SaultOnline just received the following response from Christian Provenzano, Mayoral Candidate to an Open Letter from Mr. Larry Guerriero, Chair of the PUC Board of Directors published yesterday. Both letters address recent concerns about water quality, infrastructure and the overall operation of the PUC.
Dear Mr. Guerriero,
RE: Your open letter of September 10th, 2014
I have your letter of September 10th, 2014, and I thank you for it. I appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to reach out to me and express your position.
There are a few points in your correspondence that I believe require some clarification.
I did not intend to suggest that having the current Mayor on the PUC Board of Directors would have changed the direction the company took in dealing with the issues, as you have asserted. My point was intended to suggest that the provision of water to the residents of our community is a fundamental municipal service. When there is a problem with such a fundamental municipal service, the Mayor should involve himself or herself. If I was the Mayor over the course of the last term, I would have involved myself. I would have sought a seat on the Board of Directors. If I become the Mayor as a result of the current election, I will involve myself. I will seek a seat on the Board of Directors. I do not believe having some councillor oversight absolves the Mayor of his or her responsibility for such an important issue.
It is my understanding that the PUC’s new building cost well over 20 million dollars. I do not agree with the PUC’s decision to spend those kinds of resources on a building particularly when we have some very challenging infrastructure issues that need our time, attention and resources. That is simply my sincerely held opinion and I will not back away from it.
I believe that jobs in the downtown core are an important part of establishing an active downtown. The City has few mechanisms to exercise control over retaining jobs in the downtown core but as and when it can I think the City should exercise such control. As a result, I believe the City should have exercised whatever appropriate influence it could have exercised to keep PUC jobs in the downtown core. That is simply my sincerely held opinion and I will not back away from it.
I acknowledge speaking to our water resources as having been ‘screwed up’. I maintain that Sault Ste. Marie had, in my opinion, some of the best water in the country. I do not believe that we can still make that claim. You are obviously aware of the problems so I will not enumerate them. I suggest to you, though, that when you go from great to poor it is fair to conclude that something has been screwed up. This again, though, is simply my sincerely held opinion and I will not back away from it.
Just because two people hold differing opinions does not mean that one of them is misinformed. Many people in this community are deeply dissatisfied with the quality of their water. I have obviously upset you with my comments and I am on a personal level sorry for the offence. However, my role as a Mayoral candidate, as someone who is asking the community to consider me for leadership, is to speak honestly and clearly. I believe that if I am asking people to vote for me, I have a responsibility to tell them what I think. I take responsibility for what I said. I meant it.
Where one part of leadership is about speaking openly and honestly, another is about looking forward with a positive attitude. Our community certainly has challenges to address and I am confident that we can put aside whatever difference of opinion or perspective that we have for the sake of a much more important and greater good: to make sure that our community is served as best as it can be by those who are responsible for serving it.