South Dundas committee conundrum; South Branch Community Fund stays

In this Aug. 5, 2015 file photo, an EDP Renewables wind turbine slowly turns in the breeze in a field northeast of Dixons Corners. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

MORRISBURG – The committee tasked with evaluating applications for the South Branch Community Fund will live on after it was nearly scrapped.

This, after a staff report recommended the South Branch Community Fund Committee be disbanded and a South Branch Recreation Committee be created as a committee of council to control the $30,000 annual community fund.

Mayor Evonne Delegarde indicated there was a “very successful” brainstorming session two weeks ago for the South Branch Community Fund to be used on the Brinston Memorial Park.

Delegarde told council the meeting also included some “chit chat” about reviving a recreation committee and ten or 11 people expressed interest in being a part of it – but not using or being a part of the EDP Renewable community funds.

“The committee that’s in existence right now, they would still carry on as they are except tweak the terms of reference to allow the committee to be more pro-active in actually putting the applications on behalf of the committee,” Delegarde said.

Somehow, the intention of the new recreation committee for the former Matilda Township area got lost in translation when word of it reached the municipality.

Two members of the South Branch Community Fund Committee, which included chairman Tracy Yalden, were at Tuesday night’s council meeting to set the record straight.

“Whenever they (the public) were asked and they wanted to do this recreation (committee) they were assured that they were not going to be, they were not reporting to council. They were not doing the stuff (applications) and that’s why they agreed to this. If they wanted to do this stuff, they would be sitting here on these committees right now. They didn’t want to do it – it’s two different things,” she said.

“And, honestly, to find out about this through a newspaper article, like hmm,” Yalden exhaled sharply, referring to Cornwall Newswatch’s article about the recommendation to scrap the committee in the lead up to the evening meeting.

“I was under the understanding we were going to revamp the guidelines,” Coun. Bill Ewing said. “So, until those guidelines are revamped, I don’t think we should be doing anything.”

“I’m not in agreement with abolishing any committee,” Coun. Marc St. Pierre added. He then spoke directly to recreation coordinator Ben Macpherson, who authored the report, suggesting he missed out on some fruitful discussion about the proposed change of terms for the South Branch Community Fund Committee during the meeting last month.

Macpherson responded.

“It wasn’t my goal to put extra work on the committee that was formed (the recreation committee)…I think what I proposed is basically what you were suggesting where we have a committee that has control over the money. That was the end goal of this because the committee as it stands now does not work,” Macpherson said.

As a matter of procedure, after the council discussion, the motion to pull the plug on the committee was defeated.

Ben Macpherson had a face-to-face meeting with the committee members during a council break and indicated to CNW after the meeting that “nothing had been resolved” with members of the South Branch Community Fund Committee.

Macpherson said it was never his intent to scrap the committee.

“No, that was more there to create the discussion that was needed to try to get these things moving forward. I knew that wouldn’t…they (council) would never…no one would go for that. It was more, the heart of that was, get money into the hands of the people in that community to help push these projects forward,” Macpherson told Cornwall Newswatch.

Members of the community fund committee also expressed some frustration with EDP Renewables. EDP was supposed to have a meeting to help with the fund applications but after an email last week, the board still not heard a response from the company.

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