Crazy for you

Section: 
Editorial

While council was discussing tourism and Team Kincardine Wednesday evening, councillor Randy Roppel said, “From my point of view, what makes sense is utilize a building that we own. I think our constituents must think we are crazy…”

 

That’s perhaps the brightest thing to have been said at Wednesday’s meeting and Thursday’s budget meeting.

 

Most of council was buying into the idea that Team Kincardine should move into a rented office downtown with the tourism staff at a cost of approximately $1,600 a month.

 

Councillor Roppel, to finish the above quote, said, “To go out and rent a building on a temporary basis again is totally ludicrous.”

 

He’s got that right.

 

A staff report presented to council Wednesday recommended that the visitor centre and staff be relocated to the Arts Centre which is to undergo renovations.

 

At Thursday’s budget meeting, council was told it was depending too much on reserves to operate. A couple of councillors went on about not being able to cut necessary items like roads, snowplowing, etc. There was nary a mention about the idea of eliminating the idea of renting space downtown for the visitor centre.

 

Council went into the budget meeting with a 5.48 per cent increase and closed with a 6.3 per cent increase.

 

It will be interesting to see if they go ahead and rent more space downtown.

 

*At Wednesday’s meeting, councillor Ron Coristine was upset because the Tourism Table wasn’t consulted on the plan to renovate the arts centre.

 

Gee, neither was I.

 

Staff did consult with the users of the arts centre and an engineer.

 

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And what about Team Kincardine, which is comprised of representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the BIA and the Penetangore Regional Economic Development Corporation (PREDC)? Why should taxpayers be providing an office for it?

 

PREDC is funded to the tune of $140,000 annually by taxpayers, the BIA by downtown property owners in the BIA coverage area, and the Chamber is a business organization.

 

Does tourism staff want to share an office with Team Kincardine?

 

Why does Team Kincardine need a storefront location?

 

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While we’re on the subject, not many people seem to know the role Team Kincardine plays in the community.

 

According to the municipality’s website, the integrated community sustainability plan was developed by a process that “engaged over 1,200 people and organizations, and a new community-based partnership – Team Kincardine – formed to collaborate with the Municipality on the plan’s implementation.”

 

Team Kincardine made a presentation to council Dec. 18, outlining what it has done and hopes to do this year to implement the plan.

 

Last year it says it: identified possible grants; jointly applied for two RED grants with the county; researched a walkway on the B-Line and another linking Queen’s Lookout to the path to the beach; developed a proposal for free Wi-Fi downtown; worked on further enhancement of the community brand; worked on developing a volunteer program; considered possible new festivals and events, etc.

 

This year, says the presentation, they will continue to: look for grants; enhance the community brand; work on business development and retention; complete Wi-Fi; work with the tourism table; recruit volunteers; help expand the trails network.

 

Last year it cost taxpayers more than $10,000 for that advice. The municipality has an agreement with the Chamber and another with the BIA. Those agreements say the municipality will pay each (or its representative) a maximum $5,000 for its advice.

 

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Common sense seems to have fled on the fifth. A bad case of cabin fever? Who knows?