Monday, March 20, 2017


This item came up at Woolwich Council back on March 7/17 in Report C04-2017. It refers to a Code of Conduct for municipal councillors as well as boards and committees of Council. It also will be making changes to Conflict of Interest matters as well as adding an Integrity Commissioner to the municipal scene. This of course is occurring shortly after Woolwich and other Region of Waterloo communities added the services of a formal, professional Complaints organization to their programs. That organization is known as Agree Inc. This new one dealing with Integrity issues is known as ADR Inc. out of Toronto. Yes to me I certainly see some duplication of services. A skeptic might even have thought that the initial initiative by Region of Waterloo communities was simply to head off this in the pipe legislative imposition. Boy if only our regional and municipal governments could spend half as much time fighting Chemtura and the Ministry of Environment as they do trying to maintain and expand their local control.

The Conflict of Interest changes have already borne fruit. Councillor Mark Bauman decided to get out ahead of this by publicly declaring a Conflict of Interest at the March 7/17 Council meeting. After years (decades?) of listening to and voting (twice?) in favour of the Jigs Hollow gravel Pit we learn that Councillor Bauman has been friend and neighbour of Ray Kuntz of Kuntz Topsoil, Sand & Gravel for a very long time. This includes Mr. Kuntz coaching Mark's son in minor hockey. There are other Woolwich Councillors who are well acquainted with Mr. Kuntz as well. All this said it is to Mr. Kuntz's credit that he gives back to the community (via coaching). The problem arises of course when these same Councillors are voting on approving a hotly disputed gravel pit owned by mr. Kuntz just outside of Winterbourne. My understanding is that while Preston Sand & Gravel have the aggregate license for the Jigs Hollow Pit, Mr. Kuntz still owns it.

Other embarassing issues are arising out of this new legislation. Isn't it interesting that as a government (provincial) is plunging in the polls and terrified of the next election; they decide to pass progressive legislation increasing transparency and accountability for citizens dealing with their most local, in your face government, namely at the municipal level. I hate to be a skeptic but do I really believe that the provincial Liberals are doing this because it's the right and long overdue thing to do? Hardly.

Woolwich are being reminded of a ridiculous and blatant problem they have regarding Conflicts of Interest on one of their committees of Council. All these reforms are aimed at municipal councils, their boards and committees of council. The public have a right to know who are representing their interests and they have a right to know that these Council appointed citizens are free of outside influences, conflicts of interest and are not benefiting personally from their so called volunteer work on behalf of the public.

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