Move to dissolve NVCA still on
Mayor isn’t dissuaded by suggestions of conflict
BY Matthew Talbot Alliston Herald
Essa Mayor David Guergis said he won’t be swayed from his move to dissolve the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) by suggestions he may be in a conflict of interest.
“I am moving forward with it,” he said.
Guergis’ connection to development land in Angus came under scrutiny last week after the Herald uncovered a pending deal between Guergis’ wife Leesa Turnbull-Guergis and Canadian Tire on land near the No Frills. That deal has expired.
When it was still on the table, however, Guergis and his wife attended an NVCA executive committee meeting on March 13, 2009 and argued for the easing of development in Angus.
Guergis provided the Herald with a letter dated Sept. 24 from lawyer John Mascarin at Aird and Berlis that stated Guergis was not in a conflict of interest during his attendance at this NVCA meeting.
“You are not a member of the NVCA,” Mascarin said, arguing that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act wouldn’t prevent Guergis from speaking at a meeting of a board or council of which he wasn’t a member, even if he or his wife had pecuniary interest (which they did during the Canadian Tire deal).
Mascarin said: “Such an interpretation would be absurd and would mean that a member of one council or local board could never participate at any meeting of council or local board of which he or she was not an elected or appointed member if he or she had a pecuniary interest.”
Guergis is, however, head of the Township of Essa’s municipal council – the council that is now debating the NVCA’s dissolution.
Guergis said he and Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes have been invited by a New Tecumseth councilor to speak on the topic of the NVCA’s dissolution on Oct. 5.