Archibald’s Wharf ‘fi­asco’ war­rants closer scrutiny

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

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

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