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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #1 
Kudos to 'Head Honcho' for an excellent editorial on the front page of SAP today which although being somewhat speculative, foreshadows what could quite possibly come to pass down the road. The petition route is indeed onerous and amounts to nothing more than obstructionism. Indeed, our City Council Members are elected to make decisions affecting the common good on our behalf but that does not mean that we citizens/electors should be affectively left out of the loop altogether. If 'they' are not going to voluntarily provide this we must all do what we can to achieve a measurable degree of participatory democracy in this city. In the meantime, SIGN THE PETITION and encourage others to do the same!
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Ted Durham

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Reply with quote  #2 
In regard the the library petition, does anyone know how many signatures we have up to date?  Or a very good estimate?  I hate to say it, but if this project goes forward and some of the other pet projects, it will be time to move away from this place we used to call the Community of St. Albert as it is no longer a community as the community members have no say in anything anymore.  It is kind of like a dictatorship amongst four council members right now.
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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #3 
This morning on Facebook Mark Cassidy announced they had surpassed 1,000 signatures. Latest I know.

Also: http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/Petition-against-library-debt-reaches-1000-signatures-20170503
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Durham
In regard the the library petition, does anyone know how many signatures we have up to date?  Or a very good estimate?  I hate to say it, but if this project goes forward and some of the other pet projects, it will be time to move away from this place we used to call the Community of St. Albert as it is no longer a community as the community members have no say in anything anymore.  It is kind of like a dictatorship amongst four council members right now.


A dictatorship?  For peat sake, all seven members of council voted for the branch in November 2015 then all 7 voted to fund via debt financing in November 2016.
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Ted Durham

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Reply with quote  #5 
Dana, 

I haven't spoke to many people who in favor of building a new library.  Even old folks like me understand that with online books, etc. and apps, libraries are not as efficient and used as they used to be.  Unfortunately, those who want new space, don't understand what their taxes will be like in the future because of their decision.  

Now, why are we so stupid in this community.  There are retail spaces sitting empty, etc.  Why would we not work out a deal with a landlord, lease some space, and bring activity to a mall area in St. Albert.  How about doing a long term deal to lease the old London Drug space?  $20 million could go a long way to house a library there.  Maybe for 50 years?  It would do the community good.

But no, lets build brand new and end up like city hall in 20 years, not enough space.  Better yet, why not make the London Drug space a central library, freeing up needed space at city hall so we won't have to build one because there is not enough space.  And then lease a space on the north end of town for a smaller library that is supposedly needed.  Why not think about using space that is already built rather than have the newest and the best?  Maybe it would be more cost efficient and keep us out of debt we don't need to be in?  Are we that spoiled in society?
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #6 
Ted,

I think the conversation of need vs want and the relative viability of a branch library is a worthy conversation to have.  However; rhetoric like "dictatorship amongst the four council members" is wholly inaccurate with respect to the library decision making process. 

First and foremost, the project charter was approved by all members of council during budget deliberations in November 2015.  At the time, the budget was set at $18M.  The library then entered concept design phase.  In October of 2016, the concept design was submitted to council for review with estimated construction costs of $17.5M.  In November of 2016, it was time for council to decide how to pay for the library.  Ultimately, all members of council voted in favour of funding the library using debt financing for $17.5M.  The next phase of the project was for administration to bring forward the appropriate borrowing bylaw as required by the MGA when a municipality takes out a loan.  Then then real detailed design work can commence.  

So, with respect to the public outrage that is now following the library, I have a few questions:

1.  Where was this outrage when the project was approved in 2015 then again in 2016?  The gazette wrote extensive pieces on the project highlighting the cost and approximate tax increases associated with it. 

2.  If putting this to a vote (IE Pleblicite / Ballot Question) was so important to Councillor Russell, why did he not put forward this proposal during the project charter debate in 2015?  (You know, before the project was actually approved?)  And if he thought it was so important for the citizens to decide, why did he vote in favour of both the project charter and debt financing? 

The reality of the situation is that the only recourse of citizens is to attempt to stop the borrowing bylaw.  That doesn't stop the project.  Council could either then choose to not support the borrowing bylaw and simply fund the library from the $30M in uncommitted reserves.  If council had chose that option, this project would not even be up for discussion.  

Ultimately, what is really important about this entire issue is that EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF COUNCIL voted to support the library branch and then voted to support the debt financing.  It was two unanimous votes.... 

Finally, it is also really important to note that administration has ONLY been authorized to spend $17.5M.  The amount in the borrowing bylaw is irrelevant.  The reason administration does it this way is so that if council does approve more funds, then a new bylaw does not need to be drawn up which is time consuming and costly.  Based on the concept plan, construction costs are $17.5M but could vary (apparently by plus OR MINUS 50%).  So after the detailed design work is done, if the budget comes over the 17.5M council will need to make a decision to either authorize the additional funds or have administration change the scope and work within the approved budget.  It is councils role to control any potential for ballooning costs.  
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warmodel

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Reply with quote  #7 
Dana:  Its quite obvious that you are not a senior otherwise I would have the opinion that you would be against the building of a new library  -  with the majority of seniors living on a small pension, keeping up with the yearly increases brought about by 'new' ideas is becoming an impossibility - which brings about very little choice but to re-locate. As a matter of fact those who have a library card can readily make use of the Edmonton Public Library system at no cost.

The library is not the first large expenditure to come, forward, think of the 'traffic circle next to the court house  -  what was the reason for it . Then further back the city purchases a franchise at Servus Place with a further outlandish buy out of a preferred space for the amount of 800 thousand dollars (Should the City be involved in a competitive business to begin with) .This was brought forward as I further recall by Councilor Heron - If she had wanted a specialty coffee, you had Tim Hortons just across the street from the Center.  Going back further when the citizens had a vote on the building of Servus Place - should it not have been  the tax payer have the say on this matter.  As I recall any person over the age of 18 and had been a resident had the right to cast a vote on this matter  -  even tho they do not contribute any monies in way of a tax to the city.

While all this is going on - one can see the roads in some parts of the city are deteriorating and it would appear that this is not a priority to look into.

Finally, if anything should be built, why does no one give a thought of erecting a covered and heated transit transfer terminal. When you compare what st. Albert has had near St. Albert Center with the likes of the Edmonton E.T.S site at 137th Ave & 97 Street, or the Bethal Transit Center in Sherwood Park, what you have here is a no-brainer, after all many who make use of the bus are taxpayers. Perhaps if you were to stand out there in the middle of winter waiting for your bus you would tend to agree with the building of heated cover .

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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by danapop
Ted,

I think the conversation of need vs want and the relative viability of a branch library is a worthy conversation to have.  However; rhetoric like "dictatorship amongst the four council members" is wholly inaccurate with respect to the library decision making process. SNIP 


Dana, Mark Fraser said it best for you on Facebook three days ago when he wrote:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 7.47.19 AM.png 

Mark gets it in spades. You don't. I bet the 'no' petition shows that many more people do not want a library than those who do. Council needs to rethink their decision if they want to be re-elected in October. It is not to late to halt the biggest mistake they will ever make.

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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #9 
Firstly, I have to say how happy I am that the SAP Forum is apparently reborn after a somewhat prolonged hiatus the reasons for which I don't even care to get into. So far, what I've seen is a healthy dialogue on issues that deserve attention no matter what side of the fence one is on. Let's not let it devolve back into what was happening not so long ago.

As far as the borrowing bylaw and library project is concerned, you should know by now if you read yesterday's SAP editorial page that my biggest concern is focussed on the continued lack of democratic practice in this city. To that end, I am personally soliciting signatures for the petition in question not because I am a 'bibliophobe' (my term) or miserly when it comes to funding needed (not just wanted) infrastructure. The current regime which thank God is not what it once was but instead terminally on its demise has been allowed to choreograph the handling of civic issues to suit its selfish and often devious purposes for far too long. 
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #10 
Don that comment has nothing to do with me discussing Ted's comment that this a 4-3 dictatorship with respect to the library.  
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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by danapop
Don that comment has nothing to do with me discussing Ted's comment that this a 4-3 dictatorship with respect to the library.  


Dana, that comment has EVERYTHING to do with you not getting it and your multiple postings here and on Facebook about the vote and the unanimous nature of parts of it. Of those who are signing the petition to stop the borrowing, nobody cares who voted or when they voted, whether it was unanimous or not.

What they do care about is spending the money on what most of the signatories see as an unnecessary waste of tax dollars and they want an opportunity to be heard, now that they understand what is planned. Sure, I know they didn't pay enough attention during the process, but they get it now and they are pissed at council. Council denying them the opportunity to be heard in the form of a no cost, non binding question on the ballot was and remains a valid request that has become a flash point.

The Fab Four denying them that opportunity is the vote they now care about. (Fab Four 4 to 3 both times, once on Russell's motion and again on Hughes' motion.)

We all understand and have for years that you are a big supporter of a new library and that is your right to be so.

What you cannot seem to comprehend is that more people are against the library project in this city than are for it, and council members will pursue this library at the peril of their political careers come the October election. Too bad Broadhed and Heron are not saavy enough to understand that.

There are plenty of options for the space requirement that have yet to be investigated and should be. The library board and the councillors who support them are empire building and people do not want that kind of money spent on any new facilities. They would prefer a sober second look at those options to eliminate the great bulk of the costs.

I think 99% of those who are signing the no petition so readily, are not against libraries at all, just the way this council is shoving it down their throats.
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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have but four words to add to 'Head Honcho's' most recent posting and that is a resounding "Amen to that Brother!"
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danapop

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Reply with quote  #13 
First and foremost, you have literally zero evidence that "More are against the library than for it"  

The ridiculous thing here is that you all want to blame the fab four for the library.  Not ONCE have I seen anyone in this troupe be critical of MacKay, Hughes or Russel for supporting the library upto this point.  If Bob thought is was so damn important that people vote on this issue, why the hell didnt he put a motion forward in 2015 before he voted and approved the damn project charter for 18M.  I am utterly sick to death of the bias and misinformation surrounding this issue.  If you are upset with how council has proceeded with the project then be mad and upset with the entire council.  

The fab four denied nothing.  Period.  The library was approved nearly two years ago and we are well past the point where it goes to a ballot question.  If is was that important,  residents and council would have put up a fight to have it on the ballot in 2015.

With respect to me supporting the library... Initially in 2015 I was not supportive of the library branch.  After further research, reading and analysis, I changed my opinion and thought that a branch would be good for the city.  After having some rational discussion on facebook with several people, I am cooled to the idea somewhat but overall believe that it will probably be a net positive for the community.  I was initially supportive of debt financing because frankly money is cheap to borrow right now, but I do believe that there could be compromises with the funding model to still debt financing but use a portion of the uncomitted reserves to service the debt, significantly reducing or even elimination a tax increase associated with the construction and debt.  

This isnt a 4-3 issue.  Anyone claiming otherwise is so bias they cannot see facts from fiction.  

D
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OMG

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Reply with quote  #14 
Every 9 out of 10 people sign the petition. What does that tell you? Comments like "too many taxes, glad to have a say,  we do not need another library, branch library is a waste. I would suggest that Dana go talk to the people and he will get an ear full. Those with financial resource to absorb higher taxes are rather selfish as there are many struggling. It is very easy to get signatures as people want a say in the building of projects. AND they are pissed with the rounabout and the road to nowhere.
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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by danapop
First and foremost, you have literally zero evidence that "More are against the library than for it"  

Well, the very same applies to you then, doesn't it? - HH

The ridiculous thing here is that you all want to blame the fab four for the library.  Not ONCE have I seen anyone in this troupe be critical of MacKay, Hughes or Russel for supporting the library upto this point.  If Bob thought is was so damn important that people vote on this issue, why the hell didnt he put a motion forward in 2015 before he voted and approved the damn project charter for 18M.  I am utterly sick to death of the bias and misinformation surrounding this issue.  If you are upset with how council has proceeded with the project then be mad and upset with the entire council.  

The fab four denied nothing.  Period.  The library was approved nearly two years ago and we are well past the point where it goes to a ballot question.  If is was that important,  residents and council would have put up a fight to have it on the ballot in 2015.

So then, now YOU DENY that the Fab Four did not vote against the motions made by Russell and Hughes to deny a question on the ballot? Is that right? Best you rewatch the council meetings in question and find out for yourself that you are very wrong. - HH

With respect to me supporting the library... Initially in 2015 I was not supportive of the library branch.  After further research, reading and analysis, I changed my opinion and thought that a branch would be good for the city.  After having some rational discussion on facebook with several people, I am cooled to the idea somewhat but overall believe that it will probably be a net positive for the community.  I was initially supportive of debt financing because frankly money is cheap to borrow right now, but I do believe that there could be compromises with the funding model to still debt financing but use a portion of the uncomitted reserves to service the debt, significantly reducing or even elimination a tax increase associated with the construction and debt.  

This isnt a 4-3 issue.  Anyone claiming otherwise is so bias they cannot see facts from fiction.

The bias on your part is showing through as being entirely in favour of the library, and like I told you earlier, no one has an issue with that. But your anger is showing through with your choice of language. Temper, temper! - HH

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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #16 
Over the course of the last four years or more in dealing with the St. Albert City Council and Administration, the one thing I have tried to avoid is getting personal with the issues for when that happens and no matter what 'side' one is on everything becomes subjective and tunnel vision takes over. As much as I may dislike if not detest the antics of certain individuals or groups such as "The Four Horsemen" or now un-named departed members of the administration, I make a concerted effort to avoid letting them visibly 'get under my skin'. What also doesn't help is when a person 'butters their bread on both sides'.


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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #17 
I concur most certainly with the observations noted in the article appearing on today's (05/07/17) SAP editorial page as it reflects exactly what I have personally experienced in my own collection of signatures.
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Steve Stone

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Reply with quote  #18 

Library Logic Lost Leader

Edit: For those who may not have read the article, it is located here. - HH

http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/Libraries-arent-simply-city-buildings-theyre-community-building-blocks-20170506

No doubt, Scott Hayes’s comments in May 6th Gazette is very well composed with professional writing skills. But pardon me for being blunt; good technical skills in writing cannot trump logic in claiming right reason. The article exposes mayor shortfalls in his thinking principally in areas of purpose, need and economics. I consider his comments as a “Lost Leader” swaying us off course to Lala Land. It should be filed under “Mystical Wishful Thinking” or “Fantasy Dreams”.

Here are some reasons why:

(1)  In terms of purpose:

(a)  He is mistaken in stating that libraries are Community Building Blocks (CBBs). Wikipedia disagrees with him: “A library is a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both”. Granted, libraries may serve as a CBB, but that’s not their purpose. Churches, sports fields, hockey rinks, swimming pools, community halls, volunteer opportunities, etc. are far better CBBs and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

(b)  He goes on to list several purposes other than “books”; a whole host of other services and activities that really have no place in a library, but rather in a Community Hall. Forget a branch library; build another Community Hall if need be; and while you are at it, do something about the muddy parking lot at the current Perron St. location.

(2)  In terms of need and economics, he has not considered the absolute waste of money, vis-a-vis other projects that are more urgently needed AND are better Community Building Blocks.

(a)  You can go to any of our swimming pools or skating rinks and there is always overcrowding – very high public demand and leaving many residents frustrated in long wait periods. Compare this with the very low traffic at the library. You can go to the library any hour of any day of the week, shoot a cannonball down any corridor you choose, and you will not hurt anyone.

(b)  You can access anything you so wish, from a library online – no need for a physical building. You can also surf on the internet, but you cannot swim on the internet; you have to have a physical pool for that.

(c)  Every school in our city is furnished with a very well stocked library. Everyone from Grade 1 to 12 already have free and easy access; schools, by-the-way, are excellent CBBs.

(d)  The Library’s justification of “current design is for 50,000 residents whereas our population is 65,000”, I believe is dishonest. That figure was determined before the internet existed.

Let us halt this madness of wasteful spending; we are sick of it. With all this excessive waste of our money and high taxes, Project 9 may already have exceeded its design capacity.

Wasting other people’s money may not be a crime, but it is no different morally than theft.

 

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Head Honcho

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Reply with quote  #19 
FYI - Today's issue has been revised and an editorial added concerning the library issue on the front page.
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OMG

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Reply with quote  #20 
This branch library is mostly being built to provide space for programs. How about the programs like cooking be located at another place instead of a library. How about charging for the programs? How about leasing space like London Drugs? This branch library has not only building costs and operating costs which just up our taxes again
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Head Honcho

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No Library Funding Petition Breaks 5,700 Signatures In Protest

Surely council cannot ignore the people now. They must halt any library expansion.

Power to the people and congratulations to everyone involved!

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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #22 
'Head Honcho' is absolutely correct but for one thing, it all hinges on the recipients of the petition 'doing the right thing' which considering their past actions is not a given by any stretch of the imagination. This of course refers entirely to the mayor and his three 'surrogates' who just like the Republicans south of the 49th parallel have the advantage of comprising a majority albeit, a rather tenuous one! Thankfully, the 'chickens are about to come home to roost' for them to which I speak figuratively of course and not of the backyard variety.
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Steve Stone

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Reply with quote  #23 
StAlbert LIBRARY PETITION:
WE DID IT !! MORE THAN 6700 SIGNITURE PETITION DELIVERED TO COUNCIL TODAY!!
CONGRATULATIONS CARRIE!!
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Joyce

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Reply with quote  #24 
Thank you Carrie. Also thank you to everyone that knocked on doors and talked to people to get them to sign the petition.

You have done a great job and I know there are a lot of people who appreciate your efforts.
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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #25 
I want to echo 'Joyce's' commendation of Carrie, she ignited a maelstrom of democratic interest and activity and as I told her at the council meeting today, succeeded along with a myriad of other fellow citizens to effectively 'move a mountain'. Congratulations to all involved not the least of which the 6700+ signatories to the petition, you've done us proud!!! 
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