The best laid plans

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The snow has melted, cabin fever has broke and everyone is looking for a good fight.
Well, here it is: a land-use public hearing is scheduled for tonight and as a preamble rumors and murmurs are circulating throughout the town over its intention: to allow for a public works garage to be built on the edge of downtown Springhill. Not surprisingly, many of the murmurs have little to do with rezoning and everything to do with the town incurring new debt. In the past five years the community has erected a community centre, water treatment plant and overhauled some of its town hall while making increases to the tax rates.
There's no doubt public works needs a new home. For the last three years it's been a wandering utility; its Drummond Street digs closed after a fire marshal and building inspector labeled the site unfit and unsafe. Even if repairs were to be made to the building it would only bring the unit up to code without any guarantee the rest of the building wouldn't fall apart. Suffice to say, however, is that there are too many questions on the table at this point to confidently say, yes, building a new garage at the downtown location is a well thought out plan rather than a whim. The logic is there but not the mechanics and to overlook this one mechanism for the sake of progress denies the reasoning behind due process. Amongst the many questions we have heard from the public: what is the cost comparisons between retrofitting or rebuilding on the old Drummond Street location compared to constructing new? Is there a cost analysis or feasibility study into contracting out snow removal services to reduce the storage space and heating costs? How will a new building impact the community centre?
Indeed, little of the arguments we are hearing have anything to do with rezoning, which should say something to council. People are not informed enough to know if this hearing is based on procedure or preference. Until these questions and many others are dealt with - and the people of Springhill can be given a thorough, straight to the point explanation how this will affect their taxes - we'll rely on the wisdom of our Magic 8 Ball to guide council, "Ask again later."

Geographic location: Springhill, Drummond Street

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  • Jon
    March 09, 2010 - 09:26

    I have been a resident of this town for almost 30 years now and in the last 4 years there has been more done for infastructure here then the 26 yrs before it. Maybe it's time these hard working employees had a proper work space. I have heard all the arguments about safety around the community center and about just bringing the old one up to minimun code. Minimun code isn't good enough and there are safety issues around the old site as well, because kids walk to the high school that way, I know I did. The new location is on the edge of our Industrial Park and isn't that where a Public works garage should be? They have the land (I know donated to the community center) and it is on the main artery for plowing in winter, so it looks like a perfect spot. And as for money and tax issues, you get what you pay for and this council has done a great job for us. Maybe we should trust them one last time before we get someone in there that will spend on nonsense, we do not want to repeat the past.