A delegation to speak on a boat launch rebuilding turned into suggestions of bid-rigging, collusion and a musical interlude during the latest Bracebridge Town council meeting.
During the meeting, Michael Opara appeared virtually to discuss the award of engineering services for dock replacement at the George Road Boat Launch.
Opara said the difference between the bids on the contract was minor and he was contacted by “whistleblowers” concerned with what was going on at the town.
“Something smells like the lagoons in Bracebridge,” he said.
Opara said all of the contracts in Town seem to go to one or two firms, and there was room for potential collusion or bid-rigging. He suggested there was cause for an investigation of Town practices.
He also took a moment to play the theme song from the children’s television program Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. He did not elaborate on the reason for playing the music.
Mayor Graydon Smith asked Opara if he could cut the “props” and stick to speaking. As the delegation continued, Smith objected to some of the insinuations being made.
“You’re getting pretty accusatory,” said Smith. “Your accusations are serious. Do you have any specifics to share with us this evening?”
Opara said there are numerous cases where Bracebridge did not want to disclose the results of the bidding process.
“Just for the record Mr. Mayor, can you confirm you are not under investigation right now?” he said. “If you won’t comment that’s understandable, we can infer.”
The comment crossed a line in decorum for Smith, who asked that Opara be disconnected from the meeting.
“We’re not getting into the, ‘tell us when you stopped beating your wife,’ set-ups here,” said Smith. “That’s unacceptable behaviour. We welcome delegates to our meetings but we don’t welcome people that come with nothing but accusations and start slinging mud.”
A second delegation had also been scheduled to speak on the same topic but the Town Clerk reported that she had received an email from the second delegate saying he was having technical issues. They were unable to connect during the meeting.
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