Caryl Green’s response letter to Scott Findlay

Dear Mr. Findlay,

Thank you for your continued interest in Chelsea’s municipal affairs. I am answering the petition bearing your signature and copying my answer to its signatories.

As the petition rightly states, the issues facing Council are complex, and the community of Chelsea is in a period of change. Of course, Chelsea has been changing since it was founded, and will continue to change in the future. Change is inevitable. The challenge for past and future Councils, as well as this present Council, is to manage change for the public good.

The petition states that: “Our observations of, and participation in, community undertakings over the last year or so, have led each of us to the conclusion that Chelsea is experiencing difficulty surmounting these obstacles.”

I would remind you and the petitioners that the present Council inherited the sewage treatment projects in Farm Point and Old Chelsea, the Chelsea Creek housing development, and the Meredith Centre. These are long-standing commitments that would have serious legal and financial ramifications if reversed.

To give credit where credit is due, the previous Council negotiated and obtained grants for the sewage treatment plants and the Meredith Centre. Their actions were supported by a majority of the citizens. This Council intends to benefit from the grants and to see these projects to their conclusion.

I would also like to remind you and the petitioners that this Council demonstrated its willingness, right from the start, to meet and work with the citizens. With respect to Council being informed by public discussion, it should also be noted that the Council held several public meetings on the proposed municipal infrastructures, on the Chelsea Vision Report and the PPU, and the Meredith Centre. Council will give due consideration to the observations and comments made by citizens at those, and other neighbourhood and association meetings.

With respect to your reference to “an inadequate decision process,” Councillors will continue to consult with their constituents when making decisions to improve the quality of life of Chelsea residents. Councillors will make these decisions in good conscience, and to the best of their abilities with the knowledge that they have the support of the majority of citizens. I encourage you, and the petitioners, to continue to provide constructive suggestions and feedback to your Councillors.

With respect to “inadequate scientific, technical, economic and financial capacity,” Council will continue to hire outside expertise on extraordinary projects, while relying on the expertise of its permanent staff to handle core services.

With respect to the “inadequate political oversight,” as stated in my Annual Report of last December, Council created a committee to oversee matters related to administration and finance. The committee will monitor expenditures, projects and staff related concerns. My report also indicates that Council will undertake a performance analysis for various departments, beginning this year. We will start with two departments and proceed with others in subsequent years.

I would refer you and the petitioners to my Annual Report of December 2010 and the 2011 Budget Speech where Council stated that it will:

– proceed with the construction of a wastewater treatment system in the Centre Village sectors, to be completed by the end of 2012. Also, Council will continue studying the possibility of installing a potable water system in the same area.

– complete the PPU in collaboration with citizens, staff and with the assistance of AECOM. Discussions over the course of the year have been productive, and Council expects the final report to be released this spring. Public meetings will be held to present the draft and final reports to the community.

– proceed with the construction of the Meredith Centre, which is scheduled to be completed by December 2011. Tenders have been received, and the contract for construction will be awarded in March 2011. Please note that the Municipality is engaged in a legally binding process with the construction companies who have participated in a fair and open bidding process.

– review our long-term financial forecast, conduct an analysis of our long-term debt, and hold a public meeting on those topics.

As well, Council will ensure that the Chelsea Creek commercial and residential development is implemented in a sustainable manner according to its contract. Note that the contract between the Chelsea Creek developers and the Municipality of Chelsea is legally binding also.

In conclusion, we hope that you understand that Council cannot agree to your two requests. Should you and the other petitioners wish to submit a resume of your concerns, along with your recommendations, Council will consider your submission and respond to you in writing as soon as possible.

Your elected Council will continue to respond to the challenges within our community. Based on input from municipal staff, we will continue to make decisions to improve the quality of life of Chelsea residents.

Thank you, once again, for this opportunity to clarify Council’s position.

Respectfully,

Caryl Green