A local resident’s response to Integrity Commissioner report

Disclaimer from Councillor Stroud:  this letter was submitted by the writer to the Editor of the Whig-Standard.  It is published here verbatim.  This letter reflects the opinion of the writer and is not to be taken as a statement by myself.  If you live in Sydenham and have a letter on the subject that you would like published here, please send it to me at pstroud@cityofkingston.ca.  Thank you, Peter Stroud, RN

Alternative facts of the Integrity Commissioner

The report of the integrity commissioner (IC) to be presented to council on June 20 contains several inaccuracies. The report was commissioned to address complaints made by local landlords that they were maligned by Councilor Stroud. The landlords objected to being described as being irresponsible landlords who do not care about their properties and their impact on the neighborhood.

We are the neighbors who had to retain a lawyer to try and prevent an illegal staircase/balcony from being built right opposite our master bedroom, Even after they were advised by the building inspector of the illegality they went ahead and completed the balcony/staircase anyways. In the report the integrity commisioner states that the owners stopped construction as soon as they found out. The owners made the same claim at the Nov 2nd meeting, which was vehemently disputed by us. Yet in the minutes of the meeting prepared by City staff it was again claimed that the owners stopped construction as soon as they understood it violated a bylaw and no mention was made of our objection.  Again we emailed staff to complain about the inaccuracies of the minutes. These objections are all recorded in the many emails I have send to City Staff. Yet the IC claiming to have read all the relevant emails is propagating this untruth. We have emails and dated pictures that can prove our version of events.

Another alternative fact that has been propagated from day one is that the owners supposedly “approached their neighbors on both sides to discuss their plans prior to construction”.  In fact we were never consulted until we asked what was going on in their backyard, after we saw the walls beginning to rise from the foundation of the old swimming pool. In fact when we went to City Hall to inquire about it we were told that we weren’t allowed any information until the project was finished.  Having talked to many of our neighbors and having been present at all the meetings and townhalls, we have never heard of any neighbor being informed prior to construction.

Councilor Stroud suggested that the IC contact us to get the full story, she never did. She is clearly only interested in propagating alternative facts concocted initially by the owners, repeated by city staff and now propagated by the IC.

Another fact stated by the IC is that in the television interview the councilor was standing “directly in front of the owner’s rental property”. If you look at the show you can see that the councilor was standing exactly in front of our house. This fact is mentioned a mere 5 times in her report, suggesting it is an important fact, when in actuality it isn’t true.

It is very curious to us that the city and the IC are very keen on portraying these owners as responsible upright people and want to propagate these untruths. We don’t agree that he councilor was found to have made statements that he knew to be false, instead we find that the IC and city staff made statements that they knew were false.

These responsible neighbors just recently let their lawn go so out of control that the city had to place a notice of bylaw infraction on their door, even then they took several days to comply.

The inaccuracies in the report of the IC are very troubling and it is ironic that she should accuse Peter Stroud of making a statement that he supposedly knew to be false, when that is exactly what she is doing.

submitted as a Letter to the Editor to the Whig Standard on June 17, 2017 by a resident of Sydenham District.