Monday, November 19, 2018

There has been much said recently about the need to revitalize Queen St. and the level of financial commitment that needs to be made by the city.

I supported the CIP (Community Improvement Plan) and the SIP (Strategic Implementation Plan) and I agree that the downtown has become an eyesore. The question is, who should have to pay for it? Presently the city is negotiating with a developer who promises to bring $100 million worth of development into the downtown if council spends $36 million of improvements that include a parking garage, downtown parks and improved gateways at both ends of Queen St. In supporting both improvement plans, I agree that the city needs to invest monies into our improvement plans.

But how much, and how fast?

I supported the long term plan to invest into and improve the downtown over 2, 5, 10 and 20 years, at a pace we could afford to spend. NOT all in one year. NOT in a manner that overburdens the taxpayer and NOT before we follow our previous consultants' insistence to spend more on the needed improvements to our roads, sewers and water infrastructure, and certainly NOT against the advice of our financial consultants not to take on any additional debt.

To date, no additional dollars have been committed to the revitalization from other levels of government, and until it does, the entire burden of paying for that debt is yours, on your future municipal tax bill.

I believe that developers should pay for development and not rely on corporate welfare to make money.

The money council has committed does not include legal fees, or the cost to expropriate land which I am totally opposed to. That cost of this deal will rise to cover those costs also.

At this point and time, I don't believe we can afford such a high financial commitment.

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