There is a third issue of the Mud Creek News available at the Post Office – at least that’s where we got ours. Get them while they last!
We only have time to type out some of our paper copy so our readers will have to be satisfied with our choice of excerpts. We do feel the articles deserve a wide distribution and unfortunately they are not available on Voices of Wolfville [ “your information source” according to the cute little card which accompanies the MCN in the stand at the PO]
We will do our best to encapsulate. First item of note, in the “DO YOU KNOW” section:
The Town may donate a lot on Maple Ave. to Habitat for Humanity with the option for HFH to purchase additional lots under market value for $10K per lot.
Will each taxpayer get a tax receipt for this charitable donation we ask? As in the case of the Hospice we don’t think the municipality should set a precedence and give to charities. Where do you stop? Should the Baptist church get funding from the Town?
There follows a list of the upcoming Town meetings in Nov. which you can find on the Town website. Included is the much publicised “Save Our School” meeting on the 17th (Wolfville school 7pm) It is a shame most people paid no attention to the policies of the past few years which threatened our school population but it seems people can be mobilised only when it is too late, or – let us be optimistic for once- almost too late.
The first article is on Communication and Participation by Mr. Becker.
CAO Brideau used very questionable or dubious tactics in launching a “Communication Committee” and selecting its members without going through Council [emph ours]. He hired outside consultants to come up with a plan for Council on how to solve the long ongoing communication /transparency and participation problem and allocated $15,000 to an “operational project team”. Sections 24 to 26 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) make it clear that only the Council may establish standing, special and advisory committees and its members.
Becker points out that in order to get around these annoying rules this administration just changes the terms – so this is not a committee but a project team! The same wordplay was used when a “meeting” was called a “workshop” to get around the MGA limitation on in camera meetings [see this post from the past. Someone should have a little talk with the town solicitor.]
Mr. Becker also objects quite rightly to the CAO and the mayor being on the committee. “Due to their past attitudes they would appear to have very negative qualifications.”
With the budget process starting up soon and since one councillor at least has warned that the Town is in a “difficult financial situation” there is bound to be a rocky communication road ahead. Mr. Becker ends with this comment:
Maybe in the context of a dire financial situation the consultants could shed light on the Council’s very recent decisions to spend taxpayers’ money for nothing and/or almost nothing in return for Wolfville residents (Acadian University Swimming Pool $5K of $8.4K total, Acadia Raymond Field another $15K of $60K total, Central Ave Walking Project about $200K, Communication Committee $15K)
The next article is by Mr. Daniels on the payments to Acadia. Are we getting enough in return he asks.
The Town has agreed to give a second $15,000 to Acadia, one of 3 (or 4?) installments “promised” in the past [ Council shouldn’t really make these commitments into future years but they do anyway.]Until 2013 Town Residents will be permitted to use the track and the field free of charge, when not in use by others. [Is this why they keep the lights on at great expense into the evening hours even though there isn’t a soul on the track?] Also the Town will be able to make use of Raymond Field “for events the Town deems of mutual interest to its citizens and Acadia University.” [ We suggest a football game between staff administration – including the mayor and Council and the Acadia staff!] This does not seem very much in return for $60,000 – and it ends when our installments end!
Mr. Daniels also complains that the Recreation Committee recommendations were ignored in giving $5,000 for Acadia’s pool renovations. The Committee suggested Council attach conditions – that the University also obtain funds from Kings Co., that Acadia have a local fund raising drive for the purpose and that Acadia provide Town residents with a certain number of discount day passes to the pool. Instead:
During the discussion at the Council table nothing was said about the Rec. Committee questioning the claimed economic benefits or that the Rec. Committee recommended conditions…. The silence was odd in view of the fact that three members of Council, including the Mayor, sit on the Rec. Committee and all three had voted in support of the Rec. Committee’s recommendation to fund the pool renovation, but with conditions.
Why did the Mayor and all Council members approve the funds without conditions?
Mr. Becker and Mr. Daniels still expect to be enlightened. We admire them. We stopped asking those kinds of questions of the Town a few years back since we lost hope of getting any answers.