Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 26


TSBP Hides Proposal To Give Away Our Interest In The Wiarton Keppel Airport

It was hard to tell from item 5.2 in the May 15 Council Agenda, titled “Public Meeting Notice-Restructuring, Georgian Bluffs and South Bruce Peninsula”, but the proposal is not really about “restructuring” at all. The item was about a proposal to give away our share of the Wiarton Keppel airport.

The one page report include in the agenda package indicated only one clue:

“The Town of South Bruce Peninsula has also consented to the transfer of their 50% ownership in the Wiarton-Keppel International Airport to the Township of Georgian Bluffs”.

This proposal is unacceptable, and is not in the interests of the people of TSBP.

I have two concerns.

One is that the giveaway of half of the airport to Georgian Bluffs is a bad deal. The second is that the bad deal is being hidden as “restructuring”.

A BAD DEAL

The airport straddles the border between Georgian Bluffs and TSBP. The airport was owned by the Canadian Government until 1996, at which time it was given to TSBP and Georgian Bluffs on a 50/50 ownership basis. It has been managed ever since by a joint board. The airport has always run deficits, last year at about $150,000. The deficit is covered by taxpayers, 50% by TSBP and 50% by Georgian Bluffs.

I understand that the airport was appraised at $2,000,000 in about 2008. See
https://bruceonthebruce.wordpress.com/page/4/

In 2010 there was a buyer interested, but apparently Georgian Bluffs refused to consider selling.

A special task force of TSBP council members and Georgian Bluffs council members and staff of both towns have been discussing, mostly in closed session, what to do with the airport.

What they appear to have consented to is a very good deal for the people of Georgian Bluffs, but a very bad deal for the people of TSBP.

Here’s the proposed deal. Georgian Bluffs gets our share of the airport, and gets their town boundary redrawn to include the whole airport. In return the people of TSBP get no cash, no assets, no property, nothing tangible, nothing of value.

What we get is to redraw the TSBP boundaries to include a little strip of land along highway 6 that is currently within the town of Georgian bluffs. We don’t get ownership of that land. What we get is worthless.

Georgian Bluffs gets to own our share of the airport, and we get to own nothing in return.

It’s a bad deal. It’s the same as giving away our share of the airport.

BAD DEAL / HIDDEN DEAL

TSBP council is trying to hide the bad deal. Why else would they discuss a million dollar policy decision completely and unnecessarily in closed session and then hide it with a title “restructuring proposal” and then falsely portray it as a few minor boundary line adjustments?

There will be two public sessions to gather public comments.

They are:

Wednesday May 23rd, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. AT Wiarton & District Community
Centre and Arena, 526 Taylor St. Wiarton

Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. AT Shallow Lake & District
Community Centre 550 Princes St. Shallow Lake

Come out and tell TSBP council not to give away our million dollar share in the airport.

And /or send a written submission to:

Angie Cathrae
Clerk/CEMC
Town of South Bruce Peninsula
315 George Street, PO Box 310
Wiarton, Ontario.
N0H 2T0
Phone 519-534-1400
Email: sbpen@bmts.com

Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 25


RE: May 15, 2012 Council Agenda

The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=49360

An Html version is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=49358

Following are some comments on a few select agendas items.

Item 4.3 Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board AND Personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees (Sauble Beach Development Corporation)

As with the May 1 agenda item with the same name, council is breaching the Municipal Act by not disclosing the general nature of the matter being discussed “in closed”. I do not believe that there are “personal matters about an identifiable individual”. And I do not believe that there is “litigation or potential litigation” that warrants closed session. The Ombudsman was very clear. The Ombudsman said that council “may” go into closed for “litigation” but council is “not required” to go into closed for “litigation”. The Ombudsman also said to err on the side of discussing in open, and being transparent.

There are many people very concerned about the “Sauble-beach-development-corporation-issue” and about the lack of transparency. This discussion must be in open or at least largely in open. And there must be a proper opportunity for the public to participate in any decision.

If council tries to decide the matter in closed or vote in closed or make an agreement in closed or even if council tries to rush a by-law or agreement through in open session, they will be seen as in contempt of the people they supposedly represent.

Item 8.3 FS30-2012 Water Meter Readings for April

The water rates for Wiarton and Sauble area systems are already set by by-law 41-2012 of March 20. The rates take effect May 1. Agenda item 8.3 is a report on water use of some properties to April 30, and the average bills that would have been paid had the May 1 rates been in effect.

I have heard much concern about the rates, and especially the Sauble Area rates. The concern I hear most is that the volume at which the tier 1 rate of $5.00 per cubic meter changes to tier 2 rate $10.77 is too low, and should be changed from 7 cubic meters per month to 18 cubic meters per month to match the Wiarton level of 18 cubic meters per month.

I am opposed to the Tier system, and I have recommended a single rate per cubic meter no matter how many cubic meters are consumed.

If council decides to stay with the two tier system, I have this caution.

If the tier 1 level cutoff at Sauble is raised from 7 cubic meters (option A) to 18 (option B) and the lower tier rate is adjusted up so that the total dollar amount received stays the same and thus the water treatment plant bills can be paid, the result will be that the total amount billed to users and the average bill to users will be exactly the same under option A as under option B.

But the individual bills will be different under the two options. With option B, low water users, including most seasonal, will pay more than under option A, and high water users will pay less. Changing the tier threshold just shifts costs from one set of users to another.

My recommendation is to stop discussing the level at which rates change from tier 1 and tier 2 and start looking for ways to reduce the treatment plant costs so that everyone’s invoices can be reduced.

I understand that some people are planning to hold a meeting of Sauble area water users, in late June or early July, to discusss water rates, water bills, and what can be done.

Craig