Council sees red over BluWood
What might have been a mundane piece of business before council on Monday turned into a heated debate about the appropriate role of the City in advocating specific products.
Council voted to defer receiving information on BluWood, a product used in the construction industry, until a Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for November.
Some members of council took exception to what they perceived as giving the City’s stamp of approval to a product, giving it an unfair advantage over competitors’ offerings.
BluWood is a wood-coating product designed to resist rot, fungus and termites. Council had asked staff to study the product’s merits for use in city projects.
Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio asked for the deferral as she had yet to receive additional information that would have bearing on city staff’s final decision.
The debate became animated when Mayor Linda Jackson and some councillors expressed concerns that city staff might be studying specific products for eventual endorsement.
“Councillor Frustaglio, I think it’s inappropriate,” the mayor snapped.
Councillor Alan Shefman agreed, saying he was “disturbed” by the perceived bias.
“What if there are four other companies in the city of Vaughan that have products that are similar?” he asked.
Frustaglio defended her apparent advocacy on behalf of BluWood, saying that she is not any company’s broker.
“Let me be clear, I am not promoting any product,” she said. “I collectively serve both the business community and our residents.”
Councillor Peter Meffe came to her aid, saying that this kind of review by city staff is appropriate, though it should be done cautiously.
Vaughan Today Friday, September 14, 2007 Page: 7 Byline: Philip Alves