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Conflict of interest accusations fly at North Bay city council regarding Downtown Waterfront Masterplan

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City Council approved their 10-year strategic plan last night, but not before one resident gave a presentation about an independent review of the plan that set off some fireworks. Neal McNamara went into details about the downtown waterfront master plan and King’s Landing wharf recommendations included in the plan. In discussing those plans, he accused certain councillors with businesses downtown of having conflicts of interest. He singled out Councillors Jeff Serran, Chris Mayne, George Maroosis, Sheldon Forgette and Daryl Vaillancourt. Mayne immediately shot back, telling McNamara he had made a serious accusation and setting the record that he’s the co-director of his business on Main Street.

Mayne made mention of when the downtown parking garage came before council, he did declare a conflict because clients of his would use it to park. Mayne says when it comes to declaring conflicts on any issue or development plan there is a value judgement. He says his view this time was at the water front specifically, he doesn’t see that as an immediate financial benefit to his business which is a travel agency. Mayne says people going down to see the waterfront aren’t likely to come in and buy a trip to Jamaica.

Mayne added if any plans in the downtown waterfront master plan involve Main Street or Oak Street in particular, he would declare a conflict of interest. When asked whether he took the accusation personally, Mayne admits unfortunately he did. He knows he acted too quickly, but added it’s the first time in his ten years on council that anyone has accused him of having a conflict of interest and not declaring it. Mayne finished by saying he probably took more offence to that then he should have.

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