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Summary of Municipal Council’s meeting held March 7, 2011

17 mars 2011

Here’s an account of the last council meeting held last March 7.

The question periods have yielded the following responses.

The land along Highway 344 (the Smith lands and those purchased from the Québec government for a nominal fee) that were initially meant for the municipal campsite’s development will be transferred to the MRC for lack of money in the municipality. The fact that this is a considerable area (1100 acres), a wetland of great importance from an ecological perspective and that its development could contribute to the municipal campsite’s reputation (the waiting list is always full) and the pride of the population does not seem to be arguments considered by the municipal council. The Minister will have a final say and decide whether such a transfer to the MRC can be done.

Mayor George Dinel misled a citizen who asked if the prescribed fees (taxes) in connection with the consolidation of land were the primary cause of the accumulated deficit of $ 1.9 million. He has indeed mentioned that it was not the case. Yet, the fact of transferring the land to the Société de développement économique de Brownsburg-Chatham (SDEBC) to the city has charged $ 1,224,000 in deficit. The lands concerned are currently listed for sale with the condition for the buyer to acquire all of the lands and to develop them.

Regarding the sum of $ 75 000  that the SDEBC would have received from the sale of land, still in the area of ​​consolidation, a citizen asked what had happened with it. Mr. Dinel refused the right to speak to Mrs. Councillor Paule Blain Clotteau in order for her to provide exlanations. Following a further question, she then had a chance to clarify that this amount was used for the development of downtown as it is the mission of the SDEBC.

The development of downtown is currently based on a study to be conducted by a food wholesaler. We had no more details, except to be told by Councilor Louis Quevillon that the city is still not on track. He noted that it is not easy to bring in investors. Elected officials seem to forget that this is a specific mandate of the SDEBC, therefore they have a team of volunteers who are involved in business at their disposal to achieve  the downtown development. The mayor also mentioned that there was no plan for revitalization, only ideas that were presented, even if he participated in the consultation process that led to a plan in 2009. (See announcement on city’s Web site here and the plan itself Brownsburg-Chatham_Présentation%20%201%20[Mode%20de%20compatibilité] as per the consultations made Brownsburg_Rapport_VF_Juil0 and Brownsburg-Chatham_Groupe-cible.)

Marc-Olivier Labelle, a member of the CAC of  BC and of the SDEBC has also reminded council members that the Society had outlined the objectives of the nonprofit organization (OBNL in French) and the plans that were put forward. He asked the mayor to stop doing disinformation. To what the mayor candidly replied: « There was misinformation on both sides. »

In response to a citizen who asked about the responsibility of snow removal, Mr. Dinel replied: « Are we boycotted? I ask myself », thereby suggesting that municipal employees do not do their job and placing his administration as a victim.

The mayor keeps on saying that the City gives $ 5,000 to the Société culturelle du Pavillon des jardins while half of it comes from GENS funds. This means that the actual contribution of the City is $ 2500.

Mayor Dinel made a request for investigation to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy (MAMROT) on the previous administration. He has long said he did not get an answer to finally admit he had one, but that he would not publish it. Asked again on that issue, he brushed the question away, inviting to apply for access to information. This was done without delay. However, it appears that the response in question is not in the archives of the City nor in those of the ministry. In fact, there is no answer yet. Moreover, the response to be issued by the MAMROT must by law must be publicized at a meeting of council. So that’s a good reason to attend the meetings to keep up to date. The ministry also advises the City to post the answer on the Internet.

At the previous meeting, namely that of February, Mr. Director General, Pierre Charron, had mentioned that he had not had time to analyze the 2011 budget prepared by his predecessor, Mr. Lachance. He could not answer the question whether there had options other than raising taxes by more than 20%. Again, he said that in the short term, he could not consider any alternative. He was no more able to respond if other solutions could be brought in the medium or long term.

The day after the council meeting was held an information meeting on ecocentres the MRC.

The dry materials were down 60% since the introduction of tariffs in Brownsburg-Chatham.

The City’s Web site was to be updated to ensure the minutes would be available online, which we have noted with satisfaction.

In the redevelopment of parks plans, the population of each sector must be consulted. But the mayor could not answer us as to how this consultation will take place nor when it will.

Mr. Councillor André McNicoll resigned from the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC, Comité consultatif d’urbanisme or CCU in French) because of political interference in decision-making. Mr. Dinel wished to explain that he had intervened because citizens were in conflict and that all municipalities give a chance to everybody. Alain Claveau, who worked in the CCU in the last five years, has also tendered his resignation, saying he did not want to work in such conditions. The CCUis now down to two members, Tim Clark having resigned and Mr. Daniel Campeau not having renewed his mandate. The latter has also publicly stated that there was a « dictatorship. » He accused Mr. George Dinel to want to change the rules and not follow the development plan. He reported the words of Mr. Dinel who would have said for one the files submitted to the committee: « Mayer owes me one, he will pass it to the MRC. » The news coverage at La Zone de l’information on March 14, 2011 at the communicity television of Argenteuil, TVC, also gave the floor to two other members of the CCU, which they believe would have been excluded from the committee because they had been appointed by the previous administration.

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