Ward 5 councillor, Bob Kwapeese, tells us we can expect a big announcement concerning the ward on Friday afternoon. But he is not prepared to tell us what this big announcement is all about.
Bob knows something the rest of us don’t know!
What a tease!
Yesterday, diners in the Maid’s Cottage overheard Bob boasting about the big announcement. He can hardly contain his excitement. But, shsssssh, he can’t tell us more because that would mean breaking a secret!
So, what is the nature of this big secret that he is telling – or not telling - the world about?
I think it could be something about the Clock Tower – but, then again, who knows?
Apart from Bob.
On Monday (30 April) the Committee of the Whole had a closed session on the Clock Tower. Our councillors could have been getting their steer from senior staff on the Market Square land ownership issue which is coming up before the Superior Court in less than a fortnight. Or it could be about the OMB meeting in early August which will decide on the planning merits of Bob Forrest’s palsied Clock Tower project. Or it could be about Bob Forrest himself.
Rumours have been flying around for ages that Forrest is in financial difficulties. That sounds fanciful. After a quick Google search I did come across a glancing reference to one of Forrest’s companies in the Panama Papers – Jungle Fever Team Inc – but that happened a long time ago and I won’t dwell on it.
Clock Tower’s 2.9 FSI is false and misleading
Since the Clock Tower is in his patch, I recently asked Bob Kwapeese if he could put a simple question to the Town’s Director of Planning, Rick Nethery. I wanted to know when Rick Nethery first realised the 2.9 Floor Space Index of the Clock Tower was false.
Three weeks ago Kwapis told me:
“I appreciate your diligence and your interest in all levels of politics and for sharing your point of view on various topics of interest for many residents. The Clock Tower development is currently in the process of getting ready for the OMB Hearing. The OMB will be reviewing all the evidence and make their decision based on facts. I will not be commenting or acting on matters concerning the Clock Tower until the OMB final decision is made, therefore I need to decline your request in this matter. Thank you for your understanding.”
How useless is that from our gossip-in-chief?
It is a fact that the Director of Planning knew the 2.9 FSI was false when the Clock Tower report went up to councillors for decision on 28 November 2016.
Employees must not wilfully mislead
It is a fact that the Town’s Employee Code of Conduct says this:
“Employees must be professional, courteous and objective in all dealings with clients and the general public. It is every employee’s responsibility to ensure that all information they communicate is as accurate as possible. No employee shall withhold information or wilfully mislead Members of Council, other employees, clients or the public about any issue of corporate concern.”
In Newmarket, these are just meaningless words.
Bob Kwapis is happy gossiping about big announcements in the Maid’s Cottage but doesn’t have the gumption or self-respect to ask the Director of Planning when he first realised the FSI of the Clock Tower was false.
It is not a difficult question to answer. But, astonishingly, almost one year since I lodged my formal complaint against the Director of Planning with the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bob Shelton, we still do not have the answer. Once we have it - and we shall - all the other pieces will fall into place.
It is because of elected officials like Bob Kwapis - who cannot or will not hold senior staff to account – that I am taking the Clock Tower issue to the Ombudsman.