It is time. Cornwall is at a critical point in its history. With a struggling downtown, a weak economy, proposed school closings, a destructive brain drain of our youth, and a toxic business and political culture there are some easy steps forward, and some more difficult ones.
Waterfront property is usually the most expensive property that generates the most in taxes. Does it make sense to have such a huge green space, Ice Rink, and City Offices on such a block of our waterfront?
Nope. It’s a community asset. The Civic Complex is a substandard facility. The seating is abusive. It’s rarely ever utilized, and frankly is nearing the end of its natural lifespan. The Aquatic Centre also has been a failure in that budgets reduced its ability and uses, and it’s needed several big repair jobs.
As the next Municipal elections get closer it’s time to really think about the future of this community and the waterfront. While the Domtar lands will ultimately play a bigger role, they are privately owned. It’s silly for the City to be housing info sessions when the land is not theirs to make decisions on (although one major player from Montreal might differ after complaining about the City killing a proposal to purchase the entire parcel recently)
Lamoureux Park and the Civic Complex are ours.
Developing mixed use housing, commercial, and cultural facilities while retaining public space is not rocket science, and it’s time to look at the real impact of changing vision.
There is plenty of space to either re-purpose or build new office space for City Hall in less valuable real estate within Cornwall. For example the City could buy the dilapidated Chamber of Commerce building and erect a new City Hall with enough office space to house all of its needs.
With the Benson Centre established, the need for such a large arena may or may not be necessary given the large cost. The salon’s at the Civic Complex also aren’t used enough to warrant being on the Waterfront.
It’s time to consider a new location for City Hall and city office workers. It’s also time for our city to live within its means. Adding 2-3% yearly tax increases simply don’t work.
The amount of cash the City can earn by selling and having development in Lamoureux Park and City Hall would put a major dent into a new facility not on the waterfront. There are creative options. For example Cornwall could negotiate with the Counties to use its council chamber for Council meetings, and then consolidate office space elsewhere.
Instead of spending money on trying to reduce goose poop, wouldn’t it be better to develop the property and attract and build our local economy?
A new multi purpose facility to replace the Aquatic Centre and a larger event space could be built as well without having to spend $40M.
It’s time to start the dialog, and frankly it’s time to replace the spend and tax crowd at City Hall and get some people who aren’t afraid of being accountable elected and actually running the city rather than being led by the nose by certain city managers that don’t even live in Cornwall.
Does it make any sense that we now have had three CAO’s in a row who aren’t comfortable to call Cornwall home, but are happy enough to take their generous salaries and benefits?
It’s time to put Cornwall and our future first.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below. Please note you have to sign your first and last name to comments as per our policy.