Here is a letter to the mayor, a copy of which has been submitted to us by Mr. Daniels for publication for the information of Wolfville residents.
Dear Mayor Stead:
Re: Public Participation and Question Period
The fifth core principle listed in the 2009 Wolfville Corporate Strategic Plan is “transparency and participatory government.” Elected officials “will strive to involve [citizens] in their local government.” I recall that you expressed support for this principle when it was discussed and adopted by Council. Yet your actions demonstrate that you are either ignorant of the full meaning public participation or you are selective in the “public” whom you would like to participate.
At the January 4th Committee of Council meeting Deputy Mayor Mangle asked about the lack of a sidewalk at the Wickwire Place development. In response, Greg Morrison, the Director of Planning, wrote a memo to Council, dated January 30, 2012. In this memo Mr. Morrison included the fact that landscaping which is required by the approved development agreement to be completed within 18 months of the “commencement date,” June 2006, has yet to be planted.
At the April 2nd Committee of Council meeting, during question period, I asked about the landscaping at Wickwire Place. Rather than simply request Mr. Morrison, who was sitting in the audience, to provide an update, you took it upon yourself to ask me a question. Had I inspected the Wickwire Place property? Your question implied that it was somehow my responsibility to inspect the property before I could ask my question; as if you are permitted to place conditions upon the kinds of questions residents may pose to Council during the designated question period.
(Perhaps the question you should have asked was why the Wickwire Place developer was not required to comply with the development agreement and complete the landscaping on time.)
If you think it is easy to stand up in public and ask questions and make comments, you are mistaken. And speaking at council meetings is not made any easier when the speaker may be subjected to discourteous, unnecessary and inappropriate questioning. Your behaviour does not further the objective of public participation but rather thwarts it.
As a mayor, you are required to preside at all meetings of council. Municipal Government Act, s. 15(1). You appear to be unable to carry out this duty in a fair and effective manner.
David A. Daniels
This is not the first time the mayor has not given any respect to legitimate questions; he considers any views other than his own “uneducated, ignorant and unfair”. Many would say that those words apply more appropriately to HIM! Does Mr. Stead know how seriously residents view this lack of respect? Perhaps only voting him out of office will get that through to him. And the councillors just sit and watch. Why?
As for the weakness in enforcement of Development agreements – this is not a new issue either.
And to quote from another of our earlier posts –
The truth is that even if Council agrees with all of the above their hands may be tied. Once the agreement is signed off there is very little anyone can do to enforce the details of that “agreement” because sadly DA’s do not have the force of a contract. Getting Council to admit that may be hard. They would prefer people thought they did.
We doubt that the most recent MPS and land use by laws Review has changed this lack of teeth one whit.