60 Minutes with Syd Gardiner – $10 Million upgrade for St. Lawrence College

  I had the honor of spending an hour or so with Cornwall City Councilor Syd Gardiner Friday afternoon.   

I have to tell you the passion shared by Syd for Cornwall and the projects that he works on truly is inspirational.   

We talked about a range of subjects; about his love for the Aultsville Theatre and his hoped for Arts Council (basically a United Way for area Arts Groups) and Cornwall in General.

I learned a lot about the man, and about this City I’ve been living in now for five years.

He had just come from St. Lawrence College where Jim Brownell had just announced a $10 Million dollar upgrade and refurbishment package that will allow the school to offer more programs and respond to the growing enrollment and interest in secondary eduction.

Syd spoke passionately about his hopes for an Arts Council for the area and the benefits of combining resources and information for the many people in the arts in the area as there are more people practicing one form of art or another than play hockey.

Then I cornered him on this 3+1 Arena project and he made some very strong statements.

He said categorically that this arena project would not raise taxes for the citizens of Cornwall.

He said that if the Federal $$ didnt’ come through then he support downsizing to a 2 pad arena.

He said that there would be “no job losses” at the new facility, and one quote that I liked is that he said he’d support taking the funds from the sale of the Bob Turner property and making sure that there’d be an artificial  turf field added to the 3+1 arena site so that amateur Football and other sports would be able to have a longer season and better facility.

I have to give Syd credit for having vision.     My main concern which I shared with him is that I feel that the hockey community so far just hasn’t done enough to warrant an investment of this size.

I feel that Mr. Lecky and his team (team being all of the local hockey groups) need to raise at least $2.5-3.5 Million dollars of the $8-10 Million burden on the city.

Cornwall has a fund from the sale of Cornwall Electric.   It’s a lovely nest egg and the city plans to use about 3/4 of the yearly interest of this nest egg to finance this project.

Well that’s good, but that means that this nest egg won’t grow as much and if something happens that warrants a need to call on these funds they will be allocated for a decade.

So again, to me the challenge is for Mr. Lecky’s group and the hockey community that will use the 3+1 arena project to raise enough cash to warrant Mr. Gardiner and City Council’s faith in such a heavy committment.

Syd mentioned that this is about the kids and children are our future; but let’s give them the lesson that things don’t come for free and you have to work for them.

Let’s see the kids that play hockey go out and hustle some $$ together and let’s really see how much Cornwall wants this facility.

Syd then gave me a great quote about the transition that this city is going through since Domtar’s closing.

“You won’t recogknize Cornwall four years from now.”

I would tend to agree with him and I think with people like Syd in City Council many of those changes will be for the better.

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  1. We are paying $10 million dollars more to make our community college less.

    Should we be concerned that this has been made a celebrated event by our media? or more concerned at the seeming equivalent contraction of intelligence in the community?

    The program guide for the Cornwall campus of St. Lawrence College indicates a pretty meagre offering, and the evening courses are simply a huge joke… let’s face it, if there were anything to Tarot cards, why not give students a reading at enrollment time and be done with it — give them a diploma on the spot or ask them to “Please Play Again”.

    We are paying more for less. In economics, that leads to a devalued currency. In education, it is a devaluation of our children that enriches only the bureaucrats and politicians so clearly bankrupt of trust.

    Incidentally this is being sold to the Cornwall community (with the lowest family income around) where sending a child out of town for school is usually out of the question. So we’re able to afford a diploma alright, just one that’s worth a little less, because the programs are so thin, in content and substance for success.

    But that’s of no great concern to this travesty’s authors …largely people living outside of Cornwall and sending their kids to school elsewhere.

  2. Author

    So Trent what are “YOU” going to do to improve things here in Cornwall or what have you done? It’s easy to point fingers, but harder to actually change things; especially for the better.

  3. Well you’ve noticed that I write comments from time to time with a little different viewpoint — in this case, a view less glowing than the college. I hope that it will spark critical thought here and there, a spark that might catch on.

    When not offering up my views, I actively engage in investigation and correspondence with government (municipal, provincial and federal) on matters of importance to the community.

    I even step out of my comfort zone from time to time, such as 3 weeks back I think, when I stationed myself outside of GVSS dressed in Gitmo style coveralls (as people filed out of the MP sponsored passport clinic) and handed out pamphlets while picketing in support of Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik — which I will be doing again soon.

    I have made public appeals for reason; starting years back with a complaint against licencing a strip bar adjacent to a primary scool (Horizon-Jeunesse and the Player’s Club share the schoolyard fence). I realized then what a “bass akward” mentality thrived in the community when the principal called to complain that I had taken pictures of the shared property line, but she never raised a word against the strip club (where the dancers would step out back in plain sight of the kids to smoke a dizzy between sets).

    And I have thrown myself into many other frays with government since.

    I volunteer in the community on behalf of literacy, I have a reel push mower (they advertise them as cordless… crazy), I drive an eighteen year old car, I go to church, I’ve got kids, I have chickens, I feed a squirrel that I call “Buddy” every day … I don’t have a credit card, I don’t have debt and I avoid being compromised.

    Next municipal election I expect to have my name on the ballot. If elected I will turn over my full pay in favour of community youth projects (a year round skate facility to start). I will not be stuck on committees (that are just a rubber stamp anyway).

    I will devote my first year to establishing how many employees work for the city and what their duties are; then most of the committee work that distracts, bogs down and detracts from the duties of a councillor will be reassigned to them.

    There will be no more dogs earning more than half of Cornwall just to chase geese.

    There will be no more consultants reconsulting what has been consulted to death.

    And last but not least the corrupt practices at city hall, the bribes, the favours, the conflicts of interest will come to an end, and there will be a code of ethics set in place that will be simple, final, and adhered to.

  4. Author

    Well that’s amazing Trent Tulip that you get so involved in the community. We get people occasionally targeting pseudonyms and some people need to understand that it’s common on the internet for people to use user id’s as opposed to signing their own names.

    You have made a lot of interesting points and many of them should be discussed by more people; especially in this community.

  5. I use web “pen-names” out of respect for my employer and other organizatons that I am affiliated with; there is no need for them to concern themselves with, or become embroiled in, business unrelated to theirs.

    A pseudonym also seems a prudent way to avoid undue prejudice from bureaucrats and government officials that I may find myself dealing with from time to time.

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