By Tim Stewart
Our local Humane Society recently asked for one million dollars in order to enhance services and relieve the pressure on private donors. Mayor Dilkens was quoted as saying, “Anytime a bill for services goes up by 20 per cent, it raises eyebrows.”
Yet, we have the aquatics centre losing in excess of two hundred percent more annually than was projected. Meanwhile, our mayor is heard declaring the construction of the centre a, “… service enhancement.”
Now Dilkens is resurrecting the Riverside underpass idea, which was soundly rejected by our community not long ago. While attempting to push this project ahead, he has increased the price tag from two million to fifteen million.
That is more than a seven hundred per cent increase to the taxpayer. Talk about raising eyebrows.
This idea has little to do with the greater good of this community.
The idea itself may not be bad. The timing is atrocious. The rationale is laughable. This will not “trigger” development in the core.
Mr Farhi did little with his nearby property while we listened to our leadership talk about building world class destinations and a rebirth of the core.
We should not gamble fifteen million more of taxpayer dollars with zero guarantees from Farhi or others. Developers will already be forgiven development fees due to a recent council decision. Farhi did well on the land swap for the arena. It’s his turn to put something on the table.
Our mayor recently put a 20-year timeline on fixing the Central Box Dougall Avenue deathtrap. Fifteen million dollars would go a long way toward expediting that process. We have an infinite number of more serious priorities to consider than this unnecessary underpass.
It’s time for the double speak to end. It’s time to re-examine the priorities of this community.