extra” money, and not what a province that is over $300 billion in debt should be spending our money on.

The Collingwood Elvis Festival received $64,500, Frozen in Time Ice Sculpture Celebration of Winter received $29,235, and Sidelaunch Days received $9,750.

Heck, even a Port Hope event called “Float your Fanny down the Ganny” received funding, presumably for creating the best name for a festival.

Of the 43 grants that exceeded $100K, 37 of them were granted to events taking place in ridings held by the provincial Liberal party. Between the politics involved, and the optics of some of the events which benefitted, it left me with a sour taste for this program.

Earlier in April, your council had to beg off from giving money to a project that would have made a huge difference to the affordable housing issue in our town. The amount they needed to come up with was $100K a year for the next 20 years.

The affordable housing project is just one example of ways I believe our money would be better spent. I’m sure you can think of many more. If the government insists on continuing these financial giveaways, then I’d like to see them give the funds directly to the individual municipalities, as they are the experts on where it is best spent.

Why not? They’ve unloaded everything else.

The Ugly

The phrase ‘I’m taking my ball and going home’ got a whole new meaning in neighbouring Wasaga Beach in April, as Councillor Ron Anderson resigned, stating that council’s decision-making process was a “three-ring circus.”

I think a few of Collingwood’s councillors could be heard under their breath saying, “Testify.”

Now, I’m not suggesting who was at fault in the Wasaga Beach fiasco, but this type of dysfunctional, ego-driven, Donald Trump-campaign-strategy type of politics seems to be happening at the local level far too often.

During their first 17 months in office, Collingwood council has seen more than its fair share of hissy fits.

There was the issue of the airport, with its magical “non-binding letter of intent.”

We also had a much-needed update to the Code of Conduct for council, board and committee members. Among other things, this seemingly put an end to concerns members of the public had when it came to Mayor Cooper voting on items that involved her brother, Paul Bonwick.

Well, that lasted all of six months, as a loophole was found, and the mayor was back in-camera discussing airport issues in April.

There was CAO-gate this spring, which got so heated that our mayor had to call a sudden recess during a council meeting, when a debate between she and the deputy mayor became too heated. The entire meeting was combative, with the end result being a 5-4 vote to extend the CAO.

It was almost a year ago that yet another 5-4 vote by council dissolved our Collingwood Public Utilities Service Board (CPUSB), a move that the town’s treasurer recently stated has saved us $750K this year alone. Yet, the four councillors who voted against it, continue to debate the issue and bring it back up every chance they get.

The issue of the utility again made headline news last month, when a lawyer’s report found that the town didn’t receive the amount of money for the sale of its 50% share, which it had been lead to believe.

It’s been over three months since council asked their partner PowerStream to sign a shareholders directive, so that Collingwood could have access to this much-needed information.

To date….no such luck.

So, to former Councillor Ron Anderson, if you think Wasaga Beach council was a three-ring circus, you should come visit Collingwood sometime.

Racism must be dealt with one person at a time

By Steve Berman, Special to the Enterprise-Bulletin

“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.” -Elie Wiesel

Racism in any form is never acceptable.

Many of you have likely read some of the outlandish comments coming from Donald Trump, during his campaign south of the border. I don’t pretend to know what makes this man tick, but I’d suggest that his campaign is becoming a hate crime in itself.

Islam is one of the largest religions in the world, with over 1 billion followers. Getting sucked into a heated a debate over whether to tag people as either “radical” or “fundamentalist” is completely missing the bigger picture and hurts, rather than helps, people to understand the situation.

I am Jewish, and I have dealt with racism all of my life. I believe that by looking at the different forms it comes in will help understanding and hopefully eliminate it.

The first example I’ll use is a common one that happened to me about 12 years ago. I’ll call it racism due to ignorance.

I was having a conversation with someone very close to me, and he used the old, “I jewed him down” cliché.

It hit me like a punch in the gut coming from this person. He could see that something was wrong by the look of shock on my face. I immediately explained to him what was wrong with that expression.

He said that he honestly didn’t know, and that it was something he heard people say all the time.

He has never said it since, and I believe that even though the expression itself is racist, this person most definitely is not. He said it in ignorance, and once he was educated about it, it was no longer an issue.

The second example I’ll use, is what I’d call misdirected racism. We see much of that now, with people who believe that all Muslims are bad, or all Syrian refugees are potential terrorists. Adolf Hitler used the Jewish race as a whole, to blame the post-First World War poverty in Germany.

My own experiences with this form of racism are something that I compartmentalized in my mind for the better part of 40 years, and only really started to think about over the past year or so.

I was born and raised in Kingston, Ont. We had a very small Jewish community of perhaps 50 families, spread out in a city of 60,000.

My memories come from around the grade 6-8 period. This would have been around 1974, when I was 12.

I don’t remember all of the names, but I remember a few. They went after a number of us Jewish kids. I don’t believe those kids were anti-Semitic, but they were certainly repeating things that they had undoubtedly heard from their parents.

They enjoyed it. It got violent.

I remember them crashing our road hockey games, grabbing our sticks, and swinging them viciously at our heads.

I remember being followed home from school, while they threw darts at me.

I remember being chased around the neighborhood, while one of them shot a pellet gun at me. They finally cornered me in a local bowling alley, where even running to the end of a lane didn’t protect me from being hit.

I remember being held down by four of them, spread eagle on the school football field. The fifth had a knife, which he used to play “chicken,” by seeing how close he could throw it in the ground, without hitting my genitals.

How would you feel if you read about this happening in your community today?

Those kids were angry and full of hatred, but I don’t believe their racism came from a hatred of Jews, but simply from hatred itself.

The third type of racism, and the one that scares us the most, is malicious racism.

This is a pure, unadulterated hatred of an entire race of people. The reason doesn’t matter.

I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced that.

Some of you may remember the CBC report from about three years ago entitled “Corruption in Collingwood?” In that report, it touched on a YouTube video that portrayed me being murdered by Nazis, in order to stop me from pursuing information at our town hall.

To this day, I don’t know if it was a direct racist threat; someone who didn’t know I was Jewish and therefore was ignorant to the Jewish/Nazi connection; or perhaps even someone I know who was trying to be funny, and it simply didn’t turn out that way.

I’ll find out someday.

From the KKK to ISIS. From the Nazis to Boco Haram. Malicious, extremist racism is there, and it’s getting worse every day.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre recently counted 784 groups that it describes as active hate groups in the United States. One is too many. Something has to give.

What is being done in our community to combat racism? Whose responsibly is it to educate the community about these issues?

Is it the schools, the municipality, the media?

We should welcome help from all of them, but at the end of the day, it’s up to us as individuals to recognize this monster and deal with it one person at a time.

“Our true nationality is mankind.” – H.G. Wells