They’ve Gone Too Far
[From the Outram Echo] The overly hasty decision of the pool committee to proceed with the referendum after the RDOS Board’s decision last Thursday exposes the whole process for the political sham that it has been from start to finish.
The degree of anger at splitting the vote shown by the mayor, the Spotlight editor, the recreation centre staff and others, is a direct measure of their seemingly deliberate intention to put one over on Area H taxpayers. With hindsight of the events leading to the Board decision and the committee’s reaction, it appears they were aware right from the very start that unless they could con Area H into paying most of the cost for 20 years by having a combined vote and unfairly weighting the ballot in the Town’s favour, it is extremely unlikely that Princeton, on its own, can afford an indoor aquatic centre. The proposed design (or any of the “concept” alternatives) is extravagant to say the least and yet still inadequate to meet our real needs. One has to wonder why Council so badly wants unfettered authority to borrow $6 million.
I choose to believe that this state of affairs developed because they were gullible and maybe even naive. They were led to this point by the consultants who appear to have knowingly withheld important affordability data that they made available to other municipalities in their feasibility reports. To a Council more astute than ours or someone more adventuresome, there might be fruitful ground for a court case here.
At this point the best move that we, as a town, can make is to recognise the reality of the worldwide economic and financial crisis and to cancel the referendum outright on those grounds. The last thing any prudent community should want to do right now is to enter into further long term debt. It appears that the pool committee will not change their minds and make this sensible recommendation because they are so emotionally and politically involved in their pipe dream. What a disingenuous and defeatist strategy! They now seem to only want to pass blame for the failure of a hopelessly flawed concept to the people who least deserve it – the so-called naysayers. These are the people on fixed incomes with more loyalty and thoughtfulness for their ageing community than some visiting slick consultant with a fistful of coloured drawings.
There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be gained from proceeding with the referendum at this stage except driving a wedge between the Town and Area H even further. I have never understood the logic of rushing unprepared into a referendum just before the municipal elections and now see even less what that can achieve. I don’t even believe there is some clever or devious political objective. It is simply a total waste of time and money. In the end, it will just degrade the quality of future cooperation between our communities.
Then again, as things stand, it isn’t over yet, and nobody can tell how people will vote until the ballots are counted. If, as pointed out by Bill Newell, the RDOS CAO, voters don’t know what they’re really voting for (see link), there could always be a surprise result. Of course, an added issue now is the arena service tax that is already a done deal and will add in the order of a hundred dollars to most people’s tax bill. Mine turns out to be $160 extra starting in 2012. When the community sees that, in addition to the $360 for the extravagant indoor pool proposal they’re not going to be very happy.
Oh, they didn’t tell you about that yet? So what else didn’t they tell you about? There’s a lot that needs to come out.