Councillor Ferguson and Clark have objected to the short notice for Monday's proposed General Issues Committee and Council meetings to make a decision on the Pan Am Velodrome.
By Ryan McGreal
Published August 26, 2011
At 9:40 this morning, the City Clerk issued a notice to Council and the media that a special Council meeting has been scheduled to follow the General Issues Committee (formerly Committee of the Whole) meeting that was specially scheduled for Monday, August 29.
The purpose of the special Council meeting is to ratify any decision made at the GIC meeting, which was called so staff can present a Pan Am Velodrome proposal to councillors.
Councillor Lloyd Ferguson replied to Council and the media, stating that he objects to this special meeting "in he strongest possible terms", not only because it was called "at the last minute in the summer break on a very important issue" but also because the staff report has not been circulated with the agenda.
Ferguson called on other Councillors "to not support his meeting or waiving the rules. It should be done at a regularly scheduled Council meeting. That is why we have these rules."
He also noted that he "sent two emails to the Mayor and asked that this not happen and never even got the courtesy of a reply!"
In an email reply, Mayor Bob Bratina wrote, "My office was informed and I have confirmation that the City Manager did respond to your message."
Councillor Brad Clark also weighed in, writing, "On an issue so significant as the PanAm velodrome, we should not be rushing a council decision to 30 mins after a GIC [meeting]." Echoing Ferguson, Clark noted that the City has "an excellent process that is meant to provide councillors and the public time to make informed decisions."
He worried that "Short-cutting the process on such items will only breed further cynicism and contempt with our citizens."
Clark also expressed concern that he heard the report will be "a verbal report" and that he hopes this is incorrect.
After last year's very public Pan Am Stadium debate, City staff and councillors have worked hard to keep the Velodrome planning away from the public eye.
The meeting for councillors to receive a Velodrome report has already been postponed twice, and Toronto 2015, the Pan Am Games host corporation, has already extended the deadline for a City Velodrome submission from July 28 to August 30.
That August 30 deadline is why Mayor Bratina is so determined to hold both the GIC and the Council meeting on Monday, August 29.
While no Velodrome report has been made public with the agenda for Monday's meeting, the City has been in negotiations with Mohawk College to locate the Velodrome at the Mohawk Fennel Campus.
Following is Councillor Ferguson's email:
I want to express in the strongest possible terms my objections to this meeting. This is a special GIC called at the last minute in the summer break on a very important issue and I can not be in attendance.
Why are we jamming this issue trough when staff had months to prepare and canceled the meeting on the Veldrome twice at regularly scheduled meetings of GIC. I have no idea what is being proposed as the report according to the agenda will be distributed later! I have sent two e-mails to the Mayor and asked that this not happen and never even got the courtesy of a reply!
I would ask other Council members to not support his meeting or waving the rules. It should be done at a regularly scheduled Council meeting. That is why we have these rules.
Following is Councillor Clark's email:
What is the need for the special council meeting?
On an issue so significant as the PanAm velodrome, we should not be rushing a council decision to 30 mins after a GIC mtg. We have an excellent process that is meant to provide councillors and the public time to make informed decisions. Short cutting the process on such items will only breed further cynism and contempt with our citizens.
Further, I am told that the report will be a verbal report. I am sincerely hoping that this expectation is misplaced. I would hope and expect to see a full written report on any item placed into the public record at a City Council meeting. The public and councillors have a right to see all reports 48 hours before the council meeting.
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