Dupelle wants more answers on waterfront tanks

Coun. Maurice Dupelle listens to Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy (not shown) during a meeting on Oct. 13, 2015. Dupelle is upset after comments made by Conservative Guy Lauzon during a federal election debate in Cornwall, Ont. on Oct. 7. Lauzon had suggested the city knew about the waterfront chemical tank plan long before it went public, an assertion Dupelle disputes. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A Cornwall councillor wants more answers over who knew what and when regarding the waterfront chemical tank fiasco.

But those questions to city administrators and staff won’t be coming in a public forum.

Maurice Dupelle wasn’t satisfied with his requested staff report on the timeline of what transpired between the city, Transport Canada and a company to construct two chemical storage tanks on land on Harbour Road.

He called the report “vague” during Monday night’s council meeting.

“It certainly doesn’t answer all my questions and that’s why I said it was vague,” Dupelle said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch following the meeting.

“I (will) ask some more specific questions and I (will) direct them through the CAO’s office and direct them to the appropriate department or he (Norm Levac) can do that,” Dupelle said.

“When I look back at the information that I have that was provided, a lot of it was done in-camera. And it makes me think after-the-fact, why did even discuss that stuff in-camera?,” Dupelle questioned.

The report by Senior Development Officer Bob Peters said Trillium Distribution’s Kevin Pollard contacted the city’s economic development office in February 2013 about a possible storage tank site and was told about the “sensitivity” of the harbour area.

The city claims it didn’t hear back from Pollard until June 2013 when he contacted them to inform them Transport Canada had entered into a lease for the waterfront location.

The report also states that Transport Canada knew about the city’s interest in the waterfront property and that “the city’s interest” would be “considered before any leases were renewed or entered into at the Cornwall Harbour.”

City officials said they didn’t get official confirmation of the project until December 2013 when construction had already started on the calcium chloride tanks.

The issue was stirred up during the federal election campaign when MP Guy Lauzon said the city knew in early 2013 about the plan.

From a procedural standpoint, Coun. Dupelle said he couldn’t ask his questions Monday night in an open forum about the contents of a private meeting.

“Now that people are able to speak to the public like Mr. Lauzon did, now it’s to find out that, do we need to dig deeper? And did we dig deep enough in those in-camera meetings to make sure the city did what we were supposed to do and that we rectify any problems that we created that shouldn’t have been there,” Dupelle stated.

“It’s not fair to council as a whole or the five of us that remain here from the last term, to make it sound like we were well aware of it, when we weren’t. Was our administration? Possibly.”

Dupelle is not ruling out the possibility the city could call an in-camera meeting down the road to address getting the answers he desires on this extended fact-finding mission.

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