We often receive commentary and information from concerned residents who share our vision for a Greater Grimsby. The following is a very thought-provoking opinion piece we recently received from a resident and with permission decided to share with our fellow citizens.
Planning and development of residential, commercial and industrial properties needs to be an open process to the public inviting comments and concerns from our residents at the early stages. Public hearings are often only held after expensive plans have already been done and commitments have been made.
The taxes the Town raises from property owners is 92% born by residential homeowners. This is much higher than any of the surrounding communities. We don’t have enough of the right type of commercial/business properties needed to spread the tax base. As we heard at the May 15 Council meeting, GEDAC has recommended for years, that the Town should deploy a business development/marketing oriented person to attract the right type of businesses that we want here. Many commercial business prospects are stymied at Town Hall with extensive paper work, hefty re-zoning application fees with uncertain outcomes, a lack of interest, and a recalcitrant Town Planner.
The 6% tax increase (average $200 per household) this year should have been a 6% reduction as the Niagara Region portion of our taxes (60%) has gone down by that much.
Major poorly conceived, poorly planned, and poorly executed projects have drained our Town:
- The Sports Park (no sponsorship obtained such as Stoney Creak received from Tim Horton’s), went way over budget, doesn’t have local transit to take folks there and requires two FTE staff.
- The Fire Station build-out went way over budget.
- The Local Transit Committee paid over $50,000 to a consultant that recommended purchasing 5 buses for $2 million and incurring operating expenses of about $1 million each year. This would require residents to walk to a bus stop, wait for up to a half hour for a bus, and walk again to their destination and repeat this on the way back. It made no logistical or financial sense, compared to the Town of Innisfil’s use of a door to door, easy to schedule, Uber service.
- The CoGen (the gas turbine generator on the Town Hall front lawn) has never achieved any of its prime objectives and has cost us over $1.3 million so far for 3 months/year use just to power the ice rink chiller. A further $100,000 dollars is now being spent on noise containment walls.
- The biggest fiasco has been the Grimsby Biodigester, described as capable of ‘lighting up the town’ – (at best, it might produce half the power of a single wind vane) – power we don’t need in any case. It was supposed to cost $3.5 million and generate $millions of profits. It has now cost over $9 million and counting and is in jeopardy of losing the Ontario Government F.I.T. subsidy (it’s only source of income). It remains inoperable today, having already lost 18 months of the subsidy.
Of key concern is what has happened to the $9 million that Niagara Falls & Niagara-On-The-Lake paid for the 25% shares of NRBN (The Grimsby based fibre communications company) that were fully owned by the Town of Grimsby? This has not shown up in the Town’s coffers as it should have. Three guesses what it is now being wasted on?
Residents who often know little detail about these fiascoes, are stunned at how these projects could have happened without their knowledge or public explanations, while continuing to garner support of Town Council, save the exception of Alderman Dave Kadwell.
This e-mail is definitely enlightening… what do you think?