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Integrity Commissioner report clears Elliot Lake town councillor

'I find that Councillor Cyr did not have a pecuniary interest in the consideration of the purchase of the Property (151 Ontario Avenue) necessitating a declaration of a conflict of interest': Peggy Young-Lovelace
File photo shows Elliot Lake City Hall in July, 2018. Kris Svela for ElliotLakeToday

In a written report from Peggy Young-Lovelace – consultant with E4M of Sault Ste. Marie who was appointed for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner working at the behest of the city – it was found there was no evidence that Councillor Luc Cyr made any monetary gain from voting for a land deal approved by Elliot Lake Council last March.

Much earlier on Dec. 19, 2018, he had declared a conflict and excused himself from participating in a debate over an offer to buy property from the former owner of the land at 151 Ontario Ave., who had owned the former Algo Centre Mall on the site.

The first debate led to a motion that failed on a 3-3 tie vote and the deal fell through. Subsequently, in the second debate last March 6, Mr. Cyr voted for the purchase of the land from another seller, and declared no conflict of interest prior to taking part.

At that time, the land purchase was approved by Council on a 4-3 vote. In both debates, Councillor Chris Patrie who brought the complaint, was opposed to the land purchases.

In March, the old property was bought on the understanding the zoning would be changed on a portion of it at the request of the seller. Council granted the zoning change to allow the proponent to build mixed use commercial and residential development on its part of the site. The City of Elliot Lake plans to construct a recreational complex on the remaining portion of the old mall land in the form of the long discussed Community Hub. The plan is to do that if and when funding becomes available. The city expects word on that from the province this fall.

Addressing the issue in her written submission on the proceedings, Ms. Young-Lovelace said, "I find that Councillor Cyr did not have a pecuniary interest in the consideration of the purchase of the Property (151 Ontario Ave.) necessitating a declaration of a conflict of interest under section 5.1 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act at the time of the March 6, 2019 meeting."

In defining responsibilities, Ms. Young-lovelace said, "The Integrity Commissioner provides instructions as a statutory officer of the City and the City's legal counsel is acting to ensure the the City's interests are served and protected."

City Council will consider the Integrity Commissioner's report from E4M at it's meeting tonight.


About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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