Archibald’s Wharf ‘fiasco’ warrants closer scrutiny
The recent release by the CBRM of the Ombudsman’s Consultative Report of the sale of Archibald’s Wharf in North Sydney brings to the forefront the importance of the upcoming municipal election.
The investigations focus was on the process, the administration and application of laws and policies. If we don’t have these basic principals being followed by our elected municipal officials then where are we as a democracy?
I was one of the many citizen complainants to the Ombudsman’s office and if one statement in the report stands out it is this “although the sale of the Archibald’s Wharf property was not a matter for provincial intervention, there appears to have been a lack of accountability in the adherence to the MGA by CBRM council in this instance.”
The Municipal Government Act sets out the legislative framework under which municipalities must function. It gives our elected councilors broad powers to govern. So when this Act is not adhered to this causes me great concern.
I know many people will say please move on from the Archibald’s Wharf fiasco. A fiasco it was and still is for Northside res- idents. I invite folks from anywhere in the municipality to take a Sunday drive over to North Sydney and see the barbed wired fence that now surrounds a once pristine waterfront property.
The final sale of Archibald’s Wharf by CBRM to CME did not legally take place until Oct. 20, 2015. This is from correspondence I received from municipal legal counsel Dimitri Kachafanas.
I was also told in this correspondence that the actual lot of land sold to CME had been altered from the May 2015 agreement voted on by council. It was a larger lot of land that encaptured a small shed owned by the Business Improvement Development Association and has since been taken from that site and placed behind the barb wired fence.
Another important alteration that citizens may not know about and wasn’t voted on by council is that CME now has the right of first refusal on the CBRM owned parking lot that abuts Archibald’s Wharf. So more municipal land that can be taken away by CME. The whole working really baffles the mind.
So, yes, Archibald’s Wharf is officially sold and the citizens are trying to move on. I don’t know where I’ll take my young medical students and residents now when I want to showcase our little town. We used to be able to sit at the Waterfront Restaurant, watch the Marine Atlantic Ferry’s come and go and take in the ocean breeze. I guess now we will sit in the parking lot and look through the barbed wire fence and they’ll wonder why the heck do I live here.
What I have taken away from this situation is the great importance of municipal politics. Citizens need to be engaged in these matters, we need strong representation and we need a functioning municipal government that follows the Act that governs them. I hope in this upcoming municipal election to see some fresh new faces, some new ideas, some critical thinking and most of all adherence to the Municipal Government Act. It’s time. Dr. Stephanie Langley North Sydney