A sad day

Section: 
Editorial

The Municipality of Kincardine’s decision to sell Bruce Telecom is a sad one from where I sit.

As a long-time resident, I was rather proud that we had our own telephone system. Few municipalities have their own system and Bruce Telecom made us unique.

And there has been a great incentive to use Bruce Telecom’s services - the profits from the system stayed in the community. Bruce Telecom has been adding about $1 million annually to Kincardine’s income; not bad.

Council has done its homework and believes the sale makes economic sense.

On the other hand, the sale also shows a lack of faith in the ability of the community and Bruce Telecom to adapt to an ever changing market.

Hopefully, it is a wise decision to sell.

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Next on the agenda is the $26.5 million council will receive for the sale of Bruce Telecom.

Hopefully the money doesn’t inspire a spending spree.

The money could be invested wisely and provide a steady income for years to come. Even at a two per cent interest rate, the municipality would rake in over $500,000 a year.

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Councillor Randy Roppel, the only one to vote against the sale, had an interesting comment at last week’s council meeting.

He wondered why the municipality is willing to spend millions on a gas pipeline that doesn’t have a promise of making a profit, yet is selling a corporation that will make a profit for years to come.

Someone better have a sharp pencil before that pipeline gets the go ahead.

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Bruce Telecom, called the Bruce Municipal Telephone System (BMTS) for most of its 102 years, has a colourful history.

Bruce Township farmers put up their property as collateral to get the system going and the ownership of the system shares, stayed for the most part, with the farm. The shareholders, 700 or so, attempted to sell the utility in the late 1970s. If memory is correct, it was almost sold for $20 million at that time.

That’s when the fightingstarted among courts, shareholders and area municipalities (pre amalgamation); 30 years of conflict won’t fit into this space.

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I really do wonder how the province and the federal government can continue to run up huge deficits when they provide fewer and fewer services. Everything seems to get downloaded to the municipalities.

I see Kincardine has to spend almost $300,000 to fix up the south pier. That used to be a federal responsibility and still should be.

Why should Kincardine taxpayers pick up the tab for boaters from around the Great Lakes? Many other lake towns can say the same thing.

Despite the deficit, the prime minister was able to take 208 hangers-on with him on his Middle East tour last week.

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Former deputy mayor Laura Haight had an excellent letter to the editor last week about Team Kincardine.

The team members (the Chamber, BIA, PREDC), seem to believe they are elected, forever telling council where they would like to locate the Team Kincardine office and how much money they need.

The tail is definitely trying to wag the dog.

If you didn’t read Haight’s letter, it is worth looking up last week’s paper and having a look.

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Finally, Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the Biebs, Stratford’s teen idol, are giving Canadians a good reputation south of the border.


BMTS sale

It is unfortunate that BMTS has been sold, however it was inevitable. Town councillors who believe that the company could be profitable for years to come are in complete denial. The municipality milked BMTS dry for years rather than reinvesting their dividend into the company. BMTS had no place to go but down without major investment. I was somewhat amused when I heard someone say it was such a sad day for Bruce Township, however that same person was quick to show his Rogers phone and talk about his satellite TV. Buy local is not just a catchy expression. We all are part of the reason why this 103 year old company was sold.