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BEHIND THE SCENES: McCann's filing of financials for the 'Heart' sign leaves a 'cloud of doubt'

BarrieToday reporter Bob Bruton takes us behind the scenes

Former city councillor Mike McCann's disclosure of fundraising financials for the Heart Barrie landmark sign has been criticized for being incomplete.

While McCann says he has raised $370,000 for the sign, he has only accounted for $200,000 and has not provided details about the remaining $170,000, although some of it could be in-kind.

McCann's statement, dated March 1 and received by the city on March 15, indicated that any leftover funds would be spent on promoting Barrie and charitable organizations, including saving the turtles and beavers.

However, Mayor Alex Nuttall and Coun. Clare Riepma have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency in McCann's disclosure, with Riepma stating that without full disclosure, there will always be a "cloud of doubt" over the sign's financials.

McCann, who claims to have been directed by the former council to manage the fundraising, has not provided any further comments.

The sign, located in Heritage Park, has already been damaged and defaced twice since its unveiling on July 1, 2022.

Video Summary:

In this segment of Behind the Scenes, BarrieToday reporter Bob Bruton discusses concerns surrounding the fundraising for a $200,000 sign in the city.

Former councillor Mike McCann provided figures indicating that about $370,000 had been raised for the sign, but there has been no accounting for where the additional money went. This lack of financial information could potentially lead to legal problems for the city, and city council has passed a motion to hire outside legal aid to investigate the situation.

There are currently no specific regulations or guidelines in place for councillors who wish to fund-raise on behalf of the city, and council is looking to strengthen existing codes of conduct.

The timeline for the city to receive external legal advice is unclear, and it is uncertain what the potential next steps will be once the advice is received.

It is noted that if McCann was still a member of council, the integrity commissioner could investigate the situation further. However, as he is now a private citizen, it is unclear what actions can be taken, if any. The situation remains unresolved and will require further investigation.