At the first council meeting since COVID-19 closure, the village of Sayward witnessed its fair share of drama. Submitted photo

‘We are not getting direct answers’: Sayward residents

Intimidating responses and a councilor threatening aggressive behavior were the tip of the iceberg at the July 14 council meeting

  • Jul. 20, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Sayward’s July 14 council meeting took an ugly turn when a council member threatened aggressive behaviour towards a resident and yet another resident was told to leave the meeting for asking questions.

One thing that was evident at the council meeting – which was the first one held after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March – was that the residents had a lot of unanswered questions.

The meeting was held at the Kelsey Recreation Centre and acting mayor Norm Kirschner and fellow council members declined to comment on or respond to most questions that the Sayward residents in attendance asked.

Residents questioned the council about the lack of virtual council meetings during the pandemic, the financial audits for 2019 not being made available to the public, the ousting of previous acting mayor after a brief two-week stint, and more.

Residents also asked about recordings and minutes of the meetings that were reported missing from the village office. They were told that the RCMP has been investigating the matter and no further comment was forthcoming.

The village has also been seeking a new CAO for a while. While it has run a cost of $10,000, residents said that there was “still no sign” of the CAO. The council said that while all employment issues will be discussed in-camera, they had approached head hunters and that they were waiting for a candidate to sign the contract.

To add to the woes, due to delayed work on the Newcastle creek Dam the village may have to return the grant money they recieved.

Residents also expressed displeasure about being kept in the dark for months about an ongoing real estate project by M.K. Adama Enterprises in Sayward. For months, untimely blasts rattled the foundations of houses in the village and the residents said they were given no information or “direct answers.” Citizens were also concerned as to whether the project would affect Sayward’s frail water system and septic treatment facilities.

A village of 311 residents, Sayward’s local government saw four mayoral changes within a span of three months.

Starting with the resignation of Mayor John MacDonald on March 13, to the vote of no confidence against its previous acting mayor, Bill Ives, in June, residents of the village have witnessed rapid and inexplicable changes.

Currently, Kirschner presides over the council after being appointed on June 24. He will remain in charge until elections are held to appoint a new mayor.

North Island Gazette

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