Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crowsnest Centre are we moving forward?

Tuesday night I went to the open house for the Crowsnest Centre site. Prior to the meeting I was asked by one of our residents that I have known for a long time. If I was surprised to see this happening, and if I wanted it to fail so it would be a black eye for this council.

To clarify that statement there are people that disagree with me on some sensitive political issues in this community, that are running around telling people that I have my own political agenda, that people need to keep that in mind when they read or hear my comments.
Well I’m going to shock you, yes I have my own agenda, some politicians call it a “vision” or “goals” etc. Any politician that tells you he does not have his own agenda or vision is either full of crap or should not be doing the job because who needs leaders without vision? Yes I am going to shock you even more I will be running for council this fall, it is just eight months away I think it is time for people to start stepping forward, speaking up and getting involved in the political process. Personally, I was never impressed with people that showed up for the first time in their life at a council meeting a month before the election, or the night before nomination day suddenly feeling the urge to save their community.  Now you still have time to learn about the process, see how council works and get a feel for the issues that are important to the community and it’s people and decide what your “vision” for this community will be.

To the Crowsnest Centre Site and the comments that have been directed at me. Was I surprised to see this happen?
No for six years I argued until I was blue in the face that this property was the most logical piece of land in the Crowsnest Pass for commercial development. Now some people fought against that with tremendous passion, to maintain what used to be on that site, I did not agree with them but after what has happened in this community over the last two years I understand a whole lot more about the issue of “passion”.  

What did we see Tuesday night? well it started with Bruce spending ten minutes patting himself, council and administration on the back for all the hard work they did to put this together. I am sure there was a lot of work involved and I give credit to them for that, but they should have sat in that council chamber 4-5 years ago if they wanted to see the real “work” that went in to this issue.
Then he introduced the people from Medican, the Architect, and Vachon group and turned the floor over to them. They all spoke well obviously educated people that have seized an opportunity in the Crowsnest Pass, nothing wrong with that.
What did they have to give us? When everybody walked in they were met by a large board with a picture of a nice hotel across from Summitt Home Hardware, a McDonalds and a Boston Pizza behind it. Green spaces, smaller businesses, a park that we the taxpayers will be paying for, and lot’s of large trees on the side facing Drain Brothers yard.
Exciting stuff, then Mr Day from Medican told us this is only a conceptional  diagram there is no guarantee that this is what the hotel will look like, or that these restaurants will be here, they were here tonight to get a feel about what the community wanted to see. He went on to talk about how they have to find all of these businesses, then he introduced the other people in the party who all gave a little information about their backgrounds.
When that was finished the different members of the groups went to separate tables and allowed the public to approach them with questions.
What do we have “today” for the Crowsnest Centre site? We have a group of businessmen that have signed a contract with the municipality (most details of which we will never know) that are going out to attempt to attract a hotel, with possibly some type of convention centre. Later it will be followed  up in phases with restaurants, and other smaller secondary businesses coming in. Do we have anything more solid that that right now? No.
Do I want this project to fail because it will be a black eye for this council and help my political “agenda”? Not a chance, this community needs commercial development we need tax base, we need employment.
I hope for the sake of this community that this is very successful. Myself and the other politicians past, present and future can decide later who takes the credit for this.       


Chloe said...

Excellent post Dean, finally a few voices of reason in the wilderness. All the best to you in the coming months. Take care.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that council has not sold the property but have passed the selling of the property to these other groups.They have to go out and find a hotel and a restaurant and such.Why not wait until there is a hotel signed up and ready to go? These other groups show some drawings but say these really mean nothing, why show them at all.It all reminds me of Bridgecreek. I hope for the best.But I fear this council has made another huge blunder.

Anonymous said...

And in the end all I, you, and stakeholders may be left with is a $100,000 doggy park (rest stop) that we have indirectly paid for so that traffic passing through can crap on us. This contract smells of a sham.

This could be quite the legacy for the current council.

Anonymous said...

And futhermore.. title for our $100.000 'doggy park' will remain with the developer. It can be resold at any time. Who negotiated this work of art that we hope to recieve only $200,000 for? A smart mind would have subdivided the property, even in an act of desperation.

Anonymous said...

Dean, thank you for your integrity on this issue. You worked hard to dig out the facts then made an informed decision that the CLC was a poor use of public money. You won the debate not only with the majority of your fellow councilors but also at the referendum voting poll. What a great example of what can be accomplished with open debate.

We do know everything that is in the deal but at least we have a real contract with real people who have had major accomplishments over the past 40 years. Even though they have had troubles during this last recession I feel pretty good about them.

peter rosner said...

I agree with you fully Dean and to add further to your comments i also believe anyone campaining for mayor should have to serve at least one term past or present on council. The public would have a good indication of what the individual is about and not be blind sided like what has just occured over the last twenty eight months. Hopefully the public will not get sucked in this time around with promises like valley shuttle services , new recreation center etc, etc.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not funny at all. Much hay has been made about the previous councils trying to do business with developers who did not turn out to be so strong in the end. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Hopefully this council is learning a little bit. They are trying to do what is best for the community, just like any other council before them. In this they are not any better or smarter than any of the people before them. They are trying to do the best with what they have, just like the people did before them. It is only unfortunate the learning process has involved so much unnecessary upheaval. Sometimes it takes a while to appreciate people who are no longer around, like Dr. John, for example.

Anonymous said...


I don't get your point and I also don't feel that the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass should be a learning school for newbe politicians.

Anonymous said...

A lot of great politicians never served on council before election; i.e., Ralph Klein, Nenshi, just to mention a couple. I believe a person's integrity is more important. You could have people that have served, lost, and want to get back in... does not mean they are any better choice than a new person.

Peter Rosner said...

Yes i realize that would limit the field of choice and we could miss out on a skilled candidate but you cant replace experience. There are some excellent local residents that could probably do the job but they dont seem to interested in Municipal politics. Ralph Kline was on the news for years and somewhat known to the public and i thought Neshi was a counciller prior to becoming Mayor of Calgary. But they both turned out to be very capable leaders.

Anonymous said...

Well, the same old story goes, you must work to get the experience. But like some of the council in Pincher has done, they have taken courses. I do think that should be a requirement when in office. But on the other hand, look at experienced REDFORD, I think I would prefer unexperienced thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:18

"But like some of the council in Pincher has done, they have taken courses. I do think that should be a requirement when in office."

They are talking about sending themselves on a FOIP course put on by a law firm.

I think they should first look at the Municipal Resource Handbook, which is also available as "4 large blue binders".

It ranges from 4dummies level ("Now That You’ve Been Elected") to in-depth. They don't have to read the whole thing, just browse through so they are at least aware of what's there.

They rely on Administration to know this stuff. For example they unanimously voted to raise the FOIP fee as the CAO and FOIP officer sat by. Nobody knew that maximum fees are set by provincial law (for obvious reasons).

Anonymous said...

The problem with our council is they think they have invented the wheel. Before they came to office, everything was done wrong. This is not only disrespectful to all who served before them, but also to the entire community at large. Yes, we did want change, but we did not want to have almost everything turned upside-down. What happened to our volunteer base in the past two years is very regrettable and must be changed come October.

Anonymous said...

Dean, re your question to Emile, "FAQs for Municipalities (PDF)" linked on this page:


63. Can a municipality disclose bidders lists/lists of plan holders for municipal projects to contractors, construction companies, agencies or other persons on request?

Yes. A list of bidders for a municipal project should be routinely available on request as part of an open tendering process. A FOIP request for this information is not required.

As for the bid documents and $amounts, I don't know if FOIP allows disclosure to Medican without the bidders' permission. If it does then CNP should disclose to anyone.

Anyways, the bids will have a time limit, 6 months, a year???

Emile complains about "Uninformed speculation" but that's mostly what he's giving you.

Anonymous said...

I think we have been had.
Sale price of $1.1 million is just sugar coating.
$100,000 for a park plus the cost of maintenance every year moving forward.
$800,000 for demolition? really? Dean, Saindon will not answer your question on if there was a substantially lower bid which could change that $800,000 number by $2-300,000. To the municipality if the deal was for $800,000 then say that I personally would accept honesty a whole lot better than sugar coated BS.


Anonymous said...

I read in the paper that Mr. Thompson said the crowsnest centre site development requires rejoining. I thought this property had been rezoned by previous council to allow this type of development.