A letter to the editor sent to the Chronicle Journal. (read original)
Who’s In Charge?
Friday, December 24, 2010
Re More Money For Waterfront, C-J, Dec. 21:
City administration informed council on Dec. 20 that the budget for the waterfront development project has increased from $47.5 million to $49.8 million.
This new council has approved this cost overrun, but have they really?
These additional project costs have already been incurred, so in reality all council has done is acknowledge them whereas administration and the waterfront committee have approved them.
The bureaucrats trump the elected officials and the oversight process.
Recently, Coun. Ken Boshcoff was concerned with civic administration and its endorsement of five applicants to the committee of adjustment.
How concerned is he with this project cost overrun?
In the article tilted Waterfront, Wind Farm Big Topics, (C-J, Sept. 16), Coun. Rebecca Johnson is quoted, “Right now we are on target” and, “If we are not able to do it, we would be held responsible.”
On Dec. 20, Coun. Johnson voted in favour of the overrun but was upset with the significance of it, saying, “I’m going to hold my hand up, but I’m not happy about it.”
Are these just examples of councillors leveraging political rhetoric to gain approval of the public’s ear?
In reference to the changes of electrical requirements, waterfront development manager Katherine Dugmore acknowledged the city knew of these, but offered no reason why they were not initially budgeted for. She was quoted as saying, “We could and did (know), and that’s really all I’m going to say about that.”
In my opinion, she displays an arrogance of the democratic and oversight role of council.
Perhaps we should pass the rubber stamp to administration; they already have the right to approve.
The lesson to be learned from past macro project initiatives is that unforeseen events do occur but they should be clearly communicated to the financiers — in this case, we the taxpayers. Budgets are not cast in stone and we should expect the unexpected. But truth should trump political and administrative rhetoric.
Both the nay and yea sayers should be afforded a level of comfort that both the political and administrative forces perform their respective roles to the best of their capabilities.