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Bill Vrebosch calls on Chris Mayne and Mark King to resign from Cassellholme Board after 'attack on council'

'This is the only Board I've been appointed to that I want to quit before I get on it. I understand now why all these other people are quitting, Mayors demand public apology

Councillor Bill Vrebosch says a four-page full-colour flyer distributed to households across the district and paid for by the Cassellholme Board, attacks area councils, is a big waste of money, and is calling on the Chair and Vice-Chair to resign over it.

The leaflet is an effort to win the battle for the hearts and minds of local citizens who will be on the hook for construction costs.

The Board recently gave a $30,000 contract to TWG Communications for marketing, and Vrebosch says the Board has blown 25,000 of it on the leaflet alone.

Vrebosch is particularly incensed by the sentence, "Dithering by the municipalities since March has added $2.6 million in costs" which appears in the leaflet.

"I can't believe it. This is a complete assault on our integrity and totally impunes municipal councils. It's an attack on all councils. I have a lawyer's opinion that this document totally impuned the integrity of all negotiations between municipalities and this board. He said you have to get a public apology."

He says to make matters worse, the handout was never seen by any of the board members. "Nobody ever approved this thing. They had a $30,000 limit and just spent $25,000 of it on one publication. It's unbelievable the money they've wasted."

Vrebosch says he lives in the ONR seniors building on Oak and discovered most of the leaflets had been tossed into a nearby garbage bin.

"There are 180 units here and there had to be over 100 of those documents in the garbage can. They just got thrown out."

He doesn't know where this is going to end.

"There's not one council member or council who is against the redevelopment of Cassellholme. We all want to go ahead but we have to do our fiduciary duty. We have to get the best deal for the public. I have never seen such a bad deal."

See: Dispute between City and Cassellholme Board over reconstruction costs reaching boiling point

"Nobody will take ownership of it (the leaflet's production). Who put this thing out and who's responsible for it?

"I want to look at the procedural bylaw to see at what level does this stop, where the CEO can go on camera, and start web and Facebook pages against municipal councils. Does he (Cassellholme CEO Jamie Lowery)  have that unfettered right or does the Chair (Chris Mayne)? If the Chair is allowing this I think the Chair and the Vice-Chair (Mark King) should resign.

"They should resign over this document. It's an assault on municipalities. It's unbelievable that this has happened."

Vrebosch was appointed to the Cassellholme Board last week.

"This is the only Board I've been appointed to that I want to quit before I get on it. I understand now why all these other people are quitting. The Board doesn't know a damn thing. It only seems to be two or three people who get to see things done."

Vrebosch says, as a board member he's not prepared to put up with it.

"I'm not a person who resigns from anything. I'm gonna go in there and ask some questions and I want to know who's responsible for this thing."

The veteran councillor says councils have an obligation to protect the taxpayer.

"We're fighting because we can't afford this thing in the first place. In my 43 years in politics, I've never seen anything like this deal where you pick one person and they say 'we have documented proof that it's a good deal,' I've never seen just one bid. We'd go back out to tender if that was the case."

Two bidders submitted, but one was disqualified because it didn't have the necessary recent qualifications and experience to undertake the job.

"So do we need a 122 million dollar building or could we have done with a 100 million dollar building? Nobody seems to be able to answer any questions."

Vrebosch says he's talked with Mayor Bob Corriveau of Papineau-Cameron Township and East Ferris mayor Pauline Rochefort and they both want a public apology over the "dithering" comment, something confirmed to BayToday by Mayor Rochefort.

"I'll tell you, if they (Cassellholme Board) wanted to start a fight with the municipalities and completely get rid of everything, they did it this time because all the mayors I've talked to say, 'This is an assault on us, we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of treatment, and if we paid $25,000 of our budget money to get something that attacks us, well, I'm just really pissed, to be honest with you."

And he warns other board members not to pressure him to resign over the issue.

"They'll quit before I do," he said defiantly.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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