Saturday, April 7, 2018

FORMAL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP'S STONEWALLING



Why bother many people would ask? We all know that "you can't fight city hall". Well actually you can and many people have done so, including myself. We have had varying degrees of success in so doing. Most of the battles have been private, especially the legal ones. This is unfortunate but often the municipality or other group, say the Waterloo Regional Police, are willing to settle provided there is a confidentiality clause included in the settlement. A couple of years back I took Woolwich to the Ontario Ombudsman and won. The Township (read Council) had gotten a little out of control with their in camera (private) meetings. Andre Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman set them straight and they were required to bring up his decision at a public Council meeting. One could also put my and others straightening out half of Woolwich Council on their pathetic Election Expense documents into the category of "fighting" city hall. Not one of these cases involved an "accidental" overstating of election expenses. They were all "accidental" understating of expenses with one exception and that was Councillor Bauman's failure to file multiple Financial Statements after he had been acclaimed to Council.

The current case is in regards to Council's penchant for secrecy. Especially secrecy of information going public which might indicate that Councils both past and present have made very poor decisions. I am of course referring to the Bolender Park Landfill. Multiple Councils including current members of this one such as Mark Bauman, Sandy Shantz and Murray Martin have been given reports about explosive methane levels in and around the former Landfill over the last thirty years. Those councillors have indicated at public council meetings that they HAVE NOT READ those reports.

I have read all those that I have obtained and I am appalled at this and other Councils' inactions. I have done my own research on methane gas in municipal (& industrial) landfills and have presented both that as well as the information from the Township's own consultants (Conestoga Rovers) to Council multiple times since last fall. Council have finally made a couple of very modest moves in the right direction. They have also stonewalled my formal, polite written requests for further information. Last November 16 (2017) I sent them 40 typewritten questions all directly relevant to methane health and safety issues as well as taxpayer costs and expenses regarding construction of the old methane collection system, gas probes for monitoring purposes and more. Over three months later they sent me their response. It consisted of excuses as to why they would not answer 38 of my 40 questions as well as one answer which seems reasonable and a second answer which was ridiculous and has now been proven ridiculous with the reluctant assistance of one of the councillors (ie. the ditch filled with non-existent water which miraculously prevented lateral eastward migration of methane).

Elected councillors as a group seem to think that once elected they are no longer accountable (until the next election) to their constituents. They are wrong. The Bolender Park Landfill is an ongoing expense to Woolwich taxpayers the least of which are ongoing, poor quality consultant's reports. The most recent that I have are dated 2015 and 2016 although I expect there will also be another report soon for the work done in 2017. I and my fellow Woolwich residents are paying for those reports. Then there is the safety issue which has not remotely been adequately addressed. There are two currently operating businesses at risk namely #86 Auto Recycling and Elmira Pet Foods. There are also numerous residential homes (and a public park) located on the borders of the Landfill. Besides getting a new Methane Gas Collection System up and running they also need to install and regularly monitor many more gas monitors on the north, east and south sides of the landfill in order to accurately know the truth about methane presence off-site which they and their consultants are merely guessing at currently.

My complaint to the Municipal Ombudsman (Agree Inc.) relates to the very black and white matter of 40 questions to Staff and Council not being answered almost five months later. It is a very simple and straightforward complaint. Either Agree Inc. are the real deal or similar to MECAC (municipal election compliance audit committee) they are not. I have gone through Woolwich's internal complaints procedure without honest resolution by them. Now it is Agree Inc.s turn.

1 comment:

  1. Surprised on a great article that no one in Elmira comments.

    ReplyDelete