Is Smart Centres Expansion Into Cornwall Ontario Smart for Taxpayers by Jamie Gilcig – Oct 23, 2013

smart centresCornwall Ontario –  Why is the City of Cornwall subsidizing Smart Centres to the tune of over $4M?    I know it’s incremental.  I know that it will raise the value of the property and increase the tax base, but Smart Centres is not a dumb company.  It is getting a huge swath of real estate near the spanking new $75M Seaway International Bridge Norther Span.

That’s prime time real estate and a huge opportunity for the company.   It will change the face of Cornwall forever; for good and for bad.

So why are we taxpayers giving “Charity” to a firm that has some of the biggest retailers in the industry as clients?    $4M may not be a huge amount in their big picture, but for a city that is struggling with its tax base did we really need to give up this loot?

And why not have some sort of public consultation?   Shouldn’t the taxpayers have some say over how  Mayor Bob Kilger and his team splash our cash?

$4 Million dollars  could do a lot to help small business in the downtown core and le Village; both areas that will be further devastated by this huge development.   Is there any actual planning going on in our planning department?

Should the City of Cornwall Ontario Subsidize Smart Centres?

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While there are benefits for having this huge development there are negatives too.    How many other back door subsidies has Mayor Kilger and the city coughed up.

Smart Centre has every right to develop property; but the City of Cornwall should not be subsidizing Mr. Goldhar’s company; not with our tax dollars.

For example who are the owners behind the corporations of the land purchased for the Industrial Park expansion and how much did they pay for the land that they sold the city?  How much profit did the taxpayer subsidize  on that deal, and how much was made by the usual real estate suspects and lawyers?  If it was akin to the Benson Centre land deal that included nearly a million extra dollars for clean up the profit could be staggering.

And surprise surprise, Mr. Chenier announced further delays to his project at the corner of Pitt and Second.   Will anything ever be built as long as he is at the controls of that project?   Will the ugly blue fence come down and at least put some grass and benches while the years tick by?

What do you think dear viewers of CFN?   Does any of this make sense to you?

Smart Centres has not responded to queries from CFN as of Press time.

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  1. Has it been announced they are building a Smart Centre on the Domtar lands?

  2. Lets recall when former Ontario Premier McGuinty wanted “to invest in winners” and ‘invested’ $1-billion into Samsung Wind Energy . . . to make wind turbines in Ontario. Several months later, Hydro Quebec expanded a wind farm . . . and bought wind turbine equipment from a factory located in India . . . they’ve expanded a few more wind farms, except no turbines from Ontario.

    With regard to developments in downtown Cornwall, there will probably be new residential development on the SE corner at 2nd & Sydney by the end of next year . . . . with further delays to the proposed project at the NW corner Pitt & 2nd.

    With regard to any level of government giving money to companies . . . . NOT good practice at all . . . . except we keep hearing the same mantra . . . “if we did’nt give them the cash, they would have gone elsewhere”. Perhaps had Samsung Wing Energy gone elsewhere, there may have been fewer anti-wind energy protests in Ontario . . . . and Ontario Hydro customers would have faced a smaller hike in their power rates.

  3. The city of Ottawa picks winners too and often will not charge the development fees. If you are borrowing money to help run the city, that should not be done as in this case.
    $453,590.03 in waived redevelopment fees for a theater group that is already getting 5.4 million dollars from Ontario and federal taxpayers and, has 20% of revenue from Ottawa city taxpayers already!!! This is money that could be paid towards the debt, 1 billion plus in employee salary/benefits or put towards the upcoming hundreds of millions for transit or the operations budget even.

    Is the Smart Center geting incentives from the province and or federal governments?

  4. Author

    Hey I don’t blame Smart Centres; but does any reasonable person think they’d walk from this project if the city didn’t grease them?

  5. @admin…is this speculation or has there been an official announcement? Forgive me, but I don’t recall seeing any headlines about it.

  6. I have heard nothing about this deal. I do agree that Chenier is the francophone translation for Kravitz. Get it?

  7. Hi Gimme & 420, ” but I don’t recall seeing any headlines about it.” & “I have heard nothing about this deal”….. The other local media, only would cover the photo op pics for the sod turning ceremony ! “CFN” has consistently been a country mile ahead of the pack. When was the last time, the local media did an actual investigative report or article, on anything ? They will not go near anything that is controversial, in fear that they will raise the ire of the local clique. Keep it up CFN, we support you !

  8. Actually this is a wider practice than some here are aware. Recall when the negotiations were in full swing with Cambridge Leaseholds, the original owners of Cornwall Square to relocate from their first preference on a 25 acre lot they owned at s/e corner of Brookdale and Tollgate (now Toyota and Home Depot.

    City father bartered with them with a carrot of $8,000,000 tax relief over 30 years to relocate in their current spot at Pitt and Water Streets.

    Harry Valentine highlights the conundrum “With regard to any level of government giving money to companies . . . . NOT good practice at all . . . . except we keep hearing the same mantra . . . “if we didn’t give them the cash, they would have gone elsewhere”.

  9. I am with Andrea Horwath, It’s time to put an end to Corporate Welfare. What I don’t understand, people get their nickers in a knot when the disabled person receives assistance, but have no problem giving wealthy corporations million’s in tax breaks.

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