OPINION: Much ado about nothing

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff is seen here with Ontario’s Big City Mayors chair Marianne Meed Ward on June 14 at a retreat held east of Erie Beach for 29 mayors of the province’s largest cities.

Can someone please explain to us what the hub bub was all about over the fact Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) group met at a property owned by Rob Myers?

For those who don’t know, OBCM is made up of mayors from cities in the province with populations of more than 100,000. The group represents municipalities that contain about 70 per cent of Ontario’s population.

The OCBM grouping gives a voice for the mayors of Ontario’s largest cities when lobbying provincial and federal levels of government.

The group is chaired by Marianne Meed Ward, mayor of Burlington. London Mayor Josh Morgan is the vice-chair.

Yes, Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff is on the executive committee. But…EVERY mayor in the group is on that committee. All 29.

The OBCM chose the location and handled all contractual arrangements. Nothing is in the hands to C-K municipal staff.

So, what is the issue with this group meeting at Myers’ property on Talbot Trail? He’s revamped the beautiful location as an executive business retreat. Good for him, and his wife, Cathy, whose hand is in many of the interesting and intricate pieces of art on display there.

How is Myers renting this to the OBCMgroup a bad thing? He’s showcasing the property, with a grand view of Lake Erie, to 28 out-of-town mayors and their handlers.

That’s a good thing. Perhaps a few opt to bring their executive management teams out for a retreat someday, or share their experience with business owners in their respective municipalities who opt to utilize the Myers property.

That’s good for C-K tourism.

Any thought that Myers providing the venue is a conflict of interest is laughable in our opinion. Yes, Myers is part of the ownership group of the Downtown Chatham Centre that recently sold the Sears property to the municipality for potential relocation of key municipal services.

But how does showing off the Talbot Trail property to out-of-town mayors potentially influence a transaction regarding another property located more than 20 kilometres away? Of the 29 key attendees to the conference, only one, Canniff, is from C-K. And he’s already behind the move to the Sears building.

Some C-K councillors are hurt they were not invited to the big city mayors gathering. Last we checked, they weren’t mayors. And it’s not like Canniff is the head of the OBCM and making all the decisions for the group.


  1. Lmao…look into where they plan on putting the new Fire house…corner of Richmond and Lacroix…there is no spot there for it, however there a spot further down the road on the old Navistar property.


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