Planning by Guelph Police Services Board is above its pay grade

Poasted October 28, 2013

To avoid potentially costly legal expenses, the Guelph Police Services cut a deal to allow a disgraced police officer to receive an additional seven months pay and benefits before he resigns. This officer was convicted of illegal drug possession, usage and stealing drugs from evidence to feed his habit.

Then, in another questionable decision, the price of the addition to police headquarters shot up from $13.6 million to $34 million. Naturally the taxpaying public was outraged.

Seems that an architect experienced in designing and costing police administration buildings, determined the $13.6 million. Last year council accepted this proposal and approved the project.

Then another architect, was brought in and following a number of in-camera sessions, came up with the $34 million extension costs. The mystery is why two members of the Police Board, ,Mayor Karen Farbridge and Coun. Leanne Piper kept their silence. Was it because they might have their special police ID pass taken away?

Did they not object to this latest proposal, the one that city council has to approve and pay for? We’ll never know because for security reasons, the meetings were held in secret with no public knowledge or input.

The only curious comment came from Coun. Piper to the extent that council will have to decide whether to build the South End recreation Centre, Downtown Library or police headquarters — “we’ll have to figure out how to massage that.”

It should be noted that both the mayor and councillor receive extra pay for serving on the Police Services Board.

Does it not occur to them that a $23 million increase in the cost of a project over what they originally approved might get people a little upset? Disillusioning particularly those people in the South end of the city waiting for a recreation centre or the patient supporters of a new downtown Library. The library project, particularly, has experienced more punts than the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.

This is yet another example of how out-of-control spending of public money is in this city. The examples are many and the latest is the attempt to dip into the public trough to spend $500,000 to convert a broken down, derelict farmhouse into a community centre. This proposal comes from Coun. Ian Findlay in an effort to save the building that currently sits in a new public park.

Readers should be reminded that another of Coun. Findlay’s ideas was to set up pissoirs downtown so men could relieve themselves after the bars closed. Women were not accorded the same relief service. Then they measured the amount of waste to determine… what? That exercise came at the price of Findlay and former Coun. Mike Salisbury doing a research trip to Edmonton to inspect that city’s handling of the downtown public urination problem.

They should have picked Las Vegas for all the good that trip did. Not great value for the taxpayers.

The police headquarters issue is important. There is obviously a need as the force expands and the prisoners can be unloaded inside because the transporting vans are too big to go in the garage. Something had to come first. Was it the garage or the vans?

Does this remind you of the Wyndham Street underpass that trucks can’t use because, after two years of construction, the underpass isn’t low enough?

Do you get the feeling that planning is not prime time at the Police Services Board?

After two architects have studied the project, they each have wildly different costs associated with the extension. This project should broken into three stages over a five-year period to lessen the capital cost-load on the city. During the construction period, some of the officers can function in the new public safety building in the south end.

The fact that little liaison existed between the city engineers and planners, reflects abandonment of responsibility by the two council members serving on the Police Services Board.

If they won’t stand up for those who elected them, whom do they represent?



Filed under Between the Lines

7 responses to “Planning by Guelph Police Services Board is above its pay grade

  1. Milton Burns

    Mayor Farbridge and Councillor Piper should recuse themselves on the Police station $34 million extension vote

    • Milton Burns: Absolutely! But when you hold secret meetings without public scrutiny, this is what you get. But then this is not the first time that the taxpayers have been locked out of the public process as the GrassRoots Guelph petition to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has clearly outlined.

  2. S

    Umm the bridge was never low enough for trucks in the first place. People have short memories *rolls eyes*

    • S: From what you say this low bridge problem has been going on for some time. I guess smart truckers have avoided it. One would believe that the problem would have been fixed in the construction time frame of two years. How many engineers does it take to lower the grade to accommodate trucks? Just asking.

    • Will

      Are you saying this problem existed before the multimillion dollar construction began? Personally I do not recall any such events with trucks prior to the construction. Talk about long term memory loss.

    • Will: I’m not saying it. Another commentator said it. I’ve only lived here for 11 years. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Will

    So the city spends thousands of dollars installing new warning signs for truckers and others. Problem solved? No really, what is their plan?

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