A much-awaited municipal report on the city’s network of volunteer firefighter infrastructure will be released next month, in time for city council members to debate on Dec. 13.
During Tuesday’s city council meeting — the final gathering for the 2018-2022 city council — Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier made an unsuccessful push for it to be released immediately.
“Staff has decided not to release the report until after the 2022 election without Council approval,” according to Montpellier’s preamble, which would have had the city place the report online immediately.
The report is neither completed nor did city council request a specific release date, Fire Chief Joseph Nicholls told city council.
In September, a page from the upcoming report was leaked, and featured an image of a map proposing the consolidation of the following emergency services:
- Consolidate Beaver Lake at Whitefish
- Consolidate Vermilion Lake at Dowling
- Consolidate Azilda at Chelmsford
- Consolidate LIvely, Waters and Copper Cliff at Anderson Drive
- Consolidate Hanmer and Val Caron at Val Therese
- Consolidate Skead, Garson and Falconbridge at Ideal Site
- Relocate Minnow Lake
- Consolidate Coniston and Wahnapitae at Ideal Site
“That is one slide out of a very detailed report,” Nicholls said, adding that although they have received a draft report from U.K.-based Operational Research in Health Ltd., the city has yet to add local context or recommended actions for city council consideration.
In short, he said the report is not completed to the standard the city aspires to achieve with all reports from city administration, but that it would be ready in time for the Dec. 13 city council meeting. It will be released publicly a week prior to that, as is also common practice for the city.
“There is nothing nefarious about how this has been unfolding, and this is much ado about nothing,” Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland said, pointing to the various ways in which the city has followed the same procedure they ascribe to all reports of this nature.
“What’s the context?” Montpellier later asked. “We paid for this thing almost two years ago.”
Nicholls said the report has been provincially funded and will not affect the local tax levy.
“Staff context is relevant to this,” Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann said, noting that they can debate it following the regular process on Dec. 13.
“At that point, if we want to tear it apart we’ll tear it apart.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, only Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini voted alongside Montpellier in support of releasing the partial report immediately.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.