So what are the issues with this library selection?

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First off I love libraries. Libraries were a refuge for me as a child and continue to be as an adult.  I use the library in Owen Sound and I use the library in Meaford. I’m very much aware that the Meaford library does not meet accessibility standards.  I know that if a parent or child has mobility difficulties, it is pretty much impossible for them to use the children’s section.  We definitely need a new library.

So what are the issues with this library selection?

The issues are cost and whether we got hoodwinked.  Or if the Municpality even cares if we did.  Why would we not build a brand new library, one designed specific to the purpose and why would we not wait for the grants that projects like this are usually built with?

I think there has been a rush to purchase.  There has not been appropriate public consultation (that means before the purchase).  And whether you agree or not, that is the public perception.

The public doesn’t understand why this site was selected over others.  Was there consideration to examine purchasing Meaford Community School from the Bluewater School Board,  or to look at the public lands we already own to build a new library?
I know some of you believe this was done, but why the rush to purchase the former Foodland site?  Why didn’t we wait?

The municipal assessment on that building is somewhere over $700,000.00 according to the treasurer.  That’s an assessment based on a fully operational grocery store (Category C if you like).   So the purchase price of 1.525 million strikes a good many of us as far too much.  I know the response is “Well we had an appraisal,” but many people don’t reallize there are many different ways of appraising a site.  I doubt it was appraised for value, as an empty building lacking cooling and heating or any kind of tenant.  I doubt it was appraised as being partially in a flood plain.  I suspect it was appraised as a best use appraisal.  Of course we don’t know, as this appraisal was done by the seller, not by the Municipality.  The building even has some health issues that require remediation.

Did anyone consider other buildings or sites in the downtown, either listed for sale or not.  A million and a half dollars will buy you quite a bit.  I think paying over double the municipally assessed value has raised many questions and concerns.

The reason why I stress infrastructure grants is because I know that this can reduce our costs to one half to one third or even better.  Infrastructure grants are how small communities like ours with limited tax bases accomplish big things like libraries.

So why is the library project not fully embraced by the community? Because after 2 years of substandard snow removal, after yet another 4 years of deteriorating roads, after having sidewalks being ripped out instead of being fixed and some roads actually being returned to gravel, all this in the name of cost-cutting, to hear that we would purchase an old grocery store for over 1 and half million dollars without an independent appraisal makes people wonder if they matter at all and what Staff and Council are doing with our money.  It is because the cost estimate $5.5 million roughly, almost 8 ½ million after interest payments leaves us wondering if anyone is watching the public purse.

So yes, let’s build a new library, I want one too, I started my whole Meaford political odyssey on the library board, but let’s do it right, and more importantly lets make sure it’s seen to be done right.

Thank you.

Repeat Performance

Article and letter
This is not the first Meaford election that an anonymous blogger has messed with
During the years leading up to the election, a number of anonymous blogs, including the one discussed above have been appearing on social media. I have been and still am the subject of many of these false rumours, innuendos and fake news items.  ‘Anonymous’ sources should not be believed. They are anonymous, they are false and they are spread by malicious cowardly malcontents.
 
Someone is trying to ‘bork’ me.
bork/bôrk/verb – US informal
  1. obstruct (someone, especially a candidate for public office) through systematic defamation or vilification.
    ““We’re going to bork him,” said an opponent”
For those readers who have forgotten the  facts and for those who are new to the area, here is the truth.
In the 2010 election a nasty anonymous blog came up attacking Francis Richardson, anonymous that is until about a week before the election at which point it claimed to belong to a friend and supporter of mine, Kerry Riley, which of course it did not.  Now the fact that it was a venomous rant characterized by the Municpality as “libelous” did not prevent its sudden credibility in the matter of who it claimed its author was.  Threatening legal letters were sent without any proof about the blog’s source and before any attempts at verification.  A check with Google (like the Sun Times very quickly did) would have told them that “…users can choose to display any text as their name,” (see above article – October 16, 2010) but the Municipality did not check and Kerry was forced to seek legal help and to clear her name.
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continuation of article above
Various letters were sent back and forth and eventually the Municipality obtained a court order to unmask the owner of the IP address that the blog belonged to.  On November 19, Bell revealed it to be David Free (see above letter), a disgruntled former employee.  Unfortunately it was too late.  The highly expensive and litigious Francis Richardson won the election by just over 200 votes, a fact we are still paying for.  Interestingly, the Municipality never made the blogger’s identity known publicly.
So, folks, if you don’t know the name and you don’t know the person don’t give it your time.  Don’t trust people who hide in the shadows behind false names or no names at all.  Don’t let people like that decide election results.
I stand behind what I say and believe.  I walk these streets and drive these roads.  You know me and who I am.  If I say something you can believe me.  You have met me, you have seen me in action.  Through all these attacks, through all this bullying and terrible behaviour I have stayed the course.  I like to think I have proved myself and shown the man I am.  I have not backed down.  In fact here I am running again, even after the online assaults, the slanderous email campaigns and ridiculous legal shenanigans.  Because I know just how important this all is.  My character is known so you can know that when elected I will serve my community, defend those who need defending and change what needs to be changed.
Do not give attention to those who will not even identify themselves and cannot be held accountable.  You don’t know who they are, you don’t know what their motives are and you don’t know who or what they are working for.  One thing you can be sure of — they’re not working for you.