By Gerry Barker
December 26, 2018
The Mercury Tribune has dropped its Tuesday edition. The paper is promising every Thursday “readers will find analysis, investigative stories, commentary and a variety of content written by our award-winning journalist.”
Also a;pended are about three pounds of advertising inserts, the bread and butter of the enterprise.
In just two years, Metroland Publishing, a division of the TorStar, proprietors of the Toronto Star, has shut down the daily Guelph Mercury and now the Tuesday edition of the Mercury Tribune.
Ah! But stay tuned. The company says it is providing online coverage 24/7 of the news and commentary. Readers must register in order to access the website. The paper is not demanding your first born but just the usual name, address, telephone number and email to access it.
Welcome to the cyber Age of Aquarius, the new electronic access to the news.
The following are important stories about Guelph that are rarely covered in depth by the eviscerated print media. Instead, when questioned, the newspaper says it doesn’t have the space or resources to dig into the stories that affect every citizen in Guelph.
Here’s a recent sample of lack of coverage:
* Explain the “Open Guelph,” a statement of about open government in relation to city council accountability and transparency. Why are they still conducting the public’s business by closed-sessions?
* Explain why Guelph property tax rates and user fees increase every year by far greater than the equivalent of the Consumer Price Index.
* Failure of the Economic Development staff to expand the industrial and commercial assessment to reduce costs to property owners and businesses.
* Guelph Hydro merger that will see the end of the city-owned electricity distribution system that closes at the end of January.
* How much is the city spending advertising in the Mercury Tribune?
* Explain why it has taken five years to renovate the downtown Police HQ that is not expected to be complete until December 2019?.
* Where does council spends the $10 million in gas tax rebates it receives from the Federal and Provincial government?
* How much, if any, do those rebates go toward creating more bike lanes and trails?
* How much of the gas tax rebates are used to expand downtown parking?
* What are the operating and capital costs of the Guelph Civic Museum since it opened?
* How does that figure square with the cost of subsidizing the downtown library?
* What is the status and costs of replacing the Niska bridge?
* Explain the source and details of the financial statements in “Financial Snapshot” section published in the city’s website called: “2017 Report to the Community?”
* What is the ratio of residents using bicycles on Guelph streets and roads compared to those using vehicles?
* Are cyclists subject to the regulations of the Highway Traffic Act? If so, why are they not licensed and carry insurance?
* What are the stats of bicycle and vehicle collisions in 2017 and 2018? What are the injuries to cyclists and drivers? What are the charges brought by Police Services Board and the rationale?
* How much money has been given away or loaned by the city? Aso, explain whar taxparer’s finds are being used to support the Kazoo Festival?
* How much is it costing the city staff services to support the University of Guelph and Conestoga College?
* * * *
Every example listed here costs those citizens who own or rent property and pay user fees.
It’s your money and you have the right to know how it is being spent.
Happy New Year! May good health and prosperity come to you and yours in 2019.
Gerry and Barbara