Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If you say it is true enough times, will people really believe you?

If you say it is true enough times, will people really believe you?

Over the last number of years the debate as raged in the Crowsnest Pass over the Crowsnest Centre.
My position as always been that we do not need and cannot afford two community centres. My position was confirmed numerous times in the recent corporate review, which talks about us needing to rationalize services and facilities, that we have numerous areas of duplication.
Well the supporters of the centre have stated over the last two years that the place as gone through a massive turn around and that the place is profitable and paying its own way. In fact, at a Council Meeting held on Dec 16, 2008 the Chairperson of the board stated “we do not need financial assistance from the municipality for 2009”. All of this despite the fact that the place as been heavily subsidized by taxpayer’s dollars for twenty years, and as had more failed business plans than GMC. Over the last ten months every time the issue as been raised the “Block of three on Council” that supports the centre as cried shame on anybody that dares to challenge the Centre, how dare we challenge this facility when it is doing so well and making money?
Last night November 24,2009 council is presented a bill from Nexen for $12,000 told that it was not up to date its now more like $18,000, a Telus bill for $3,700 and a Epcor bill for $6,700 with these balances only being to the end of September. It was only back on June 2 of this year that we were presented a Nexen bill that the Mayor claimed was only a problem because it had been sent to the wrong address.
So much for being profitable, when I questioned the Council member who used to be on the board, who as spent the last ten months telling us the Centre is profitable, as to why the bills have not been paid he tells me that he was removed from that board and can not explain why.
In the Crowsnest Pass we have to change the way we do business we can not (as indicated by our Corporate Review) continue doing business the way we have. The taxpayers of this community have to make a decision if we continue on this path we will have to accept that we are going to pay a lot more in Taxes. If we are going to maintain everything we have, and then we must adequately support all of these facilities, both from an operational point of view and investing the dollars we need to upkeep these facilities. The Corporate review talks about us needing to spend $7.8million a year for the next ninety years just to replace what we have today, let alone doing anything new.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reporting the News in the Crowsnest Pass

Reading a post on my fellow Bloggers site, regarding the issue of "media censorship" in the Crowsnest Pass.
I was a little surprised in my five years on Council I have not noticed any kind of censorship in the local papers until now. (Hate to be sarcastic)
Now if we want to talk about bias that's a different issue, some examples.
The four to three vote on council some of the media makes this sound like it's the regular way of doing business, they fail to report that 90%+ of all motions at council record a vote other than 4-3. Even in our corporate review it reports that the 4-3 is only common on significant issues (Crowsnest Centre).
The greater problem where the issue of bias comes in, is that the previous council and every council prior to that had some kind of spilt but because the spilt favoured the Mayor and his supporters that was acceptable and obviously not news worthy . Bias? maybe.
The Corporate Review itself after numerous discussions with various members of our community, I discussed with as many people as I could what came out of it based on what they had read in the media. Depending on the time of the week I spoke to people (One paper comes out on Tuesday the other on Friday) the first comments were all focused on the 4-3 and the perception that the issues Council faces are the fault of one part of council. The group of people I spoke to later in the week seem to feel that there are many issues related to council and its the fault of all of them. Bias? Maybe
The issue of the Crowsnest Centre from what has been printed in the media a total stranger to the Community not knowing the problems, would assume that Council is shutting down a solid, financially viable, some people have even suggested profitable, operation. Of course I do not believe that nonsense but I guess we will find out the truth at the end of the year when the Municipality takes it back over. Bias? Maybe
Speaking of the Corporate Review and thinking about Mr Prince's comments what did the Review have to say about the local media.
Page 69 "The relationship to the local newspapers appears to be mixed and may be based on the degree of support shown by one relative to the other to one "side" of Council" Does that say Bias?
Anyway I tip my hat to Mr Prince for raising this "new issue", I'm sure when he was on Council there was no issues with "Censorship, Bias, One sided reporting, Spilt votes, etc etc"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crowsnest Pass, Budget process!

Just an update on the process, Administration will be providing us with a brief overview of the budget to night (Nov 10).
Then Council and Administration will be meeting on Nov 28 and Nov 29 to review the entire 2010 budget. Administration was given direction to bring back a budget with no more than a 3% increase in expenditures.

Notes from the Corporate Review Crowsnest Pass


This council has become divided and views itself as a 4-3 Council (which we believe does not apply "across the board" but to those issues which council members may view as very significant).


He is perceived by the majority as being unwilling to change or adjust to the new circumstances resulting in a council and a community at loggerheads with no particular course of action planned to move forward.

He has not reached out to the majority bloc on council in any meaningful way and appears willing to ride out this term in the anticipation that the next election will bring about changes to the make-up of Council.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Crowsnest Pass Corporate Review

Interesting comments from the Crowsnest Pass Corporate Review

Council’s focus on day-to-day management and lack of attention to long range planning and bigger picture issues.

Aging infrastructure, lack of maintenance and planning

Planning for future growth and development

Dysfunction in Council. This issue, often defined in terms of personalities and personnel conflict, has continued on even though a number of members of council have changed. In fact, it has been recorded as a legacy over the life of the Crowsnest Pass, from its creation some twenty years ago.

There is currently a perception of block voting by the Mayor and other councilors, with many items receiving the same split vote.

The absence of longer range planning by Council is reflected in the administration. Management is distracted from its planning and evaluation functions by the effort required just keeping the ship afloat.

Concern over the increasing reliance on the residential tax base.

Concern with the lack of vision for the future

Another area of concern for the Crowsnest Learning Centre is the lack of financial reporting and abilities of the Society staff to do the necessary accounting work. The last annual financial statements are for 1997 and the current financial records are not considered adequate for the auditors to review. There is no budget process evident, including no Business Plan or no current operating budget for the Centre.

For the reader if you have not noticed yet all of these comments were taken from the Corporate Review of 2000, available on the Municipal Web site.

The more I read the present report and compare it to the previous report the more I realize that they are the same. The only thing that as changed is the cast, with one exception our leader, the Mayor.

Now it comes clear to me why the Mayor was so opposed to the Corporate Review!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Corporate Review now available.

Got a couple of hours to spare, go to the address below and have a read of the Corporate Review conducted by George Cuff and Associates. If you would like a paper copy they are available at the municipal office.
The report was presented to Council and Administration on Oct 29th, and then at a public meeting that same night. It as not been formally accepted by council yet, because it takes a formal council meeting for that process to happen. Next council meeting is Nov 3 at 7pm in the council chambers.