Today is a very sad day for municipal government in the national capital region.
Citizens are being stonewalled by the City of Ottawa in getting the results of a study not only of public interest, but public safety. The document outlines how the dangerous sinkhole came to be on Rideau Street. It is an issue of local, national and international interest.
One can only hope that people are not smirking in the city clerk’s office about how they put one over on the press and residents of Ottawa. But from the outside, that’s exactly how it looks.
Video above: Ottawa’s sinkhole covered by the international media. In this case, the Wall Street Journal.
The voters and taxpayers of Ottawa will not be allowed to see a document of public importance until at least 31 civil cases have been resolved in the courts. Many of us will be dead before this document ever comes to light. Let’s hope the cause of those deaths is not another sinkhole … another sinkhole that might have been prevented if the report on the causes of the Rideau example were released.
The decision to squelch the report came when Ottawans and much of the world are preoccupied with Christmas and New Year’s, thus lessening its impact in the media. The city clerk’s memo was just one of a flurry of reports released as the holidays are upon us … again lessening its impact. Not only is the city covering up a document of public importance, it is also trying to hide the fact that it won’t release the report. That tells the critical observer that city staff is ashamed of the action. City staff knows it is wrong, but it is being done because the possible embarrassment of the conclusions is more uncomfortable than doing something wrong. It is a cautious club down at city hall but this time they’ve gone too far … way too far.
The Bulldog is prepared to publish the sinkhole-causes document irrespective of the consequences to this publication. Some things are too important to play it safe. This is one of them.
So The Bulldog calls on councillors who will see the document to reveal what the causes were. If they can obtain a copy of the document, it will be posted on The Bulldog immediately.
The Bulldog asks councillors of good conscience to get this document. Your anonymity will be protected. The Bulldog just needs to be able to prove the document is authentic. This publication calls on people who have access to this document to send it to The Bulldog.
And we call on the mayor’s chief of staff Serge Arpin to make this document public.
But more than anyone else, The Bulldog calls on city manager Steve Kanellakos to do the right thing. This can be a defining moment of his career as city manager or a shameful cover-up. Will he do what is right or wrong?
We ask the city manager to release this document for the welfare of this community.
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