Posted July 10, 2014
After more than 180 days of investigation by both city and police administrative staffs, the same answer came up – the new police headquarters was still going to cost $34 million.
Quel Surprise! As reported in guelphspeaks.ca months ago, having the two staffs review the plans with a view of reducing the cost, proved to be a time-consuming, useless exercise. The Corporate Administration, Finance and Enterprise Committee voted to proceed with the project. Coun. Maggie Laidlaw and Coun. Gloria Kovach voted against recommending the staff report to council for final approval.
Eight years of our city being dominated by the Farbridge administration, can anyone recall a city construction project that was completed on budget and on time? One of the main problems is the dithering effect in which the staff must study projects to ensure they meet the stringent demands of council. Meeting demands and details bent on applying extreme environmental standards to most projects.
The dithering effect is one of the chief reasons that two consultants have said the same thing: Guelph is a bad place in which to do business.
Council had already approved the $34 million in two chunks. The first was in the 2013 capital budget allocating $13 million to renovate the police headquarters. That figure was generated and approved by the Guelph Police Services Board (GPSB).
Mayor Karen Farbridge and Coun. Leanne Piper sit on that board so you know where their vote is going to go.
Then last July along came Police Chief Larkin who presented a new figure for the work that now totaled $34 million.
The Farbridge dominated council knuckled under and approved the new costs, pending a staff review to reduce the $34 million cost. It didn’t help that the mayor told her council that they had to pass it or the GPSB could force them to approve it through legislation.
This seems to be a draconian way of doing business. Build it our way or else!
Do you sense that there is a conflict of interest here? How can the Mayor and her council sidekick Leanne Piper, also members of the GPSB, serve two masters?
Maybe it’s time to test that and tell the GPSB the city cannot afford to shell out the money due, in part, to the looming huge expense of the Urbacon costs settlement. You will recall that the city lost big-time over firing the new City Hall contractor in 2008. Those costs are yet to be determined and who pays what? You can bet it won’t be Urbacon.
This brings up the archaic Ontario Police Act controlling how police in Ontario are governed. The province appoints the majority of GPSB members with the exception of Mayor Farbridge and Coun. Piper.
Now, one would think that the council tag team of Farbridge and Piper would tell the board, that the city couldn’t afford that proposal. Or, maybe they didn’t know whether they could afford it, or not.
Just add this one to the growing list of gutless actions and mismanagement that has become the hallmark of the Farbridge administration.
It is the kind of action or lack thereof that spawned the citizen’s activist group, GrassRoots Guelph. Join today and be part of helping to change the way our city is being run, loosely speaking.
Sign up: Grassrootsguelph2014@gmail.com