At the same time, council directed the town engineer to confirm that Shep was installed safely “with the understanding that the statue is not a municipally owned asset at this time.”
“I want to make it clear that leaving the statue in place increases the town’s risk,” Mayor Andrew Black told council.
“It puts the Town of Tantramar at an insurance and liability risk.”
Black said that in his opinion, protecting the public purse and lessening or mitigating risk are two of the most important roles of members of council.
He was commenting on the fact that the sandpiper statue was not commissioned either by the village of Dorchester or the town of Tantramar and was installed Saturday on municipal property by private citizens without authorization.
CHMA reports that Robin Hanson, the Oromocto artist who created the new fibreglass Shep, says he was approached by former Dorchester Mayor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell acting on behalf of local volunteers who later raised the money to pay for the $9300 statue.
During tonight’s Tantramar council meeting, Mayor Black said “it sets a precedence of a lack of respect for the decision-making process.”
He also said it threw the process for requesting proposals and quotes for municipal projects “out the window” in violation of laws such as the provincial procurement act and the town’s procedural bylaw.
“Normally, something like this would go through a process and we would in fact own that piece of property, but we don’t, so we had to try to figure out the best way to approach that,” Black told reporters after tonight’s council meeting.
Meantime, Councillor Wiggins-Colwell said she could not comment at this time.
Dorchester resident Bill Steele told Warktimes on Saturday he has filed a formal, municipal code of conduct complaint against her.