Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa says his decision to declare a conflict of interest over the development of the Rand Estate was not taken lightly.
Development of the historic property has been one of the most contentious projects in Niagara-on-the-Lake for several years.
And Zalepa, who lives on Charlotte Street, not far from the Rand property, said he sought professional advice before initially declaring a conflict last April.
He’s continued to follow that advice, he said, and did not participate in council’s two most recent private debates over offering road access to the project via the Upper Canada Heritage Trail.
“I consulted the town’s integrity commissioner and my own independent legal advice. Both sources advised me to declare (a conflict) on this matter,” Zalepa told The Lake Report.
“The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is clear that council members should consult and that failure to follow that advice can result in a less-forgiving decision regarding remedies or penalties,” he said.
“The decision was not taken lightly and was a significant monetary expense personally.”