By Jensen, Randy on July 30, 2020.
In the first full city council meeting since the province announced it would be defunding ARCHES, there was bound to be some fallout from that decision given it was such a polarizing issue in the community and on council.
Coun. Joe Mauro, who was opposed to the supervised consumption site, took the opportunity at the end of Monday’s meeting to air some of his feelings about some of the harsher statements levied at him during previous council debates in light of recent revelations about ARCHES fiscal mismanagement of provincial funds.
“There are many in the community, including myself, who did not support this from the beginning,” Mauro stated. “We had questions. We were concerned the numbers didn’t add up. There was a lot of questions we had nobody was able to address. Based on the decision the province made, the incidents that have taken place, the behaviour that has taken place and the money being spent every which direction with no accountability … I was grilled saying I did not have the ability to competently do my job.”
Mauro began by expressing the personal offence he felt over the issue, but then quickly turned his comments against his fellow council members who had supported the SCS, particularly Mayor Chris Spearman and Coun. Rob Miyashiro.
“When will you two apologize to the community for your behaviour and your action, or non-behaviour and non-action, for allowing this to take place?” he asked.
Miyashiro immediately took offence to Mauro’s whole line of questioning on the subject and the abrasive tone with which he asked his questions.
“Is this Festivus?” Miyashiro retorted. “Is this the day for airing grievances? We were advocating for a community agency and they did some things, but it is our fault they did the things they did? That is what you are saying?”
Mauro denied he was making any such accusation, but reiterated his question about Miyashiro apologizing for his past advocacy for ARCHES.
“Are you going to apologize for rambling on and on, and being unprepared for council all the time?” Miyashiro asked Mauro in return. “Are you going to apologize to council for wasting our time with all of your nonsense?”
It devolved into a general back and forth from there between the two councillors at which point Spearman stepped in to stop the confrontation.
“This isn’t constructive,” stated Spearman before responding to Mauro’s initial question. “There is no need to apologize to the community; everybody does their work (on council) in good faith with the best information they have.”
Spearman reminded Mauro many harsh words and false statements had been directed toward him as well over the issue.
“When you are in political office people levy many allegations against you which aren’t true,” he told Mauro. “That just comes with the territory.”
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