James Brown, former Mayor of Iroquois Falls Ontario wants some answers about what’s going on in his community, but keeps seeing road block after road block when it comes to finding the information.
Firstly, Brown claims the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities won’t come clean about its books. “Premier Wynne, upon review, should declare this organization as an identifiable ‘institution’ in order to establish that ‘information should be available to the public’, and under the purview of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) and its standards,” said Brown in a public statement.
“Currently FONOM’s claims a ‘non-institution’ status, thus avoiding transparent and public exposure. “However, every FONOM member municipality, all 110 municipalities, that fund FONOM, are deemed an ‘institution’. The same with, the Ministry of Northern Development & Mines (MNDM), another funding source, it as well is classed an ‘institution’. FONOM uses this ‘non institution’ status as a clandestine maneuver, and category, to deny access to publicly funded information, and to those who pay their bill, we the taxpayer! So why are they hiding behind this ‘Non-Institution’ assertion?” said Brown.
Between 2013 to 2015, – $182,785.00 was identified in FONOM Income statement as ‘Other Revenue’ “That is a significant amount of money, considering nothing like this was identified previously. So where did this money come from, out of the blue?
I don’t believe it was from a raffle. Mr. Spacek and FONOM executive, it is time to disclose!” Brown added.
Brown also has issues with a Sault Ste. Marie developer, Riversedge Developments. Riversedge Developments was one of the companies involved in the redevelopment of the former St. Mary’s site. However, the company had to hand over a big chunk of the development to a construction company it owed millions of dollars to.
Riversedge is now allegedly developing a similar plan for the former paper mill site in the small Northern Ontario town.
“One of the Town’s serious concerns is an untendered victory of Riversedge Development, ‘repurposing’ of our old Abitibi Paper Mill. Matters are much to cozy, and behind closed doors. There are very serious concerns in our community.” Brown said in a letter to Sault Ste. Marie council.
“We have been devastated by the closure of our 114 year old paper mill operations, our only industry, and now with the oncoming of Riversedge demolition and whatever development, or lack there of, along with media coverage citing some questionable business practices, and reports from Red Rock, we in Iroquois Falls are extremely uneasy and really don’t need another disaster. Thus we turn to you for help and honesty, and do you vouch for this guy as the big turn around guy?” Brown asked.
Riversedge Developments, which moved it’s head offices to the Sault this past winter is 100 per cent owned by Justus Veldman.
Brown also wants to know the following and is seeking answers from the City of Sault Ste. Marie on;
1) Tourism Sault Ste. Marie granted Mr. Veldman $100,000. Has the City seen an excellent return for this large investment?
2) Has there been any other funds granted to Mr. Veldman?.
In all, Brown wanted nine questions addressed by council including;
- Does he own any property in Sault Ste Marie at all?
- Does he have property that is contaminated and has he cleaned it up to MOE requirements? and;
- Has he followed through will all of his promises to the city and contractors?”
Brown continues to push for answers on both issues.