"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Saturday 23 June 2012

Let Both Sides Be Heard

About the  $1.4 million project not recommended  for approval  at next Tuesday's Council meeting. 
Location is  west of the Stronach Recreation Centre.It's completion of a sports campus. It could have been done when the baseball diamond was constructed in 2010. with a two-thirds stimulus grant from the Federal government. The administration  had other priorities and an application was not made.  
BTW, Frank Stronach paid two million  for his name to be on a facility constantly referred to by an acronym. If I were a rich man solicited to pay for my name to be on a public facility,  the practice of  using acronyms  would not entice me.
But I digress. 
The site has a mountain of soil, It started when the centre was constructed, Hills had to be leveled for the baseball diamond and the mountain grew. 
Hard estimates for a diamond on that site,were over a million. In large part due to contours of the site. A great hullabaloo  was created when the estimate was presented.   A previous estimate for a diamond without an identified site, was $600,000.Former Councillor MacEachern, chairman of the Recreation Advisory Comittee undertook to determine cost of a ball diamond elsewhere was much less. 
After public opposition was established ,the master plan priorities came to the fore. The  imperative became how to satisfy needs and at the same time convince self-generated  opposition  that the forces of  all things righteous  were triumphant in beating back  the forces of extravagance. 
Only in politics, you say.
The project was truncated and we are now dealing with  the consequences. 
The mountain of soil and leveling of hills are a large  part of  the cost to complete the sports campus.
A storm water management pond that can and should be relocated is on  site. 
Future  development  west  will accommodate drainage of the site. The mountain of soil could be used to fill the pond. Saving the cost of  exporting it.. 
Land would increase for recreation purpose. 
Cost of  moving  the mountain and works to stabilize the pond  is estimated to be $278,000.
Cost of  another artificial turf field  is the big ticket item.
Staff time has already been expended in detailing plans  and estimates . 
The sports campus would be completed, A worthy objective
Development charges and Cash in Lieu reserve funds would fund much of the work.
But the DC fund is in deficit.
Artificial turf is a huge investment. There are advantages  But it would be the second  funded this year.
In  time, we don't know when, the storm water pond will be relocated and a quarter of a million dollars for the project will have been  unnecessary.
We are currently negotiating with Ontario Real Estate, an agency of the government, for a lease  for  fields on provincial lands.
So, the issue becomes a matter of  judgement; whether the  need is pressing? What the competing needs are for available  resources?
Votes to proceed  last Tuesday were Councillors Abel,Thonpson,Humphryes and Pirri. Voting not to proceed at this time were myself, Gallo,Gaertner and Ballard.
A tie vote is a defeated vote.But the decision is still to be made. 
The tie-breaker would have been the Mayor's vote.
The community influenced the vote on spending $100.000 on a  year long celebration of the sesquicentennial.
The community can influence this decision too.
Pressure  has already started for the project to proceed 
Let the other side be heard.
Let the judgement be even-handed.   


Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny who you are often voting along with lately...

Anonymous said...

If the fund is in deficit, can they still spend it in anticipation? Not on my budget but Council appear to have different rules. The current crop came in to cut & reduce spending limits established by the past one. They should keep that in mind. Clock's ticking & taxpayers are watching & listening.