Brampton council at a standstill, enters second-straight week without meeting; Mayor Brown’s whereabouts questioned
For the second week in a row, there has been no regular meeting of Brampton City Council. Despite the plethora of City matters waiting to be addressed, the regular Council meeting on September 27th was cancelled, and no meeting was scheduled this week. Committee of Council and City Council meetings are supposed to be held on a bi-weekly basis.
Tracy Pepe, who previously ran for City Council, told The Pointer that she has been concerned about the state of the city for a long time, and that in seeing Brampton continue to struggle, believes it is unacceptable for elected officials to cancel Council meetings.
“I can’t believe in this economic crisis, housing issue, and I can go on… how these Council members can actually afford to cancel meetings and without reason, and without justification and without any playback or leadership to put these meetings back on schedule to catch up,” she said.
“As I’m very much aware that the Region is dismantling, where’s Council? Where’s my mayor? Why are they not in the trenches working with these people?” Pepe questioned. “Where are our voices? This is the part that is very frustrating to me,” she shared, adding the dissolution of Peel is “one of the most fundamental breakdowns of our political systems in Ontario, and our mayor’s not even around.”
The notice of cancellation of the September 27 Council meeting gives no explanation or reason for the cancellation. There have only been three regularly scheduled Council meetings since the start of September.
(City of Brampton)
Pepe says it sends a poor message when the mayor and Council aren't holding meetings and failing to give explanations for their behaviour.
“They are no different than a truck driver, a grocery store clerk, a doctor, a business owner. We gotta get up and we gotta go to work, and we gotta solve these problems that we are facing,” she said. “I respect the fact, 100 percent, that a Council member may have a personal issue and can’t attend… but the whole Council, twice? That just backs up the system even more,” she said. “They really have a bad reputation that they're there for a photo-op and to launch an announcement, but when it gets to rolling up their sleeves and doing their jobs, it is very concerning.”
“There's so much to do,” Jaqui Everett, a downtown Brampton resident who is worried about the lack of recent meetings, told The Pointer. She made reference to the looming dissolution of the Region hanging over the fate of the City. She pointed to the many requests that have been left on the table for elected officials and questioned why the meetings have just been cancelled. “We’re losing services, things aren't getting done…” she said.
“There's things that need to get done, there's money that needs to be spent in places, and he’s not here to do it,” Everett said about the mayor. She raised the issue of homelessness facing many people in downtown Brampton, and said she does not see Council putting these matters on the agenda. “I don’t know what's being done to help them,” she said.
During the previous term, also under the leadership of Mayor Brown, Council cancelled a number of its fall meetings. While the September 27th meeting cancellation came with a notice on the City website explaining the decision was made in consultation with the mayor, there is no such notice for the meeting that should have been scheduled for October 4th. The Pointer asked the City and Mayor Brown to confirm who requested the cancellation of the September 27th meeting as well as what the reason for the cancellation was, and asked why no meeting was scheduled for October 4th. No response has been received from either the City or the mayor.
Brown’s whereabouts have also been called into question. His last in-person appearance for a City Hall meeting was during the back-to-back Committee of Council meeting and Special Meeting that took place on September 20th. The mayor appeared online during the Special Meeting held on September 29.
Despite normally appearing in the photos he shares of events held in Brampton or outside City Hall in downtown on his X (formerly Twitter) account, the mayor has not been featured in the posts he has shared since September 25th, with the exception of some pre-recorded announcement videos. While this alone does not confirm that the mayor is outside the City, it leaves his whereabouts unknown. The Pointer has asked if mayor Brown was in attendance at Ken Whillans Square for the recent Every Child Matters flag raising or for the Nigerian Independence Day flag raising, and did not receive a response by publication. The mayor was also not present at a recent event held by Peel Regional Police to mark the beginning of the construction of the new Operational Support Facility in Brampton, an announcement that was billed as “historic” by police officials.
For comparison, the mayor was in photos he shared recently of the flag raisings for Nepal’s Constitution Day on September 20th, and for World Peace Day on September 21st.
On the left, a screenshot of Mayor Patrick Brown’s tweet celebrating Nigerian Independence Day last year, where he is present in photos and spoke at the event. On the right, a screenshot of his tweet regarding this year’s event, which does not depict the mayor in photos and where he says “the community gathered” but does not say that he himself attended.
As another week passes without Council gathering to address matters taxpayers elected them to fix, the City’s issues continue to accumulate. The previous version of the City’s Referred Matters list, which was updated on September 15, had 46 items, and as of October 5th, the list had grown to include 49 items. This is a significant number for a list that depicts issues that were supposed to be addressed by Council already, but were put off to a later date. Many of the items are major projects, including:
Work on the ongoing development of the Centre for Innovation
The redevelopment of the CAA Centre and multi-purpose cricket facility
Extending the Hurontario LRT into downtown Brampton via a tunnel
Mitigating the impacts of construction in the city on local businesses
The expansion of capacity at the Goreway natural gas plant and how it will effect Brampton’s climate change plans
The next regular meeting of council is scheduled for October 11. The agenda for the meeting is available here. If the meeting is not cancelled it will mark only the fourth time council has met since returning from summer recess.
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