Derek Crowell, Ward 1 Council candidate, is challenging some of incumbent Steve Butlandʼs recent public statements. “I commend Mr. Butland on his four decades of service to Sault Ste. Marie,” said Crowell “however, some planks in Mr. Butlandʼs campaign platform require examination.”
Crowell points to the Ward 1 incumbentʼs touting of Sault Ste. Marieʼs Standard & Poorʼs credit ranking. “Mr. Butland is proud that we are rated A+, but he must know that Standard & Poorʼs has four rankings higher than A+.” The top ranking according to S & P is AAA. Crowell elaborated further on his point. “I have examined S & P ratings, and each Ontario municipality I found on the list had higher rankings than Sault Ste. Marie, including: Thunder Bay; Peterborough; Kingston; Windsor; Ottawa; and Toronto. We can aspire to be better.”
Crowell also questions the net financial benefit of solar and wind farms to the Sault. “Mr. Butland is promoting that we can power a city of 500,000, but what about the 80,000 residents of Sault Ste. Marie? Ward 1 residents want to know how that correlates to our increasing utility bills.” Crowell believes the primary beneficiaries of these projects have been the companies selling the energy. “The majority of jobs created by these projects have been temporary. Sault Ste. Marie will happily take the
construction work and tax revenue, but we shouldnʼt overemphasize the impact it has on our long-term outlook. In the televised candidates forum of October 7th, Mr. Butland listed the co-generation plant as an achievement. Unfortunately, Brookfield Renewable Power had already announced that they were shutting the co-gen plant down.” A spokesperson for the company made that decision public in a statement released on October 1.
Crowell cited several other issues on which he questions Butlandʼs decisions, including a proposed move of the Churchill branch of the public library to the John Rhodes Centre (during an “in caucus” meeting), opposition to reviews of the EDC and Innovation Centre, and the handling of drinking water and PUC Inc. “Ward 1 residents arenʼt willing to accept an open letter and harsh words in Council Chambers as acceptable actions by their elected representatives while brown water is running from their faucets.