Fiscal responsibility a key to the Bridge to Bridge project

Councillor Ron Oszust shares his views on the Bridge to Bridge project

As I was not able to be in attendance at the Special Open Council Meeting on July 3 and I understand that each of the Councillors provided a verbal preliminary statement; I am going to take this opportunity to do so publicly. (My absence from the SOCM was as a result of there being no Council meetings scheduled during the first week of July (back in June) and I planned and transported my 80 year old father to northeastern Alberta to visit his remaining family members and visit his 100 year old homestead).

I do not believe that it is fiscally responsible to proceed with the project as it presently is proposed.  To commit 20 per cent of our borrowing power at this time is a major concern for me.  I believe that the dikes and flood protection are important and their priority has to be set out taking into consideration the Risks, our Vulnerability and the Consequences; as we would do with all such projects.   I believe that the Bridge to Bridge project should be evaluated with all of the other 20/30 year timeframe projects/needs that our community is facing or we know will be facing.   My understanding is that once the Asset Management Plan is completed (should be in the first three months of 2013) we will have all of that information.   At that time we will be able to identify our priorities and determine where the tax payers’ dollars should be spent / invested.

I believe that the beautification component of the diking project should partially be paid for by the businesses that will benefit from the project.  This is no different than what has historically happened with Downtown Revitalization projects in our community in the past or with other Business Improvement Areas.  This will allow those that directly benefit from the project to be able to contribute financially to the project, as well as provide some direction and input into the project.

I know that this has been a difficult issue for our community; our Council and our staff.  We can all be passionate, and that’s to be expected, but we must always be respectful of each other, regardless of our opinions and positions on a matter.   At the end of the day we are community.  As the sign says…..

……………………AUTHENTIC………….ADVENTURE ………………………COMMUNITY……………..SINCE 1882

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Oszust