IROQUOIS – South Dundas’ legal counsel has cleared the municipality to enter into an agreement to develop the first phase of the Iroquois waterfront.
The township held a special council meeting last week where it reviewed the legal advice on a $50,000 donation for the beginning phase of the $3.8 million Iroquois Commons project.
Iroquois business magnate John Ross had offered the money for the first phase of the waterfront development ahead but it was conditional on the work being awarded to Lloyd McMillan Equipment Ltd.
The deal would basically handcuff South Dundas into sole sourcing work through the conditions of a third party while spending taxpayer dollars – roughly $30,000.
“Our current procurement policy had nothing in there saying we couldn’t enter into this sort of arrangement. He (the lawyer) also said…by the Municipal Act…the municipality has a right to accept donations and provide receipts. The only restriction…is that the money be used for valid municipal purposes,“ Acting CAO Shannon Geraghty told Cornwall Newswatch.
Geraghty said the council discussion lasted for at least a half hour on the legal advice before deciding to move ahead.
“At the very end, they (council) felt it was in the best interests of the municipality to go ahead and approve the donation and the restrictions that went with it,” Geraghty said.
Work has already begun on the ditching at the waterfront and the balance of work will be expanding the beach area and remediation of the shoreline.
Geraghty acknowledges the precedent the deal sets.
“I think what we need to go is we need to go back in and we redefine our procurement policy and I think we need to introduce a donation policy that will set out restrictions like this happening again.”
“We don’t want to deter money at all but it puts council in a bad situation,” the Acting CAO said.