Opinion

HEROD: Many options for St. Catharines' found cash

By Doug Herod

(Postmedia file photo)

(Postmedia file photo)

So, St. Catharines city council has $4 million in fun money to spend.

Yee-haw, free hors d’oeuvres and cocktails for everyone next Wednesday night at the Blue Mermaid!

Alas, councillors don’t appear to be in the mood for such frivolity.

In a story last week in The Standard, they were talking more along the lines of spending the cash on affordable housing, park improvements, road and sewer work, stump removal, cutting debt payments, reducing property tax hikes or socking it away in the civic project fund.

“The sky is sort of the limit,” said budget standing committee chair Mat Siscoe of the windfall, which comes courtesy of a reserve fund set up for the now-cancelled Shickluna hydroelectric plant project.

That councillors would view the aforementioned spending suggestions as their idea of reaching-for-the-sky is sort of reassuring.

The last thing citizens need is for the city to embark on an attention-grabbing legacy project that comes with high annual operating costs for years to come.

(The exception to this thinking comes from on-again, off-again fiscal conservatives Joe Kushner and Matt Harris who are promoting the idea of using a portion of the $4 million to build an ill-defined outdoor destination pool in Burgoyne Woods, which not-so coincidentally happens to be in their ward.)

Mind you, councillors could be blowing smoke here to fool residents into believing a responsible approach will be taken. With the community asleep at the switch, councillors could feel free to dream sort of big at the special council meeting called for next Wednesday.

Such as:

Expedite their plan to install all-way stop signs at every intersection in the city.

Buy 128 inflatable, plastic wading pools for distribution throughout St. Catharines in case the Kiwanis pool is out of commission again next summer.

Rather than wait 30 years for the federal government to possibly take action on a new pier, build a nice, long wooden dock in Port Dalhousie and put some Muskoka chairs on it.

Set aside money for Amazon, either to build a case for attracting the company’s second North American headquarters here or to sign up for Amazon Prime to get free two-day delivery on all-way stop signs, inflatable wading pools and Muskoka chairs.

To avoid out-of-control street parties in the south end, send 5,000 of Brock’s most party-hearty students to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day.

Buy five units in the Grandson of Port Tower’s condo building to help ensure the project gets started. Once built, the units can be re-sold or rented out as affordable, luxury housing for the city’s upper-income earners.

To make up for the recently confirmed loss of a million-dollar donation to the Meridian Centre build, steer a similar amount of money to the arena’s capital fund and change the name of IceDogs Way to Shickluna Memorial Drive.

Establish a legal fund for councillors accused of code-of-conduct violations.

To get an earlier start date than 2022, buy 30,000 GO bus tickets over the next year in an attempt to convince Metrolinx there is a strong demand for commuter train service here. Then unload them on even more delusional Niagara Falls politicians.

Buy the online publication MoneySense. The points system for its annual Best Place to Live in Canada survey can then be massaged to ensure St. Catharines finishes among the top five cities in 2018. Make sure the results are published a few weeks prior to next year’s municipal election.

Treat city taxpayers to beer and wings at Olee’s Ale House in Merritton next week.

dherod.niagara@gmail.com 



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