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Inquiry report as important as clean drinking water, says town official

'Please be patient for a few more weeks,' urges CAO, promising comprehensive report by beginning of February
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Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

Collingwood’s chief administrative officer has assured council and the public she and staff are working hard on a comprehensive report to follow the findings and recommendations delivered by the commissioner judicial inquiry. 

Last night CAO Sonya Skinner told council the staff report and the town’s implementation of the inquiry recommendations is among the highest priorities at town hall. 

“It’s equivalent with the top priorities we have, like providing clean drinking water,” said Skinner during the Dec. 14 meeting. 

She promised council they would have the report, within the first two months of 2021. 

“It definitely will be at least January, and pending a couple of things I’m still working on, it could be as late as early February,” said Skinner, noting she wanted to bring the report forward during a Strategic Initiatives Committee (SIC) meeting. 

The SIC includes all members of council, but because it is a committee and not a formal council meeting, there is opportunity for public input during the discussion. 

“I certainly would like to have public input and would recommend that council seek public input both on our plan to move forward and then potentially as we go through more detailed steps,” said Skinner. 

Councillor Mariane McLeod asked if staff had access to all the financial resources required to follow up with the inquiry recommendations. 

Skinner said the 2021 budget of $700,000 would provide the resources “to do a good job on the judicial inquiry follow-up.” 

She said if further resources required for future steps, staff would bring requests to council. 

According to an update from the town provided in late October, the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry costs totalled $7.7 million. 

CAO Skinner told council she has “made contact” with the OPP lead on the investigation related to matters covered in the inquiry, but has nothing to report on the status of that investigation. 

“I was going to talk to them about providing some updates to us, and potentially to council and the public,” said Skinner. 

Mayor Brian Saunderson said he has already met with MPP Jim Wilson about the contents of the Collingwood Judicial Inquiry final report and recommendations and has booked a meeting with the attorney general, Doug Downey, in the first week of January for further discussions. 

“Please be patient for a few more weeks,” said Skinner to council. “It is a really important piece of work that’s coming forward.” 

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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 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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