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COLLUS records fill hundreds of boxes, reports CAO

The EPCOR archives have turned up hundreds of boxes and drawers of paper files on the former town-owned electric utility group of companies
Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

There are hundreds of boxes and drawers of paper files included with the old COLLUS files kept by EPCOR after the sale of the town’s electrical utility, according to an initial inventory reported by the town’s CAO. 

The town’s top staffer, Sonya Skinner, gave an update to council last night (April 19), noting she has spent several hours looking through the files kept by EPCOR. 

She reported there are 191 banker's boxes of papers, 151 small receipt boxes, 37 filing cabinet drawers, and about 100 binders of materials on COLLUS. 

That’s not including electronic files, which haven’t been sent yet. 

Skinner was told by council to request access to the records, which were kept by EPCOR as a condition of the COLLUS sale in 2018. 

According to Mayor Brian Saunderson, the records could include financial statements and old emails from when the COLLUS family of companies was running the utility with PowerStream. 

In March, the mayor said the town doesn’t know exactly what the records include without looking at them. 

He said “a lot of the issues” that led council to sell the rest of COLLUS in 2018 and to call the judicial inquiry were the result of “us having difficulty getting information from the COLLUS family of companies.” 

“We did not have access to information about the operations of that company,” said the mayor. 

Council voted 6-3 on March 15 to have the CAO start looking at them. 

Skinner confirmed there are some confidentiality agreements in place, so it’s not clear how many of the documents, if any, will be released publicly.  

“I really have no idea what we’ll find,” said Skinner during the March 15 meeting. “In the simplest assumption, there would be books of past minutes, maybe some audited financial statements … I think potentially – and much more scary – would be a room full of 27 boxes of various types of different correspondence and electronic records of thousands of emails.” 

She told council on April 19 there were obviously more than 27 boxes of materials. 

Of the hundreds of boxes and drawers of records, Skinner estimated between 10 and 50 per cent of the materials would include topics that may be of interest to the town and council. 

She said she would be back before council in a couple of weeks with recommendations on how to proceed. 

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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