Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

War of words continues between Mayor and citizen over zoning meeting secrecy

Yesterday a war of words broke out on this blog between Fredericton mayor Brad Woodside, and local citizen Mark D'Arcy.

Originally this publication posted a missive from D'Arcy, saying it had come to his attention a zoning issue scheduled for discussion Monday evening at a Council-in-Committee meeting was closed to the public and press. There was some suspicion that the City had made it so to avoid publicity about a presentation to the committee by local Greta Wells. She planned to request a strawberry u-pick field be declared a green space by the city in perpetuity to avoid development.  

Mayor Woodside then called this publication to correct D'Arcy, saying the meeting was indeed open to the public and press, some of whom were present. A few local candidates vying for a spot on council in May elections were also in attendance.

Now D'Arcy has responded to Woodside, sending the following to this blog for publication:

"I was at a meeting Sunday night with __________ and he showed me an e-mail that confirmed Greta would be speaking to a private Council-in-Committee meeting.  On Monday morning I called one of the persons active in collecting the petition signatures for the Strawberry Field city-owned land, and that person confirmed that only Greta and not the residents would be allowed at the presentation.  Obviously something changed between Monday morning and Monday @ 5pm...just  got an e-mail from a resident in Ward 1. It was one of the councillors who communicated that the Monday meeting would be closed during the presentation.  On Monday, some residents got a last-minute message that the meeting might be open so they decided to attend."

A contentious relationship exists between the mayor and D'Arcy over environmental issues concerning the city, with their most recent dustup occurring last fall when D'Arcy tried to make a presentation to city council on shale gas after trying unsuccessfully to get on the evening's agenda. He was summarily bawled out by Woodside and asked to leave.

D'Arcy is currently making application to be heard on other issues regarding local habitat at council.