On multiple occasions, since last fall, City Staff have told council one thing at a meeting and done something completely different.
When the decision to buy 89 Hudson street occurred, staff were asked if they would be willing to keep the property looking nice. At that time, Council was assured that grass would be laid, possibly a few trees planted and that the property wouldn’t become an eyesore.
Within days of the purchase, it appeared as though this might be the case, however, what has happened since is that the property appears to have been left otherwise. Overgrown vegetation, no trees, little grass and no visible maintenance at all.
A few months ago, when Pointe Des Chenes was closed, council was assured the overnight campground would be secured from the day park area.
We asked how they were going to proceed with this and at what cost.
Susan Hamilton Beach responded.
“Approximately ½ of the site has permanent chain link fencing. For the remainder, Public Works will use agricultural fencing which is quite inexpensive. We will use roll fencing with cedar poles to apply some form of division between the two areas for now,” said Hamilton-Beach. “The buildings will be boarded up for security reasons and staff will be on-site while the day park is open. Since the site is shared with the day park and campground, until a future use is determined, permanent fencing is not planned.”
As of June 6, 2021, none of this has occurred, almost one month after campers were required to have their property and belongings removed. Another observation is that there appears to be a considerable amount of garbage which remains to be picked up and cleared in the area.
The third situation still requiring attention has to do with the new Downtown Civic Plaza.
During discussions about spending the $8.4 million on the Downtown Plaza, Councillor Matt Scott asked about whether the ground had been tested for contaminants. He was assured by Deputy CAO, Community Development and Enterprise Services, Tom Vair, that tests had been done.
We called Scott asking for any follow-up comments and whether he had been provided with the testing results. He advised that he had spoken with Vair and was told “it’s information not normally given to councillors”.
Given that the situation is regarding the safety of children, whom are the intended users of the proposed park, not to mention that it was shared with council that the testing had been done, why is there a reluctance to share the results?
Maybe related to the fourth situation we are now going to share?
SaultOnline filed a Freedom of Information request regarding Pointe Des Chenes back last February. After a time extension filed by the city, we received the results of our request around the beginning of May.
We asked for everything to do with Pointe Des Chenes back to 2017.
“All city documents from 2017 through to today regarding Pointe Des Chenes campground. This includes but is not limited to emails, phone records, camping numbers/records, paper documents, COVID instructions, waiting lists, etc.”
When we had a chance to review the documents, what we immediately noticed was that the results of any water tests conducted were missing. As you may recall, contaminated water was one of the main reasons for closing down PDC campground.
We found notification that campsites #21, #3 and #38 were to have “test water wells” put in place as of December 17, 2017, but never any test results showing the water to be “bad”.
We also found the city promised the Lions Club they would install meters on the water usage for both the day park and the campground, and that also never happened.
So, in two separate instances, the city says they tested something and yet there have been no results provided as proof that any testing occurred. This is yet another example of where city staff stated something, this time to a media organization, and it appears it may not have happened.
Going back to the Downtown Plaza, results of a conversation last week with Councillor Matt Scott indicate that he has yet to see that tests were actually done and the land is safe to build a park on.
Finally, if you have travelled up Gore Street lately and get to the new stop sign with a flashing light on Albert, you’ll see that both the sign and light remain obstructed by a tree. Again, this was supposed to have been remedied by now, as per city staff.
Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to explore discrepancies in what staff and council say has been done and/or what is going to be acted on.