The Stockwell Report E2-V3


Last week was a busy time for those residents that

follow the local political scene. It started with the Toronto

Star releasing an article that addressed the activities of the

Wasaga Council regarding the future of the Beach One area

and the proposed Downtown Core.

The article was built around the ongoing opposition to

the efforts of Council to move the future planning of the

area forward by two elected officials, namely Deputy

Mayor Biofolchi and Councilor Bray.

From reading the article it seems that the reporter

started with, what appears to be a visit to the area with one,

or two members of Council, followed by an interview with

the Mayor, and e-mails sent to the balance of Council,

requesting an interview on the matter.

In my specific case, I replied to the e-mail stating that

I would be available at my home over the Christmas break,

and supplied her with my cell number.

She responded saying that she would contact me after

Christmas, however I heard no further.

When the article was published, it was built around

quotes from the Deputy Mayor, Councilor Bray, the Mayor,

and Councilor Ego, as well as Alan Clegg, a regular

facebook contributor, and outspoken critic of Council. The

only other quote was from businessman Jack Prezio, who

commented on his year-round operation of Pedros, a

beachfront retail operation.

If you were keeping score, it wasn`t hard to figure out

that the entire article was heavily weighted towards the


On the following Tuesday, Council held their monthly

meeting and heard from Robert Swayze, the municipal

Integrity Commissioner, receiving his report " on

complaints filed by Andrew McNeil, Director of Economic

Development and Tourism against Nina Bifolchi, Deputy


His five page report covered three separate instances

where the Deputy Mayor publicly attacked Mr. McNeil on

his handling of matters under his purview.

At the time of this writing an on-line column,

written by Wasaga Sun reporter Ian Adams, was

posted on the newspaper's website January 26th ,

following the meeting in question. It basically covers

the written report submitted by the Commissioner, as

well as the written statement read by the Deputy-


If the reader did not attend the meeting, nor

watch it on the municipal website, they would come

away with the feeling that the Deputy-Mayor hadn't

done anything wrong.

I am not suggesting that the column was meant to

leave that impression, however, facts are facts, and the

fact is that the column only reports half of what took


The next day, January 27th, a second column was

posted on the paper`s website. authored by the same


This was a continuation of what took place at the

Thursday meeting, headed," Councilor pushes for

sanctions against Wasaga`s deputy mayor."

This column addressed the tail end of the January

24th meeting, with some members of Council giving

their thoughts on how Council should proceed in

dealing with the matter.

Unfortunately, the reporter didn`t address the

additional comments made by the Integrity

Commissioner, following the Deputy Mayor`s

statement, and prior to the comments of Council


Following the reading of a prepared statement by

the Deputy Mayor, the Commissioner stated that of

the three instances that the Deputy Mayor had

criticized the staff member, his investigation found

that the Economical Development Officer`s actions

were well within his authority, and the " only reason

the Deputy Mayor brought them up in public was to

discredit the staff member, and that was wrong."

To verify the above, I would suggest that you go

to the Town website and review the entire


Councilor Bray entered the debate stating that the

Economical Development Officer had made three

errors, dealing with the three matters that the Deputy

Mayor had sighted. She went on to say that the Deputy

Mayor had not contravened the Code of Conduct.

In answering Councilor Bray the Integrity

Commissioner repeated that the E.D.O. had full

authority to do what he did and none of his actions

gave the Deputy Mayor reason to do what she did.

Councilor Smith took the floor and spoke of the

fact that the Deputy Mayor had no right in criticizing

the E.D.O. in public, in that staff can not defend

themselves against a member of Council.

She pointed out that at one time she served as a

member of staff and she had undergone the same type

of treatment and it is unfair.

Councilor Smith said that Council had thirty days

to deal with the matter and she believed that the

Deputy Mayor should face sanctions.

My comments on the subject were aimed at the

Deputy Mayor suggesting that she make a public

apology to the E.D.O. and bring the matter to a close.

She refused to do so.

It seems to me that the Deputy-Mayor, Councilor

Bray, and their supporters, as well as the Wasaga Sun,

have overlooked the fact that the Deputy Mayor went

out of her way to publicly embarrass a member of staff

and that deserves an apology.

She should swallow her pride, apologize, and

move on.

A few weeks ago Mayor Smith was taken to the

Integrity Commissioner by Councilor Bray regarding a

comment that he made during a radio interview.

The Commissioner released a public report,

pointing out the Mayor`s error, however, did not

suggest sanctions.

The Mayor made a public apology and stated that

it would not happen again.

Adult behavior.


The Stockwell Report V1-E20


    This Christmas season marks the seventh year that my wife, Loretta and I, have headed up the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign in Wasaga Beach. Last year we were joined by Councillor Ron Ego, and his wife, Faye, to assist in both the recruitment of volunteers, as well as sharing in “standing” the kettles on location, and we are delighted in welcoming them back.

93.5% of every dollar donated/collected from the kettles remains in our community to support the work of the Salvation Army throughout the coming year. During 2016 the Salvation Army Food Bank has been supporting over 100 households and averaging over 200 individuals each month. Food Hampers include meat, fresh vegetables, eggs (when available), bread and non-perishable food.

Clothing vouchers for our Thrift Store are also available as needed. Temporary emergency shelter was provided for individuals with no place to live.

The Christmas Hamper and Toy program supports needy families and ensures they have sufficient food and toys for Christmas day and beyond.

These are just a few services that are funded by The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign.

The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign will begin Friday, November 25th. and will end Saturday, December 24th. Volunteers  will be asked to be Bell Ringers at the kettles. The shifts are two hours in length from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The kettle locations are Walmart, Superstore, and West End L.C.B.O. in Wasaga Beach. Volunteers are asked not to solicit contributions from donors, but simply represent the Salvation Army in a positive manner, thanking the donors for their contributions and wishing them “Merry Christmas”.

In the hundreds of calls that I have made, seeking volunteers, I make sure to tell them one thing, “If you do this once, you will want to do it again.”

Should you wish to assist in this year`s campaign by offering to cover a two hour shift, please give me a call at 705 352 0292 (home), or 705 718 1774 (cell), or by e-mail at

Your active support will be greatly appreciated.

The Stockwell Report E-1 V-14


On May 15, 2015, the Wasaga Beach Council purchased seven properties along Beach Drive. These include eight buildings and 28 rental units, which included three bars that were closed at the time.

On May 21, 2015, a staff report to the Committee of the Whole stated, “Leading up to the purchase the previous owners were actively

trying to lease the food and retail units at Beachfront and at closing had 13 signed leases and one tentative lease. The current leases were assigned to the Town as part of the transaction.”

Under the direction of George Vadeboncoeur, the Chief Administrative Officer, staff proceeded to rent the remaining properties prior to the unofficial opening of the tourist  season, the July First week-end.

Due to the tight time restraints, only one operator could obtain the necessary liquor licences, etc., to meet the deadline. So that operator was given a one year lease on the three bar properties.

The balance of the units were leased on a standard commercial lease for a one year term.

Following the 2015 season, the Town hired a new Economic Development and Tourism Director, who, together with the C.A.O., proceeded to call for leasing proposals on the three bars, as well as the remaining storefront units.

The Town also set out to establish a number of kiosks, as well as a permanent “beer tent” facility along the Main Street Market section of Beach One.

Again, working under a tight time frame to meet the July First Week-end, nearly all of the Beach One properties were leased in time for the 2016 season.

However, the 2016 program was not unanimously supported by Council, and subsequently drew constant criticism from a small group of ratepayers, mostly via social media.

As the 2016 season wound down, a few beachfront tenants publicly voiced complaints, aimed at Town staff. This lead to a report being submitted to a Committee of Council, on July 14, 2016, recommending that, “staff be directed to arrange a meeting with all tenants currently operating in Town-owned beachfront units at Beach Area One, including kiosk operators at the Main Street Market, so that an open conversation pertaining to any issues or concerns on the part of the tenants can occur and any steps required to resolve issues or concerns be identified;

And Further That the General Government Section of Coordinated Committee recommend to Council that staff be directed at the meeting to offer a one-time opportunity for any current tenant in a Town-owned beachfront unit or Kiosk to break their lease immediately with no penalty if they wish to do so;

AND FINALLY THAT the General Government Section of Coordinated Committee recommend to Council that staff be directed to report back to the next meeting of the General Government Section of Coordinated Committee on the outcomes of the meeting and any recommended actions required to resolve issues or concerns.”

So….this past Monday evening that meeting took place and a number of Beach One tenants were in attendance. All of Council, along with a few interested ratepayers sat in the audience to witness the proceedings.

The first speaker was Alex Smardenka, a well known restaurateur, and owner of the Marlwood Golf Course. The Smardenka family operated one of the Main Street Market kiosks, and his comments were very supportive of the efforts made by the Town in creating a successful summer program and the first year results of the venture.

He went on to comment on the “nay sayers” and the fact that there is opposition to the Town’s efforts were “counterproductive”.

He stated that he felt the Town acted as a fair landlord and everyone should work together towards the success of the venture.

The speakers that followed were generally supportive of the 2016 program, but did point out problems they had with the different promoters that ran special events throughout the summer.

Their concerns were legitimate, and certainly solvable with a clearer understanding of a new set of “ground rules” governing both tenants and the promoters of the special events that are staged at the site. Everyone seemed to agree that the special events drew people to the site and, overall, was good for the economy of the Town.

However, there was a conflict between the two when it came to sharing the site, something that probably could be solved by a closer working plan presented prior to the staging of each event.

In my opinion nothing was raised that couldn`t be addressed.

Also, the “nay sayers’” complaints were not echoed by the tenants.

The C.A.O., in my opinion, did a good job of chairing the evening, and everyone went away with the feeling that they were listened to, in a fair manner, and their concerns will be addressed.

On the matter of breaking a lease with no penalties, the C.A.O. explained that all tenants have until 4.30 p.m., September 23, to submit their request to do so.

I am sure that some tenants may take advantage of doing so, based on personal circumstances. However, the thought of a major exodus on behalf of the tenants is simply wishful thinking by a handful of disgruntled citizens.

The Stockwell Report V1-E6



Just as the dust was settling on the recent appointment of a new Wasaga Beach councilor to replace Councilor Ron Anderson, a new player entered the field.


A gentleman by the name of Steve Berman, a well-known observer of the Collingwood Municipal Council, who hasn`t been backward at being critical in the way that Council has performed in recent years. Berman`s rise to fame started with him writing his own blog on the internet, which led to a “visiting columnist” spot in the Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin, entitled “Local Voices.”

The column made mention of the successful candidate, Joe Belanger, fitting in with some of the present members of council, stating “ There was even a photo on his Facebook page, not 36 hours after the vote, golfing with Councillor Ron Ego`s wife Faye, so I`m certain he`ll fit right in.”


Councillor Ego sent Mr. Berman an e-mail explaining that the photo in question was taken at a “memorial” charity golf tournament that Mrs. Ego and Belanger were, as a result of the tournament structure, playing in the same foursome.

 In Berman`s response to the Ego missive he, for some reason, takes pride in pointing out that his column for the Collingwood paper, “is not a job, I volunteer, and I`ve never been paid a dime.”


He goes on to say, “Also you can see with each column, the E-B notes that I write an ‘opinion’ piece, not a news piece, so in regards to the column in question, that was my opinion of what I saw at the meeting, and not a news report. I am not a ‘reporter.’”


I guess that is one way of saying, “What I write should be taken with a grain of salt, I am not a reporter,”


Finally, a blogger who comes with a ready made disclaimer.`


At any rate, his take on the meeting was in lockstep with the nay sayers that we hear from on social media. According to the naysayers “the whole program was a sham, the fix was in, we knew who the winner was before it started, council asked dumb questions” Even “Yours Truly” was criticized for not asking any questions at all. Yet, no mention was made about the Deputy Mayor asking only one question, and that was a gotcha question asked of the candidate that ran against her in the last election.


Mr. Berman was impressed with the Deputy Mayor`s showboating of putting two names in a sealed envelope, calling it a bold prediction. He would have been totally blown away had he read the Stockwell Report of June 9th., which predicted both the Deputy Mayor and Councilor Bray voting for candidate Watson.


So, it`s obvious that Mr. Berman is a kindred spirit to the Monday morning quarterbacks that reside in Wasaga Beach, even though he hails from Collingwood. It`s also interesting how his column appeared in the Facebook blog entitled, “Wasaga Beach Political Forum” on June 27th, reprinted from the internet, as the Enterprise Bulletin article didn`t see print until July 1st.


The gentleman that posted it stated, “I have recently started reading the blogs of this JOURNALIST.  Interesting perspective from the outside looking in.”


Now, when I think about it, maybe I can get my wife to start a blog reprinting articles that support the way I vote on Council.
On second thought that might be a conflict of interest………. Knowing my wife, she probably wouldn’t do it anyway.


The Wasaga Beach 2016 Canada Day celebrations will centre around Beach One in general, and the Main Street Market in particular.

The grand opening of the Main Street  Market, Wasaga Beach`s newest attraction, in conjunction with the Town`s Canada Day blow-out, will commence at 11.45 A.M., Friday, July 1st., in the form of a ribbon cutting.

At 9.00 A.M., Friday morning, the Wasaga Beach Lions will be serving a pancake breakfast on the beach, and from 11.00 A.M. until 7 P. M. a variety of free family activities, including: a children`s activity centre, inflatable playground, magicians, stilt walkers, face painting, to name a few, will take place.

A variety of live entertainment will commence at 12.40 P.M. and will run until 10.00 P.M. on the Main Stage including: Sarah Smith, The Desotos, The James Barker Band and Marshall Dane. At 10 P.M. the spotlight will shift to the Beach Two area for a fireworks display.

The Main Street Market will operate from July 1st. to Labour Day weekend, featuring 12 retro kiosks offering cuisine and shopping options for local residents and visitors, and can be found on the east end of Beach One, along the former  Pedestrian Mall area. The kiosks, which are  anchored between the newly constructed “island style” open-air Beach Beer Garden, the home of Wasaga Beach`s own Beach 1 Cerveza, and an entertainment stage, offering a variety of entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings.

There will be live music, buskers, and a glitter tattoo artist, along with the kiosk operators, Ashanti Coffee, Big Surf Ice-Cream, Gelato Gelato, Glitter By Design Studio, Mancave Bar B Q, Secrets of Transylvania, Squeeze`d, Taste of Paradise, The Poutine Shack, Uno Duo Sumo, and Wasaga Blooming Onion.

On Wednesday nights, starting on July 6th, there will be free, outdoor, family friendly movies in the Main Street Market area, showing  Goosebumps, Jungle Book, Zootopia, Hotel Transylvania, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Warcraft, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Angry Birds, and Ratchet and Clank.

The latest addition to the area was agreed to at this week`s Council meeting, in the form of a group of  “kiddie rides”, provided by Billy G. Amusements, who has brought his carnival rides to Wasaga Beach for the past few years.

The rides will be accompanied by games and food concessions aimed at the younger set, with an objective of attracting more families to Beach Areas One and Two.

The bulk of the facilities are slated for the former Dome site with a miniature train running nearby.

All in all, the planning of Beach One rentals, along with the seasonal entertainment line-ups, have been a struggle in getting Council approvals to move things ahead.

Now that we are on the eve of the kick-off to our Tourist Season, it is only hoped that all Wasaga Beach residents put past differences behind them and work together to ensure that the summer of 2016 will be remembered as the year that Wasaga Beach came back.

The Stockwell Report V1-E3



Before we get into this week`s subject matter, let me answer a few inquiries as to the meaning of the word “wag”.


“Wag” is a word that I have used in my writings for the last thirty or forty years. Should you go to the Collins Canadian Dictionary, it describes the word as “humorous, witty, person”. The Miriam Webster Online Dictionary refers to it as “a person full of jokes and humour.”


Nothing demeaning, and certainly nothing misogynistic, as suggested by one Triple N groupie, even though she spelled it wrong……Lighten up kiddies.


Now, let us have a look at a piece of Wasaga Beach history……. The Dardenella Night Club and Restaurant. The Dard, as it is affectionately referred to, is a two storey building, located at Beach Drive and First Street.  It was constructed in the 1920`s and during the “Big Band Era” of the 1930`s and 40`s it was home to most of the great dance bands of the day that barnstormed through Southern Ontario.


The Dard was part of a four acre property acquisition along Beach One that the municipality purchased early in 2015, containing 28 commercial units and 3 restaurant-bars. The lands represent the main tourist area of the Town.


As the Purchase and Sale agreement didn`t close until May 15th, the municipality was faced with a very short period of time to issue a Request For Proposals (“RFPs”) and negotiate leases in order to meet the start of the 2015 summer tourist season.


Given the limited length of the proposed leases, (one year) and the tight schedule to prepare the establishment for a July first opening, there was little interest shown from private operators to respond to the RFP`s.  As a result, two of the contracts were awarded to Phoenix Hospitality Inc., a company headed up by Enzo Grossi, a previous operator of the facilities, who could meet the tight deadlines.


The third contract covered the Dard, and was the subject of a second RFP. Upon receiving the proposals, it became apparent that Phoenix was the only bidder capable of meeting the tight opening schedule, and, although its bid was less than expected, the Chief Administrative Officer was directed to enter contract negotiations with Mr. Grossi in an attempt to increase the proposed rent.


Agreement on a one year lease was reached with Mr. Grossi for the 2015 season running from June 22, 2015 to September 30, 2015, for a rental fee of $27,750, plus 3 months taxes.


The fact that one operator ran all three licenced establishments didn`t seem to impact the three bars. However, as the summer came to an end, in late August, the hours of operation for both the Dard and the Copa became more irregular. It was at that point that the lack of competition was resulting in a lesser level of customer service to the general public.


In February of 2016, Committee of the Whole passed a resolution directing staff that in the interest of ensuring competition between licensed establishments Council reserved the right not to award the RFP for the Dardanella to the operator whose proposal scores the highest if that operator is already leasing a licensed establishment from the Town.  That motion passed on a vote of 4 to 3 with the Deputy Mayor and Councillors Anderson and Bray opposed.


In March 2016, Council awarded the licensed establishment known as “Bananas” to Enzo Grossi on a vote of 5 to 2 with the Deputy Mayor and Councillor Bray opposed.


Also in March 2016, Council awarded the licensed establishment known as “The Copa” to RLS Wasaga Group Inc. on a vote of 4 to 3 with the Deputy Mayor and Councillors Anderson and Bray opposed.


The following month, April 2016, Council defeated the awarding of the licensed establishment known as “The Dard” to Enzo Grossi on a vote of 4 to 3 with the Deputy Mayor and Councillors Bray and Smith voting with the minority.


On May 17, 2016, the Committee of the Whole directed staff to issue yet another RFP for the operation of the Dardanella Licensed Establishment, with some minor changes. The report stated, “There is a tremendous history within the Dardanella and it is a Town landmark. If a proponent puts forth ideas to repair the Dardanella and restore it to full operation, these ideas should be considered. The revised RFP provides that opportunity.”


At the recent Council meeting of June 9, 2016, staff presented a report, giving the details of three RFP submissions from Brian Crombie and Billy Gordon Developments, Elusiv Entertainment (Vince Piacente), and Phoenix Hospitality Inc. (Enzo Grossi).


The report was presented by George Vadeboncoeur, Chief Administrative Officer of Wasaga Beach, who explained the process used to “score” the three submissions, assessing lease rates and leasehold improvements over the five year contract.


In assessing the Crombie/Gordon submission the report stated that it was “professionally presented, but was not as strong in certain areas and was missing an element. There was no certainty to the Town with their lease rate proposal and the Town would have to pay the group back for any leasehold improvements made to the building. This group had the strongest Value Added component and it was very creative.”


Comparing the remaining two submissions, the Chief Administrative Officer recommended that, “it would be in the best interest of the Town to grant the lease to Elusiv Entertainment, subject to negotiating a satisfactory lease.” The report went on to say that, “In coming to the recommendation the writer focused on the lease rate proposed by Elusiv and Phoenix Hospitality as other factors were fairly close. Over six years Elusiv is proposing to pay the Town $115,000 more than Phoenix Hospitality.”


In regards to Leasehold Improvements, Phoenix committed themselves to spend $480,000 over a five and a half year period. Elusiv committed themselves to spend $500,000 by December 31st. 2017.


So, Council was presented with a motion awarding, “the lease of the Dardanella beachfront licensed establishment to Elusiv Entertainment, subject to negotiations of acceptable lease terms.”


The motion was lost on a tie vote, as follows;


In favour…..Mayor Smith and Councillors Ego and Stockwell…..Opposed….Deputy Mayor Bifolchi and Councillors Bray and Smith.

So, who knows what the next step is for the Dard. There isn`t enough time to lease the property for the 2016 summer season. Not only will it remain “dark” for the 2016 summer season, it means that the Town has missed out on $750,000, made up of $250,000 rent, over the five year lease, and $500,000 in Capital upgrades.


The Wasaga Sun ran an online story reporting the actions of Council, and it was posted on The Wasaga  Beach News and Commentary site with a comment from the chap that posted it, “this is a bit disturbing I thought one would go through.”
Disturbing…….I think that most Wasaga Beach ratepayers will find it OUTRAGEOUS.

Stockwell Report V1-E2 May 9th 2016



I received some interesting responses to last week`s report.


Most replies were supportive; however, there were a handful of comments that were nasty, and some that just didn’t make any sense at all. One wag thought I was bullying the Deputy Mayor, and sent me a link to an online site that would help me overcome my bullying tactics.


All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at the interest shown. The report was posted late Wednesday, and by the weekend it had registered over a thousand hits.


Sprinkled amongst the comments on the column were a few concerns regarding Council’s decision to appoint a replacement to fill the recently vacated seat brought about by the resignation of Ron Anderson.


Again, when Council was presented with a choice of three ways to replace the vacancy, it chose to call for candidates and make a council appointment, as stated in the Municipal Act.


Both the Deputy Mayor and Councillor Bray initially moved a motion to name George Watson, the 2014 election candidate that finished sixth in that election. When that motion was defeated, they presented another motion that called for a by-election to fill the position that would cost the Wasaga Beach taxpayers approximately $95,000, and would not see the winner seated until September 2016. That too was defeated.


“ It’s the most democratic process,” said the Deputy Mayor, “Hand picking this person, when we have two and a half years left does not respect our voters.”


Well, that’s one way of looking at it. However, I look at it with a different view.


The sixth place finishing councillor from the 2014 election had served three terms as a member of Council and was shown the door by the voting public. For me to vote to return him to his previous position without knowing what other citizens were interested in serving, in my opinion, would be a blow against democracy and really be a slap in the face to the Wasaga Beach voters. So, it`s just how you choose to look at it.


When it comes to Council voting to fill the vacant position, it will be interesting to see if the two council members cast their ballots for Mr. Watson. One would think that their actions to date commits them to doing just that.


The Deputy Mayor has gone on record to say that the upcoming appointment, “is already predetermined.” It`s not unusual for the Deputy Mayor to make such outrageous comments.


As for Yours Truly, I can only tell you that other than receiving letters from the two previous council members, as did all of Council, I have not spoken to any of the candidates seeking the position, and I have no idea as to who I will support, and won’t know, until I have a chance to listen to all of their presentations to Council.


At that point I will vote for the candidate who, in my opinion, will serve the ratepayers best.


Now, getting back to last week’s column.


The most interesting thing to me about the response to that column was that it was written in a way to point out the rift between the Deputy Mayor and the majority of Council when it comes to bringing change to the municipality. Her voting pattern clearly shows her negativity to anything that smacks of moving the municipality forward.


The report finished with a challenge to her groupies to explain how her negatism does anything in helping the overall economy of the municipality and the future of the business community and the ratepayers that we serve.


No one, but NO ONE attempted to do that. They would rather continue to dump on Council in general, and the Mayor in particular, than defend Triple N.


Now, the Deputy Mayor’s  actions are not new to municipal government. In fact, they are rather common throughout the industry.


Very few Mayors float through their municipal careers without having one, or more, members of their Council set themselves up as a self appointed Official Opposition. If the mayor says good, the opposition says bad, and so it goes until, eventually, an election settles the matter.


It must be remembered that municipal politicians are first, and foremost, ratepayers. Not many graduates set their life goals as municipal politicians. They are usually encouraged by friends and neighbours to run for local Council after showing leadership qualities in fighting a neighbourhood battle with Town Hall. In fact, if a poll of any municipal Council was run, with just one question, “do you consider yourself a member of the building team or the wrecking team”, I would venture to say that almost one hundred percent of the responses would be, “The building team.”
The “Wreckers” not only kid the voters but end up kidding themselves as well.