by Jim Bertram
Several weeks ago, I became aware of an issue involving a local honey producing business, owned by Peter Vichos, and the Municipality of North Grenville. The tone of the situation caused me some concern and I decided to investigate what had been occurring.
As I proceeded, I discovered that a series of contacts between Mr. Vichos and municipal representatives had begun occurring last May, and lasted until recently. The contacts continued over the intervening months without resolution of the matter in contention. More recently, the municipality issued a summons relative to the issue, a summons which is, at the time of writing this article, still active.
One of my concerns, as I proceeded in gaining information about the sequence of events in question, was that Mr.Vichos was fully engaged in ensuring the success of his business activities. Summer and autumn are key periods of activity in the honey production business. Therefore, Mr. Vichos was not ideally positioned to respond fully to the requirements of the municipality in this time period.
At the same time, the municipality was proceeding in accordance with the bylaws and policies established for the conduct of its affairs. My information indicated that its actions were entirely consistent with its mandate and legal parameters. We seemed to be at an impasse, given the need of the municipality for a response to its legally expressed requirements, and the need of Mr. Vichos for adequate time to respond and, at the same time, attend to his business requirements. Of course, the existing summons was not helping us resolve this matter at all. It was a factor which, though part of the legal framework in this context, added pressure and heat to an already sensitive set of interactions between the business person and the municipality.
So, in the company of my colleague, Councillor Arnaud, I attended a meeting on October 26 with senior staff at the municipal building with a view to getting some positive movement in this set of events. Mr. Arnaud and I were particularly concerned with the threat of the summons hanging over the business owner’s head, and we clearly expressed that concern. As the meeting evolved, it was determined that the summons procedure would be set in abeyance until March 2018, at the earliest. It was our feeling that this period of time would furnish needed space for further discussions of the issue to take place. In particular, a solution has been proposed by the municipality in the form of a variance, the provisions of which will require consultation and discussion with Mr. Vichos. The condition for the setting in abeyance of the summons is that Mr. Vichos undertake to discuss the issue with a view to final resolution.
At the time of writing, I had communicated this information to Mr. Vichos and had stressed the importance of returning to discussions with the municipality. That action is, as stated above, a condition for setting the summons in abeyance and providing time for fruitful discussions to take place.
I personally will undertake to be present, if required, at any meetings between Mr. Vichos and municipal representatives. I expect my friend and colleague, Councillor Arnaud, will undertake as much. Together, I hope to get to a final solution of this issue, one which satisfies the needs of Mr. Vichos and the legal requirements of the municipality. Let’s talk!