Multiplex project is too expensive for Cambridge: by Gerald Riley

By  | June 10, 2017 | 7 Comments | Filed under: TIME FOR A NEW MAYOR AND 90% of COUNCIL IN 2018

Cambridge Times, OPINION..

I’m writing in response to a recent opinion piece published May 24 “Speak up if you want a multiplex at Conestoga College” by John Morton.

First, let me congratulate the Cambridge Minor Hockey Association for a successful year as well as thank the many volunteers that are needed to run an organized sport such as this.

Where I take issue Mr. Morton’s opinion is when he states that those who stand against the multiplex being located at Conestoga College are a “vocal minority.”

These words have been echoed often over the course of the multiplex debate, attempting to make concerned tax paying citizens irrelevant to the question. Making such a statement does not accurately support the fact there are thousands of signatories on petitions, that Engage Cambridge received the largest number of respondents to any survey the city has conducted, and that private citizens attended council in such large numbers, that meetings needed to be reschedule in larger venues.

Which brings me to my point. Very few people I have met with and spoken to are “against” the multiplex. That is shown in the results of the Engage Cambridge survey, and in an consultants report.

What was heard from the citizen engagement was very clear. “Anywhere but Conestoga” was the resounding theme base on Conestoga being a non-central location within the city, it’s not on the LRT (light rail transit) route, and it’s non-supportive to the economic development of the city.

What was and continues to be missing in this project is a clear, well documented, transparent, justifiable and auditable process for the site selection. One that can stand the test of public inquiry.

The city has now updated its strategy to Conestoga being the only “affordable” site.

I assume they held this out to Mr. Morton as the only way four ice pads were going to be included in the building. Yet if you read the staff reports, there is little to no objective information on the total costs to build at Conestoga.

Those costs have never been exposed, yet city staff deem the more central sites as being too expensive. How can we allow a mayor to borrow $80 million to $100 million with a reckless disregard of good municipal governance?

What every taxpaying citizen should be concerned with is the lack of clear financial information and the total lack of creative financial partnerships for making this project affordable.

Look no further than the draft 2017, 2018 and 2019 city budgets to realize this one project will “by itself” raise your taxes six per cent to 10 per cent  per year, forever!

The added cost of land ownership, verse a land lease is a very small percentage of the total project cost. Don’t be fooled by the city’s “affordability strategy.”

So yes, please call your councillor. Tell them you are opposed to this unaffordable tax increase and demand they defer the entire project until the city can answer the one question that matters most. Can we afford the multiplex in its currently planned implementation?

I say we cannot.


Gerald Riley




7 Responses to Multiplex project is too expensive for Cambridge: by Gerald Riley

    rk June 11, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Gerald I agree with you…It’s not WHERE this COUNCIL was gong to decide on the location of the the MULTIPLEX it was HOW they were trying to go about doing it…AS a lot of us are aware like you have stated in your article, there isn’t a CLEAR, WELL DOCUMENTED, TRANSPARENT process that was done for this location.
    The public was not truly involved and it was more like a CONSPIRACY and then let us know that CONESTOGA is the ONLY AFFORDABLE site.
    It’s TAXPAYERS money that will be paying for this complex for years to come, so the taxpayer needs to be truly informed of all the possibilities. Even if the Conestoga Site APPEARS to be the most ‘AFFORDABLE’ site, will this site really be a CENTRAL location for the residents of this City to utilize?? I think NOT!!
    Sometimes one has to look at the BIG picture to get the TRUE answer.

    I agree with the idea that while the LOCATION may be ‘AFFORDABLE’ given all the BACK DOOR HORSE DEALINGS that have gone on with this project, in reality we need a more CENTRAL location for many reasons. That being said one also has to look at the TOTAL COST of construction of this COMPLEX. Mr. Riley brings up the point that TAXPAYERS of this City need to think long and about and bring to the ATTENTION of the COUNCIL. Yes, we need to think about a complex that will house more than just hockey and a pool, but we also need to think of the 100 million or more that this will cost us in raised taxes to build this complex NO matter where its located.

    COUNCIL needs to think about whether or not spending our money in this way is wise and just given the economic situation and times. Council does not have to VOTE on this project to be located at CONESTOGA COLLEGE BECAUSE STAFF RECOMMENDS IT!! COUNCIL needs to vote on this project to show their ELECTORATE that they have THEIR best interests at hand and are not just MEETING THE AGENDA that City Staff has suggested.

    Gary Worton June 11, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    If there is the slightest indication that the selection process has been influenced by anyone but the general taxpaying public, the whole shebang should be put on hold; pending a full investigation: Regardless of whose toes might be trodden on. Are you listening, Donna (und blitzen) Reid?

    rk June 12, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Gary: I agree with you in this..if this Multiplex has any outside influence at all, there should be an invesigation into it and I agree with putting it on hold.
    We might find a lot of palms has been ‘greased’ to have this complex go to Conestoga College…there are so many reasons that this has to be Central to this city and these Councillors need to LISTEN TO THE TAXPAYER..After all we pay their wages so they need to LISTEN TO US and not vote on things because ‘STAFF RECOMMENDS IT111

    Tom Vann June 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I called this long ago. They don’t care of what is best for the people. They need asses patted. The blame will be tossed to the malcontents but wait. Dougie needs this to go to the college. Frank looked like he was on some kinda bad drugs at last nights meeting. Barking out he was being checked out sure sounds bad for him. This is supposed to be kept quiet. Don’t tell Frank but another one is coming. He will hit the roof. Doug looked like shit, Donna followed the piper and tried to justify it but sure sounded like a dictatorship plan to me. Pam should just be quiet ’cause she sounded drunk or hung over. Mann is playing the nice guy once in a while….watch your wallet folks. He has an agenda. No gunshots or killings on my street this week. I guess the cops told Dyke to piss off and stop wasting their time. I see Dyke moving to Hamilton soon. He hung his rep on his lip and I heard he has mud on his attitude to treat meaningful options fair. I would love to go hunting or fishing with this guy. Kinda brings a tear to your eye watching council on TV. See how people don’t want to show up for fear of jail. All those empty seats. Come back from your holidays pal, I’m lonely.

    bozo June 16, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    it would not be too expensive
    if ice park built the rinks at their own expense which they have offered to do
    if it was built on city owned land which is available on canamara
    if it they built a 75 meter pool which the swimmers have shown will at least break even but may make money and partnered with the y
    that would be giving in to the whims of the malcontents

    Tom Vann June 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Makes too much sense bozo. Someone needs to have their asses patted. I’m the Mayor DAMN IT! Tell them Donna. City Hall is a mess. Our group of citizens has numerous plans ahead for certain corrupt people.

    Maggie July 1, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Yes – a review is in order because as far as we are concerned this whole project was the “CART BEFORE THE HORSE” – Craig in is own mind & dealings set up this project, drew a design which fit Conestoga BUT DOES NOT FIT INTO CAMBRIDGE’S DESIGN! For crying out loud – taxpayers – lets demand an investigation. This whole thing stinks. The only one that knows what he is doing is Dr. Derek Coleman. The only one involved that knows his business as we can testify to the night he proved that shenanigans were going on with a Toronto developer & ? at City Hall – right – and the trees this developer cut down in a “GREEN AREA” – where are our voted Councillors. This Developer should have been fined out of business. But we know this was a “set-up” by the usual controlling person.
    Yes a review is definitely in order – and if it takes years – let’s do this right. Maybe fixing up the Preston arena & other suggestions should be considered. BUT NOT CONESTOGA – LISTEN TO THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE!!!!
    As far as we are concerned Dr. Derek Coleman should be put in charge of this whole situation & our Mayor kicked off and the Councillors – the people need to have a right in this huge expenditure.

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