Collingwood is Part of Canada isn’t it?  Are we not guaranteed the fundamental freedoms of free speech and freedom of association under the Canadian Charter of Rights?

Better Together Collingwood was very disappointed with the offensive Notice of Motion Kevin Lloyd introduced at Council last Monday. The following Notice of Motion was read into the minutes, and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and silence Brian Saunderson, a spokesperson for Better Together Collingwood, a citizens’watch-dog group that advocates in good faith and with integrity on behalf of the residents of Collingwood.

Councillor Lloyd’s Notice of Motion reads as follows:

“Whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has conducted and made public a survey and has placed an advertisement in the Enterprise Bulletin dated Oct 4 noting the survey's alleged conclusion.

And whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has also commented on his survey in the Oct 4 edition of the Enterprise Bulletin and further written the editor of the Collingwood Connection dated Oct 4 with the subsequent publishing of his letter.

And whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has not made public the methodology used or professional research company engaged to undertake the survey;

And whereas Mr. Saunderson has not publicly disclosed his organization's mandate, his authority to speak on their behalf, his role within the organization, or it's membership, publicly;

Now therefore be it resolved that Council respectfully requests Mr. Saunderson provide Council and make public in both local newspapers, the information requested herein, so that the public of Collingwood can be properly informed as to Mr. Saunderson's conclusions, including assurance of the professionalism and credibility of the survey.”


Here is the response from Better Together Collingwood

We live in a free a democratic society and the citizens of Collingwood do not report to this Council. In fact, it is Council who reports to the citizens of Collingwood and is vested with a duty to act with the utmost good faith in the best interests of our town. 

Canada is a free and democratic country with guaranteed rights and freedoms which cannot be infringed or limited by this Council.  Councillor Lloyd’s notice of motion is a shameful response to the concerns of Better Together Collingwood exercising the freedoms of speech and association in the normal course of political discourse in a democratic society.

Councillor Lloyd’s Notice of Motion highlights three key principles identified by the recent BTC survey: Leadership, Freedom of Expression and Transparency.

Leadership

As the leaders of our community, Council must demonstrate big picture thinking and vision for our community and engage the residents in good faith in a meaningful, respectful dialogue. 

This Council has missed the point of the survey results entirely and demonstrated its inability to truly lead our community.  Rather than engage our residents respectfully in any meaningful dialogue and operate in an open, transparent way, this Council appears to be taking an aggressive, confrontational and defensive position.

This is not leadership.  It is an attempt to intimidate and bully citizens and critics which is unacceptable in our democratic system.

The survey respondents have indicated that they want change. Council has twelve months before the next election to make a choice: listen to the residents of Collingwood, change their decision making process and provide true leadership or continue on its current course……

Freedom of Expression

Better Together Collingwood is a community watch-dog and advocacy group formed to respond to the perceived lack of transparency and flawed decision making processes in our local government.

We have the right to the freedoms of speech and association as guaranteed to all Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We have the right to gather and discuss community issues and we have the right to share information that has been gathered with the general public

.For Collingwood Council to attempt to infringe on those essential freedoms and intimidate local residents is undemocratic, unlawful and un-Canadian. 

Transparency

If Council is concerned with proper and defensible processes, Better Together Collingwood strongly suggests that they concentrate on their own decision making processes.

Proper decision making processes that are open and transparent are the cornerstones of a healthy, functional and responsive municipal government. 

Recent revelations with respect to the procurement of the recreational structures and the fact there is an ongoing OPP investigation in our community are testament to the lack of transparency and proper process in our municipal government.

The survey respondents have suggested that Council strengthen the conflict of interest policy, review the procurement policy to prevent the sole sourcing of multi-million dollar projects in the future and to have local government oversight by an Integrity Commissioner. Respondents have also suggested that Council engage the public in ongoing, effective and meaningful communications.

These are all logical, rationale suggestions which merit serious consideration by this Council. Better Together Collingwood believes Council should give each of these suggestions serious consideration.

Better Together Collingwood invites Councillor Lloyd to do the right thing and withdraw his Notice of Motion.

Better Together Collingwood further invites this Council to demonstrate true leadership and recognize and consider the results of the survey for what they are – the voices of local residents who want to see a better future for our community.  

 
 
Check out the survey results and view the detailed report: 
ts26858323.pdf
File Size: 218 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

 
 

74% Are Not Satisfied with Collingwood Council

“The results of the Better Together Collingwood (BTC) community survey are in and 74% of the respondents are unsatisfied to very unsatisfied with the current Council,” says Brian Saunderson, spokesperson for BTC.

The survey was available for all residents to offer their opinion about what is good about Collingwood, the challenges, satisfaction levels with Council and provide suggestions as to go forward priorities. Over 460 residents responded to the survey well above the 375 needed to offer an opinion reflective of the community.

Better Together Collingwood wanted to base its work on community input and an open and confidential survey was the best way to reach all residents and ensure candid responses. BTC can now defend what it is that residents want and not rely on hearsay and unquantified opinions.

The message from respondents is loud and clear, residents enjoy the natural features and lifestyle opportunities in Collingwood but the lack of effort to be proactive, transparent and engage residents has to change. The survey results strongly indicate that residents want:

- A community driven strategic plan

- A local government with unquestionable integrity

- The development of an aggressive economic development strategy and job creation plan

- Sincere efforts to engage community members, and

- Accountability through communications

“We thank the residents for showing such interest and level of care for Collingwood, there is so much good in the community. It is our hope that Council takes the results seriously and begins to work more effectively and openly within the community,” says Saunderson.

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About Better Together Collingwood Better Together Collingwood (BTC) was established by Collingwood residents who share a common goal to strengthen the governance of our community. Residents must work together to ensure that Town is managed with unquestionable honesty and integrity. BTC works together with all stakeholders toward the re-development of a Town that is economically and socially sustainable and respects the needs of residents, through an achievable plan.

Media Contact: Brian Saunderson brian.saunderson@hotmail.com Phone (705) 443-0167

 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2013         

www.bettertogethercollingwood.weebly.com
https://www.facebook.com/bettertogethercollingwood


Better Together Collingwood encourages residents to voice their opinions through a confidential community survey.


Collingwood - Better Together Collingwood has launched a community survey to determine the issues that residents feel need to be addressed in order to achieve economic and social sustainability. The survey can be accessed by visiting the Better Together Collingwood website, Facebook page or through the survey link. The survey will close on July 29, 2013.

 
 
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COLLINGWOOD — A citizens’ group says it feels misled by the town’s deputy-mayor and the municipality’s former acting CAO, who both told the community Centennial Pool would be ready for swimming by mid-winter.

In a statement released earlier this month, Better Together Collingwood also claims the pool is now more than one-third over the original budget of $3.6 million, when the addition of the therapeutic pool at $550,000 and upgrades to the 45-year-old pool tank at nearly $600,000 are added into the final cost.

Group spokesperson Brian Saunderson also says the fact the opening of the pool has been delayed a month or more demonstrates a lack of planning on the part of municipal officials.


 
 
The following is pertinent information from an article in this weeks Enterprise Bulletin. It supports our position that we need safeguard policies in place and more open and transparent governance in Collingwood.
 
................But as we are finding out in communities such as Toronto, Mississauga, Sudbury, and Collingwood, following the letter of the law is no longer good enough for citizens who want to see more transparency from their municipal governments.

In his conclusion of the inquiry into conflict of interest allegations against Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, Justice Douglas Cunningham recommended changes to that city’s code of conduct, the Conflict of Interest Act and the Municipal Act, as well as an enhanced role for an integrity commissioner.