Council Stays Calm & Plunders Tax Dollars to Subsidize Smart Centres & We Need a Better Live Arts Scene in This City by Jamie Gilcig

Jamie DNACornwall Ontario – What is wrong with this city that I live in?   Cornwall City Council just agreed to take over $4M from taxpayers and send it over to some of the largest and richest companies operating in Canada; many of whom are not even Canadian.

$4.5M tax break for Smart Centres?   Are they out of their minds?   One councilor shared with me that they voted to support the bribe gift gratuity how else to get a kick back subsidy based on an eventual increase in returns in the form of taxes, and that it was parced out in chunks and services.

But let’s for a moment look at what exactly has happened.    The chunk of Domtar lands, even while brownfield were this massive chunk in the heart of what will be the busiest part of Cornwall, especially after the new bridge construction is completed.

Smart Centres, known mostly for their relationship with Wal-Mart, will host vast amounts of parking spaces with some big box strips that will all but destroy locally owned mom and pop shops; as few as those are.   I mean isn’t one of the most depressing sights to see a 50 year old with a name tag working in a big box store that used to own a local business?   And then hearing them complain about not getting enough hours?

I mean if Smart Centres pulled out and for sale sign put up would this cleaned up and cleared land ready for construction lie dormant long?   And if it was mixed residential and commercial wouldn’t it make for a nicer neighborhood and actually bring in more taxes?

Hey it’s a free world and I’m a firm believer in capitalism, but why grease the pig?  Why subsidize them?   Those bits here and there that add up to the $4.5M are the exact same as giving out a bag of money.  And it’s all from the same pocket, ours.

This in a city that found money for an underused  white elephant  Benson Centre to the tune of $33+M dollars when you add in the kick from the Province and Feds while having ZERO dollars for an Arts Centre, or music centre.   Does that make any sense at all?

What is $4.5M in Cornwall Ontario?  It’s  nearly a $100 donation from every man, woman and child in the city.   It’s nearly a single rink arena.  It’s public housing.   It’s a lot of things that we won’t have $4.5M to spend on.

And watch Brookdale, because when you see the former Tourism Bureau connect to the 7th to 9th & Cumberland project end up buying it we can then ask the new councilors why they were silent while watching our current group of conflicted boobs not grab that building from the Province for $1?  Why?  Because someone at City Hall probably knew someone who knew that Smart Centres would need that parcel to connect to Brookdale.

Councilors saying that they were unaware or didn’t know simply are not in a position to get a free pass.  We elect in Cornwall ten councilors and one mayor to dictate policy that is best for the people and corporation of the city of Cornwall; not real estate brokers, lawyers, and other movers and shakers in the shadows.   We are supposedly electing leaders; not people who rely on consultants at heavy expense.

And speaking of shadows and totally switching gears what will it take to get some sort of Arts and Culture scene going in this city?  Surely some smart operator will move in and show the stiffs we have in Cornwall how to do things at some point?

Or are they afraid that Cornwall simply doesn’t support the arts enough for them to bother?    Enough with Tribute acts.  I love a good tribute act now and again, but surely we have some great area and regional talent?

It’s time that our venues learn that they have to operate more professionally; properly market and advertise their shows and build their audiences?  Facebook does not replace traditional advertising and you can’t roll  a tiny b&w print ad out for one day and hope to fill a house.

Yes there are occasional local brands that word of mouth works for like any community; but it’ll take more than that to build a scene. I mean I don’t know about most of my fellow Cornwallites, but I am tired of having to drive to Montreal, Ottawa, or even Brockville to have fun.

There are some venues with potential here.  It’s up to the promoters to figure it out and take things to the next level even if the Economic Development team have their heads up their nethers.


calm cornwall

I mean Keep Calm and Choose Cornwall?   Did they hire a consultant for that?  And if they did which one of Bob Peter’s friends got the contract this time?   A free meme is our marketing platform?  Whose rectum did that idea pop out of?  If our scene was any more calm we’d be embalmed?

Imagine if they took the dollars from the Keep Calm rip off and put it into community advertising and promotions for events and venues?  Just imagine?  Maybe an electronic billboard even?  Maybe the slogan could one day be

“I’m excited and watch out, I Chose Cornwall!”

Keep calm, in a city with our percentage of seniors it should be Keep Breathing!

mike macdonald phoning home oct 2013And for many of you reading this from the area you missed Canadian Comedy Legend Mike MacDonald who came to Cornwall to talk about Hep C, his Liver Transplant, and Mental health while making with the jokes at the Town Hall meeting at the RCAF Wing this past Sunday.  Admission was free.   Yes, free.  Insane.   The man was so funny that the staff at the Wing stopped cold and leaned out to listen and laugh.

Your city of Cornwall refused to post the event to their facebook page. Only they can answer why?  Perhaps they were busy being… calm?

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – CFN

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

Celebrate South Stormont


  1. Choose Cornwall. Just don’t rock the boat. Do what we say, not what we do.

    I think that should be the new motto.


  2. How many years is this discount in effect? What kind of taxes will they be paying with the discount? Has the city given tax breaks to other businesses with new development?

  3. We made CTV news for the pigeon shit.

  4. As to the “KEEP CALM and CHOOSE CORNWALL” it is ironically appropriate in a way. A phrase associated with 1939 Brittan designed to boost morale while under siege. I guess that pretty much sums up the battle for the truth that this community finds itself immersed in with the present leadership.

  5. Author

    An odd twist David as some would suggest that it’s those that are using that slogan that are the besiegers….

  6. In response to 420: It’s too bad CTV news wouldn’t cover all the BULLSHIT going on in council chambers and behind the scenes. Conflict after conflict…I am another who says election day in Cornwall can’t come fast enough. We all need to stand our ground and vote these IDIOTS out!

  7. 420… shit seems to be the definitive word when it comes to news concerning Cornwall. Time for change.

  8. I’m still confused about how the mayor gets away with using police services as his own personal body guard, kicking people out of public spaces just because he doesnt like a shirt.. Sounds corrupt, the whole system is corrupt and I dont care I dont believe any official is clean, maybe not have their hands dirty, but guilty of looking away or not whistle blowing.

  9. Maybe STEVEN KNUTZ people just do not care enough to get off the couch. The last municipal election we experienced one of the worst levels in voter turn out. I have said the following before ; when a minority of voters decide the will of the majority then the basic concept of democracy is missing. Democracy is supposed to be represented by the majority of eligible voters . We would be better served, I believe, to adopt the Australian election rules, vote or pay a fine, you choose. Now that is democracy in action !

  10. Ah yes, the Australian system. Where have i heard that before?

    It would seem that SOME PEOPLE attribute low voter turnout to — ONLY — one or two self proclaimed possible reasons, then as a result of having “met” the criteria for that small range of “self proclaimed possible reasons” those people, who profess to not voting are, then (according to that narrow criteria) are then further said to be disenfranchised from having a voice in their community and society because they have not voted, despite continuing to pay property, school taxes and all other federal and provincial taxes. Yeah right !!!

    The system is the problem not the voter.
    I would suggest that it’s a much simpler and less harsh to accept the FACT THAT people are fed up with the idea — and unhealthy structure — which forces them (as voters) to end up voting for the the lessor of the group of evils rather than voting for a healthy chance for REAL CHANGE and REAL progress, thus having a REAL choice.

    I further suggest that the lack of voter turn out has MUCH MORE (or even EVERYTHING) to DO WITH the negativity and sense of despair surrounding the lack of REAL choice between crook (A) and idiot (B) which is offered in our system.

    This kind of negative potential tends to make people move away from an unhealthy system and not want to vote at all.

    Thus, perhaps — not only — adopting the Australian rules regarding “paying a fine” if one — does not vote —
    but also adopting the Australian proportional representation (PR) voting system which affords the voting public a system that offers much more (imagine that) “REAL REPRESENTATION.”

    The lack of REAL choice is the REAL REASON for low voter turn out and implementing this kind of system would MAKE a big difference in voter turnout.

    Maybe EVEN give people the incentive TO WANT TO VOTE and thus, there would be no reason to add the section about “fines” for not voting.

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