I was reading about the failed attempt by EPCOR – an Edmonton-based, for-profit corporation – to purchase half of Innisfil’s Power utility (InnPower) last year. Back in Sept., 2015, there was a story in the
Barrie Examiner that noted:
INNISFIL — Town council has approved the sale of 50% of InnPower (formerly Innisfil Hydro) to Edmonton-based EPCOR to create a new ‘strategic partnership’.
At a public meeting to discuss the sale (remember public meetings and public engagement? Those are processes you got last term… this term it’s all about secrecy), PowerStream’s CEO, Brian Bentz commented on
…the “exclusivity clause” in the EPCOR offer, which precludes consideration of other deals for a period of six months…
EPCOR, you may recall, is currently trying to buy the town’s half of Collus-PowerStream. The administration has been negotiating behind closed doors with EPCOR for the better part of a year. Earlier this year, the administration signed a deal to start the buying process. Is there a similar clause in the agreement with Collingwood?
In Innisfil, the public was given a chance to openly comment on the proposal (an event unlikely to happen here in Secretive Collingwood under The Block). Former Innisfil mayor Barb Baguley spoke out about the process (Barrie Examiner):
During the open forum portion of Tuesday night’s meeting, former Innisfil mayor Barb Baguley took exception to the town even considering such a partnership for water and wastewater services and questioned why residents weren’t better informed about the potential partnership discussions.
“The issue of selling any part of it is something I’m really concerned about,” she said. “My question is, if you are going to sell the safety of water and the protection of Lake Simcoe with wastewater treatment, shouldn’t we be talking about that? Shouldn’t we be having a conversation with the public?
“I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. There’s not enough information for people to make a somewhat educated opinion,” she added. “It had not come out that clearly…”
“I don’t think we have to know every paragraph in a contract. We need to know the intention and why we need to do this,” she said. “I’m not saying I’m for or against (a water and wastewater services partnership). I’m saying I don’t understand.
At least the residents in Innisfil were given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Nothing like that has happened in Collingwood, although the discussions here have been going on behind closed doors since January 2015.
And look the whole public engagement Wasaga Beach has gone through over the sale of its utility this term: open, active and transparent. The complete opposite of what Collingwood has done.