Get Concerned Stratford is still seeking information from the city related to the Glass Factory shenanigans of 2017-2021.
(cue Richie Havens, Woodstock ’69)
by Mike Sullivan
Get Concerned Stratford filed a request for the text of the agreement between the Province and Xinyi, from Nov of 2017. That matter is now in Adjudication.
We filed a request for all the documents related to Xinyi, and in particular the binding and non-binding letters of intent. The city gave us a bill for $8850 for search time to find the documents. In mediation, the city agreed to split out the binding and non-binding letters if we paid $37.50 for them to find them. We did. Then the city refused to release them, citing confidentiality.
The city did not, as the law requires, further break down the $8850 bill. They did offer, for $47.50, a copy of a report that was already in the public domain. The only travel itinerary found was for the CEO of Invest Stratford to travel to China. The denial of the letters of intent and the money are now in adjudication.
We filed a request for copies of contracts or other letters of engagement with Chris Pigeon or his firm, GSP. Strangely, the city could find no records. In another proceeding with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Mr. Pigeon acknowledged being on contract with the city in the relevant period. When faced with that fact, the city advised that Mr. Pigeon must have had a verbal contract with the previous CAO, and there were no records.
The output of that ‘contract’ is the subject of another FOI adjudication, which has been in progress for over two years. The city admits his report exists but refuses to release it. The matter of the missing documents is now in adjudication.
Some time ago we filed a closed meeting investigation attempting to discover when exactly council voted to seek a Ministerial Zoning Order. We discovered that the Mayor asked without council’s knowledge in November of 2018. We also discovered that the first discussions of the glass factory proposal were illegally in secret, and that council was routinely violating the law by failing to disclose the ‘nature of the business’ being discussed in secret.
When a councilor asked for the record to be corrected, the Clerk and CAO refused. Get Concerned Stratford filed 146 separate closed meeting investigations to force the ’nature of the business’ to be disclosed. That investigation is nearing completion.
As far as I know, at no time has any of the sitting councillors asked that documents or FOI’s be released, that fees be reasonable, that matters discussed in closed meetings illegally be revealed, or demanded to know how a significant body of work from a planning consultant is paid for without any written contract.