It is obvious from all the (email) posts that there is an underlying problem with the way in which Haldimand County is governed and managed. In fact, it has become abundantly clear over the past 17 years since amalgamation that the initial distribution of Councillors has createda situation that has been overtly unfair to the eastern section of the County… Parochialism is unabated in western Haldimand.

 

Residents are lead to believe they have input into the “what, how, when, where and why” of a particular project but if their input doesn’t support the County’s agenda, it is manipulated to look like it does or it’s simply ignored.

I believe residents are so frustrated with the way in which the County operates that they feel it is a total waste of their time and energy to continue to participate in these endeavours. The result is that fewer and fewer voices are being heard.

Bernie (Corbett) has admitted several times that only 2 or 3 people have showed up for his outreach meetings to discuss significant issues that will affect the County. We are losing the opinions and suggestions of some very knowledgeable and intelligent voices in our community and are ending up with the same few voices “representing” us… coincidentally those voices support the County agenda.

The County, like all the other levels of government, profess community engagement on these major projects but it is just optics so that they can contend that they made these decisions with the cooperation of the community shareholders.

The inconsistencies in how the County decides to proceed with its agenda is suspect and illustrates its total disregard of residents’ wishes. There has been a number of examples in eastern Haldimand that support this statement:

  1. The new Arena – the new arena was supposed to be a twin pad facility with a community centre – the consultant determined Dunnville needed a pad and a half to support the ice time requirements at that time which one would conclude means 2 pads – 1000s signed a petition supporting the twin pad facility

Hundreds attended a meeting in the old arena community centre, where the Mayor and several Councillors were present, relaying their desires for the twin pad. Council ignored the wishes of residents and one particular Councillor stated Dunnville would not get a new arena if Cayuga didn’t. Another Councillor stated that you can’t take something away from one community and give it to another. And another Councillor said “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”….in other words it’s better to get a single pad then nothing at all. Focus shifted to building a new community centre with an arena attached to the back of it

  1. Fire hall Closings – closing eastern Haldimand fire halls while building new ones and renovating existing ones in Western Haldimand to a tune of over $5 million. The plan was to increase coverage in Haldimand and reduce cost…reported at $200,000/yr Was there the $$$ savings the Mayor said there would be? Where did the savings go? Based on the Mayor’s numbers, the savings wouldn’t even be realized for more than 25 years after the initial $5 million and interest is paid Hundreds signed a petition to keep Byng Fire Hall open. In this instance it was ok to take something away from one community and give it to another

 

  1. Closing Satellite Offices and building a new County Facility in Cayuga – when this proposal went public there were public meetings and an on line survey for public input. Bernie admitted he only had a few people out to his meeting

The data obtained from the survey and the outreach indicated that around 1% of the population of Haldimand voted on their preference and of that approximately half of them were for closing the satellite offices and building a new building in Cayuga… we are talking around 250 – 300 people in the entire County!

Councillors approved that option – another case of taking something away from one community and giving it to another

The evidence is clear. In regards to the arena and the fire hall, there were far more people in support of these facilities than the County had in support of the New County Headquarters.

On top of that, the support for the New County Building was based on data from the population pool of the entire County whereas the arena and fire hall was from the population pool of just Eastern Haldimand.

This suggests that a County doesn’t require the same support for its pet projects as the rest of us do. One would notice that the trend suggests that is perfectly fine to take something away or deny something from Eastern Haldimand but not from Western Haldimand… would this have anything to do with the distribution of Councillors?

Finally, to the current issue that all these posts are about… the old arena land. It was my understanding that when the issue of what to do with the property first came up it was determined through public consultation that the majority of people wanted to keep the land as a park. They wanted to maintain the accessibility to the river and they wanted a park so that everyone could enjoy it. They were opposed to selling any land off so that the area remained open and easily accessible.

Since this time, based on what I have seen, the criteria changed. The current concept places a commercial building in the middle of the property which has created issues with the boat club, park space, parking and with nearby home owners. This seems to go against the wishes of all those who participated in the outreach meetings in the initial stages and who determined the direction that the County was supposed to follow.

It is incredible that in the end there will be a commercial building erected in the middle of this property when the majority of people were opposed to doing this in the first place. If the end result was to have a commercial building occupying this space, why would we have not sold a piece of the property to a developer and reap the benefits ($$$) of the sale as well as the $$$ from collecting taxes on the property, which would continue for decades?

Because this isn’t what people wanted.

I have nothing against the Farmer’s Market. I think a new facility for the market is a good thing. I do believe, however, that it could have simply been built in its existing location which would have gone a long way in eliminating many of the issues indicated in these posts.

We are being told to move on. Wait until it is built and see how it is then.

 

We seem to be told that often. Isn’t waiting until something is built too late? Wouldn’t it be much easier and less expensive to address the issues before the facility is built? We will be the ones left holding the bag. Having to deal with something that may or may not work.

The County and Councillors? When there are complaints or something happens they will blame us and say that is what we asked for. I’ve been hearing that ever since the new arena was built. Why is it that Dunnville always has to settle?

And why is it that our Councillors are always so willing to?

Rod Minor
Dunnville