Deputy Mayor Saunderson Says Judicial Inquiry Will Provide Answers to Tough Questions

Brian Saunderson is a candidate for Mayor of Collingwood
Town of Collingwood Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson

At the close of the regular meeting of Collingwood Council on Monday June 25th, Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson told the residents of Collingwood that the Judicial Inquiry will find out what happened in relationship to an alleged payment of $756,000.00 to a consultant in the construction of two recreation facilities.

Saunderson commented on a statement made at the opening of the council meeting by Mayor Sandra Cooper where she stated she was not aware of any family member involvement in recreation facilities nor was she aware of any council member aware of the same.

“She has indicated earlier tonight that she was not aware of those payments. And I have had some discussions with senior staff that tell us they were not aware of those payments. So this raises a serious problem for this community. $756,000.00 represents 2.5 percent on our annual tax levy. It also represents 50 percent of projected costs of the upcoming Judicial Inquiry. This council has a responsibility to account for every single dollar that we invest or spend on behalf of our taxpayers. These are tax payers hard earned dollars and we are entrusted with them.”

Saunderson said the Judicial Inquiry represents the opportunity to find out what happened.

“The OPP is an investigation beyond our control, and if anyone is operating on the misapprehension that a police investigation is the same as a public inquiry, you’re wrong. The OPP look into criminal conduct. The public inquiry is looking into how we conduct our business in this town. Can we account for all the dollars that you give us annually. And can we account for how monies are spent on your behalf. If the answer to that is “no” that’s why we’re having a public inquiry and we will find out what happened here and we will account to the public and that is why we are having a judicial inquiry.”

Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper

Mayor Sandra Cooper opened the June 25th Council Meeting by reading from a prepared script in which she said she was not aware of any family member being associated with the recreation facilities construction project.

“I have the utmost respect and appreciate democracy.

I continue the tradition of serving and giving back to our great town.

There are no allegations against me and the police document which was released in April of this year by CBC.

I was not aware of any family member involvement in recreation facilities nor am I aware of any council member aware of the same.”

Mayor Cooper concluded her comments by saying she will continue to cooperate with the OPP and the Judicial Inquiry ensuring that the investigation is transparent and to strengthen governance.

Fareed Amin - CAO - Town of Collingwood
Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin

Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin provided Council with an update on the Judicial Inquiry into the sale of 50 percent of Collus to Power Stream in 2012 at the June 11th regular meeting of Council.

At that time Mr. Amin stated that he understands the Commission is now fully staffed with a Commissioner, a Counsel, an Assistant Counsel as well as a Communications Assistant.

Amin feels the documentary review will be conducted through the summer, with public hearings expected to begin in early fall. He confirmed that live streaming will be available once the public hearings begin.

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