They say you can’t fight City Hall but you can fight for it

Of all the things to be proud about, there is the one about being where you are from. These days, policy makers are making that difficult. For those who don’t know me, I am Cory O’Dell, born and raised here, and operate C.O. Towing and Recovery in Canora.  I was previously on council for two terms and hope to serve the community again in the future if need be in whatever capacity.

I had been in negotiations with the town for quite some time already. They asked me if I would be open to relocating my Railway Avenue location to another piece of property. I am a team player and agreed to see where it led.

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The perfect property (as well as a few others) was shown to me by a councillor so I stated what I needed to make it happen. Just a simple straight shot with access to a main road. The complication was, someone had a building on town property that would have had to be relocated.

I waited for the meeting to come up and was confident we had found a solution. Instead, council sold the land as well as a lot more at a reduced price to the next door neighbor.

I was promised that snow removal for my current lot would be a priority since we couldn’t come to an agreement, as it had been an issue. Word from public works was the shrubs were the reason they wouldn’t clear the road; the shrubs they placed there.

Back in July, I sent a letter to town council requesting better street lighting for my Railway Avenue address. The letter was ignored and I got no response. About a month later, I sent another letter stating my case for lighting and nothing was done regarding the letter. 

One thing that was done however, was an alteration to a bylaw. They changed the definition of a word. 

Screen: a visual barrier consisting of a fence of substantial and uniform construction at a minimum height of six feet or greater that completely obstructs public view of storage or processing areas.

If anyone has a screen in their windows; yeah, they serve a purpose, and that is visibility, or it’s just a wall. 

So while still in negotiations, they were posturing. They were wanting to make some property illegal. Even though I pay my taxes and contribute in all kinds of way to the community, were they targeting me?  

I was still looking at moving and they were still offering me narrowed options. We discussed another location that seemed it could work. I would not have all services available as at the other location, but with the right setup, I could. 

After letting them know what I would need, full of optimism, my hopes were dashed and I got an abrupt response. Either fulfill my obligations as I was hoping to do when purchasing the property (by November 30) or accept their short-changing offer.

I had no choice but to start construction. It was getting late into October and my window to “stay compliant” was closing.  If anyone saw the compound, I must say its quite nice and attractive. Getting it done this late was no easy feat either. 

I got rave reviews about it, but when council discussed it on November 6, they decided it was not enough. I mentioned to Mayor Rakochy that it’s kind of bad for a council to be acting against a local contributing business, she said that if I thought she was capable of that, I didn’t know her. 

After I left the meeting they passed a resolution that I had to erect a fence along the rest of my south side railway address. They also refused to look into additional street lighting even though they admitted not seeing what it was like at night. They must go for walks through the new empty but lit up golf course subdivision instead of near Railway Avenue.

I fear that this council has lost its moral compass and ability to lead. We need leaders that are above this petty nonsense. There are all kinds of things happening out of that office that no one seems concerned about and there are potential criminal matters being ignored. Focus on that and less about what’s in people’s backyards, that’s who we elected, not an office-dispatched mother hen overseer in a white car paid for with our own tax money working against us. 

Common words of the times, fear not, the next election is closer every day.