Wasaga pulls airport support


facepalmAnother post where I get to say “I told you so.” Wasaga Beach pulled its support for the Collingwood Airport just like Clearview did a little earlier. Told you they would.

Why? Simple: because of The Block. Seven of our councillors resolutely stand in the way of growth, business, development, jobs, a better community, our healthcare – everything except their own wellbeing and personal advantage. I warned you that the combination of the roadblocks and the wall of secrecy erected by The Block would drive our regional partners away. And it did.

Even before this, I warned you the shoddy, hostile way our town and our council treated the hospital would infuriate and alienate our neighbours who are also regional partners in the hospital. And it did.

Wasaga Beach’s mayor, Brian Smith is quoted in the Connection blaming it on “Collingwood council’s apparent lack of support for the proposed aviation business park beside the airport.”

Apparent” lack of support? What a weasel word. I suppose I can’t expect better from local media.

The lack of support from Collingwood was EVIDENT to everyone on the airport board, in the public, on the councils of Wasaga Beach and Clearview. It was even pointed out to me by several people in the county council from other communities not connected to Collingwood. EVERYONE knew who on Collingwood Council didn’t support the airport, or the development, or the jobs it would bring in.

The writer lamely notes, “Collingwood’s position is council and staff are acting on legal advice to not sign an agreement,” without actually citing the source for that claim (and, curiously, not slavishly quoting his buddy, our deputy mayor, as he is wont to do). I would question whether any reputable lawyer would advise elected representatives NOT to explain their position to the voters who put them there. The reporter, doesn’t question the party line, though.

Collingwood got a staff report about the future of the airport, Feb. 12. The ever-unctuous Collingwoodliving.com notes the Deputy Mayor called it an “apparent” breakdown without taking responsibility for the EVIDENT breakdown The Block has caused:

Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson expressed his concern with the situation surrounding the possible sale of the airport and the apparent breakdown of the regional cooperation with the Town of Wasaga Beach in addition to the withdrawl (sic) of support by the Township of Clearview…. he has been frustrated with the actions of neighbouring municipalities, namely the town of Wasaga Beach and Clearview Township.

He was so frustrated that none of The Block ever bothered to speak with our neighbours, with our airport board and explain themselves. So frustrated they never even informed them officially about the sale of the airport. And now he’s blaming someone else. What a hypocrite.*

Why aren’t local reporters pointing the finger at what everyone else sees, and asking the hard questions about Collingwood’s secret motives? About why so many closed door meetings on the airport? About why The Block are opposed to creating jobs and economic growth here? Why are local reporters letting The Block weasel their way out of responsibility? Oh right: they don’t want to embarrass their friends.

Wasaga Councillor Joe Belanger, the story continues,

…asked that Collingwood officials be “given one more chance to clarify” their municipality’s position, and questioned whether withdrawing Wasaga’s support would affect the relationship with Collingwood.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! The “Collingwood official” who helped engineer this fiasco – the former interim CAO – is gone into brooding retirement, so he can’t clarify anything. The current CAO is trying to fix all the messes, but it’s a Herculean task. And you can’t repair stupid.

Deputy Mayor Saunderson won’t tell you why he or his minions voted to get in the way of development and progress because that would break with their culture of secrecy and deception they’ve practiced so well these past three years. In three years, they have told the public nothing about why they want to destroy this community, its reputation and its relationships. They’ve just done it, and done it mostly behind closed doors.

But you can’t really expect any of Saunderson’s puppets to actually understand what they’re doing. That would take a cognitive effort on their behalf; they weren’t elected to think, just to vote as told. Point in case: in the Connection last December, Councillor Bob “Lapdog” Madigan is reported asking in obvious bewilderment why Clearview pulled its support for the airport:

I was just wondering if they gave us reasons why so we can continue to better ourselves and partnership with other community rather than just saying no, we’re done, thank you, bye.

I commented on his facepalm-worthy lack of awareness, December 17. You want reasons from others when you give none for your own actions? Another example of how none of them get it: they haven’t the foggiest notion what they’re doing and the very concept of consequences befuddles and confuses them. I wrote:

This council has held AT LEAST 14 in-camera meetings about the airport this term (as of Nov., 2017). Did you ever ask anyone from our partner municipalities to attend? You and the administration never once explained to the public or to our airport partners WHY you wanted to kill the biggest rural development this province has seen in the pasty fifty years and with it 400 full time and >1,000 part time jobs. You’ve never explained WHY for anything you’ve done.

I have little doubt Madigan or another of Saunderson’s Blockheads will scratch their domes in puzzlement over this latest news and then demand staff ask for an “official reason” Wasaga Beach pulled out, too. But even if they receive an answer, the truth won’t sink in. They will – as they always do – blame someone else.

And as for the “relationship,”Councillor Belanger – you don’t have one. None of the seven care a rat’s ass about regionalism, getting along with municipal neighbours, or working together. Why do you think they never consulted (much less informed) our neighbours about the sale of Collus to a for-profit firm (which affected about 4,500 customers outside Collingwood)? Or the reason for their refusal to support our regional hospital’s redevelopment when all of our neighbours did? Or the sale of the airport on which board your municipality sits as a voting member? Or the refusal to sign a non-binding letter to agree to discuss airport access with the developer, thus stalling a massive commercial and industrial development and 400+ permanent and 1,000 temporary and part-time jobs that would benefit everyone in the area?

They don’t give a damn. Period. There isn’t a relationship because they never got their noses far enough outside their own feedbags to consider one. They have no respect for our municipal neighbours.

Smith is quoted in the first story as laying it out in no uncertain terms:

I think we’re missing a really large boat from an economic standpoint, and to simply not work with the township to make that happen is completely ludicrous to me… I can’t support continuing having a seat at the table or contributing dollars to an airport that appears to be situated for one community and a lack of desire to work with other communities to make it better. There are some decisions in the recent past that I don’t understand or can’t agree with.

Ludicrous? Welcome to the Collingwood circus, where clowns run rampant in town hall. No one else here understands their decisions because they do everything in secret and never inform the public why.

This is not good governance: it’s governing by blunder, bluster and blame. Mostly blunder. Collingwood deserves better. And Wasaga Beach, Clearview and Town of the Blue Mountains all deserve better from Collingwood, too.
* The Collingwoodliving story has some other facepalm-worthy, blame-denying and generally gormless comments from the rest of The Block, including Coun. Mike “Where’s My Spine?” Edwards – the chair of the airport board. Edwards, after the airport board voted unanimously to request Collingwood provide a non-binding letter to discuss access to the runways in the future, voted against the board’s request at council. Yet he still thinks he has the “greatest cooperation and relationship” with the board.

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