Northwood councillor Shelby Ch’ng responses to Shane Judges Letter to the Editor with one of her own. A couple of excerpts and my response to her response.
The Art Gallery is an independent organization from council that performed its own needs assessments. Based on the results of that assessment, the gallery evaluated its options and selected the one that best fit their needs. The board has worked hard to lobby for federal and provincial funds and it looks like it is paying off for them. The city has contributed and does contribute a portion of its funding.-Shelby Ch’ng, Letter to the Editor, Chronicle Journal
The gallery may be an independent organization but it is almost ENTIRELY funded by the taxpayer. That fact does not give that independent organization a blank cheque to build whatever it wants wherever it wants. Yet, that is EXACTLY what is happening here.
It is up to that publicly funded independent organization to ensure that the taxpayers of Thunder Bay, the Province of Ontario and Canada are getting the most benefit for the huge pile of that sweet, sweet taxpayer cash being given to them. Biggest bang for the buck possible.
For me, that means exploring as many options as possible, finding the pros and cons of each option and costing them out. That way, the rationale for choosing any option is clearly laid out. That is not being done here. Nor was it done for the $120 million hockey rink either.
This single option only wave that is becoming the City of Thunder Bay’s favourite way of doing business. Why?
This would not fly in the private sector. Money matters a lot more when you do not get it free of charge. Funny how that works.
I spent four hours at the Art Gallery that day with Coun. Frank Pullia and Sharon Godwin. We asked questions directly from the source and received answers. Coun. Pullia came forward with the idea years ago to use the Eaton’s building for the Art Gallery but it is privately owned and doesn’t suit the needs of the gallery. – Shelby Ch’ng, Letter to the Editor, Chronicle Journal
Four hours? A whole four hours? Received answers from “the source”? THE SOURCE? Who is THE SOURCE? Are we supposed to be impressed by this “source”? Where does this “source” get its information? Why can you not identify this “source”?
Some questions that will never be answered…not even by “the source”:
- Was the Eaton’s building option included in the Feasibility Study? No. How was the Eaton’s building unsuitable? We don’t know.
- How much would it cost to make it suitable? We don’t know.
- What would the economic impact be to the north core business community be if the gallery was located at the corner of Red River Road and Court Street? We don’t know.
- What has the fact that it is privately owned have to do with it? I think we do know…Money.
- Did the fact that the gallery will not pay property taxes wherever its located have anything to do with keeping the Eaton’s building in private hands? You see, as long as the building is privately owned, the city receives taxes. Hmmm…I think maybe we are on to something here.
- What is it that they say? Its all about location, location, location? Which is the best location in the city? Do we know? No we don’t. Why not?
- Is the waterfront location the most fiscally responsible location to build? Do we know? No we don’t. Why not?
This stinks to high heaven. Once again, City Hall is only looking out for its own interests and they are not even trying to hide that fact any longer.
It appears to me that City Hall is competing against the private sector using huge piles of that sweet, sweet taxpayer cash. Money taken from its owners at the point of a gun.
Why is this independent organization not being asked to fund a portion of the construction costs? I think that would be a fair request.