CORNWALL, Ontario – A councillor is slamming what he feels is a lack of communication between city hall and taxpayers.
Coun. Maurice Dupelle Tuesday night railed against shortcomings the city needs to address when it comes to speaking with residents about projects in their particular neighbourhood.
“We don’t consult enough as we should, and then we’re here to stand up on our feet and make a decision when the residents haven’t been given an opportunity to give proper feedback,” he said. “And if we’re not looking for their proper feedback then let’s not ask.”
Dupelle’s outrage was sparked thanks to a massive reconstruction on Anderson Drive in Cornwall. Residents on the street have signed a lengthy petition asking that the city reconsider some of its reconstruction which includes sidewalk work, sewer replacement and changes to the width of boulevards.
The councillor suggested not enough time was afforded residents to learn of the specifics of the project, and voice concerns.
“The residents I have heard from have said anywhere from the day before to a few days, and that’s kind of unacceptable,” said Dupelle. “We do a poor job in communicating and getting public feedback. People work two jobs (and) until something is in your face and they’re ready to respond…I don’t think proper notice was given in this case.”
Steve Wintle, the city’s infrastructure manager, said it was more like two weeks’ notice was provided, but even he conceded that was a tight timeline.
“People were invited to an open house, (but) the thing that really drives it home is when the excavator shows up,” he said.
Councillors have decided to hold off on giving their assent to modifications to the construction work until more dialogue between the city and residents takes place.
Council is expected to revisit the issue in June.