Bronte Outer Harbour Update
Last night, the Mayor brought forward a motion that passed 3-2 supported by Ward 2 Councillor Cathy Duddeck and Ward 6 Councillor Tom Adams opposed by myself and Councillor Roger Lapworth. The motion was to cease negotiations with the Marina Group Inc. (current lease holders of the Bronte Outer Harbour Marina and Conference Banquet Centre) and have staff report back on options to move forward.
While much of the conversation was held in camera, I was not in support of that motion. Below, please find my response to a media inquiry today that hopefully sheds some light on why I opposed the motion.
Region and Town Councillor Ward 1
“Please allow me to comment.
Town staff have told me they cannot guarantee boating harbour services for the Spring of 2018 should negotiations with the current lease holder fall through. A lack of information on federal restrictions to the leases, options for the Town on the property, financial disclosures from numerous sides and models on public-private ownership were not presented to a level that any Councillor should take comfort in in the public report provided to Committee.
The Administrative Services Committee heard from the Association of Oakville Harbours Stakeholders (AOHS) that it desired to see options explored; it also expressed its praise for the current lease holder in running the harbour and its wish to see the current lease extended temporarily until all pertinent information could be gathered so that Councillors could make an informed decision on options moving forward. As we are all aware, time is running out: ceasing to speak gets us nowhere even faster.
Holding a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution, specializing in arbitration, mediation and third party negotiation, I have yet to see any benefit in ceasing to talk, both practically and theoretically; all that accomplishes is further entrenchment. The absence of discussion directly impacts boaters, ancillary services, restaurants, walkers and visitors to the Bronte Harbour area. It adds to an uncertainty that breeds rumors, distrust and resentment that we as a municipal government should never seek to create.
As the Regional and Town Councillor overseeing this harbour, I’ve heard day in and day out of the manner with which this harbour has been operated over the past 20 years and yet still understand there is a gap that exists between the Town of Oakville and the current lease holder. I believe there is a direction staff can take to bring about both a short term solution and long term process to get the best for the residents of Oakville.
I hope that my Council colleagues will see that cessation will never get you to the finish line, it just prolongs the inevitable conversations we all must have.