Dear Mayor Craig & Members of Council,
As you are aware, Coaldale residents have many concerns regarding the Civic Square project. Most concerns center around what residents perceive as a lack of engagement and transparency by the Town of Coaldale.
Since Councillor Simpson has been recusing herself from recent Civic Square discussions, Coaldale residents have a growing number of queries concerning a possible conflict of interest. If Councillor Simpson has been part of past Civic Square planning discussions, or if a family member has a financial interest in current negotiations, numerous questions are to be expected, and likely justified. For example, some of the queries put forward to us by Coaldale residents are as follows:
1. Does Councillor Simpson or any member of her family have a financial interest with the contractor /developer or other party that is in negotiations with the Town of Coaldale for the Civic Square project?
2. If Councillor Simpson recused herself from the past three council meetings, why was it acceptable for her to participate in a July 2020 council discussion about a plebiscite request on the Civic Square Project and subsequently vote on a motion to deny it?
3. If Councillor Simpson or an immediate family member has a financial interest in the Civic Square project, is this ethically acceptable to taxpayers, especially due to the large financial value?
4. Since prior Civic Square planning meetings have likely taken place for over a year, during which time Council Simpson did not recuse herself, is this fair to other possible competing developers or contractors? Hypothetically could Councillor Simpson have acquired privileged information regarding the project and or shaped the outcome of the RFP to her advantage?
5. In addition to a possible conflict of interest, would these circumstances not at least create the perception of a conflict of interest by Coaldale taxpayers or contractors interested in submitting possible bids?
It is likely many Coaldale taxpayers find it unacceptable if a councillor, or his/her family, will benefit financially from a multi-million dollar municipal capital project. I would appreciate if you could respond to these questions and provide any other relevant information at your earliest convenience.