Observations from the past week

I saw an interesting quote on Twitter last week: “The status quo does not require leadership.” I immediately thought to myself that is the exact way I feel about some of the happenings over the past months with City Council during budget discussions and other meetings.

Here are a couple of examples. I don’t think I have to go into too much detail when it comes to the decision of Council to move the $1.5M back to the multiplex operating board for “upgrades to be determined” for the facility. The recommendation to move the funds out of the project budget came from administration and this Council went against that recommendation with some kicking and screaming from the fundraising group who truly believe the funds are theirs. Wrong.

With interest on the project over the next 25 years totaling over $15M, it is unrealistic for the fundraising group and anyone else to believe that this $1.5M is theirs. But as many things work in the world, unfortunately, a few ‘threats’ from a special interest group and you can usually get what you want out of some politicians. The fundraising group went to the multiplex operating board to express their displeasure for Council’s initial decision to move the funds back to the Capital budget for discussions. They didn’t come to full Council to express their displeasure because my understanding is that they were told not to, as it is “too public”. Instead they went to the board meeting and expressed their concerns to the new board, which might I add consists of two new Councillors who honestly are not privy to the history that this project has gone through at the City Council table. They are entitled to their opinion of course but it’s often easy to find a new pawn for a chess game.

And so, the status quo continues in Moose Jaw. We will give unprecedented dollars to recreation facilities and ignore our basic infrastructure. This $1.5M was realistically only a drop in the bucket as to what our Capital budget needs but it’s the taxpayers’ money and it should have gone back to Capital.

One only has to reflect on our dreadful winter season that we just got through unscathed. But barely. I’m getting a feeling once again that there is not much initiative from this Council or from Administration that we’d like to change the way things are done. Gasp! Excuses I heard through winter were “the snowfall is at record levels!” “Once we believe we are caught up, it [the snow] started again!”

How do other cities around the country do it? And why does it continue to be an issue in our City? We can’t do snow removal, ploughing or otherwise, at all it seems. I’ll continue to keep trying but honestly, after 10 years, I can kind of see where this is going. I can see the full picture. To clarify, snow policy dollars are actually included in operating dollars but this basic maintenance is definitely being ignored.

“The status quo does not require leadership…”

Then our Sportsplex situation is another issue. We received a press release on Monday about the pool status and the fact that Parks and Rec is going to drain the main pool to try and get to the bottom of the problem. No pun intended. In the press release, it said that could take about three to four weeks. Then if the problem is solved, they are going to shut the entire building down after the first week in June for the regular three week maintenance that occurs every year. Shut it down again? When members have been waiting months to get into the pool for their regular exercise or lessons?

I asked on Monday under Enquiries why they wouldn’t just do that annual maintenance now while the main pool is being drained. That seems to just make sense to me, but what do I know. Part of the answer I received is that there are lessons going on now in the other pool that is still open to the public and then I heard: “…and that’s what we do every year.” Ai yi yi…

“The status quo does not require leadership…”

Until next time…I’m on plane on my way to Montreal for a work conference. Enjoy your week Moose Jaw!