Bonnie Stephens wrote the following to present at council in committee as a delegation on September 12, 2017. After an extensive exchange of emails, she was not allowed on the agenda as the clerk deemed it was not new information, even though it clearly was.
At the August 22, 2017 Council in Committee meeting Don Boyle stated that, “adding a second storey to this building [current CAB] was considered, we needed an extra 110 parking spots which would have taken the green space around this facility.” That amount of parking seemed excessive and begged a closer look. Through the efforts of a more qualified person than myself, a chart was developed showing the results of possible solutions for the problem of creating adequate parking on the Court House Grounds while keeping the green space and trees intact.
Clearly there are ways that could be explored to re-configure and use the current CAB as the central administration building while retaining most of the green space.
At the same meeting, Mr. Boyle stated that because of the number of parking spots needed and the challenge of where to locate staff during construction, “it made absolutely no sense to waste taxpayer money on hiring an architect to look at something that we clearly knew right up front was not plausible on this particular site.” And yet, renovating the current CAB in order to accommodate a centralized administration building for Haldimand County, together with a homemade architectural design, accepted by Council, was presented to citizens as THE alternative option to a new build at the Cayuga area.
The cost of a new central administration building at the Cayuga arena location has continually escalated from the originally projected cost through a progression of fundamental changes. New information shows that this trend continues. About two months ago, Leroy Bartlett informed the Simcoe Reformer that the new administration building would cost $15 million, but last week The Haldimand Press reported that the build would cost $20+ million. David McClung’s letter in the Press in response to this article showed that the cost was actually closer to $30 million. And now the citizens of Haldimand County have been presented with a final version of the architect’s design for the new County administration building after never having the opportunity to see or discuss any concept drawings and at (so far) twice the original cost.
The problem grows with the realization that many of the buildings in the Village of Cayuga provide valuable examples of the County’s past and that these and a Village atmosphere will be the setting for the new administration building. The design presented for the arena location offers no connection to the rest of the village. It is an eyesore unnecessarily crammed into a small space next to a decidedly industrial style arena.
Council needs to immediately put a stop to this disaster and seek direction from Haldimand residents about the design and costs of a new build at the arena, and to make a serious, professional effort to analyse any possibilities, cost savings and benefits of developing the current CAB as the central administration building.
At the August 22, 2017 Council in Committee meeting I stated in my presentation that, “Despite repeated citizen requests, staff have as yet to answer such simple questions about Options 2 and 3 as . . . 3. How much was budgeted to demolish the existing CAB?” After I was told that there were no questions for me from Council so that I could no longer answer questions or respond to comments, Mr. Boyle, speaking of the costing of the new build at the arena, informed Council and citizens that, “part of the costing was a one time $500,000. for the removal of this building and the rehabilitation of the grounds here.” This figure was straightforward and available but was not given to me when I requested it. Contrary to Mr. Boyle’s claim, also made when I could not defend myself that, “Ms. Stephens has communicated with staff and asked a number of questions and which some of them we supplied,” they were not, and moreover, Mr. Boyle’s statement that, “at a point we understood that a lot of the information we were supplying was quite detailed and takes explanation,” is completely false as no information was supplied.
I have copies of the complete chain of emails between staff and myself that show none of my questions regarding what estimates staff used to determine the costs of the two options were answered. As you can see, Mr. Boyle was copied on these exchanges. No other staff or Council member had anything to say about Mr. Boyle’s remarks about me. Council really needs to direct staff to provide answers to questions raised by citizens.
And Mr. Boyle should apologize to me before I am dismissed.