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Please Note: This is the "news" page to report on Clarence-Rockland City Council activities.
For information about council members and how council operates,
click here.
For previous stories and headlines on this page,
click here.


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The latest Council Meeting

Monthly meetings schedule

Old and New Look

Previous council story headlines

Council schedule
Unless otherwise advised, the Clarence-Rockland City Council meets three times a month: on the First
Monday, First Wednesday and Second Monday. We highlight the agendas here, on the days that council meets.

Latest Council Meeting

C-R Council meets on Monday, Feb. 11
The Canaan Connexion did not cover the following two council meetings in favour of attending the meetings held to discuss Highway 174. For more information on the Highway 174 meetings, click here.
C-R Council Meeting for Monday, Feb. 4:
One of the items discussed at this meeting in Bourget, was the "Bourget Storm Drainage Improvement Presentation". You can read the presentation notes on the C-R website. You can read the full agenda here.
C-R Council Meeting for Wednesday, Feb. 6:
One of the items to be discussed at this meeting is the presentation updating the C-R Public Transit. You can read the presentation notes on the C-R website. You can read the full agenda here.
The January 28 C-R Budget Meeting included input from the public library CEO
Most times straightforward, sometimes complicated

(Rockland, Monday, January 28, 2013) The Clarence-Rockland council met for a "special Committee of the Whole meeting... to discuss the "Conclusion of the 2013 preliminary budget". (The evening session was delayed 20 minutes from its 6:30 p.m. as the council members from Hammond and Bourget were delayed because of a winter snowfall.)

Before the main budget discussions started, representatives from the Clarence-Rockland Public Library presented their budget to council.

Chief Executive Officer Daniel Noël, accompanied by library board chair Sylvie Archambault. More to follow...

Patrick Meikle
Canaan Connexion

  Meet the brain behind the numbers
Number crunching is not something most of us are good at, so when you watch City Treasurer Chantal McLean-Leroux in action, you can only admire her deftness with budget figures. A consummate professional, she rattles off information as easily as
Plummer recites Shakspeare. And when she is bombarded with questions from council members, she remains as calm and collected as the eye of a hurricane. She is amazing to watch, and
easy to listen to. When we say easy to listen to, we don't mean that we understand everything she says, however she speaks in a clear, well modulated voice... an example that most of the council members could follow, even when they remember to turn on their microphones! (Click on her picture to enlarge.)

For previous stories and headlines on this page, click here.

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Miss the main council meetings?
Catch them on TVC-22, local cable and Internet
If you miss City Council meetings, you can still read the agenda and attached resolutions by clicking here. You can also watch the televised version on local Cable, TVC22.

If you don't have cable, you can catch the action by visiting the
TVC22 website, where they advise:

Online Town Council Meetings:
TVC22 offers exclusive full coverage of the
first and third monthly City of Clarence-Rockland council meetings in their online video section. Stay informed of issues and development in your community. Visit the online video section now.
(Comment:You may have to fiddle with the links as we did. Finding the video was not readily visible and the website is difficult to navigate. -Ed.)

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Clarence-Rockland City Council Meetings - the normal monthly schedule...

The FIRST monthly council meeting:
The first of three monthly council meetings held by the City of Clarence- Rockland (called the Committee of the Whole) takes place at the Bourget Community Hall at 19 Lavigne Street, Bourget, starting at 7:15 p.m..

The SECOND monthly council meeting:

This "Public Meeting" takes place on the Wednesday following the first Monday meeting. It happens in the council chambers behind City Hall on Laurier Street, starting at 7:15 p.m., and generally involves administrative items like by-laws, site plan controls, etc.

The THIRD monthly council meeting:
The "Regular Meeting" takes place tonight in the council chambers behind City Hall on Laurier Street. It is the more important of the three because it deals with all of the issues discussed at the previous meetings and is where the council votes on the various items. Here is a link to the agenda along with a list of the resolutions that will come up before council.
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Clarence-Rockland City Council - Old and new look

This photo was taken at the first meeting of the new Clarence-Rockland City Council
Quiet looking aren't they? Things have livened up a bit since.

Things have changed in 2012. Someone is missing? Also notice the
new look under the councillors tables... a platform has been added...
I guess they wanted to be a cut above the residents.
(Click on the lower photo to enlarge.)

(Please note that the council meetings are available for viewing on Rockland's TVC22 Facebook page.)

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March 11, 2013 - Sparks fly at Clarence-Rockland Council - Gatien -vs- Guibord
Clarence-Rockland City Council Meeting - January 21, 2013

Bourget: Clarence-Rockland City Council Meeting - January 14, 2013
Clarence-Rockland temporarily suspends urban expansion process

Rockland politicians caught up in OPP probe

The Rockland South development presentation
Comment: Clarence-Rockland Urban Area Plan

C-R Council concerned about losing 10K National Defence employees to Kanata-Barrhaven

Monday, December 12, 2011 - Council Meeting Highlights

Rockland: Citizens' Committee question council conduct

New interim city manager for Clarence-Rockland (October 2011)
Clarence-Rockland councillors refuse to OK in camera session (August 31, 2011)
Monday, June 28, 2011 - The mayor tries to control the agenda
A confusing lead up to the Monday, June 27 Council Meeting
Clarence-Rockland CAO named new AMCTO president

Monday, June 13 - CRES leads the charge during question period
Wednesday, June 8 Clarence-Rockland Council "Public Meeting" back in Rockland

Monday, June 6 Clarence-Rockland Council meets in Bourget

Clarence-Rockland Council holds special meeting - How did we know?
(See comments)
Clarence-Rockland's top director (CAO) extends his sick leave

Councillor Thivierge angered by Hammond residents petition
C-R Council passes $49 Million budget increasing taxes 10 per cent

Hammond "Road Warriors" petition C-R Council
Bourget Meeting: Councillors take flak over roads
French current affairs highlights council infighting in Clarence-Rockland

Mayor Marcel Guibord interviewed by TFO for program

Tuesday, April 12, 2011: C-R Council holds "special meeting" to deal with the budget

April 11, 2011: Monday's C-R Council meeting relatively quiet but for two

Funny Facebook Page (Cite Clarence-Rockland)
Budget Meeting #2 - Libary, Recreation, Admin and Finance, Physical Services

Budget Meeting #1 - Physical services

Special "In-Camera" meeting- March 22, 2011 - Thérèse  Lefaivre appointed CAO
Update: Clarence-Rockland CAO on long-term sick leave
Schedule - 2011 budget meetings
The choice of legal services divided C-R elected members
March 15 - Preliminary budget meeting and Part II Agenda items from March 14

Editor's comments from March 14
The mayor's resignation is required

C-R council offered mediation services
Question period resurfaced in Clarence-Rockland
Another raucous meeting at C-R City Hall
March 14 - C-R "regular" council meets tonight
March 8 - Clarence-Rockland council relents on questions from public
March 7, 2010 - The question period maintained
C-R mayor to explain himself tonight
Rockland Mayor Guibord orders suspension of question period
Citizens of Clarence-Rockland mobilize on Facebook
Clarence-Rockland Council meetings - a veritable circus
Things are heating up at Clarence-Rockland Council meetings

Sparks fly at Clarence-Rockland Council

In this corner, Marcel Guibord

In this corner, Daniel Gatien

(Monday, March 11, 2013) Everything started quietly enough... the council, minus members Henrie and Serrurier, and a small audience of 16 citizens, not counting a group of six people representing Brent Harden for a zoning by-law amendment for the Rockland Plaza (Staples, A&W, TSC, etc.)... a pitiful turnout, given that the population after the last census is somewhere around 23, 000!

Had the people known what was about to erupt, the chamber undoubtedly would have been filled to capacity.

As stated everything started quietly enough, and then the mayor announced time for question period.

First in line and quickly to the public podium, former chief administrative officer, Daniel Gatien. Without hesitation he lit into Mayor Guibord, starting with objections to the 2013 budget, and asking the mayor for his definition of "Revenue Neutral", which Gatien pointed out was one of the planks in the mayor's election platform.

The silence from everyone present, was deafening. The squabble went on for a good 20 minutes, mostly in English, then switching to French when the mayor seemed to feel more comfortable replying in his mother tongue.

There was another fierce debate when an agitated Councillor Michel Thivierge (during discussions on the Procedure By-law) took exception to council members being named as Chairpersons.

You can catch all of the action when local cable TVC-22 puts the meeting up on their website, sometime Tuesday.

You can also read more comments on the Citoyen de clarence-rockland citizen Facebook page, from some of those present in the audience.

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Clarence-Rockland City Council - January 21, 2013
Another quiet affair, with few highlights to report

(Click on photos to enlarge - Patrick Meikle)

(Rockland, Monday, January 21, 2013) It was another quiet meeting where the council members and city staff outnumbered the residents in attendance. Only one question was asked by a member of the public and the highlight may have been the introduction of the new New Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Gilles Maranda. More to follow...

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Clarence-Rockland City Council Meeting - January 14, 2013

(NOTE: This is the first of three monthly council meetings. It is called the Committee of the Whole. Typically this is where all the City's directors present their monthly reports. It is at this meeting that members of council should ask their questions and give the directors any instructions (ie. give them time to prepare answers to council questions, gather further information, etc.) which will be discussed and voted upon at the "Regular Council Meeting" held on the second Monday of the month.)

This was part of the sparse audience that attended the first
Clarence-Rockland Council meeting of 2013. Click on the pic
to enlarge. (Photo - Parick Meikle)

by Patrick Meikle
(Bourget, Monday, January 14, 2013) This writer has been away from C-R council meetings for some months due to personal commitments, so I immediately notices some big changes from attending past sessions. The meeting was held in an orderly manner, with none of the contentious issues or raucous question period that prevailed in some past meetings. Perhaps it was because the agenda was straightforward with low-key reports from all of the various department heads. And surprisibus, surprisibus... no one from the audience got up to ask questions!

Before the formal meeting started, the mayor wished everyone a happy new year then asked for a few moments of silence to remember those we have lost over the past month. He stated that in future meetings, the Council would continue to mention the names of recently departed residents.

He then mentioned that one of their own employees, Debbie Kelly, whose family lost everything in a devastating January 5 fire, would have a special fund set up to assist her family in recovering their loss.

There were also a couple of announcements:

  • January 17 - City Council will meet with representatives of Centre D'aide De Rockland (Rockland Help Centre) at 7 p.m.
  • February 6 - There will be a public meeting for public transit, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall

The meeting was then called to order.

First item on the agenda was a video presentation by Claude Vachon, president of the Clarence-Rockland Environmental Society, to update the council on the work done on the Clarence Island shoreline. Mr. Vachon began by thanking everyone for their condolences, compassion and assistance on the recent and tragic loss of his son Nicholas, the C-R volunteer firefighter who was struck down on December 15.

The audio/visual presentation got off to a shaky start as technical problems with the computer and projector system, postponed the item until further on into the meeting. Once it did start, about ten minutes of a very slick and professional slide presentation outlined the restoration project involved at Clarence Island, all to the background music of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. (The presentation may be made available if someone requests it.)

Next on the agenda, a first since we have been covering the council meetings... no one got up during the time allotted for questions!

The next seven items (No's 4 to 10) included the monthly reports from the various department heads. Here are some highlights:

(4) PROTECTION TO PERSON AND PROPERTY, Fire department (Fire Chief Pierre Sabourin) - 2012: Home smoke alarm inspections, installed 120 smoke/CO2 detectors

(5) PHYSICAL SERVICES - Director of Physical Services, Yves Rousselle updated Council on current road construction, including Baseline, between Joanisse and Canaan (The surface has been graded and packed and made ready for spring paving.)

(6) PROTECTION TO PERSON AND PROPERTY, By-law department (Director of By-law Enforcement - Yves Rivard) - presented the monthly statistic report, comparing the month of December 2012 with the same time last year and included the annual numbers. For example: in 2012 there were 391 Public Offences, compared to 87 in 2011; there were 133 business licenses issued -vs- 127 the previous year; there were 148 stray dogs picked up -vs- 118; and there were 65 charges laid in 2012, compared to 11 in 2011.

(7) COMMUNITY SERVICES, (Community Services Director - Thérèse Lefaivre) - Two items of note. a) Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena - Request for proposal criteria were being developed for parties interested in taking over the building; b) A website is being developed to highlight arts and cultural which is currently included in the booklet mailed to all residents. It would be synchronized with the City's website, which will also be improved, and the two would be integrated so that current events will be publicized on a more timely manner.

(8) FINANCES (Treasurer - Chantal McLean-Leroux) - updated Council on some budget matters.

(9) PLANNING DEPARTMENT (Planning Director - Michael Michaud) - advised that there were 187 residential units built in 2012 compared to 201 in 2011, the bulk of which were built in the urban (Rockland) area, then the villages and then rural. There were 27 commercial properties, one less than the previous year, and a new residential building was going up southeast of the arena.

(10) ADMINISTRATION (Chief Administrative Officer - Pierre Tessier) - n/a


  • NOTE: This report is my take on the procedures that were held in the French language. You will be able to watch a professional interpretation of the council meeting on Cable TVC22 (See below).
  • Ten people in attendance, plus: two journalists, two union observers, two presenters, two camera persons, two TVC22 techs, one spouse, and one community center employee.
  • Five councillors, plus the mayor, with three missing council members (Thivierge, Félio, Surrurier); and eight City directors. The evening's agenda will tell you what directors were reporting.
  • All in all a quiet affair...

Local Cable TVC22 recorded the session as they do for every First and Third meeting. They put it on their website for viewing, but if you can find it, let us know. Their site is difficult to navigate!

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C-R temporarily suspends urban expansion process

(Rockland, May 4, 2012) If you were to look on the front page of the Clarence-Rockland website, you would find the following information:

Proposed expansion of the urban area
The process is temporarily suspended

(Click on graphic to visit website.)

ROCKLAND – May 4th 2012 – The City of Clarence-Rockland has decided to temporarily suspend the process associated with the proposed expansion of the urban area

The purpose of this exercise is to meet the requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs regarding the urban boundaries of Rockland and of the villages in the City of Clarence-Rockland, as needed for future residential development.

"The purpose of the temporary halt is to clarify the confusion that currently seems to exist in regards to the implication that the decision will have on the growth of the City of Clarence- Rockland," said Pierre Tessier, Chief Administrative Officer of the municipality.

In the coming weeks, the administration will prepare a report for council that will identify a new consultation process which should simplify the decision making. The City will let the public know when the process will resume.

For more information
Julie Chartrand
Communications Officer
613.446.6022 poste 2227
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Rockland politicians caught up in OPP probe
(Editorial Comment: This story is not new to Clarence-Rockland people, however it is interesting that the Ottawa Citizen has now picked it up. In a long story written by Citizen reporters Gary Dimmock And Chloé Fedio, they outline the whole history of the OPP involvement, from the emails that implicated Mayor Marcel Guibord, Councillors, Guy Félio, Diane Choinière and René Campeau, and the alleged, some call mastermind behind the scene
s, Rockland lawyer Stéphane Lalonde.)

(Tuesday, March 20, 2012) The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that the mayor of Clarence-Rockland and three town councillors are caught up in an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad into emails about ousting town manager Daniel Gatien from office.

The article continues saying the emails between Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibord and his former business partner, Rockland lawyer Stéphane Lalonde, and three current town councillors date back to November 2010 - weeks before the politicians were sworn into office following municipal elections held that fall.

The various emails are outlined by the Citizen and in one exchange between the Citizen and the mayor, "Guibord also told the Citizen that there's a "possibility" that the emails are not authentic, but when asked why he would report emails from his home computer as stolen if he thought they might not be authentic, the mayor declined to answer."

The Citizen contacted all of the principles involved and you can read the results by
clicking here.
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Highlight? The Rockland South development presentation:
Clarence-Rockland City Council Meeting

(Monday, March 12, 2011) Councillor Guy Félio, Chair of the Infrastructure and Buildings Committe made a lengthy presentation on the development of Rockland South. Read a letter to the editor on this presentation. (Photo - Patrick Meikle)
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Comment: Clarence-Rockland Urban Area PlanAndré Branchaud
Clarence-Rockland Resident, André Branchaud writes...
During the municipal council meeting on Monday, January 9, 2012, council members' discussion on the agenda item titled "Approval of the new City of Clarence-Rockland Urban Area Official Plan", left me with the impression that mayor Guibord did not seem to know what exactly he was looking to accomplish with that item and how to go about it; he seemed to me ill-prepared. He cut-off (prevented) councillor Payer from asking the responsible city official questions about the content of that plan, explaining that it was inappropriate to do so, given the rather long length of that document.

However, the mayor allowed councillor Félio to make comments about the content of the plan, describing some of his concerns, some of which seemed legitimate in my view, such as changes to zoning assignments not reflected in a previous version of that plan, publicly discussed last fall. Councillor Choinière expressed her concern that citizens affected by those changes are not informed.

All this discussion about that plan by the city council left me with the impression that the process of the plan's development, review and approval is somewhat shaky, if not quite inept. Contrary to what seems clearly stated in that meeting's agenda, that plan was simply not proposed by any member of council for approval at Monday's council meeting. The whole discussion concluded with nothing.

I really have no idea what the city administration or the municipal council will now do about that plan, given that council neither made a decision nor gave any direction about it during Monday's meeting.

Mayor Guibord has often claimed expertize in the administration of municipal infrastructure. Well, here we have a crucial strategic plan describing a 20 years projection of the Clarence-Rockland urban area which, based on its presentation and discussions on Monday, seems to be going nowhere. Clearly that points to a lack of leadership on Guibord's part. He does not seem to know (or care) how to go about successfully managing the development of a fundamental plan dealing with city infrastructure, to its approval and implementation by the municipal council. I hope that the city chief administrative officer, Pierre Tessier, will know how to advise the mayor in properly managing this key issue guiding the long term development of the city.
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C-R Council concerned about losing 10K National Defence employees to Kanata-Barrhaven
The Ottawa Citizen carried a story in their November 19, 2011 edition entitled: DND to spend $630 million preparing Nortel campus. Read more...

The story included: "The Defence Department is looking at moving into the site over the next five to seven years, transferring around 10,000 civilian and military personnel located at other offices in Ottawa and Gatineau to the new site."

A number of eastern municipalities and politicians have reacted to this story, including Clarence-Rockland.

At their December 12, 2011 meeting, members of the Clarence-Rockland city council passed a resolution expressing their concerns about the Federal Government decision to move upwards of 10,000 federal employees to locations in Kanata and Barrhaven. This move would not only affect hundreds of employees who presently reside in Orleans and other areas east of Ottawa, but also in other areas east of Ottawa, including Clarence-Rockland.

The resolution went on to state that the move will impact community life as well as transportation and local economic conditions, so the the Council "supports all activities that will either reverse the Federal Government’s decision or provide mitigation measures for the communities affected".

Copies of the resolution were sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Dalton McGuinty, to Mr. Pierre Lemieux, MP and to Mr. Grant Crack, MPP of Glengarry- Prescott-Russell.

Since that meeting some of the media outlets have picked up on the story. Here is one from the Monday, January 9, 2012 edition of the Vankleek Hill Review.

Clarence-Rockland's newspaper
Vision has also reported on this item.You can read their online edition (in French): Marcel Guibord souhaite créer un front commun. Cick here...
Here is a rough translation of the Vision story...
Marcel Guibord wants to create a common front

The Ministry of National Defence announcement to relocate its offices in the former Nortel building in Kanata, has caused a local reaction. Clarence-Rockland City Council has adopted a resolution (details above) stating their opposition to this decision. They are seeking the support of other elected officials in Prescott and Russell so that jobs remain in our region.

"We will present this resolution to the United Counties to form a common front," said Mayor Guibord, who also intends to approach MP Pierre Lemieux and Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Ottawa-Orléans MPP, Phil McNeely argues that the majority of federal employees in positions within the National Defence live in the Orleans area, and the impact of this migration West will be devastating for the region. The Department of National Defence has approximately 10,000 employees.

"I do not believe that National Defence should spend $ 600 million to renovate a building. Instead, they should focus first on staff reductions and wait to spend it," said McNeely. "This decision could have an effect of reducing home values in the area as well as increasing travel time for residents."

Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais agrees, calling the proposed move a colossal mistake. "It's a terrible decision. The costs of renovating the Nortel complex are very high, a major error by the federal government, which will cost taxpayers," said Mr. Blais.

Last November the federal government under Stephen Harper announced an expenditure of over $600 million to renovate the old Nortel building located on Carling Avenue. This is in addition to $208 million to acquire the property.
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Monday, December 12, 2011 - Council Meeting Highlights

The Clarence-Rockland City Council

(Monday, December 12, 2011) The third of three monthly council meetings has taken place. The Canaan Connexion was able to attend and will offer some highlights, including:

  • Clarence-Rockland City Council express concerns over National Defence move to Kanata (See above for more)
  • Dog-tag-fees are increasing Click here to go to C-R website...

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Rockland: Citizens' Committee question council conduct
(Forward concerns to Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing minister)

The Clarence-Rockland Citizens' Committee held a press conference on Monday morning to further their concerns over the local council's conduct, siting a number of emails published by Sergio Netaliano on Facebook last summer. They suggested that although they did not know the identity of the individual, they believe the documents to be authentic.
André Branchaud
And the purpose of the press conference, according to André Branchaud, committee spokesperson, is to publicly release a Committee letter delivered to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Mrs Kathleen Wynne, conveying to the Minister "our significant concern about the content of the emails dealing with Clarence-Rockland municipal affairs published on Facebook last summer, asking her to take appropriate measures to protect the interests of the Clarence-Rockland citizens".

Branchaud continues, "This letter underlines that the Committee strongly supports the OPP investigation dealing with the publication of emails on Facebook by Sergio Netaliano in August this year. We believe that investigation is been conducted in a professional, rigorous and exhaustive manner, and I stress, includes the contents of the emails. That is what, from the Committee's point of view, is the 'new news'."

All but one of the committee members signed the letter, including four Clarence-Rockland council members: Raymond Serrurier, Guy Desjardins, Michel Thivierge and Bernard Payer. (You can read the contents of the letter, as well as the signatures and other information by
clicking here.

Read the full text André Branchaud's remarks to the press.)

You can read more news on this press conference here:
Vision: Citizens group files complaint agains mayor with minister
Vision related story: Minister declines comment
Ottawa Citizen: Rockland group calls for probe into town council

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New interim city manager for Clarence-Rockland
(October 2011) The City of Clarence-Rockland has a new interim chief administrative officer after a leaked email controversy involving the former holder of that position, the mayor and a lawyer...
Pierre Tessier

Tessier who will assume the position of Acting Chief Executive Officer as of Thursday, October 13. Mr. Tessier will be at the City for a period of three months, with a monthly renewal if necessary.

Mr. Tessier has extensive municipal experience, having been Chief Administrative Officer of the Township of Russell from 2007 to 2009 as well as City Manager for the City of Gloucester in the 1990s. Most recently, Mr. Tessier has served as Regional Manager (Western Region) for the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ontario.

Mr. Tessier’s hiring was announced during the October 11th, Council Meeting.
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C-R councillors refuse to OK in camera session
(Thursday, 01 Sep 2011) Clarence-Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibord received an icy reception at a town-hall meeting Wednesday night, as his fellow councillors and members of the public called on Guibord to publicly address allegations he sought advice from a lawyer on resolutions in which the lawyer had a direct interest.

(NOTE: This story is no longer available on the Internet. -Ed.)
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My Impressions - Monday, June 27 Council Meeting
Mayor Guibord tries to control the agenda -
no ???'s, no photos!
(These are my impressions, trying to decipher the French dialogue between a room full of ambient noise and a mayor and council that are at times barely audible, even with microphones.)

Up until now I have been willing to forgive some members of the new Clarence-Rockland City Council for their inexperience, even their over-zealous attempts to overturn resolutions passed by their forebearers, not to mention their apparent unwillingness to listen to staff recommendations when it appears not to suite their needs. However after Monday's show I am beginning to wonder about the mayor's intentions and motivation for doing what he does.

For example this evening the proceedings had hardly begun when Mr. Guibord announced that there would be no questions from the public, period. ...something about there was a lot of work to get through, they did not have time for questions and adding a question period would only extend what was going to be a long evening given the full agenda.

Then when the reporter for La Nouvelle went to take a picture of the mayor, ostensibly because of his remarks, his worship as much as told the reporter that he could not take pictures from from where he was standing and seemed to point to the media tables to show the reporter where he should be working from. There were groans and gasps from the audience.

(We managed to snap this photo before returning to the Media table.Click to enlarge.)

From my vantage point, the mayor appeared to be trying to control the proceedings. Was he afraid of what questions may be asked? Was he trying to avoid the haranguing that would come with the regular "Citoyens/Citizens" questioners, (the Branchauds, the Levasseur-Lafrenieres, the Beaulnes, etc.) whose invectives I have previously referred to as "old saws" (and by-the-way, while I find them at time repetitious and oft-unnewsworthy, they, the questioners, do serve a purpose by asking the tough questions).

What should have been a quick adoption of the Agenda and "Pecuniary declarations" leading to a presentation on the Hockey Academy by Mathieu Malt, turned into a 45 minute snooze fest while some members of council (Félio, Henrie, Serrurier, Payer to name a few) discussed whether or not this meeting was legal or could be called a "Regular" meeting, having had one already this month.

Thanks to the advice of the City Clerk, the meeting was considered legitimate and another wall was negotiated.

(You can read Vision reporter Greg Chamberlain's take on the status debate here.)

Then there were several objections raised against the mayor's dictatorial stance on no question period. Even the often obtuse Councillor Payer objected vociferously, then waving his arms excitedly chided the mayor for always trying to change things at the last minute.

A vote is called
In the end, a registered vote was called for and like many of the contentious issues that have come up in similar palavers, the voting was five to four, but with a big difference!

Normally the voting goes something like this:
First string: Henrie, Félio, Guibord, Choinière, Campeau
Second string: Payer, Serrurier, Thivierge, Desjardins

But tonight:
Yeas: Payer, Serrurier, Henrie, Thivierge, Desjardins
Nays: Félio, Guibord, Choinière, Campeau

The yeas had it... let the questions begin... whoda thunkit!

(And now it's time for this observer to go to bed!)
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Monday, June 27 - Council Meeting tonight - 7:15 p.m. start
However: Council will tour the new Hockey Academy at 8720 Hwy 17, Rockland, starting at 6:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. this just in... CLOSED TO PUBLIC and MEDIA!
This will evidently be the last official council meeting until the month of August. The council will be taking the month of July off.

Comment: This has been a confusing afternoon for passing on this information as the Agenda has been corrected and now we have just learned that the tour mentioned above has been added. Will the Council meeting start on time? Will members of the council be back from the tour by 7:15 p.m.? -Ed.)

Canaan Connexion has now been informed that the corrected version of the agenda for tonight's meeting for the City of Clarence-Rockland is now available on their website:
Download the agenda along with the resolutions that go with it.

Related Story:
Official Opening of the Hockey Academy is slated for Thursday, August 25.
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Daniel Gatien - Look who's smiling now
Clarence-Rockland CAO named new AMCTO president
(Mississauga, ON, June 21, 2011)Daniel Gatien, Chief Administrative Officer and Clerk for the Town of Clarence-Rockland, was sworn in as President of AMCTO (the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario) at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the Association on June 15th at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

In his inaugural address Gatien acknowledged that the core strength of AMCTO is the strong level of engagement of its membership, which sets it apart from most other associations in the sector.

Founded in 1938, AMCTO is Ontario's largest municipal professional association, and the leading professional development organization for administrative staff in municipal government.

In his inaugural address Gatien acknowledged that the core strength of AMCTO is the strong level of engagement of its membership, which sets it apart from most other associations in the sector. For those of AMCTO's 2,200 members who aren't actively involved he challenged them, "to give back to the Association that has been so generous to us all throughout our careers." Gatien further challenged AMCTO's Francophone members to make their voices heard and to play a role in the future of the Association. Daniel Gatien noted that AMCTO will shortly enter into a new 5 year strategic planning cycle. He stated his commitment to help to ensure that the Association continues to maintain its place at the vanguard of municipal administration and to meet the demands of its current and future members.

Gatien spoke of his pride at being named President, while acknowledging the tremendous work of his predecessor Tony Haddad, praising him as a great President and a great friend.

Daniel Gatien has been involved in municipal administration and management for over 30 years, starting his career through his participation in the Municipal Involvement Apprenticeship Program. He was appointed Chief Administrative Officer and Clerk of the City of Clarence-Rockland following amalgamation of the Town of Rockland and the Township of Clarence in 1998. Prior to this he held the equivalent position for the former Town of Rockland (1996-1998) and for the Town of Haileybury (1989-1996). Mr. Gatien earned a degree in Political Science and Law and Justice from Laurentian University in Sudbury. He holds the Association's A.M.C.T. designation as well as a certificate in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Queen's University, and a certificate in Municipal Finance from the Financial Management Institute of Ontario.

TRIVIA: According to the Land-of-Free.com website, the Clarence-Rockland
Chief Administrative Officer's salary in 2009 was $129,825.

Gatien is originally from the Sudbury area (Hanmer), and has been married for 30 years to Karen McCharles. They are the proud parents of two children, Tanya and Mathieu.

At the first meeting of the new Board of Directors on Wednesday June 15th, Nancy Wright-Laking, CMO, Clerk for the City of Peterborough, was named as AMCTO Vice-President.

(Editor's comment: What is it that the Bible says, something about "A prophet is not respected in his own country." Too bad about Mr. Gatien... some members of the new City Council are doing their best to have him removed from office... they got off to a terrible start what with some members of the council trying to "micro-manage" rather than act as a board of directors.

He may have expressed his sentiments in an inappropriate manner (say some pundits), however IMHO he has more experience and credibility than most of the councillors combined, and they will have to go a long way to find an equal.

At least the AMCTO recognizes talent when they see it. Good on you Mr. G.!)
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Clarence-Rockland Council Meeting - June 13
CRES leads the charge to save a piece of local history
There was another heated question period at Monday's council meeting, but for the first time in months, the residents were not trying to pry open the Pandora's Box that has become part of the Guibord team's infant legacy. Rather, members of the Clarence Rockland Environmental Society (CRES) lead an emotional charge to save what is known as the Power's tree, an eighty year old white spruce that dominates the the frontage at 1887 Laurier Street. Click on pic for larger view.

There were other highlights as well, including an unannounced "in-camera" session that dealt with the tendering process to hire lawyers for the city's legal services. The regular meeting was suspended so members of council could meet in-camera, but then the Canaan Connexion learned that when the meeting was over, council members evidently stepped back into the council chambers and reported "publicly" part of what had happened. By this time there were no TV cameras, no members of the media, and not audience.

"Is that transparency?" someone asked. More to follow...
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Clarence-Rockland City Council - Wednesday June 8:
Wednesday's Council Meeting back in regular Rockland location
Tonight's Council Meeting was held in the regular (Rockland) council chambers, starting at 7:15 p.m. It was the second of the three monthly meetings, dubbed the "Public Meeting".

However before it started, the council dealt with around five items that were not discussed on Monday, as that meeting was suspended due to the late hour.

This meeting will not be televised. You can read and/or download the agenda from the City's website.
Click here.
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Bourget, Monday June 6:
The first monthly Council Meeting a first for Bourget

The Bourget location for the Clarence-Rockland City Council Meeting seemed decidedly more informal, although the question period produced the same complaints and concerns... roads, taxes and budget.
Click on pic to enlarge. (
Photo - Patrick Meikle)

Approximately 70 residents turned out for the first of three monthly Clarence-Rockland City Council meetings on Monday, held for the first time in Bourget. Called the "Committee of the Whole", it was one of several to be held on a trial basis outside the regular Rockland location.

You can watch this meeting in English on local cable television, TVC22, on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., or by visiting the TVC22 website.
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From the Editor's Desk:
C-R Council holds "special meeting" - How did we know?

Patrick Meikle - Canaan Connexion
Learning about a Clarence-Rockland City Council "Special Meeting" from a Facebook page, to use an old expression, is "bad rice"! But that is exactly how the Canaan Connexion learned about the Monday, May 30 council gathering. (SEE added comments below.)

We found the "Agenda" on the City's website, after the fact, but unless we missed something, the meeting was poorly publicized. According to the Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens Facebook page, "There was not one newspaper reporter there. TVC 22 was not there. The microphone and speaker system was not set up. There was a total of 5 spectators, yes only 5."

According to the Facebook article, the main purpose of the meeting was to deal with tenders for legal services. If one did not know better, one could speculate that this apparent unadvertised meeting was held in such away so as not to attract any public attention... some of the conspiracy theorists would call it a cover up, so to speak.

But given that there were three other items on the agenda (C.H. Clément, Brazeau Sanitation and Confirming by-law 2011-100), the show must have been transparent...a word that the new administration swore by when it took office. Stay tuned for more.

Incidentally, if you click on the picture you will see a slightly larger size. The blacked out figure represents the missing Chief Administrative Officer.

Editor's Comments: Further to the above story, I placed several unanswered calls (and telephone answering messages) to City officials to find out why the special meeting was not advertised. I only received one call back, too late in the week for me to respond. It was not until the Monday, June 6 Council Meeting in Bourget, that I was able to talk to the City Clerk, the acting Chief Administrative Officer and to the Mayor.

They all assured me that there was no attempt to hide this meeting from the public and that it was (evidently) recorded somewhere on the City's website (although we did a fairly thorough search and could not find it, but then their website is somewhat convoluted.)

It was also suggested by the Clerk and acting CAO that failing to notify the media of this meeting was simply an oversight on their part. The mayor said that he was unaware that the meeting was poorly advertised.

I suggested to all that it would be a good idea to inform the media in future, that it was not practical for the media to constantly check on the City's website for this type of information, and at any rate, that it was difficult to find and that if they did put this information on the website, it should be placed prominently on the front page.
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Daniel Gatien
Clarence-Rockland's top director extends his sick leave
(Thursday, May 9, 2011) LeDroit newspaper is reporting that Clarence-Rockland's Chief Administrative Officer, Daniel Gatien, has extended his sick leave for another few months.

Gatien has been at loggerheads with the new mayor Marcel Guibord and certain members of the new city council since they took office in December of last year.

One of the first resolutions made by Ward 5 Councillor Guy Félio was to stop the legal fees that the city was paying for Gatien to fight a law suite against the now defunct Muskateer newspaper. (The matter is still in legal limbo.)

At the time there was a chill in the council chambers as Gatien was sitting mere feet away while Félio read out the resolution. Many citizens felt that the matter was handled inappropriately. One person even stated that it was "cruel".

For the past several months some news services have described the Clarence-Rockland council meetings as everything from a "circus" to being "raucous" as members of the public gallery have consistently booed, heckled and shouted out their disdain for some council members.

(You can get a sample of council interaction with the public by watching the video that is featured in the story below. It begins with a short introduction in French and continues in English.)

Several residents from Rockland have repeatedly through the open question periods, taken Mayor Guibord, Councillor Félio and Councillor Diane Chonière to task over their "micro-managing" of City affairs and their alleged association with Stéphane Lalonde, a local lawyer and editor of the Muskateer.

Many of these same residents have continued their criticism and vitriol through a Facebook page entitled: "Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens" (often monitored and highlighted by the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page)(How to join Facebook).

You can read LeDroit story (in French) here.
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Councillor Thivierge gets angry over citizens' petition
La Nouvelle newspaper posted a short video on their website, showing Clarence-Rockland Ward 1 Councillor Michel Thiverge starting to lose his cool after a Hammond resident filed a petition to the council over the bad roads in the Hammond-Bourget area.

You can view the information here.
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Council passes $49 million+ budget for tax increase of 9.96%
Thanks to a well-prepared presentation by the City Treasurer, Chantal McLean-Leroux , the final budget figures for 2011 were offered to the Clarence-Rockland City Council for approval. The final balance came out to $49, 053, 811 making a tax increase of 9.96 per cent.

The Vision newspaper online edition has printed a preliminary report here.

"The Guibord administration adopted its 2011 budget Monday night. The total budget amounts to $27,334,557, an increase of $2,031,456 compared to 2010. These figures translate into an increase of 19.95 per cent of property taxes in several key sectors, a rate of almost 10 per cent increase for residents of Clarence-Rockland."

This morning's LeDroit headline reads:"Revitalizing the Clarence-Rockland road network - Taxpayers will swallow a 10 per cent increase" Read more...

The budget meeting and subsequent questions from the public carried on until 8:15 p.m. With an extra long Agenda, the Council did not get through all of the items for the regular council meeting, and adjourned until this evening at 7:00 p.m. (TVC22 should be carrying last evening's meeting on their Tuesday evening slot.)

Bouvier Road and Lavigne Road residents petition council for better roads (See below).
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Hammond Residents
Road warriors petition council at budget meeting
It was obvious at the Monday, May 9 C-R budget meeting that not everyone was happy with the choices made by council on what roads to tackle.

The Vision newspaper reported that Hammond resident Steven Rimmell presented council with two petitions on behalf of residents.

“I am here to represent four neighbourhoods,” Rimell said, with the council chamber gallery behind filled with several dozen residents from the rural wards. “We’re here to work with you to find solutions that are reasonable for you but address our concerns.” Read more...

Rockland resident Claude Vachon also addressed the council during a question period reserved for budget items. He could not understand Council's priorities in selecting Baseline Road (between Canaan and Joanisse) when so many other roads in Clarence-Rockland were in much worse shape.

You can watch the proceedings on local cable television TVC22, either on cable or from their online website link.
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Bourget Ward Meeting
Councillors take flak over road conditions
The Vision is reporting that at an April 20 public information session at the Bourget Community Centre, Councillors Guy Félio for Ward 5, René Campeau of Ward 7, and Diane Choinière for Ward 8 were taken to task over the condition of local roads, particularly Bouvier and Lavigne.

One of the residents was quoted as saying: “We elected you. You have to come up with solutions. If something happens, if nothing is done, you will be held accountable.” Read more...
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Clarence-Rockland on TFO
French current affairs highlights infighting
In a follow-up to the previous story, a well produced documentry, TFO's "Relief" current affairs program brought out the brouhaha sourounding the conflict within the Clarence-Rockland political forum. Watch it here...
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C-R Mayor Guibord interview slated for TFO April 19
After the Monday, April 4 council meeting, when everyone had left, Mayor Marcel Guibord was interviewed by Linda Godin, chef du bureau d'Ottawa for the TFO program Relief.

The mayor may have answered quetions from Godin, that he would not answer during the council's question period.

Godin advised the
Canaan Connexion that "My story on the Rockland crisis is suppose to be On Air next Tuesday, April 26th. Very interesting."

We'll be watching!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011
C-R Council holds a fourth "Special Meeting" for budget

(Clarence Creek, Tuesday, April 12, 2011) The Clarence-Rockland City Council, with the assistance of Treasurer Chantal McLean-Leroux, acting CAO Thérèse Lefaivre and Physical Services Director Yves Rousselle, held their fourth "special budget" meeting. It was located at the Clarence Creek Arena, because the regular council chambers had been previously booked by another group.
(Click on pics to enlarge)

Approximately 25 residents sat through the five and one-half hour gathering to observe council and staff labour through the proposed budget line by line by line.

The meeting also included a presentation by local cable TVC-22 general manager Robert Pilon, who mad an impassioned case for financial assistance to upgrade services. More...

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April 11, 2011
Monday's C-R Council meeting relatively quiet but for two
Comment: The Monday evening April 11 Clarence-Rockland City Council meeting plowed through many items, with some pertinent discussions, all carried out in a comfortable manner. However there were still a couple of individuals who used the Question Period to bring up old saws about the link between the Mayor and certain council members, with Stéphane Lalonde. From the reaction of the audience, there is still a split within the citizenry with many on the left feeling the mayor is not answering the questions.
Watch it all on local cable TVC-22. Here is the link

C.C. editor slammed over comments. More...
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April 5, 2011
Tuesday's special budget meeting - the money runs out
Editor's comment: After three hours most ot the audience had left, except for two citizens and this reporter. From what I could understand, reality set in about 11:15 p.m. when the council heaved a collective sigh, stopped in silence, and realized that there was no more money left in the budget, with the OPP contract still to be calculated. There was a suggestion that the taxes would have to be increased by 10 per cent in order to cover the budget costs. Councillor Surrurier stated bluntly that that would be unacceptable. Given the hour, (11:30 p.m.) the council adjourned the budget meeting for further discussions. - Ed.
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Funny facebook page posted
Funny strange, not funny ha-ha. Our surfing came across this Facebook page:
CITE CLARENCE-ROCKLAND and the only posting on it is:
"Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic."

Wonder who put up this page? Sounds like it may have come from the City of C-R, because one would assume that "Community Pages" would refer to those on the C-R website.
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Budget meeting #2
Libary, Recreation, Admin and Finance, Physical Services
(Rockland - Wednesday, March 23, 2011) The second of three budget meetings was held this evening in the C-R council chambers. The agenda carried four items which included: Libary, Recreation, Admin and Finance, and a carryover of Physical Services from last evening. Attending on behalf of City staff were Treasurer Chantal McLeran-Leroux, the new C-R Chief Executive Officer (head librarian) Daniel Noël (assisted by library board president Marc-André Lalonde) and Community Services Director, Thérèse Lefaivre.

C-R Libraries:
Noël updated the council on current library activities, outlined his plans for future growth and presented his proposed budget, stating that he would like to spend the money in the best interests of the community.

Highlights included:
Setting up a new website for the library (they already have an Internet address and will use a "template" that is being shared by some 14 libraries in the region.)
The website will offer access to
In Bourget, an area set aside for children
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Budget meeting #1 - Physical Services

(Rockland - Tuesday, March 22, 2011) The first of three budget meetings was held this evening in the C-R council chambers. The agenda carried one item, "Presentation of the 2011 preliminary budget for the Physical Services". Attending on behalf of City staff were Treasurer Chantal McLean-Leroux and Physical Services Director Yves Rousselle.
Discussions from this meeting were held over to Wednesday evening.

(Note: This is my interpretation of what I observed. Please do not take this information as gospel! It will all be officially made available after the budget process is completed-Ed.)

Using an overhead projector Ms. McLean-Leroux presented council with her estimates, projections and recommendations for the 2011 Budget. Essentially, these preliminary figures are the same last last year. They start with a base three (3%) per cent increase.

As the various departments offer their input into the budget process, "adjustments" are made to the existing figures. So for example, this evening it was Yves Rousselle, presenting his suggestions, estimates and projections for the Physical Services Department.

It must be remembered that while these discussions are open to the public, the documents and figures are not yet available officially to the public. Complete results will be made available after the preliminary meetings and a follow-up meeting is held later.

Without offering the readers specific dollar amounts (the rapid-fire of numbers, I found confusing), here were some of the items brought forward by Director Rousselle:

  • Clarence-Rockland Transpo (bus service)
  • Professional membership - "centre d'expertise et de researche industrielle" (sp!)
  • Money allocated to repair road damage in Bourget, ie. ditches and drainage (a discussion arose about whether or not it would be cheaper for city staff or contractors to do the work.)
  • Money allocated for patching (discussion on "hot" -vs- "cold" patching. Rousselle advised that they will be hiring on a"trial basis" a local contractor with a machine that is used specifically to repair potholes in the road.)
  • Street sweeping (This is done with roads that have curbs and storm sewers (don't want the dirt to go into the sewers) and there have been a lot added since last year. Councillor Choinère said that it would be better to fix the holes than to sweep the streets. Recommendation: clean the main streets but not the lesser roads and sub-divisions. Regarding construction sites, contractors are responsible to clean those streets.)
  • Shoulder maintenance program (gravel to compact along the shoulders of the road in order to preserve the edge of the pavement. Recommendation: Keep the budget the same and see how much can be done with it.)
  • Gravel resurfacing (Every year, particularly in the spring, large amounts of gravel are spread on certain roads to bring them back up to pre-winter conditions. The director asked for an increase over 2010, the council lowered his amount, but it ended up being more than what was needed in 2010.)
  • Spreading calcium on non-paved roads (Calcium is required to keep the dust down.Rousselle also emphasized that it was a "question of safety". Dust can create a potential for accidents if drivers cannot see vehicles/pedestrians, etc. Rouselle wanted to increase the calcium to be spread in order to cover a wider width of the road. Water is required to wet the road surface before the calcium is applied. It was suggested that a truck be purchased for this purpose. However, rather than buying a truck, the city already has one that can accommodate a water tank, and it was recommended that a tank be purchased.)
  • Spreading gravel (a discussion on putting gravel on roads and then having a road grader come along and remove it while smoothing out the road. Councillor Campeau commented on the use of a grader -vs- a plow (snow plow). A grader removes the gravel while a plow scrapes the surface to clean the road, leaving the gravel underneath Recommendation (?) I believe I heard that the money for this purpose should come out of the "Rural" capital projects - Ed..)
  • Sidewalks (For safety purposes a sidewalk should be constructed along Simoneau between Laurier and Avenue du Parc, because of the heavy traffic and pedestrian use going to and from the arena and recreatin/L'Escale areas. This suggestion was dropped)
  • Municipal vehicles (another truck is needed for the city to augment the fleet. It would be used by Physical Services (ie. during the summer by a summer student) and could be shared with other departments as required. A discussion ensued over the cost of a new vehicle -vs- the cost of repairs and using our own mechanics. Councillor Félio suggested hiring another mechanic, however that idea was put forwarded to next year. The money recommended for a new truck was around $45K. There was even a suggestion of purchasing a 4x4. Councillor Campeau said that that would be "over kill". In the end, it was recommended that the city be given $50K to purchase two trucks... one new or newer, and another one used..
  • Building a loading dock at the city yard (At the present time it is impossible to load the salt/sand/gravel trucks without the front-end loader being used outside the building. Rousselle was asking for funds to build a proper loading dock along one wall.
  • Culverts (Director Rousselle gave the council a "heads up" for next year on the need to replace certain culverts within the city, as some are in badly need of repair.)
  • Federal gas tax (Treasurer McLean-Leroux mentioned how this tax impacted on the city)

The meeting was adjourned in order for the council to hold their "in-camera meeting (below). It should be noted that at this point in the deliberations an "adjustment" of $204, 350 was added to the proposed budget. These items, as well as the priority of what roads should be repaired (see below) will be considered in the overall budget at the end of the process.

Outlining street priorities
(It is interesting to note that this part of the Physical Services recommendations dealt with what has evidently been upper most on residents' minds, and yet no one was present, except for this reporter. -Ed.)

Designating the streets/roads for priority consideration came in three sections. They are as listed in priority:

1. Urban:

  1. Albert Street
  2. Notre Dame Street
  3. St. Paul Street
  4. Caron Street / Laviolette Street (? - did not understand)
  5. Giroux Street / Pouliotte Street (? - did not understand)
  6. St. Jacques Street

2. Semi-Urban:

  1. Du Lac Road
  2. Landry (Henri Road to du Golf Road)
  3. Caron (Fairway to David)
  4. Drouin Road
  5. Baseline Road (Canaan to Joanisse)

3 Rural:

  1. Legault Road
  2. Baseline Road (? east of Landry?)
  3. Clarke Road
  4. Bouvier Road

You can view these strees by using the Google "Maps" feature. For example:
"Caron Street, Clarence-Rockland, Ontario"

Laviolette - There were discussions about Laviolette Street. Part of the work has already been completed. A further amount has been approved (not in this budge?), and the work is ready to go. A suggestion that half be done now and the second half e done next year.

Albert - There were also discussions about Albert Street (top on the list). Before work can begin studies including engineer's, research and design, must be completed.

Laurier, from Laporte Street to Walmart - a "heads up" that this would have to be done soon.

Industrielle Street - Development, traffic lights and who would pay (ie. City -vs- Counties).

There were also general discussions about future growth that included: installing hydro lines -vs- underground cable; residential costs; development charges; the need for industry (taxes) to help pay for construction and growth and the need to make some decision fairly soon in order to get some good pricing before the construction season begins.

The meeting ended at approximately 11:20 p.m.

(Editor's Comments: When the meeting started at 6:05 p.m., three council members were absent, Bernard Payer, André Henrie and Michel Thievierge. Thievierge arrived at 6:51 p.m. (didn't seem to be prepared and did not seem to have the budget documents) and Payer arrived at 7:02 p.m. (He thought the meeting was scheduled for 7:15 p.m.). Henrie remained absent.

Twelve or thirteen citizens were in attendance, coming and going at various times. It was noted that the Community Services Director, Thérèse Lefaivre entered the room at 7:58 p.m.

The budget meeting broke at 8:48 p.m. so the members of council could gather for an in-camera meeting. At this time all of the residents left. The council resumed the budget meeting at approximately 10:15 p.m.

It was interesting to see how well the council and staff worked together in an amicable, harmonious and jovial mood, without the presence of cameras, a large crowd and no question period.)

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Special "in-camera" meeting, March 22, 2011
Thérèse Lefaivre appointed as interim CAO and HR Director

At a special :In-Camera" meeting last evening, C-R Community Services Director, Thérèse Lefaivre was appointed as interim Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Human Resources, to replace the ailing Daniel Gatien, who is on an undisclosed sick leave.

(Comment: I was wondering earlier why she arrived in the council chambers earlier, as her input into the budge will happen tonight, Wednesday, March 23.)

This special meeting started at about 8:50 p.m. and lasted until 10:15 p.m. By this time I was the only person left in the bleachers.

The closed session agenda included the following items:

  1. Agreement regarding information disclosure
  2. Interim CAO
  3. Human Resources responsibility
  4. Communication with Mr. Daniel Gatien during a sick leave
  5. Allegations by two (2) employees

The only thing that came out publicly from this meeting was the appointment of Thérèse Lefaivre. Members of the council were joined by Sebastien Huard, the lawyer who looks after Clarence-Rockland's human resources interests, brought in presumably for legal advice.

(I am assuming that Item 5 came about as a result of two employees speaking out publicly at the last City Council meeting.)

Do you have any comments to offer on this story?

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Clarence-Rockland's CAO is on sick leave
(Note: This story appeared in LeDoit and was written by former Vision staff writer, Samuel Blais-Gauthier, who is now a regional correspondent with LeDroit. It is our translation.)

(Wednesday, March 23, 2011)With the budget still on the drawing board, the City of Clarence-Rockland has no driver. The city's chief administation officer (CAO), Daniel Gatien, is on sick leave for a period at least two months.

No one at City hall will comment on the CAO's absence. The only reference is an automatic reply from Gatien's email address:

The message says: "I am currently out of the office due to illness until May 25, 2011. I will contact you when I return".

The CAO's sick leave comes just as the politicians discuss his future.

"We are currently in discussions with the (CAO)" said Clarrence-Rockland mayor, Marcel Guibord, who has been accused by many of his detractors of trying to dismiss Gatien's legal fees.

LeDroit has learned that elected officials have already held "in-camera' meetings to obtain legal advice on human resource matters, implicating Daniel Gatien.

The discord that exists between the CAO and the mayor and some advisors is inarguable. Recent C-R council meetings have been the scene of many spats between the two men.

"We can't understand...," blurted Guibord during the January 14 meeting.

The CAO, right at the beginning of this new council saw his signing authority stripped. (A resolution put forward last December stated that Gatien's legal fees in his suit against a local newspaper and its editor, the mayor's former business partner, should be struck down.

The C-R mayor, with a looming budget and a CAO on sick leave, is still confident that the (budget) process will be achieved with the current people in place.

Councillor Michel Thivierge could hardly contained his anger at the news.

The absence of Mr. Gatien couldn't complicate the budget discussion more, said Thivierge. ... because in any case, they (the mayor and his councillor supporters) may do as they please, without listening to Mr. Gatien's recommendations.

Guibord said that he intended to appoint someone as acting CAO during Gatien's convalescence.
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Tonight's the night - "Roads, roads, roads"
Clarence-Rockland 2011 budget meetings March 22, 23 & 24
(March 22, 2011)The all important 2011 budget meetings will be held in the C-R council chambers starting Tuesday, March 22. The meetings are open to the public but it is not clear whether or not questions will be permitted. The first meeting deals with Physical Services, which includes "roads"... remember? ...the number one complaint during the election time. Schedule...
Here is the schedule for upcoming budget meetings

Here is the schedule for the 2011 budget meetings:

  • Tuesday, March 22 - Physical Services (includes roads)
  • Wednesday, March 23 - Recreation, Library, Administration, Finance
  • Thursday, March 34 - Fire, Planning, Bylaw

All meetings start at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the council chambers.

(Comment: It will be interesting to see who shows up at the first meeting because this is where "roads" will be discussed and if you remember the number one concern with most citizens during last year's election period was "roads, roads, roads!" - Ed.)

The question of roads keeps coming up. They have been mentioned in the Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens Facebook page. Even Councillor Bernard Payer started a discussion at the last council meeting about the worst road in his ward... Albert Street.

Let's see where the discussions go during the budget meeting on Tuesday.

Do you have a "worst road" suggestion. Send it in and we will start a list on this website.

Contact us:

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The choice of legal services divided C-R elected members
The choice of lawyers to provide certain legal services to the municipality has done so of his own Monday night at Clarence-Rockland.

Councillor and finance chair, Diane Choiniere, presented a proposal to accept the services of three law firms to provide legal advice and represent the municipality in court during litigation. Firms would work in their specific areas of expertise and according to our needs, argued Choiniere.

However, some councillors as well as CAO Daniel Gatien, were surprised to learn that the three firms had been selected without competitive bidding, evidently even if mayor Marcel Guibord has claimed otherwise.

(You can read more of this story, in its original French language,
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Preliminary budget and Monday night Part II
(Tuesday, March 15, 2011) The evening started at 6:37 p.m. with a preliminary budget meeting in which CAO Daniel Gatien and Treasurer Chantal McLean-Leroux offered an overview and explanation of the budget and answered council members questions. More...

The agenda paper was sparse, a simple phrase "Budget 2011" and Treasurer McLean-Leroux advised the Canaan Connexion that none of the budget documents discussed were available to the public at this time because they are "working documents" only.

Budget meetings are planned for March 22, 23, and 24. They are public.

Members present included Mayor Guibord and councillors: Desjardins, Campeau, Choinière, Félio, Serrurier and Payer. Absent: Thivierge and Henrie. More to follow...
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Editor's comments from March 14
It appears that the question period has become the most important part of recent Clarence-Rockland council meetings and in some instances they have all but taken over the forum.

This evening, it took over an hour of council wrangling before the question period started, and in that time council had only covered Part 4 of an agenda that included three and one-half pages of type, which would end with Part 18.1, "Adjournment of Meeting".

At the start of the discussions, following the opening prayer and announcements, Councillor Bernard Payer took a swipe at the mayor referring to a letter in which the mayor evidently blamed the administration for some foul up.

I thought Item 4.1 might cause some controversy, because it had to do with the purchase of a chain of office for the new mayor. Whether or not he was swayed by public comments suggesting that there was already an existing chain of office at City Hall, the resulution passed after the mayor stated that he was simply going to add another medallion onto the old chain.

Then came another lengthy discussion (Item 4.3) about question periods... how long in duration? when? time alotted for the question? etc.

Both the mayor and Councillor André Henrie suggested one-half hour of time while other members, including Councillor Raymond Serrurier said that you cannot designate a specific length of time because anyone who wants to ask a question has the right to do so, regardless of the number of people and the time it takes to get through the questions.

(I am working on this as you read! Come back shortly...)
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The mayor's resignation is required
(La démission du maire de Clarence-Rockland exigée)
(Rockland, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, as reported in LeDroit)

This meeting is now available on TVC22

"Tonight, I demand your resignation!"

Outraged by the decisions and actions of the Clarence- Rockland mayor, Marcel Guibord since his election, resident Roger Beaulne asked for his head Monday night at the regular meeting of council.

Beaulne, who for two months regularly commutes between Florida and the municipality to attend the different municipal meetings, has compiled a comprehensive list of reviews and opinions against the council chief and launched his vitriol during the question period to a round of cheers and applause.

His companion in arms, André Branchaud immediately chimed in the same vein, asking if an earlier petition of 1200 names, brought about by a recent controversial municipal decision recently, could bring his resignation.

"For sure I will not resign," said mayor Guibord. "I was elected by a majorityfor four years, and you'll see me for four years."

Branchaud and Beaulne are among the most active members of a group of people who comment on the mayor's actions on the
Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens Facebook page. (LeDroit reference).
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C-R council offered services of a conflict mediator
(Un citoyen offre ses services à titre de médiateur)
Four months after the municipal election, the City of Clarence-Rockland administration is far from being a well-oiled machine. This fast was brought out at another stormy meeting.

(Several members of the audience line up during the question period. Photo - Dugas)

Criticisms, disagreements, allegations, and frustrations once again characterized the entire city council meeting last night.

Some in attendance demanded that "washing dirty linen in public" immediately cease.

"I remain perplexed with all that happens in city hall. Washing its dirty linen in public is not a means of bringing people together. It divides, it is counter-productive and we all deserve better. It is time to put aside childish practices and manage this city, " said Nicole Lefebvre, describing herself as a mother and "private citizen".

Her brother, who resides outside the municipality and is recently retired ostated similar sentiments and offered his services as a professional mediator to help correct the problems.

You can read more of this story, in its original French language, here.
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Another raucous meeting of the C-R council
(Calls for Mayor Guibord and Councillor Choinière to resign)
(From the editor's view...) How will the mainstream press report the Monday, March 14 Clarence-Rockland council meeting? LeDroit, Vision and La Nouvelle reporters were all there and I am sure had the English and French CBC crews, who attended the "cirque" last Monday, known how the "Question Period" was going to turn into another verbal donnybrook, they too would have covered the meeting.
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Council members vote to continue meeting a second night
(Monday, March 14, 2011) One council member was heard to say that this was the first time in his six years on council that a regular meeting was carried over to a second evening, but that is just what happened on Monday evening when after three and one half hours, there were still at least 15 items to resolve. And so you can catch the continuing saga, starting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday evening.

The agenda is posted on the
City's website and includes most of the resolutions that have been and will be brought forward. This carryover will not include audience participation (ie. question period), so the meeting should not take long.
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Question period resurfaced in Clarence-Rockland
(La période de questions refait surface à Clarence-Rockland)
(Rockland Council Meeting - Monday, March 14, 2011) The dean of the municipal council of Clarence-Rockland has ruined Mayor Marcel Guibord's plan to eliminate the question period at last night'splenary meeting.

Rockland councillor André Henrie, who has three terms under his belt, has proposed to give a voice to citizens after the hubbub caused in the community since last Friday following the order by the chief councillor (Guibord) to withdraw the question period.

You can read more of this story, in its original French language,
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C-R "regular" council meets tonight - Monday, March 14
The regular meeting of the Clarence-Rockland municipal council is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. this evening, according to the posted agenda on the City's website. You can read the agenda meetings here.

You will note that according to the agenda (Item 5.1), there will be time set aside for a "Question Period". This item created some controversy last week when the mayor
arbitrarily ordered the question period removed from the Committee of the Whole meeting.

However after complaints from the public and apparent intervention from some council members who were evidently not apprised of the order, the question period was reinstated.

Coverage of the question period appeared in the Vision Newspaper and can be seen in their
online edition here.

Members of the loose-knit "
Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens" Facebook page, now numbering over 535, are planning to be at the meeting.
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Clarence-Rockland council relents on questions from public
(March 8, 2011 - from a CBC News report) Residents in Clarence-Rockland packed the town hall Monday night to win back their right to a regular public question period during council meetings.

This meeting is now available on TVC22

Town Council meetings have been raucous since Mayor Marcel Guibord and the new council took office in the fall, with residents attending to voice their complaints to a number of local initiatives.

So when the agenda for Monday's meeting did not include a question period, people came to the hall anyway to voice their displeasure.

"Transparency is not what's happening tonight," said Pierrette Lafrenière, a nurse who has lived in Rockland for 25 years.

"Tonight is like 'shut your mouth.' That's how we all feel... that we're being shut up," said Lafrenière.

Danielle Mantha said the removal of the question period was a troubling sign.

"To me, it's as if they have something to hide," said Mantha. "As a citizen and as a taxpayer, I am allowed to know what is going on."

About 500 people joined a Facebook group entitled "Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens" to protest the move to cancel the public forum in advance of Monday' meeting.

Mayor Marcel Guibord told Le Droit over the weekend that the town's council was being bogged down with questions from the public and meetings were running overlong.

Guibord declined to comment on Monday, and after some debate council relented and allowed a question period Monday night.

"It's good, the public has spoken and they listened," said Michel Bergeron, who said while he and others didn't get the answers to the questions they posed, they at least got the opportunity to ask them.

"They were evasive to the questions, they always will be, because before we ask the questions we almost know the answers. They were very vague in their answers, but slowly but surely everything will come out," he said. "It's democracy at work."

Clarence-Rockland is a town of close to 22,000 people, about 40 km east of Ottawa.
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March 7, 2011 council meeting
The question period maintained
La Nouvelle reported that there was a full house at the plenary session of the Clarence- Rockland City Council meeting.

In an about-face Clarence-Rockland councillors agreed to overturn Mayor Marcel Guibord's order to suspend the question period which had been removed from the agenda a few days earlier.

But unlike the usual, a maximum of 30 minutes now popular with citizens has been allocated, subject to the misbehavior and avoid redundant questions. Ultimately, the question period has been a real tussle between some citizens and elected officials, a dozen residents were eager to line up early in the question period to ask council.

You can read more of this story, in its original French language,

This meeting is now available on TVC22
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C-R mayor to explain himself tonight
(Le maire de Clarence-Rockland s'expliquera ce soir)
(Rockland, Monday, March 7, 2011, as reported in LeDroit) Clarence-Rockland mayor Marcel Guibord mentioned "several reasons" to explain the withdrawal of tonight's question period at the council meeting.

When asked about this by LeDroit at a fundraising dinner for MP Pierre Lemieux Saturday night in Eastern Ontario, the chief councillor would not disclose any details of his reasoning. If he was vague when speaking of "many reasons", he still showed obvious frustration against citizens who disrupt the lives of elected officials.

You can read more of this story, in its original French language,
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Rockland Mayor Guibord orders suspension of question period
The Vision Newspaper on their website reported that Clarence-Rockland mayor, Marcel Guibord, has requested that the question period be withdrawn from next Monday's plenary council meeting.

The "
Committee of the Whole" is the first of three monthly council sessions typically held on the first Monday.

Citizens who intended to take the microphone at the March 7 council meeting will have to keep their questions for a later time.

Guibord has evidently not violated any municipal rules of procedure which provides for a question period only at Regular Council meetings. (The
Regular Council Meeting is held on the second Monday of every month.)

However, it would appear that as far back as the records of agendas go, back to 2003, as found on the Clarence-Rockland website, a question period was generally allocated at ple
nary meetings.
Subsequent to this report, former C-R councillor Jean-Pierre Chartrand posted these remarks on the
Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens Facebook page:

"I've gone over the Ontario Municipal Act and the municipal by-laws looking for anything dealing with question periods. This what I found:

I found no mention of question periods in the Ontario Municipal Act. In the City bylaw 2004-40, Part 2, there is no provision for a question period during meetings of the Committee of the Whole such as the one on Monday. However, in Part 3, there is clearly a provision for a question period for regular meetings, such as the one on the 14th.

I must conclude, based on my readings, that Council has the right to eliminate Monday's question period.

In all my years on Council, I don't remember that we ever cancelled a question period."
( NOTE: If you want to read the messages or join the dialogue you must have a Facebook account and then you must request that your name be added to the C-R Citizens page. Facebook membership is free, and relatively easy to sign on. Click here.)
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From the LeDroit
Citizens of Clarence-Rockland mobilize on Facebook
(Wednesday, February 23, 2011) The Canaan Connexion has learned that a Facebook page entitled Citoyens de Clarence-Rockland Citizens has been started. As of last count there were some 465 people on the page, and growing.

( NOTE: If you want to read the messages or join the dialogue you must have a Facebook account and then you must request that your name be added to the C-R Citizens page. Facebook membership is free, and relatively easy to sign on.)

LeDroit reporter for Eastern Ontario, Jean-François Dugas has written a story on the Facebook page, entitled: "Des citoyens de Clarence-Rockland se mobilisent sur Facebook" (The Citizens of Clarence-Rockland mobilize on Facebook).

In part the French coverage says:
"Citizens of Clarence-Rockland have decided to "raise their voices"to express their concerns
about some decisions taken by their new council.

The group
Citizens of Clarence-Rockland Citizens was created on Facebook on Wednesday, February 23, to discuss the various issues that have animated the city council meetings, stormy sessions, one after another over the past three months." More...

You can also follow other related stories that he has written.
Click here.
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Clarence-Rockland Council meetings - a veritable circus

(February 14, 2011) The members of the new Clarence-Rockland City Council had to weather a storm of criticism from several residents last evening.

Amongst the booing and catcalls were outbursts of: "Hypocrite", "Where is the transparencey?" "Where's the respect?" These are the words that were chanted during the question period at a stormy meeting that turned into a real circus. Exit decorum?!

Visitors to the podium included former Clarence-Rockland mayor, Richard Lalonde, who made to appearances to try to set the record straight.

"Do your homework before you try to accuse the world!" he said, as the crowd behind him cheered. "Respect is not one-sided."

This report comes from LeDroit and is written in the French language. Read more...

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Things are heating up at Clarence-Rockland Council meetings

Reality TV has nothing on the action that is taking place between the new City of Clarence-Rockland council, and the City's chief administrative officer, if you read what is being reported by Le Droit newspaper. And it is similar to what has been happening in several middle-east countries, some local citizens are rebelling against the leadership. Read more...

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  • Diane Choinière wants to hire Stéphane Lalonde
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  • Municipal Council meeting of January 10, 2011
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