Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time

In its deliberations over the past five years, city council has often flouted the rule of unintended consequences.

The most egregious of these is the failure to provide adequate downtown parking. You’ll remember Mayor Karen Farbridge’s glowing description of the revitalized downtown that is vibrant and exciting. Her state of the city address emphasized council’s determination to make the downtown the jewel of the city. Well, that didn’t happen.

Here is part of the tangled web of promises and postponed capital projects. In 2007, the newly elected Farbridge council’s prime project was a new downtown library. However the resurrection of the derelict Loretto convent converting it into a new civic museum took precedent. Five years later, the library remains a figment in the former chief librarian’s mind.

Next came the $34 million wet waste composting plant. Affectionately known as the microbe motel, five months after completion it is still not operational. The victim of this capital project was the proposed $16 million Wilson Street parking garage. It is now badly needed, if for no other reason than to provide free parking for city employees working across the street.

The Federal and Provincial governments in 2009 made an offer the city could not refuse.  A tri-government stimulus package of $74 million was granted with the city’s share one third of it or about $25 million.

To help pay for this and other capital projects the city called its $30 million loan to Guelph Hydro to complete this and other projects so as not to go over its debt limit.

The ensuing chaos on city streets was a three-year and counting sentence to inconvenience and, in some cases, just dumb planning

The effect of lower tax revenue and slow development impacted city budgets.

Underlying all this was the disappearance of the Wilson Street parking garage, downtown library, and the south end recreational centre.

The Farbridge administration has willfully spent money on pet projects that affect the few and afflict the many.

Studying the amount of time a vehicle can idle and telling a mother she cannot skate on the civic rink in front of City Hall pushing he child in a stroller, is mindless.

The huge problem taxpayers face is how to recover from the excessive and misguided spending perpetrated by the Farbridge majority in council.

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4 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time

  1. Paul

    Right on Gerry. The “Gang of Eight” has no idea that “unintended consequences” exist, and when they don’t ask the right questions – Like what could go wrong, then there is no contingency planning.
    Now it should have come as no surprise that people skating at the undersized shinny pond in front of City Hall would take up the free parking spots on Carden Street and they WOULD NOT go shopping afterwards. And with the opening of the Downtown Transportation Terminal parking would be in serious short supply. Delaying the Wilson Street Parkade only added to the problem.
    And the final act of desperation by the Gang of Eight to flush up the bare financial cupboard so that they could buy and wreck more heritage buildings on Wyndham Street was a feeble attempt to “sell” the Streetlight Service to get another $9 millions or so PLUS hide the current operating coats and in effect double charge the taxpayers for the Streetlighting Service. Sad, Sad, Sad.
    Gerry keep telling it like it is. We cannot rely on the Local Press to raise these concerns, and oneday the Voter will wake up.

    And it should come as no surprise that the Council HAD TO delay several projects including the new, and totally unnecessary Library and downtown parkades because the Heritage Crew wanted to spen $16 millions or more to save the convent. If the Library had been built in 2009. then the old Library would have suited the Museum fine thank you, at a savings of at least $15 millions. And all of this without a peep from the Library Board and the Fiends of the GPL. Which was curious because they sure as heck complained when the New Library was set back a couple of Years to 2009.
    It also should have come as no suprise that some concerned free-lunchers would OCCUPY the City Hall Skating Rink in protest over the restrictions against strollers, baby carriages and sleds. Just wait until summer when they protest because they cannot put paddle-boats and Canoes in the splash pad.

    • Ruby

      You got that right.
      The mayor’s “pep talk” in the Tribune yesterday about “onward and upward to better times” with good governance made me chuckle.

  2. Paul

    Ruby:
    The Mayors “pep talk made you chuckle! Hell I tossed my biscuits over it. Bafflegad, that is what it is. Sound intelligent and say nothing. The latest stupidity from Council is to put residential properties on the soon to be relocated/vacated Turf Grass Property.
    Don’t they get it? We need Industrial/Commercial Land not more freaking houses to drive the tax ratio from 80% residential to 90%. Where exactly do these clowns think the 30,000 jobs that they talk about will come from? COMMUTERS?
    These so called environmentalists cannot seem to connect the dots. Commuting means more cars which means more pollution which means more environmental concerns. Crapola even a none tree hugger like me can figure that out.
    Guelph is a City in crisis, the bleeding hearts are in control and unfortunately a majority of the voters are asleep at the ballot box.

    • Hey Paul: That’s a ten in the comment sweepstakes! Check out the latest debacle concerning the Public Health board and what they think of Guelph’s demands to change the governance of the board. Remind me, didn’t the city and its taxpayers lose that conflict? Doesn’t matter, they just don’t get it. There was a piece in the Mercury and I have posted a commentary: It seemed like a good idea at the time – Part Two. Gotta dissect the mayor’s go go speech. As usual probably filled with phony cerebral boilerplate passing off as Farbridge intelligence.

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