Downtown Demonstration

This is not something you expect to see on the main street of Collingwood.

On Monday June 25th, while the Town Clock was ringing 4:00 p.m., a group of Collingwood citizens gathered to exercise the democratic right of speaking out against details outlined in a recent CBC article dealing with the decision making process in awarding a contract to purchase two Sprung recreation structures.

The CBC story contained a link to unsealed police documents from 2014 that allege fraud and breach of trust involving Collingwood town hall.

It is important to remember the OPP document contains allegations that have not been tested in court. As of June 17 2018, the OPP has laid no charges in the matter.

The Town of Collingwood remains under the microscope of an active OPP Anti-Rackets Branch investigation.

On Tuesday March 6th, Staff Sergeant Carolle Dionne, Provincial Media Relations Coordinator with the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed to that the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch Town of Collingwood investigation remains active.

“In answer to your questions, yes the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch investigation is still active. However, we can’t provide details on the content of the investigation. “

At the same time, a Judicial Inquiry into the 2012 sale of 50 percent of Collus to PowerStream is now underway.

“There will be no duplication of efforts in work done by a judicial inquiry and investigative work being done by the OPP.”

While not able to comment on any details or the current status of the Collingwood OPP investigation, Dionne was able to tell us that the judicial inquiry launched by Collingwood Council, would not in any way negatively impact the ongoing OPP investigation.

“I can provide some input on your comments about duplication involving the OPP investigation and the work of a pending judicial inquiry. Should a judicial inquiry commence in relation to the various aspects of the sale of Collus to PowerStream. The OPP investigation will not be negatively impacted in any way. There will be no duplication of efforts in work done by a judicial inquiry and investigative work being done by the OPP.”

But it was the release of the CBC story authored by CBC investigative journalist Dave Seglins that triggered the protest on the streets of downtown Collingwood.

Below is what is posted on a facebook page created by Jennifer Knight to invite Collingwood residents to the downtown rally:

Rally at Collingwood Town Hall

Monday June 25th, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday’s report by CBC regarding the OPP Anti-Rackets investigation into the purchase of the Sprung domes, and the allegation that the Mayor’s brother received $756,740.42 at the taxpayer’s expense is both shocking and unacceptable.

The taxpayers of Collingwood deserve better and we cannot turn a blind eye to this conduct.

It is time to show our frustration and demand accountability by those involved.

While these allegations have not been proven in a court, the fact that a copy of the payment to the Mayor’s brother was obtained by the OPP is significant.

Collingwood has been exploited and our Town’s reputation damaged.

Council is meeting on Monday June 25th at 5:00 p.m.

The taxpayers of Collingwood need to make our voices heard, and show the Mayor and those involved that we will not tolerate this anymore.

Please join me at Town Hall on Monday at 4:00 p.m.

We deserve honesty, transparency and accountability in our local government.

The following slogans are suggested for signs. If you could make your own up that would be great. If not, there will be extra copies when you arrive.

“Do the Right Thing – Resign!”

“Council must take Action”

“We want Justice”

We can all go up to the Council chamber for the start of the meeting, to show our frustration and demand some immediate action and accountability.

Thanks, and I hope to see you there!

Outside, during the public rally, there were many concerns expressed.

Collingwood Councillor Kevin Lloyd spoke in defence of Mayor Cooper.

“What’s happening here today is a group of people out in front of town hall and unfortunately they’re an ill-informed group of bullies and they continue along with others behind the scenes to bully the mayor and I think it’s atrocious.”

Marg Scheben-Edey has participated on many meaningful Town of Collingwood committees for decades. She feels the time for change is now.

“I have real concerns about the history we have in this town of nepotism and secret meetingsand the consequences of that are coming home to roost. It’s time that there are changes put in place so this can’t happen again.”

One unidentified person wanted to know why former Collingwood CAO Kim Wingrove was dismissed.

Former Heritage Collingwood Chair Margaret Mooy said the downtown demonstration celebrated the freedom of speech we all enjoy in a democracy.

“I’m here because I like to see democracy in action and justice take place, and just follow a process. If people have made errors in judgement then they need to pay for those errors.”

Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper made a public statement to open the June 25th meeting of Collingwood Council.


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