Public meeting at fire hall concludes to the satisfaction of few
By VOICE STAFF
Responding to a motion tabled at Niagara Regional Council by Port Colborne Councillor David Barrick, which called into question the integrity of Pelham’s finances, the Town of Pelham hosted an “Evening with the Experts” on Monday night. Held at Fire Station #1, the meeting drew a crowd of 70–plus concerned residents hoping to gain clarity regarding the financing and construction of the Town’s new Community Centre.
Presented as experts were a number of senior Town staff, including Director of Community Planning and Development, Barbara Wiens, and Treasurer/Director of Corporate Services, Cari Pupo, as well as financial and legal consultants contracted to the Town. Acting as the facilitator was a relationship management consultant, Ted Mouradian, of St. Catharines. The Mayor, members of Town Council, and CAO Darren Ottaway were in the audience.
Only questions pertaining to key aspects of the Community Centre’s financing were permitted. As the questions mounted, facilitator Mouradian occasionally suggested to residents that certain answers had already been provided and that time was short. He had announced a 9:00 PM end to the meeting at the start.
This, along with what many in attendance described afterward as evasive or incomplete answers, frustrated a number of audience members, who periodically rose to leave early.
However, Mayor Augustyn had a different take, saying afterward that the presentation had been a successful exercise in transparency.
“As long as the public continues to have questions, we will continue to answer them,” he said.
Near the end of the meeting, one resident suggested that the Town host regular information sessions every six months or so to help keep the public informed on the status of the Community Centre project. Augustyn said he liked the idea and was going to speak with Council about it.
Look for additional coverage of last night’s meeting in next week’s Voice.
Did you attend the meeting? We’d like to hear your impressions. Let us know at [email protected]