Sarnia City Hall (BlackburnNews.com photo by Melanie Irwin)

Tensions Flare Between Mayor And Council Over Closed Meeting

The ongoing feud between Sarnia’s mayor and some members of council has reared its ugly head again.

A lengthy public meeting to discuss plans for a new residential development in Brights Grove, was overshadowed by a debate over the scheduling of Monday’s closed meeting.

When Mayor Mike Bradley stated that the closed in-camera meeting to discuss the Centennial Park boat ramp should have been public, Councillor Matt Mitro interrupted.

“Absolutely untrue,” Mitro said over Bradley.

Bradley responded and apologized to the general public, and stated “this is an internal issue. This is why developers may have some challenges in Sarnia.”

“Point of order,” Mitro challenged. “If you wish to debate sir, get out of the chair, have someone else come, and let’s go.”

Mitro’s comment was not addressed, despite its implication.

Mayor Bradley, who didn’t attend the closed meeting, went on to question why he wasn’t consulted about it.

“If the ombudsman was to investigate, they would come to me about why the meeting was called,” said Bradley. “I was not consulted on that meeting.”

Councillor Mitro pointed out that councillor Anne-Marie Gillis — who was absent Monday — was appointed to act as an intermediary for all communications between city staff and Mayor Mike Bradley last fall.

“You’re saying that you are not being consulted and you’re not having the opportunity as chair to be consulted in the process to set up the meeting, is that correct?” said Mitro. “As I recall, we set up a process by which councillor Gillis was to be the go between, have you consulted with her on this matter?”

Sarnia council reported from the closed meeting that Golder Associates had been dismissed as the contract administrator for Centennial Park, due to unsatisfactory performance.

The city will now act as its own contact administrator for the construction of the boat ramp.

During the regular meeting, council approved up to $680,000 in additional spending for Bre-Ex Construction to build the ramp in the water.

City staff said in a report to council that a dewatering contractor was consulted and geo-tech work done has shown that dewatering the site and building a boat ramp in a dry environment would cost an additional $2.2-million.

It’s not known when the work will commence, but staff expect construction and installation could to take ten-12 weeks.

Area boaters are being accommodated at the Bridgeview Marina boat ramp until the new one at Sarnia Bay Marina is operational.