‘ The process was flawed’

North Syd­ney res­i­dent still has ques­tions about sale of Archibald Wharf.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

A re­cent re­port by the prov­ince’s of­fice of the om­buds­man val­i­dates con­cerns that the process that re­sulted in the sale of Archibald Wharf was flawed, ac­cord­ing to North Syd­ney res­i­dent Ear­lene MacMullin.

Last May, CBRM coun­cil fi­nal­ized the sale of Archibald Wharf in North Syd­ney to Cana­dian Mar­itime En­gi­neer­ing Ltd. to ex­pand its dry dock.

"We all know re­gard­less of whether you were for or against the sale, the process was flawed and that many can agree on," said MacMullin. "That was al­ways my con­cern. The prop­erty be­ing sold, the rea­son­ing be­hind it if it cre­ated jobs — I un­der­stand that. My is­sue was al­ways with the process."

The sale came months af­ter coun­cil met with hun­dreds of an­gry res­i­dents who were up­set with how the con­tro­ver­sial sale was pushed through coun­cil with­out a proper pub­lic hear­ing.

The of­fice of the om­buds­man iden­ti­fied is­sues war­rant­ing re­view around the process to amend the mu­nic­i­pal plan­ning strat­egy, the pub­lic hear­ing process and ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures re­lated to coun­cil’s agenda pol­icy.

"Dur­ing the pub­lic hear­ing process that took place in coun­cil cham­bers, that’s ex­actly what I brought for­ward — that we weren’t meet­ing the dead­lines be­cause they weren’t giv­ing us enough time. All we asked for in the be­gin­ning was to slow it down, give us time to re­act. Fol­low the dead­lines set out in the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act, and for some rea­son it was rushed through."

The om­buds­man’s rec­om­men­da­tion was to de­velop a plan to en­sure that pub­lic no­tices meet the re­quire­ments as set out in the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act.

MacMullin also con­tends that the fi­nal sale didn’t take place in May as stated in the om­buds­man’s re­port.

"It was the CBRM that re­leased the om­buds­man re­port that states it (the sale) was fi­nal­ized in May. Yet I have cor­re­spon­dence be­tween my­self and Dimetri Kachafanas, the so­lic­i­tor for the CBRM, where he tells me it wasn’t fi­nal­ized un­til Oct. 20."

MacMullin said she also has an is­sue with the amount of prop­erty sold to Cana­dian Mar­itime En­gi­neer­ing, adding the par­cel of land sold was larger than what was orig­i­nally voted on by coun­cil.

"There are still ques­tions we’d like clar­i­fi­ca­tion on such as what is the ac­tual of­fi­cial date of sale. Is it May ac­cord­ing to the om­buds­man’s re­port, or Oc­to­ber ac­cord­ing to the CRRM?"

MacMullin said she was dis­ap­pointed in the om­buds­man’s re­view that the sale of Archibald Wharf was rea­son­able, but iden­ti­fied some de­fi­cien­cies.

"The Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act is a le­gal doc­u­ment that should be fol­lowed," she said. "It’s nice to know that it’s been ac­knowl­edged by a third party that the process is flawed. The re­port val­i­dates the fact that we said this process was flawed right from the be­gin­ning."

The om­buds­man’s re­port notes there ap­pears to have been a lack of ac­count­abil­ity in ad­her­ing to the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act, specif­i­cally by not fol­low­ing ap­pro­pri­ate time re­quire­ments for pub­lic no­tice. A pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­gram pol­icy is a re­quire­ment un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act, the re­port states, and ap­pears to be lack­ing in the CBRM.

The of­fice rec­om­mended the CBRM de­velop a pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion pro­gram pol­icy, de­velop a plan to en­sure fu­ture pub­lic no­tices meet re­quire­ments as set out in the Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment Act and that the coun­cil agenda pol­icy be re­viewed to en­sure it is meet­ing the ob­jec­tives.

CAPE BRE­TON POST PHOTO

North Syd­ney res­i­dent Ear­lene MacMullin be­lieves the sale of Archibald Wharf by the CBRM re­sulted from a flawed process.

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