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Mendicino aims to help resolve 'financial issues' between municipalities and Cassellholme

It is unclear whether Coun. Dave Mendicino was the one left without a seat when the music stopped but he is the newest Cassellholme board director
2018 10 14 Dave Mendicino(1)
New/old Cassellholme board member Coun. Dave Mendicino.

The revolving cast of Cassellholme Board of Management directors will have a familiar face as its newest member.

It is unclear whether North Bay City Councillor Dave Mendicino was the one left without a seat when the music stopped but it's fair to say the eligible candidate list had grown considerably shorter as the City attempted to fill the North Bay seat.

The post was most recently abandoned by Coun. Bill Vrebosch, who stepped in for Mayor Al McDonald following his own short tenure. The Mayor had replaced Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch. All resigned over various grievances with the direction of the contentious redevelopment project and board governance.

See related: CEO Lowery: Report shows Cassellholme achieved 'gold standard' in selecting redevelopment contractor

Besides the exodus from the board by North Bay politicians, Mattawa Mayor Dean Backer and East Ferris Councillor Terry Kelly have also resigned in the past few months and some board positions remain vacant.

See also: East Ferris council demands apology for 'dithering' comment on Cassellholme flyer

Mendicino — himself a former Chair of the Cassellholme Board — was welcomed by the current Chair, Coun. Chris Mayne, following an in-camera session during Tuesday's regular council meeting and says he is keeping an open mind about the appointment, despite its high turnover rate, and is up to the task.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to contribute and help bring to a resolution the financial issues that exist with the municipalities," Mendicino tells BayToday.

See: Opinion: Dave Dale, Plot thickens on political fronts

It's no secret there are conflicts between the board and most of its municipal partners regarding the cost of the Cassellholme redevelopment project, financing options, and the move by the board to levy its partners for their respective shares.

See also: Eight of nine municipal partners ask government to deny Cassellholme redevelopment until concerns are addressed

And: Calvin Township taxpayers want out of Cassellholme and have the signatures to show it

Some of the municipalities are looking to leave the consortium once financial settlements can be arranged. Bonfield and Mayor Randy McLaren are supportive of moving forward without further delay. The remaining partners are still concerned about the long-term effects the arrangement could have on balance sheets and credit ratings.

A clear divide also exists between Mayne, Coun. Mark King (also board vice-chair), and several members of the local council. Now that the project has been approved by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, it will be interesting to see if all the stakeholders in the Cassellholme redevelopment can find a way to dance to the same tune.


Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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