Taxpayers should pause over the resurfacing of the political machine known as the Guelph Civic League. Remember the role this self-described non-partisan organization played in the 2006 election of Karen Farbridge and her fellow travelers?
The League held a workshop recently to advise citizens how to deal with council and city hall.
Excuse me if I’m skeptical. The League is still partisan dedicated to perpetuating the philosophies of the left-leaning Farbridge majority on city council.
While organizer Dave Sills says the League is non-partisan, he’s playing with the truth. In 2006 the group scared voters with the lie about the “Big Pipe” to bring water from Lake Erie. Further, they demonized former Mayor Kate Quarrie and her council for supporting the Walmart store on Woodlawn Avenue.
Give them their due, they organized labour, dedicated leftists and even imported NDP organizers from British Columbia to mastermind the Farbridge campaign. The 2006 civic election was a tour de force by the NDP and it swept aside a group of dedicated councillors to elect the dictatorial council that has run the city for the past five years.
In the recent provincial election, members of this organization supported defeated NDP candidate James Gordon, the founding president of the Guelph Civic League.
For the past five years, the League has undergone changes. Chief among them was obtaining a Provincial government Trillium Foundation grant of $135,000 allegedly for community work. They set up a separate organization named 10 Carden Street that happens to be the same location of the Guelph Civic League’ s offices conveniently located across the street from City Hall.
During the gestation period of obtaining the grant, the League melted into the background and became dormant so as not to appear to influence the grant application. It was only a matter of time before it came out of the closet.
The mission of 10 Carden Street is to conduct community workshops to assist citizens in matters of civic interest. One of those workshops was to invite a renowned bicycle activist to extol the virtues of creating easier venues in the city for those using bicycles for basic transportation.
It’s different today than it was in 2006. Our city has witnessed huge increases in its debt. The maximum amount of debt the city is supposed to carry is currently $91,850,000. The reality is the debt is reported to be $118,000,000 or $27,850,000 more than the approved ceiling.
All the spending and unfinished projects will not go away and the city is facing a financial crisis due to the recent court ruling it must pay $10 million toward new headquarters for the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health unit.
This was an unbudgeted expenditure and can severely impact the 2012 budget.
A major unfinished project is the $15,500,000 Guelph Civic Museum that is still not completed after four years. The main push to convert the derelict Loretto convent into the museum on the pretext it was a heritage building, was Coun. Leanne Piper’s pipe dream.
To have the Guelph Civic League piously coming forward to assist citizens to deal with council and city hall is beneath contempt. They were partly instrumental in creating the financial mess the city now faces.
It only took five years to discover that spending public money is a sacred trust not an instrument to build monuments for elected politicians.