Presented by Grant Church
Ladies and Gentlemen, In the February 27, 2014 issue of the Sachem, Fred Morison stated that the new Cayuga library would be located in the Village Green. Council was elected in 2014 on a mandate to place the library there. What happened between then and now?
In March 2016, the County bought the Cayuga Hotel as a site for a new library. Only a few had any idea that this was going on. Concerned about it at first, I just let it go.
In the fall of that year, the museum destruction plan came forth along with a plan to put a micro museum in the new library. Many were concerned about these plans and contacted the mayor and council, registering their objections.
February 2017, I called Fred Morison and suggested a very low cost way of promoting our museums that could save the county millions and spare the County Museum. He didn’t accept it, going on to say that a shiny new building on Hwy. 3 would attract business.
During 2017, I began collecting documents and talking to experts about this library/museum issue. A Professional Engineer came to town to assess these matters. He said to me and told the county that the Cayuga Hotel site was dangerous and that the museum was in excellent shape.
A Safety Expert who also came to Cayuga to assess these things said the Cayuga Hotel Site was dangerous and that the museum was in excellent shape. He told the County that if a child is hurt at this new library site, the Judge will ask, “Did you plan for the propensity of a child to err and do mischief?”
On different occasions, I’ve reminded the Mayor and Council of what they said. The answers from Mayor Hewitt are callous and arrogant. In the Mayor’s most recent response of February 13, 2018, he had this to say.
“I do not insist that one is safer than the other. I simply do not share your opinion or others about the relevance of safety guiding the decision of locating the library on #3. The debate for the location occurred already and at that time my opinion may have not been the same as my fellow councillors and at that time the vote was taken and it was determined to locate the library at the current site.”
Councillor Fred Morison’s Reason for Changing Library Location
August 22, 2017 council in committee meeting “With respect to why the selection of the Village Green, why we thought about that spot, and I admit that would have been a nice spot, why that was decided not to go there, is that at the end of the day after we built a 6000 square foot library, provided the necessary parking, one, there’d be very little, well basically there’d be very little green space left, and you know that people want to talk about saving green space is.”
The Safety Expert and I met with the General Manager overseeing the library project. I asked him,
1) Has staff obtained a traffic analysis on both the Village Green and Cayuga Hotel Site? Answer: No
2) Has a risk assessment been done on both sites? Answer: No
3) Has a cost benefit study been done on both sites? Answer: No
The CAO Don Boyle said at a council meeting, “Staff has decided that the library is being located on Hwy. 3 because more people live on the South side than on the North side of Cayuga.”
The documentation from the county gave me the sense that the library was being made into an economic development tool. This was not always so. A document was missing from the county website, so I emailed the General Manager we met with, and he sent it to me. It was from 2013. In it, the Chamber of Commerce and the Library Board were for using the Village Green. Even Staff recommended it.
Fred Morison talked the rest of Council into buying the Cayuga Hotel site for the new library, but was there something else?
At the January 24, 2018 Council meeting, Councillor Rob Shirton asked why can’t we put the library in the Village Green? CAO Boyle said the land was unpatented and repeated that more people live on the South side of town than on the North side.
Within 12 hours, a citizen had a copy of the registry book page that verified that a crown patent had been issued for the Market Square, which is now called the Village Green.
By January 29, 2018, the CAO posted some documents on the matter, which include a lawyer’s letter, a Legal Services Request, and a note from the lawyer to CAO Boyle saying that he stood by his original letter.
By Feb, 5, 2018 a citizen had obtained the Crown Patent and sent it to Council.
The Legal Services Request was issued October 24, 2014, because the surveyors who were surveying the Village Green couldn’t find the Crown Patent.
The County lawyer said the patent had never been issued.
I emailed the General Manager asking him for the document sent to the lawyer. After receiving it I took it to the Registry Office and asked the officials about whether it would be a cloud on title. They said no. It’s not a problem. They know how to read the documentation.
I asked the General Manager specifically if the reason for aborting the use of the Village Green was the cloud on title. He responded, saying that was correct.
This is a copy of the Crown Patent.
Only one block separates the best library location from the worst.
Traffic analyses have been done and presented to Council, only to be met with arrogance. A 103 minute sample done midday on a Thursday between the times suggested by Councillor Leroy Bartlett showed 1,227 vehicles passed the site including 118 big trucks, one every five seconds.
Because this is a Grand River bridge crossing, there is extra heavy traffic a short distance either side of the bridge, as traffic funnels in from both sides to cross the river and then fans out on the other side.
Big farm equipment use the bridge.
All westbound police, fire, and EMS vehicles have to pass the site to cross the bridge, often at a high rate of speed. And when they do, all other traffic is required to pull to the side. If it’s a red light at Cayuga Street, they can run through it.
Many of the trucks are eight axle heavy load-bearing trucks, carrying steel and gasoline.
Impaired drivers. Distracted drivers. Sleepy drivers.
Accidents happen. Preventable injuries are leading cause of death in children. All these things make the Cayuga Hotel site an extremely high risk
The County wants to intentionally draw people, which includes children, into this area along Hwy. 3.
“The purchase of property for the new Cayuga Library is seen as an improvement to the downtown area. ‘Once the new library is completed, it is felt that this will be an additional draw for people into the downtown area’.” CMS-GM-02-2016 page 3 of 4, May 30,2016
Even in the culture, there is a warning. The Beatles song A Day in the Life speaks volumes.
A Day in the Life.
I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade And though the news was rather sad Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Can a leopard change its spots? Nor can the Cayuga Hotel site be made safe.
Accidents don’t just happen. They’re triggered by a chain of events.
The new library belongs in the Village Green.