Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ombudsman clears International Power and Grey Highlands Council

On June 27, 2011, Grey Highlands Council was scheduled to receive two draft by-laws involving a number of permits and agreements with Plateau Wind Inc.  Apparently, during the lunch hour, members of Council and a member of the Grey Highlands staff were seen having lunch together with persons from Plateau Wind (International Power) at a local restaurant.

Subsequently, a complaint was lodged with the Ontario Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman released his report on September 21.  To view the complete copy of his response, click here.

In his report, the Ombudsman observes ....

"According to the information provided to our Office, three members of IPC arrived at the same restaurant where you were having lunch, shortly after you arrived.  They were invited to join you at your table.  We understand that the discussions that took place over lunch were mainly casual in nature, but that some of the conversation may have involved general discussions about the wind turbine project.  We also understand that the items that were on the agenda for the June 27 afternoon Council session were not discussed over lunch."

.... and then concludes ....

"Under the circumstances, we did not conclude that the lunch gathering constituted a "meeting" for the purpose of s. 239 of the Act.  When we spoke on September 21, however, we noted that Council members meeting informally could attract speculation about the nature of the discussions taking place, particularly when those discussions take place in close proximity to official council meetings.  Council members should be vigilant in ensuring that a casual social conversation does not drift into improper areas."

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