In an e-mail sent earlier this week to the Mayor, Councillors and media, a request was made for a petition which has been making its rounds regarding the decision to close Pointe Des Chenes campground to be added to this upcoming council meeting.
“Please add this petition as an agenda item to be discussed at the next meeting. There is just shy of 1,600 names so far on this petition to keep the campground open,” said the e-mail. “Whether or not this will fall on deaf ears, we as taxpayers of the City need this to be addressed ASAP at the next council meeting.”
No where in the e-mail did they ask for Council to reconsider the decision, just that they address the 1,600 people who signed the petition in an open forum by placing this item on the Agenda.
When the city caught wind of a petition circulating with far less signatures on it, the one asking for support to sever the former Parke Township away from the city, it was immediately placed on the agenda for the next council session. Not only was that petition placed on the agenda, a report was written in advance to be addressed promptly by Mayor Provenzano despite not even being formally presented to the City.
When SaultOnline reached out to the city for a copy of their petition policy in an attempt to get an explanation on how one petition ended up on the council agenda without being formally presented to the City, and the other one which was formally presented didn’t make the agenda, we simply found out there wasn’t one.
Tessa Vecchio the communications manager for the city, sent us a reply from head clerk Rachel Tyczinski.
“The City does not have a policy regarding general petitions. We do, however, have specific policies dealing with petitions for the following:
- street/lane closing,
- local improvements,
- sidewalk plowing,
- traffic calming,
- naming of parks;” stated the e-mail.
So, when the city addressed a general petition asking for support to sever the old Parke township, they may have made a defacto policy on general petitions. Based on that policy, when they chose not to put PDC on the agenda, they may just have violated it.
Multiple Councillors responded to the e-mail, suggesting many reasons already known as to why they voted the way they did.
CAO Malcolm White responded quoting the policy. “For this item to end up on the agenda, a motion of reconsideration would need to be passed by council first,” stated White in his lengthy e-mail.
However, the request did not ask for the decision to be reconsidered but rather just be placed on the agenda to be addressed in the upcoming open council meeting.
Alas, it seems like the Agenda Review Committee composed of Mayor Provenzano, CAO White and Tyczinski have decided that no further discussions on this matter are necessary and that the decision to close the park, made on at least one untruth by city staff, will never see another council meeting.
SaultOnline currently has an FOI (Freedom of Information) request filed with the City regarding this decision and issue and we will continue to report on this matter and further information becomes available.