New Parks and Recreation Department Administrative Office

my letter to the editor of the Intelligencer Mar 13, 2004 responding to the letter of that day "Slap on the Face"   (not printed)
my letter to the mayor and council of Mar 18, 2004 concerning the Mar 2003 JFGroup Report

Mar 26/04  I have added the Table 1 from my letter to City Hall that I didn't have time to include yesterday. As you see I have changed the title of this item to be a little clearer. It should be pointed out that the March 2003 report by the JFGroup was titled "City of Belleville Parks and Recreation Administrative Office Location Review".
Those who attended the meeting at the Quinte Sports Centre the evening of March 24,2004 will have noted that the project has morphed into "Quinte Sports Centre Upgrade and New Parks and Recreation  Administrative Office." It seems to me that the public should have been told what was going on a year ago and given opportunity for input into this plan. What was clear from last night's meeting is that much more comprehensive planning is required before any changes should take at the Quinte Sports Centre site. This $1.6 million upgrade does not address any of the main concerns of the Belleville Bulls re extra seats, private boxes etc. Belleville needs better planning and much more public input on major issues such as this. Let the mayor and council know what you think. But remember like my dad always used to say "Money doesn't grow on trees." If this $1.6 million project proceeds something else will get squeezed out in the budget process. My primary concern at the moment is the affect on the New Library. The money allotted for the library is almost certainly nowhere nearly enough. Either a top up or bridge financing now called  "transitional financing" * will be required or we will have to wait years for the library.

* You will recall that most members of the previous council claimed that they were not being unreasonable in refusing to bridge finance the Quinte Cultural Centre. They claimed that this was a consistent practise and that bridge financing would be denied for all such projects. Of course this was quickly broken in the case of the new medical clinic.

Feb 25/04
ou may have noticed the article in the Intell of Tuesday Feb 24. At Monday's council meeting Barry-Bryan Associates presented their plans for the proposed Parks and Recreation Department offices at the Quinte Sports Centre. The council approved the next step in the process i.e. proceeding to tenders. It was pointed out that this does not commit the project but will provide firm costs for budget considerations. While I would have preferred that the project be stopped in its tracks right then and there, there is still time to voice your concerns to your mayor and councilors. New councilors Denyes, Coughlin, Thompson and Boyce asked some good questions and indicated that they have already been getting some flack on this issue.
When and how did this all start? I gather City staff quietly put this in the 2003 budget. And even those councilors such as Paul Carr who got in a proper snit because they claimed they were not adequately informed about the QCC project seemed to have no problem with this item. At a council meeting sometime in the summer of 2003 the council passed approval of granting the design contract without even a whimper; it was just buried in the the Reports and Resolutions section and accepted without even reading as I recall. This may indeed have been at the same meeting where Mr. Gerry Boyce pointed out that those Parks and Rec offices could easily have been incorporated into the old BCI building after the Montesori school had committed to another location. That $1.6 million would have virtually guaranteed that that the city would not have to spend anymore than the $3 million it was willing to commit to the library. And you know that if and when we get a new linrary it will cost a lot more than that.
It seems that the old council certainly had a comfortable working relationship with our city staff. This is good to a point but what other worker gets to chose the location and design of their work place to suit themselves. This seems to be what is happening here.
I will try to follow up with more information on this. But for now just think.
The council would not provide bridge financing for $2.7 million (the QCC was just asking for the cost of the bridge financing NOT $2.7 million) for the Quinte Cultural Centre project. If you are not aware of all the benefits this project would bring to all the ccitizens of Belleville please refer to the QCC section of this website. But they were (and possibly still are) prepared to spend 1.6 million of your tax dollars and mine to give 12 Parks and Recreation department staff the office of their choice. If you are outraged by this please let your mayor and council know. If you have been following the City of Ottawa budget considerations this may give insight into the kind of cuts we may experience here. Just think of  all the important sevices that will have to be cut and the magnitude of service fee increases that will be required to make up for that $1.6 million.

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Last Updated on Mar 25, 2004 by John R. Meale