Councilor withdraws from Beach development discussions

Some 240 residents filled Rotary Hall at the Plex on Monday (Dec. 16th) for a special Committee of the Whole meeting on the proposed Port Elgin Beach revitalization development.

The meeting began however, with somewhat of a bombshell as Councilor Jami Smith declared a pecuniary interest and, therefore, a conflict.

“I sought legal advice from the Integrity Commissioner and it is under his under his advice and with an abundance of caution that I declare a pecuniary interest on all matters related to the Port Elgin waterfront.  Though a seemingly trivial conflict (as part of SASS volleyball league that would use the facility), I cannot risk jeopardizing due process.

Three weeks ago, SASS (Social Athletics of Saugeen Shores) made a formal request to be eligible for a lease for any new or re-positioned beach volleyball courts and, as a result of that request, I must cease participation in these discussions.  I will reiterate, including my participation on the Waterfront Ad Hoc Committee, I have operated with the utmost integrity in our quest to find the best solution for the beach waterfront development.

My family has been involved in many aspects of this community prior to my participation in municipal government and I chose to run for office not in spite of that involvement but because of it.  To sit on the sidelines for this decision, which is arguably one of the biggest decisions for this Council, is nothing short of gut-wrenching.  Like many of you, I look forward to observing a balanced, respectful and productive discussion tonight but, for me sadly, it will be on YouTube.”

At which point, Councilor Smith left the hall.