Response to Dear Editor Letter – The Sun July 9, 2015
It always amazes me when complete strangers think they know me and what I’m thinking, better than I do!GB’s Dear Editor letter on July 9, 2015 indicated that I based my vote to not support purchasing the beachfront properties on “political posturing for the next election.” I have to assume that GB has not watched Rogers Cable, read our meeting minutes or attended a meeting. I have been very clear on why I did not support the purchase so I encourage GB to try and keep up.
The reasons I did not support this purchase are as follows:
1) The owners were very clear that they were not interested in selling the properties to anyone but the town. In my opinion, we should have taken an appropriate amount of time and completed a proper due diligence including knowing what the unknown costs were. For example what it would cost to bring these buildings to accessibility standards, immediate repairs required for safety standards, general maintenance etc. as well as the long term expenses if the buildings were going to continue to be rented out or demolished. Remember the owners weren’t interested in selling to anyone but the town so there was no need to rush into this.
2) There was no business plan or future strategic vision considered by council prior to this purchase. I felt that this was a huge risk with tax payer’s dollars. The immediate goal by council was to get the bars open. Without a business plan or council vision this purchase and the financial payback plan chosen by council, ties this community to decades of debt, depletion of the towns reserves, impact on tax levy in the coming years and still a large outstanding debt after 10 years.
3) I believe the Town is in the business of providing services to its residents not to be in business and direct competition with our local business owners or developers.
4) The fact that well established developers were willing to sell for roughly what they had invested into these properties and get out of owning prime beachfront property should have been a hugered flag for council. I also had concern losing the only other major potential investor in our beachfront. It’s all on the taxpayers of this community now to make this town owned beachfront business work.
5) If the town was going to get into debt for almost 14 million dollars than perhaps it would have been better spent on creating jobs in our business park or building a multi-use facility for our residents that could have also provided a sports venue for competitive sports or perhaps host a music concert in the winter months creating economic spin off 12 months of the year. Instead we purchased buildings that operate for 3-4 months of the year.
6) Council agreed and had the papers signed to purchase these properties prior to touring the properties. I would never make an almost 14 million dollar purchase with my own money, sight unseen, no business plan or vision for what I wanted to do with the property.
7) The Town’s professional staff were not circulated the intent to purchase these properties in order to receive their opinions and pros and cons. Council needs to rely on staff for their expertise as well as to get each of their departments perspective on the impact to the community. I felt that a brand new council consisting of 5 new members should have been open to hearing from their staff. I also would have like to have had the communities input into this purchase.
The purchase of the beachfront is a done deal and was approved by council by a vote of 5 to 2. Everything in this article is something I said publicly during this process but obviously needed to be repeated for some. The town has now leased some of the properties and is currently waiting on the unknown costs. There is no option now but to make this a success for the stakeholders and residents of this community. I look forward to councils discussions on the future of this area and the creation of a business plan that gets our residents out of debt.Folks, if you read something in the paper, on social media or hear it on the street, please be informed. Like GB many people speak without knowing or caring about the facts. Give me a call and I would be happy to give you my views first hand.
Enjoy your day!