Summit of Petrolia Discovery and town today

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Petrolia Councillor Mary-Pat Gleeson says “it would have been easer for the Secretary of State to get a meeting with Iran than for us to get a meeting with Petrolia Discovery.”

That in a moment of frustration after reading a report from town staff about the back and forth negotitiations which have been going on since a February 10th request by council for a meeting with the foundation which runs the historic site.

Town councillors and residents have voiced concern about the financial state of Discovery and are frustrated it releases its audited statements with a year’s lag time. So when the Discovery Foundation asked for a tax relief exemption – which it has received for a number of years now – council delayed approval asking instead for a meeting with the group to offer the towns help.

What followed was a series of letters from the board’s chair to determine the terms of the meeting.

Like the US Secretary of State who did eventually get his meeting with Iran, the details for the town’s meeting with Discovery have now been solidified and its scheduled to take place Tuesday, May 5.

Mayor John McCharles, CAO Manny Baron and Director of Performing Arts Richard Poore will meet with Discovery’s Chair, Joel Campbell, three Discovery Board members and the manager of Petrolia Discovery Donna McIllmoyle at the historic site.

“This meeting will be held to hear the specific actions The Town of Petrolia is proposing in regards to working with The Petrolia Discovery,” writes Campbell in a letter dated March 24. “The Petrolia Discovery requests that these actions be forwarded to Chair J. Campbell a minimum of three business days prior to the meeting.”

Councillor Gleeson was frustrated. “The disrespect shown to this community is unbelievable,” she says. “I’m pretty tired of it.”

Councillor Joel Field was also confused by the flurry of letters. “I don’t understand why we’re chasing someone down to say we’ll forgive your taxes,” he told council. “I think it should be pretty straightforward – it shouldn’t be world peace.”

But Councillor Ross O’Hara urged council to remain positive heading into the meeting, and Field agreed that was a good idea. ”I’m happy that they’re willing to sit down – I think it is good first step; I just can’t believe it has taken that long.”