Tag Archives: Market Square

Market Square opens after two years of discontent

It was heartwarming that some 250 citizens recently attended the official opening of the Market Square, the oddly named area on Carden Street that fronts City Hall and the provincial courthouse.

The occasion was poignant when members of his family and young hockey players remembered Nicholas Lambden, who died as a result of being hit on the head by a puck while playing on an outdoor rink.  Through the Nicholas Lambden Children’s Foundation, the family raised $400,000 for the Market Square rink.

While it is a feather in the cap of Mayor Karen Farbridge, it remains the artful use of political legerdemain to deflect any criticism after two years of destruction of business optimism in the area.

The rink and wading pool costs come to mind. Originally priced at $2.1 million, the project grew like topsy as a pavilion was added plus public washrooms and a parking garage for the Zamboni.

Enter the Rink Rats who volunteered to raise more than a million dollars toward the rink cum reflective pool. Spearheaded by the Mayor’s friend, Ken Hammill, the group unveiled a “donor appreciation window” during the occasion.

We wonder if the amount included the $400,000 that was pledged by the Downtown Business Improvement Area members whose board of directors approved the donation without approval of the members. Many of these same businesses suffered while the Market Square was being developed.

The Provincial and Federal government tossed in $500,000 each, their share of the stimulus funding for the rink project.

The irony is that the city staff estimated it would cost more than $1.2 million a year just to maintain the facility. The original staff proposal was to equip the rink with two Zambonii. Now the new garage is almost too tight to fit the resident Zamboni. You know whose pocket all this will be coming from.

Comingled with this project financing was the rebuilding of Carden Street with paving stones imported from the U.S. plus street-scaping and the usual digging to replace pipes and conduits.

While the work is essentially complete, there remains a bitter taste by many downtowners. Most feel the city management bungled the project.  Remember at the height of the construction the saga of the city managers in charge being called the three stooges and the uproar that followed? Threatening a lawsuit by the city solicitor, cooler heads prevailed.

The handling of this and other projects in the past three years by the city has left a legacy of suspicion and non-confidence on the part of the public.

By the way Mayor Farbridge, how much did the rink and environs really cost?

Will that be one Zamboni or two?

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Giving the Three Stooges a bad name

The city backed off its threat to sue a small businessman for calling the city staff responsible for supervising construction of Carden Street as Larry, Curly and Moe, aka the Three Stooges.

What on earth prompted the administration to even consider such a move?

Would the city brain trust have been more comfortable calling those staffers responsible nobs, henchmen, yobs, and jerks? Hell no, I think the Three Stooges description got it right. It certainly got the attention of the city leaders.

These planners, I use the term loosely, have managed to go home every night without remorse and a hefty pay packet. They have no concern abut cash flow, customers, and access to a business or dealing with the bankers. They have the luxury of walking away every night without concern about the impact of their decisions on taxpayers. It’s called the job with no consequences.

And that lame duck windbag, Chief Administration Officer Hans Loewig has the audacity to demand an apology. At the same time the city announced it would not proceed with a libel suit. Did I mention he’s leaving?

Where was the Mayor when the city legal department was issuing notices of libel?

Did she sanction the threats to these downtrodden business folks to shut up or we will sue you?

How thin are their skins.

The senior city staff should wake up and smell the coffee. Through years of uninterrupted construction, the city has brought a number of these small businesses to their financial knees. Sloppy planning, irresponsible coordination of contractors and their subs and determination to create a “Market Square” that is another monument to a Farbridge dominated council.

This remains an example of mindless ambition, disregard of the needs of citizens and consequences. Indeed the description fits those staff persons who have turned the city into a nightmare of traffic chaos.

Tell council that we are mad as hell and won’t take it any more. Demand they stop the arrogance and rationally deal with the problems the city’s citizens face. The staff must be reshuffled eliminating the fog of disorganization and focus on meeting the needs of the citizens.

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