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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Day Two Of Collingwood Inquiry

Collingwood | by Catherine Thompson  

Day two started with more cross examination of current Clerk Sara Almas.

The Collingwood Judicial Inquiry hearings at town hall continue.

Day Two started with more cross examination of current Clerk Sara Almas.

She was also town clerk when half of the town's electric utility, Collus, was sold to PowerStream in 2012, which is the focus of these hearings.

The questioning focused on documents including the share sale by-law and council meetings around that time, including behind closed doors.

A former Chief Administrative Officer for the town, Kim Wingrove, took the stand late Tuesday afternoon as the second witness of the hearings.

She was CAO from September 2009 to April of 2012.

She says she did not have the typical relationship with some members of council as a CAO should. She says she didn't feel some had a great deal of respect for her or her office.

Wingrove talked about a strained relationship with then Deputy Mayor Rick Lloyd and then Public Works Executive Director Ed Houghton.

Wingrove was fired by the town. 

Meanwhile, written opening submissions to the inquiry have also now been posted on the inquiry website (collingwoodinquiry.ca).

The first one is from Alectra which was formerly PowerStream and it details, from its perspective, events leading to the sale.

The second submission is from Frederick W. Chenoweth who is the lawyer for former Collus CEO Ed Houghton.

The lawyer states that the foundation document, which the inquiry team put together from 440 thousand documents, "reads as an adversarial document written from a predetermined perspective."

The letter was submitted by EPCOR which bought one hundred percent of the utility known as Collus PowerStream last year. EPCOR says it has cooperated with the inquiry and respects the process.

Paul Bonwick, who is representing himself, provided the inquiry with details of his background, including as a former MP and a Collingwood council member.

He questions the timing of now Mayor Brian Saunderson, when he was Deputy Mayor last term, of asking for council to consider a judicial inquiry one week before he launched his campaign  for mayor.

Bonwick, in his opening submission, adds that he hopes the community will have a better understanding of the process.

Other submissions are from former Councillor Tim Fryer and the town of Collingwood.

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