Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Fire Hall Redux
The 1780 Taylor Fire Hall - Free Press
City officials who rushed to assure the deal for the fire hall land swap was all above board still can't seem to get their heads around the fact that elected officials still had to approve of the sale. It has been 10 days of confusion, very little or no paper trail, uninformed senior officials and councillors and millions of dollars of spending.
The request that we all go back to sleep and that this is a "wonderful" story defies belief. The lack of information and scrambling over the last several days suggests that things were not as clear as they could have been and protocols were not exactly followed.
It is no wonder some city councillors seem particularly upset. Some land such as Mulvey has been repeatedly been mentioned as not available. It is is amazing that it suddenly becomes available at the last minute.
Is there any wonder why there is suspicion on the disposal of the golf courses? The city is likely to indicate a property has been sold to a developer without ever putting it on the market.
Sam Katz acts upset one moment and then his administration the next moment says everything is going as it is supposed to.
The question I keep asking myself, why was the fire hall built on Taylor before the land was acquired? It seems to me that this should have been settled first. It isn't city owned land yet there stands a city building. Is it no wonder that Shindico put up a rental notice on property they thought they had acquired?
It is difficult not to see this as creating confusion and possibly resentment in investors and taxpayers. No one knows if there is proper value in the deals. No one knows if they need not apply since only insiders get the deals. It is all around bad.
How did we get to this point? It is the mayor? Is it the administration? Is it the council? It is the province who created the system we have now. Are they to blame?
In truth, it is all those things. But it is the people of the city as well. The low voter turn-out, the disinterest in the process or helpless response to it and the general apathy contribute to why the city is the way it is.
I am not saying anything that hasn't been said before. And calling voters out rarely works.
Something has to change though as this free wheeling could end up doing real damage to the city.
Let's see what happens next city council meeting. At the moment, it is in city councillor's hands. And some don't seem happy that they were in the dark. Some have gotten a little angry in fact.
We have not heard the last of thing. The question is: Will it change what is happening?