January 22, 2016 (8:00 am)

January 20, 2016 – Here is the Agenda for this meeting, complete with links to all of the supporting documents.

The Island View Drive people have provided what appears to me to be a very helpful list of items for “due diligence” for the Townships who have little in the way of knowledge or experience in negotiating an agreement such as is being contemplated.

I plan to attend this meeting, as usual, and will post a report on it in due course.

February 9, 2016Report on the January 22, 2016 Joint Board meeting (possible alternate heading: Sorry That ‘Due Course’ Took Such a Long Time!

After approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, Mayor Barfoot stated that an In-Camera session was not necessary. He then invited Calvin Confer of the Island View Drive and Area Ratepayers’ Association to speak to their presentation on what, in my mind, amounts to the need for and aspects of “Due Diligence.”

One wouldn’t think that it should be necessary to remind the Joint Board and township staff to be careful and cautious when considering a long-term agreement, and to retain a lawyer.

Based on the record, however, it is necessary; people are always astonished to find out that Chatsworth and Georgian Bluffs didn’t bother to retain a lawyer for the original 2011 Agreement. [Anyone can tell by just reading it, but that’s another story … .]

After Mr. Confer’s presentation, Mr. DeJong (who has been appointed by the Chatsworth Council to assist in negotiating any agreement) rose to emphasize the importance of involving a lawyer immediately. He also mentioned the need for an American lawyer (which presumably has to do with the corporate structure of SusGlobal Energy Canada Ltd, but that aspect isn’t clear yet).

The Georgian Bluffs Director of Operations then began to go through his report which said, essentially, that everything is just peachy-keen: 25-year agreement; SusGlobal will do everything by the book; secure funding; provide security; spend bags of money to upgrade the facilities; best possible operation and maintenance; reduce tipping fees for the townships; and pay the townships $200,000 per year after 18 months.

Mayor Pringle asked about bringing the 18 months down to 12 months, to which the response was that “this might be possible.” A similar response was provided to the suggestion of lowering the tipping fees for septage from the two townships to $10 per cubic metre instead of $15. Yea!

Amazingly, the Board expressed no curiosity about how, exactly, all of this could possibly be accomplished. How could a facility that a large local company said was too small and too out-of-the way to be of any interest be transformed into a virtual money pit? How could this be done by a company with no track record in the waste management or bio-gas businesses?

Just as I was starting to hope that someone would suggest that SusGlobal also pick up the $1.7 million dollars that the Bio-Digester has lost over the past 5 years, Chatsworth Deputy-Mayor Mackey interjected. He expressed the view that it made no sense to proceed further without first undertaking significant “due diligence” and legal efforts.

The Deputy-Mayor referred, generally, to motions by the Chatsworth Council on Jan 20, 2016. These motions were not available at the Joint Board meeting, or at least they were not read, but they were in the Agenda package for the Chatsworth Council meeting on February 3, 2016.

Motion 29-2016 reads as follows:

Whereas Bob DeJong is an employee of the Township of Chatsworth with respect to the Biodigester only;

Therefore Be it resolved that the Council of the Township of Chatsworth require Bob DeJong to be included in the closed session meetings for the Biodigester with respect to the SUSGlobal agreement;

And further failing this request that Chatsworth Council representatives to the joint board are directed not to participate in closed session without Bob DeJong.

Motion 30-2016 reads:

Be it resolved that the Council of the Township of Chatsworth will only support working towards an agreement with SUSGlobal Energy Corp. when all due diligence has been completed to Council’s satisfaction;

And further due diligence still needed must include, but not be limited to:

  • Complete resumes, including references and criminal reference checks, for each of the Directors and members of senior management of SUSGlobal
  • Certainty of getting additional feed stock
  • Their record of raising outside financing for special purposes vehicles
  • Proposed owners of the Special Purposes Vehicle, and what are their respective percentage positions
  • Ownership of the corporation, Canadian or American

Thus, it is clear that the Chatsworth Council is no longer interested in the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” approach that has been taken by Chatsworth from the get-go, with the bills simply being handed to taxpayers. Finally!!

The meeting ended with some discussion about retaining a law firm with appropriate experience – a step that Mr. DeJong advised taking several months ago. Better late than never, I guess.

No specific date was set for the next Joint Board meeting.

Trevor Falk (February 9, 2016)