THE WHOLE TRUTH MATTERS – A PARTIAL TRUTH IS A LIE
As we get closer to the election I see and hear more and more untrue comments made with nothing of substance to back to them up. During this current term of council we have witnessed a divide in our community that has pitted neighbour against neighbour. I will try my very best, as your Mayor, to heal this division that has been created in our community during the past four years. Trust, honesty and respect for each other is required for that to happen.
A letter was recently circulated to a group of residents speaking to four accomplishments of the current council and it was shared with me. While I don’t believe it was intentional on the part of the sender, it included what I consider to be some half-truths.
1) Fiscal responsibility – latest town audit gave our financials a 5 star rating. Reserves have grown from $27m to $47m in the past 4 years.
My response: The town is in a healthy position due to the inheritance of previous council’s fiscal responsibility and lack of debt. In addition we have one of the fastest growing towns and that growth has contributed to our healthy position. I have been a member of council for 12 years and every year have heard the Town’s auditors make the same comment that we are in great shape. To arbitrarily state that reserves have increased $20 million in the past four years, you have to ask what contributed to that? Water and sewer charges, development charges of new construction and dividends and interest received from WDI to name a few.
2) Downtown Development Plan – Wasaga is one of the few towns in the province that does not have a downtown. The current council, excluding the Deputy Mayor and one councillor have a plan in place to develop the downtown core that will include a new library, community centre, twin pad arena (that will have sufficient seating to host various events besides hockey) along with new storefronts, condos etc. (think Blue). The first phase of planning is now compete and a Letter of Intent has been signed with a world class developer (FRAM.) Shovels could be in the ground as early as next year. This first phase will include the sale of a parking lot at Beach 2 which sits empty 95% of the year and will generate $13m in the sale of the property,$ 3+m in development fees and over $3m in property taxes in perpetuity.
My response: The implication that I as the Deputy Mayor and candidate for the Mayor’s position, have no plans for development is not at all accurate. I fully support development and redevelopment of the town owned Beach Area 1 properties/buildings as a first phase. I also support the construction of a new arena and library which are long past due but were put on hold this term of council and now in the hands of the next council. Please follow this link: www.ninabifolchi.ca/develop-our-beachfront/
To comment on a plan, list the amenities, state that the first phase of planning is complete, a letter of intent signed with a world class developer and that shovels could be in the ground as early as next year is very misleading. The Town does not own the land where some want to build this hub. Some have read these comments to imply that the developer FRAM is building or paying for some or all of our hub, and our amenities such as the arena or library. Let me make this very clear, it will be the town and the taxpayers who build and pay for the hub. FRAM is only building condos and a small portion of commercial.
Not only will the first phase include a town parking lot but it will also include the only natural area that the town owns at our beachfront. This parcel of land known as Beach Area 2 was not included as part of the Request for Expression of Interest the town put out nor was it part of the submission that the town received from the developer. But now it has become part of phase one.
The figures associated with this sale of land, potential development fees and property taxes in perpetuity for the Beach Area 2 lands are speculative and vague and do not include town expenses that may be generated. One has to ask and I hope someone has asked, if our utility (Wasaga Distribution), the “grid” can handle all of this development without upgrades? Who will be paying if an upgrade is required for this much development?
It has been implied by staff and some members of council that the town will receive some funding from Provincial and Federal levels of government to build the hub however, no evidence has been given that this funding will be forthcoming and in my opinion the latest Provincial indicators are that all funding is on hold. It is apparent that funding opportunities have changed recently.
3) High School – Wasaga has been ignored by the school board to construct a high school here at the beach. Current council set up a task force to prove to the board that we have the numbers to support a school here. Currently over 700 students are being bussed to other communities. Ridiculous in my mind. The new council must continue to fight for this.
My response: Wasaga Beach has not been ignored by the Simcoe County District School Board. The Board has recognized the need for an elementary school which will be built in the near future, which is a step closer to getting the secondary school we all want for our children. Here are more of my thoughts regarding the secondary school situation. www.ninabifolchi.ca/wasaga-beach-secondary-school/
4) Walk in Clinic – After being denied by the Province to fund a clinic here (said there was no need), the current council took the innovative initiative to secure a location, recruit doctors and on a one year trial basis fund the clinic to prove to the Province that there is indeed a demand . Clinic should be open in the next month or so.
My response: Town representatives keep moving the date of the opening of this facility. Doctors originally showed little interest as there was no viable business plan to support an after-hours clinic in Wasaga Beach. The current council took the initiative to take on a Provincial role and approve a one year trial with the financial shortfall being covered by the Town of Wasaga Beach. The details have yet to be shared with me, but I am told by the Town’s Interim CAO that Council will be updated after the election as to where this agreement stands and the details of operation. What I have heard from others involved is that if we are lucky the clinic will open two days per week for a couple of hours. Nothing has been confirmed that this clinic will be open in the next month or so let alone what the hours of operation will be.
I expect that more half-truths and misleading information will be shared in the coming days, please be sure to do your own due diligence. If comments are made about me, please call me for accurate information.
The sender also included a slate of candidates which I have chosen not to share. Please vote for seven independent thinking individuals in this year’s election. A Council voting block does not make decisions in the best interests of the community.
VOTE BASED ON FACTS NOT MISLEADING HALF TRUTHS
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO NEWSROOM HEADLINES