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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Judicial Inquiry Likely Delayed Until 2019.

Collingwood | by Catherine Thompson  

Judicial inquiry looking into sale of half of Collingwood's utility not likely to begin until new year.

The Collingwood Judicial Inquiry public hearings will be held later than expected.

The inquiry is looking into events surrounding the 2012 sale of half of Collus, Collingwood's utility.

The inquiry team had hoped they would start this fall, but Inquiry Counsel Janet Leiper tells us that won't be possible and that it will be the new year before the public hearings can start.

She says that's because the rest of some of the necessary documents aren't expected until the end of November.

A status hearing was held in council chambers on Tuesday afternoon to determine what documents have been received and the timelines for the rest.

The team stated that almost 11 thousand documents have been received and that over 60 witnesses have been interviewed and some may need to spoken to again. 

Lawyers representing those involved in the inquiry reported on the status of their clients' presentation of documents.

The clients are Councillor Tim Fryer, Mayor Sandra Cooper, the town of Collingwood, Paul Bonwick, Ian Chadwick, Alectra Utilities Corporation, Collus PowerStream Corp and Ed Houghton.

Things heated up a little during this one hour status hearing when Paul Bonwick's lawyer David O'Connor said his client has no money and that if funding is not provided by the town then Mr. Bonwick wouldn't be able to take part in the hearings.

Mr. O'Connor got a little feisty when making his case that his client has suffered as he has been subjected to ridicule and his reputation and business has suffered.

The lawyer went on to say that Paul Bonwick's business partners in the Monaco development have bought him out and that he is getting paid 25 hundred dollars a month as a consultant on the airport business development.

The town's lawyer, Will McDowell, says the decision to deny funding to Mr. Bonwick was the decision of the town's Chief Administrative Officer.

Inquiry Counsel Janet Leiper says it is up to the town to determine how to spend money associated with the judicial inquiry.

Associate Chief Justice The Honourable Frank N. Marrocco says he will consider what the two laywers have said and discuss it at a later date.

In April, council was told that the inquiry could cost 1.4 to 1.6 million dollars and would come from reserves. Leiper says funding legal expenses for a participant or witness would come from that amount.

The status hearing was also told by David O'Connor that his client Paul Bonwick has no documents in his possession as he deleted or destroyed any related information.


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