Time to focus on the positive: Cooper
Mayor Sandra Cooper
COLLINGWOOD — The town’s mayor says it’s time to move past council’s Aug. 27 decision on recreational facilities, and focus on the positive.
In an interview with the E-B on Wednesday morning, Sandra Cooper says it’s unfortunate to see a “potential wedge” in the community, after seeing what happened in the community during the previous term of council.
“It’s unfortunate that there is this potential wedge in the community,” she said. “It’s been two years, it’s been a cohesive relationship between members of council. The last term of council was very challenging, very divisive — it divided the community and brought negativity throughout the community.”
The last two Mondays has seen town hall beset by people concerned about council’s decision to buy two fabric structures for recreational facilities — one to enclose Centennial Pool, and the other for what will be a new year-round rink at Central Park.
Those concerned with the decision have issues with how quickly council arrived at the decision — six weeks after directing staff to investigate the feasibility of those structures — as well as the matter of sole-sourcing the purchase.
While the municipality is permitted, under its procurement policy, to sole-source a purchase if its determined a company is the lone supplier of a service, a number have expressed the opinion the project should still have been put to competitive bidding.
On Monday night, acting-CAO Ed Houghton and the mayor both noted the product — being provided by Calgary’s Sprung Structures — is ‘unique’.
On Wednesday, Cooper again stated municipal staff undertook due diligence in making the recommendation to sole-source the purchase.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “What council directed staff to do was we wanted this particular type of building, and they (Sprung) are the only company that can provide that.
“Staff did their homework, they checked around. As many staff as could be involved in this, were.”
Cooper also doubted the decision to move ahead would have been difference, regardless of whether council waited two weeks or two months after receiving the report from staff on Aug. 27.
“To wait any longer, another week, another two weeks, I don’t believe it would have made any difference,” she said. “Council had gathered all the information that they had available to them. They also had a very thorough presentation from staff.
“A lot of research had been done and people’s minds were made up.
The mayor is concerned that those opposed to council’s decision will continue to debate the point, in spite of the issue now being essentially a done deal. She said she saw a similar divide during the previous council, noting it was a turn-off to potential investors in the community.
She said the town has a number of positives to focus on, including a new proposal for the Balmoral site beside Cranberry Village, the redevelopment of the Huron and Hurontario intersection, and the construction of a new fire hall.
“We’re doing so many good things in the community, for the betterment of the community,” she said. We’ve just come through four years of divisiveness, and I would like us to get a positive message out there: we’ve done a lot of great things, this term of council.
“We’ve achieved a lot… We’ve done a lot of good things, and the silent majority appears to be happy.”