Thursday, 20 February 2014

THE GODERICH VIEWPOINT by Jim Rutledge continues......

WITH A

QUIZ

The Mayor of Goderich has been around town and done some interviews on radio and with the press stating that he is running again for the position of Mayor. He has stated that he has the experience of
22 years in office and that you almost feels his thoughts are there is no contest. I suggest to you the voter that this is not the case at all.
 
Whenever the subject of the fall election comes up people talk about nothing else except that there MUST BE CHANGE.
 
THIS QUIZ CONCERNS THE LEADERSHIP IN YOUR TOWN HALL BOTH ELECTED AND PAID. YOU MUST DECIDE IF CHANGE IS IN ORDER.
 
THE QUIZ WORKS IN THIS WAY. I AM GOING TO PUT THE MEANING FROM THE OSFORD DICTIONARY FOR A NUMBER OF WORDS. THEY ARE LISTED BELOW AND YOU LOOK AT THE WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS AND THEN DECIDE IF THERE MUST BE CHANGE IN YOUR TOWN HALL.
 

WHAT GODERICH MUST HAVE MOVING AHEAD

CHANGE

give up or get rid of     /      remove something faulty and replace
 
 
 

THE PLATFORM OF THE MAYOR

EXPERIENCE

practical contact with and observation of facts     /     the knowledge or skill acquired by a period of practical experience of something, especially that gained in a particular profession     /     an event or occurance leaving an impression
 

THE EXPECTED RESULTS OF EXPERIENCE

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

something that has been achieved successfully     /     an activity that one can do well     /     skill or ability in an activity
 

SUCCESS

the accomplishments of a purpose 
 
 

THE QUALITIES WE AS TAXPAYERS EXPECT FROM OUR TOWN HALL

 

LEADERSHIP

the ability to lead
 

VISION

the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination and wisdom
 

COMMON SENSE

good sense and sound judgement in practical matters
 
 
 

OTHER NECESSARY QUALITIES

ACCOUNTABLE

this is required and expected when you justify actions or decisions     /     responsible
 

COMMUNICATION

the exchange of information by speaking or writing     /     the conveying or sharing of ideas
 

DEMOCRACY

the practice of principles and social equality
 

DIGNITY

being worthy of respect
 

ETHICS

moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or actions
 

HONOUR

a person that brings esteem     /     the quality of knowing and doing what is morally correct
 

INTEGRITY

having the quality of honesty and strong morale principles
 

OPEN

honesty and not hiding information
 

PROFESSIONAL

competent     /     skilfull
 

RESPECT

regard for the feelings, wishes and rights of others
 

TRANSPARENCY

open to public scrutiny
 

TRUST

belief of the truth or ability of someone
 
 

Even with the above you must still have the quality of

APOLOGIZING

express regret for doing wrong
 
 

Should there be change in the upcoming election and those you elect have the above qualities, I believe Goderich will .....

GROW

process of developing
 

PROSPER

the state of being prosperous
 
 
As this election campaign proceeds I will be updating this blog
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

THE GODERICH VIEWPOINT by Jim Rutledge continues......


SENIORS

  • One urgent issue I feel could be a crisis very shortly is our seniors and their lack of housing and nursing care. I say this because it has come to my attention from members of the staff at Maitland Manor who are concerned because they feel the facility could close in a year or a bit more.
  • Why are they feeling this way? In Canada all nursing homes, seniors homes, retirement homes etc. are accredited by Accreditation Canada and when a facility is given its accreditation it is usually for a period of 3-4 years.
  • Maitland Manor received their inspection and accreditation in late January or early February 2014 and were given an accreditation of ONE year only.
  • Is the writing on the wall?
  • Should this facility close their doors it will cause hardship to many people including the present residents and their families and now is the time for this Council to begin asking questions.

 

WATER

  • If elected I will suggestthat the town of Goderich move the town's water intake pipe further out into deeper water in the lake by about 1,000 feet. Here the water is deeper and the intake would be less prone to ice clogging the system as was the case during this past winter. As well in deeper water there is less wave action and less silty water.









WHY IS GODERICH IN DIFFICULTY

 
  • The first reason is the Mayor - 22 years as Mayor and uncontested for past 16 years.
  • The second reason is the Deputy Mayor who has been in that chair uncontested for numerous terms and who feels it is alright to run for election and say he will serve only to find him absent from his responsibilities for far too many meetings.
  • The third reason is the Clerk/CAO who has been here approximately 35 years and who now runs the town due to the lack of leadership from the Mayor.
  • The fourth might be David Yates who also has been in his chair for multiple years and terms and is one who only attends council meetings and does not represent Goderich in any fashion out of the limits of Goderich.
  •  
  • Am I being synical in thinking as do others that our best interests are not being taken of by these individuals and that the society in town hall allows them a comfort level that to date has not been questioned. NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE!!!!!
  • The above people have languished in town hall far too long.
  • Is the pension now more important that you and I who are the taxpayers?
 
  • Questions are being asked by our citizens as to procedure followed following the tornado and needy people were given financial aid. Some feel people received aid who had no right to these monies and others feel people who were desperate for aid did not qualify. Huge issues here. Questions are being asked and no answers are coming. I will find answers should you elect me.
  • Questions are being asked still about the promised skateboard park for our youth and this has been ignored for much too long. Elect me and I will find a way.
  • Other questions that are on everone's lips are......when is the airport being developed?     Why was the cost so high for the washroom for the Courthouse Square Park and for the roof of the performance stage?
 
  • Due to the lack of any effort by the Mayor and the Administrator we now know that Goderich is being passed by time and time again by business, by industry and by commerce. Many cities and town are pursuing anything and everything to increase their economic development. EXCEPT GODERICH. It needs to change people and elect me and I will work toward that end.
  • To that end it has come to the attention of a number of people who are looking for change in October that the leadership in town hall was approached by a very knowledgeable individual who was willing to assist Goderich with the step toward economic development. This individual proposed a survey and it was not going to cost the taxpayers anything at all. What a great first step!  THE TOWN REFUSED THIS OFFER. ******And you ask yourself why the citizens are demanding change.*******
  • Going deeper into the economic situation here in Goderich I want you to note what John Grace said in the Signal Star edition of February 19th. The County of Huron is moving on economic development by possibly hiring a part time consultant and then to move forward with plans to establish an economic development board. Grace is quoted as saying "we have the concept, we know that the vision is long term, we want a board and we know we want to bring the private sector to the table." He told the County of Huron on February 12th that "the time is now to move towards a development board that could take the county to the next level. It is a competetive world out there and we need to invest, motivate and support. We really need to crank up and get engaged." Do you have any questions about his statements? I do. Firstly if the town refuses to do anything about our economic development as their record indicates, how come he has become the expert on the subject? Secondly, I get the feeling the town is waiting in the wings for the County to do all the work and pay the majority of this venture. Then the town will move in and try for the spoils.

THE GODERICH VIEWPOINT by Jim Rutledge continues..



PERSONNEL

  • The people who are employed by the Town of Goderich in my mind should represent all of us plus the town when working and NOT pursue their own personal agendas.
  • The person who is supposed to be the leader of this town allows the Clerk/CAO to dictate the path this town is going due to the fact he does not have any leadership qualities and he needs to be guided through every process.
  • We as a town are in dire need of a number of key employees and by this I mean CHANGE has to take place in out town hall. We need a mayor who can lead, we need a Deputy Mayor who can lead and we need a Council as a whole who has leadership and vision.
  • Another key position that is very much in need of an overhaul is the position of Clerk/CAO and to all of us who have been here for any period are aware of why that needs to take place.
  • We need a strong person with ability and experience and success from that experience to lead our drive for Economic Development. This individual will have to work with Council as a whole, the B.I.A., the Chamber of Commerce and the citizens of Goderich to be successful. In my view this group should then begin their work with guidance from the Economic Development Council of Ontario. Their work should include a proposal to be presented to various levels of government, to prospective business, industry and commerce. It should also include clear policies for Goderich to follow as well as an action plan.
  • Council has a Committee of Council doing Economic Development work, the Chamber of Commerce and B.I.A. both have committees doing the same work. However, they do not communicate with one another and are separate entities that have accomplished nothing.
  • ONE COMMITTEE WITH ONE GOAL WITH ALL WORKING TOWARD ACHIEVING SUCCESS.
  •  

  • POLICY

  • CITIZENS  NO. 1          COUNCIL  NO. 2          CLERK / CAO  NO. 3

  • Council MUST work with the citizens of Goderich.
  • Council MUST not tell you one thing and do the opposite to suit their want. 
  • Council MUST adopt clear policies that will be accessible to all.
  • You the citizens MUST be able to obtain the information you are seeking.
  • I feel one of the linchpin of any democracy is openess and transparency.
  • Council MUST work toward having their citizens once again feeling pride in their local government.
  • The Rules of Conduct, Codes of Ethics and Conflicts of Interest policies must all be reviewed.
  • NO COUNCILLOR SHOULD USE THE PLATFORM OF THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS BECAUSE A CITIZEN USED HIS FREEDOM OF SPEACH AND A COUNCILLOR DISAGREED WITH THOSE COMMENTS AND THEN ATTACKED THE INDIVIDUAL.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

THE GODERICH VIEWPOINT continues
 
 

ENERGY

  • This has become a serious concern for our citizens with many being single parents, families with children and for seniors. Many are low income or considered to be impoverished.
  • It is also a troublesome issue for business / industry / commercial concerns in Goderich.
  • I think one avenue open to us in the way of renewable energy is to put solar panels anywhere possible on town facilities such as town hall, the recreation centre, the memorial arena, works and parks and recs.
  • We have been informed that our energy costs will be rising in a dramatic fashion in the future and we must be doers and thinkers and be innovative when it comes to energy. 
  • I have had very serious concerns with Goderich Hydro......we are a town of maybe 7,500 people and falling annually. Do we need to own our own utility? Perhaps we should like at selling this interest and use those monies for the betterment of our town.
  • The first concern I have with Goderich Hydro is that its President is also our town Clerk/CAO and I strongly feel there is a serious conflict of interest. This individual is drawing a salary from both positions.
  • The second issue is this utility is very much a closed door operation with the public not privy to information from their utility.
  • The third issue is that their meetings are behind closed doors and there is no accountability or transparency.
  • In my view the Mayor being a Director is perhaps another conflict of interest.
  • The fifth issue is the rumours from the citizens that two of the citizens who are Directors seem to act and think that they have been appointed life long board members.
  • The solution in my mind is to open this enterprise to public scrutiny, elect directors for the term of this Council and to perform a complete and total audit from top to bottowm and from wall to wall. In this manner the new Council can show they are serious about accountability, transparency and conflicts of interest.

 

ENVIRONMENT

  • Our environment is changing rapidly and I feel we had better keep up with new technologies to protect it. Conservation and Environment must be on the same page.
  • We must be conservation / environment friendly when we develop the Parsons Court area.
  • I would like to know the technology we have at our waste management facility and if the pollution control equipment is 50s/60s or 80s/90s or is it newer? 
 
 

FINANCES

  • We must rid ourselves of the lavish Cadillac operation at town hall and replace it with a Chev Malibu operation.
  • We must hire professional consultant who will do an analyzation and audit of Goderich and inform us where monies can be saved. It would be done area by area and department by department. This will also inform us where we can grow as a community. I feel it would identify strategies and design a course of action to follow for our future sustainability.
  • Pursue the development of all vacant core lands.
  • Pursue the development of our industrial lands.
  • Pursue the development of the waterfront and harbour so it can be both a working and recreational facility, bearing in mind it is owned by the town and does not belong to one industry.
  • Increase the tax base by whatever means is available to us.
  • Work toward obtaining Capital Grants and Operating Grants.
  • Work to increase the use of our facilities thus increasing revenues.
  • Capital Project spending costs should be cut that do not improve the services to the citizens or increase town revenues.
  • Council should respect your tax dollars and must be prudent when doing any spending and in fact should treat your monies as if it was their own.
  • Close the tax ratio between commercial and residential.
 
 

HOUSING - AFFORDABLE / GEARED TO INCOME

  • This is an issue that has been ignored and it has now become a crisis.
  • Those on disability, low income, single parent families, seniors are finding it very difficult to survive and there are landlords who take advantage of the situation.
  • I feel a priority should be affordable housing for our most vulnerable folks and my opinion is the best type is geared to income rents. A very successful example of this is the Maple Tree Project. It is working very well.
  • 
  •  
THE GODERICH COUNCIL VIEWPOINT by Jim Rutledge
 
continues
 

DEMOCRACY

 
I believe strongly in democracy. My dad fought in Europe with the RCAF during World War II and why we are a democratic nation is shown through the names engraved on our cenotaphs and memorials.
  • Democracy, as I understand it and believe it to be has been sucked out of our town hall. Now is the time for change.
  • I am sure that when you last voted you would have expected that you would be able to express yourself, to express your opinions and views and above all to be heard in town hall. I feel that has not been the case at all.
  • The citizens respecting and trusting their leadership in town hall at the moment is a very distant thing unless you vote for change.
  • This is what I feel democracy is all about...............                                        
Democracy and Truth must not be mocked in Town Hall
I believe there should be no secret meetings
I believe there should be no hidden agendas
I believe there should be no opportunistic or reckless actions made by Council or the Administration
I believe there should be no political manipulations or interests in Council and the Administration
I believe that no by-law should be passed to suit a want of the moment
I believe all guidelines should be reviewed and the useful ones made policy
I believe we should use the services of the Provincial Ombudsman at no charge to the town
I believe we should hire a part time Integrity Commissioner
I believe we should hire a part time Auditor General
I believe we should hire a part time Ombudsman
I believe we should hire a Freedom of Information Officer.
(*****Please note that the Integrity Commissioner, Auditor General, Ombudsman and Freedom of Information Officer are part time positions and would be used and paid as required*****)
 
There is presently very little respect or trust for this Mayor, the majority of his Council or for the Administration because of their leadership these past terms. I will work for you to earn that respect and trust.
 
 

DEVELOPMENT

  • It should be the decision of Council to decide where there will be development in Goderich.
  • No developer has the right to make those decisions about development in Goderich.
  • No one should be invited to the table concerning our development if they have pecuniary interests or even if there is the slightest possibility of there being a conflict of interest.
  • I feel we should review our development costs based on the 200 acres the town recently obtained and which will be developed. Those costs would help pay for services such as roads, sewer lines, hydro lines, waterlines along with storm water management.
  • We MUST follow the Goderich Official Plan as this is supposed to be the blueprint/template for the future of Goderich.
  • The vacant lands in the core MUST be planned and developed.
  • Parsons Court from Suncoast to the woodland must be developed.
  • The southern industrial area must be scrutinized for ways to improve our footprint.
  •  

  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


  • The Federal Economic Development Agency has a $200 million fund to help stimulate innovation and technology in manufacturing. These monies are already in a previously announced $920 million fund earmarked for the manufacturing sector of sourthern Ontario. Let's go after the available funding!
  • We have no option left in Goderich but aggresively pursue new business and industry. We must communicate with all levels of government wherever they might be and also approach industry and manufacturing possibilities face to face.
  • The present Clerk/CAO has stated that Goderich is poorly situated to attract new business or industry. Sounds like he could care less and taken the road of no action. He has stated highway 8 ends in Goderich. Excuses do not cut it anymore!!
  • I see highway 8 beginning here and going to eastern ontario and Canada and to the eastern United States. I see highway 21 north going north and then west to Canada and the United States. I see highway 21 south going to south-west Ontario and the southern and western United States.
  • I see the rail line out of Goderich taking our products north, south, east and west.
  • I see the aiport being developed into the positive it is.
  • I see our goods leaving our harbour for anywhere in North America and the rest of the globe.

  • THE SECRET ABOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN GODERICH IS TO ATTEMPT ANYTHING. DO SOMETHING BUT SIT AND IGNORE THE SITUATION AS HAS BEEN THE CASE WITH THIS COUNCIL AND THE ADMINISTRATION.
  • For example: Timmins is a northern Ontario medium size city with a history of mining and the fur trade. Timmins is 8th in Canada for their entrpreneurial zeal. Not bad for a city in the middle of nowhere and which is surrounded by furry animals and who also has a mine. Their other industries are tourism, forestry, recreation, health care, education, commercial/industrial commerce and telecommunications. Their secret? They got off their behinds and tackled the problem and did something about it. They lookied inward and harnessed their own citizen's strengths and found most jobs were created by small businesses owned by people living in the community. They found the entrepreneurial spirit and found the tax rate between business versus residential was vital. They also reduced the turnaround time for all types of buulding permits
  • They found their location presented problems so they turned to their own to generate economic growth. They made tough decisions and kept commercial tax rated low by refraining from pursuing the luxeries or uneeded wants.
  • Timmins town hall put themselves in the place of the small business owner when decisions needed to be made.
  • THE RESULT FOR TIMMINS WAS SUCCESS!!!!!

  • Goderich has a mine, tourism, agriculture, recreation, the largest portion of the North American population to work with and had our leadership done something we to could have commercial / industrial commerce

  • In my view there is a huge "cultural gap" between our local government and the business owner of Goderich. Elect me and I will make a strong effort in creating new jobs.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

GODERICH MUNICIPAL ELECTION - 2014

I am continuing with this blog four years after the last election because I feel the situation in Goderich is much more dire now than at the last election in 2010. I feel this way because....

  • NO leadership from the Mayor or the Administration
  • we are now an oppressed town.
  • NO business coming.
  • NO industry coming.
  • NO people coming.
  • our YOUNGER GENERATIONS leaving.
  • extreme taxes.
  • the tax ratio between commerical and residential is too extreme.
  • PROMISES MADE and thrown aside.

Because of the downhill slide to nowhere, I have decided to take action and have placed my name on the ballot to be a Councillor.

Below I am listing my concerns, my views and my opinions as well as my platform about what I feel a Councillor should do for Goderich.

My name is Jim Rutledge, and I believe in this town and in its citizens. This is my home and I am determined to make Goderich a much better place than it is now.

You can contact me as follows...............................................

JIM RUTLEDGE
 
 
FACEBOOK     Jim Rutledge / Goderich Council 2014
 
BLOG     The Goderich Viewpoint (my views on YOUR Council)
 
519-524-1808
 
 

CRITERIS FOR VOTING FOR A CANDIDATE

  • Do they have leadership skills?
  • Can they communicate with you?
  • Are they aware of the issues and are they interested and will they be there to serve you?
  • What are their personal attributes?
  • Are they accountable?
  • If they are seeking re-election rate their score previously on Council.
  • If they are seeking re-election what was their attendance record?
  • Are they civic minded?
  • Are they innovative?
  • Do they possess vision?
  • Are they seeking a seat on Council for self serving purposess. Do they care about you and Goderich?
  •  

    ACCOUNTABILITY

  • There is much more at stake for Goderich and its citizens than in past municipal elections. Our taxes have increased dramatically and there has been no accountability from Town Hall. It always seem to come down to the liberal spending on the left and the monetary conservative thinking on the right.
  • We have seen how foolish Council has behaved and at times they are no different than six year old acting as if they are elected to represent our interests. We know that is not the case.
  • The way that some members of this Council and past Councils have acted and the tactics they has used has now raised a great many flags around Goderich. With the flags come the questions and with the flags and the questions comes the opinion that there must be change.
  • I believe there is a "negative society" presently in town hall and its members are "the old boy's club. These members have been around for up to 22 years in the case of the mayor,   years in the case of John Grace and  years in the case of David Yates. As a result the citizens of out town do not have faith in, or respect and trust this Council.
  • I am running for Council because it is now time to restore the faith of the citizens in their Council and that requires accountability and transparency which I feel is the linchpin to democracy.
  • Past Councils have been dysfunctional and some Councillors have contined to conduct themselves the way the leadership in town hall dictates. Some councillors continue to vote the way the leadership tells them to vote.
 

ARTS AND CULTURE CENTRE

  • This is an issue for a future Goderich that is prosperous, healthy and growing. This is an issue if/when our populationincreases substantially; if/when new business calles Goderich home; if/when industry makes Goderich home; if/when the airport is developed and used to its potential; if/when the south industrial park is properly drained and developed properly; if/when the industrial land on Parsons Court is developed to its potential; if/when the beach lands are re-devloped and then developed in a manner that makes it safe and utelizes the positives; and if/when our citizens and younger generations decide to stay here. There are too many unanswered questions and variables to begin to look seriously at an arts and entertainment centre.
  • It must be a need that will benefit and not a want that some people think would be good.
  • No level of government would see there way to providing any financial aid to a town as mentioned above.
  • IF/WHEN such a centre is atrtempted it must be designed with a very strict construction budget and forbidden to exceed that amount. We do not need or want another overbudget project as the Recreation Centre, the proposed washrooms on the Square or the proposed roof for the performance stage.
  • The public should be asked if they want such a facility, if they are willing to pay for it and if then will support such a facility. If they do not, why build?
  • Funding must come from donations, sponsorships, grants, ticket sales, service fees, private/public partnerships, fundraising and town monies. In that order!!!!!!!
  • Management would be a Board of Directors including the town of Goderich. Perhaps it should be a non-profit entity.
  • Performance would include music, dance, comedy, community organizations, touring artists along with live theatre.
  • Town Contribution would be minimal if non-profit.
  •  

COMMUNICATION

  • In my humble opinion, Democracy is a non issue if the leadership stifles the right of its citizens to express themselves.
  • One of my priorities if elected is to reopen those lines of communication again between you and our town hall.
  • I am proposing that Town Council hold its meetings on Wednesday evenings. In this way the next edition of the Goderich Signal Star would have the information you are entitled to. Presently two editions pass before we read the news of Council.
  • The mayor should provide the agenda to all that wish it on the Friday prior to the next Council meeting. The press would be asked to publish the upcoming agenda and in this way people would be aware of what will be taking place in their town hall.
  • I feel the Mayor should also inform the press on Fridays about the events that took place in out town hall that week.
  •  
  • COUNCIL AND COUNCILLORS

  • 
  • Should you elect me as a Councillor of Goderich I will represent you with leadership, vision and I will use common sense.
  • I will represent you by....being accountable             by communicating with you
                                                     by being democratic         with dignity
                                                     
                                                     with ethics                         with honour

                                                     with integrity                    with openesss

                                                     by being professional       with respect

                                                     by listening                        with transparency

                                                     with vision  

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

GODERICH: ARCHIVES 2000 - 2010

2000


2001

The Town of Goderich has signed a letter of agreement for a Recreational Centre to be built on Suncoast Drive, and the Sarnia YMCA will operate this and manage the Memorial Arena as well. The YMCA as the operator has a contract that will last 5 years until 2010 and the town will be the owner and will operate the facility with the Board of Management comprised of folks from neighbouring municipalities.

The funding agreement states that Goderich will provide 1/12 of any budgeted operating support as required by the yearly budget prepared by the YMCA. The operating payments will be funded monthly in advance by the town and will also be responsible for the purchase of all capital equipment and improvements.


During July there were concerns about safety on the Square and the Police Services Board were to meet with Council. Issues that will be dealt with are automobiles, skateboards, bikes, in-line skaters along with pedestrians.

One problem was that whenever events were taking place in the Square, pedestrians would have to cross the traffic around the Square once or twice. During these times you have children, pedestrians, increased traffic and drinking. It was also felt that the lack of parking in the area and on the Square parking was creating crowding and confusion.

Previously discussed solutions included reducing the lanes from three to two; making the Square car free or speed bumps at pedestrian crossings.

At the present time the crossings on the Square are not official pedestrian cross walks where there are signs and lights posted and this has the result that when the pedestrians wishing to cross within the lines on the Square are not protected. The reason there are no cross walks are the cost and the amount of traffic involved.

It was felt that cyclists were not a danger or a problem when rising on the sidewalks on the Square, Mayor Shewfelt disagreed and said it is against the law and he expected the police to enforce the law. The largest obstacle on the Square during the summer months are the patios and these take up more than half of the sidewalk.


Huron Tract Development is inviting Goderich to view a proposed development including a hotel, hotel pool, fitness centre and theatre complex. They also felt there would not be a conflict with their proposal and the Recreation Centre  that is to be built on Suncoast Drive.

The proposal by Huron Tract conforms to all necessary zoning and most of the properties needed are in place.


In the October 3rd edition of the Signal Star it was learned the proposed Huron Tract Development is in jeopardy as Council did not make a motion to support the project. Council felt that they had to follow the Planning Act process. The motion Council did pass was related to the hotel and hotel pool development with the final plans being forwarded to the engineering and planning departments for their opinions and subject to the payment of securities.

Huron Tract insists the town is thwarting the development by tossing out roadblocks and the town insists it is simply following the planning rules. Huron Tract appeared at the Council meeting of the 1st and stated this project would bring about downtown renewal and also bring new life and vigour to downtown.

The project would include a 312 seat community theatre, an 80 room Howard Johnson Hotel, a fitness area, a two land pool along with a condominium complex.

Many local businessmen applauded the project including Dean Whalen, Jim Shanahan and Rob Evans. They all felt it would increase employmentand and revitalize the core. One donwtown pharmacy was gone and there were empty stores. Others told Council that both the Recreation Centre complex and the Huron Tract proposal were both able to be accomplished.

The town stated the normal process requires a specific proposal with the appropriate details. The plan would have to address the zoning and parking issues and meet all the requirements of planners, lawyers and engineers. It was also stated that it was not appropriate at this stage to pass resolutions without first having seen the drawings and technical information so the town can do its reviews.

Upon leaving the Council meeting Huron Tract stated they would suggest the development not proceed in lack of a show of support from Council. The town stated that a $10,000 security and a formal application was enough to get things moving for the planning process.

Huron Tract stated as well that the town would not provide the information needed to complete a site plan.


The November 7th issue of the Signal Star stated that the $3.5 million out of $5 million has been raied for the Recreation Centre Complex and the Library Expansion.

Larry McCabe and Judy Kay assured the 400 people in attendance at the Mind and Body announcement that their taxes would not be affected because of the many partnerships the town has with the harbour acquisition and water and sewer and they had saved operating expenses now in a reserve fund in the amount of $914,000.

All in attendance learned that the Recreation Centre and the Library expansion will cost a total of $13.2 million with 42% or $5,544,000 coming from the town's future budgets, 38% or $5,016,000 coming from the fundraising, 9% or $1,188,000 coming from grants and 9% or $1,188,000 coming from reserves and 2% or $264,000 coming from the county to furnish the Library.

Those in attendance were told that the Recreation Centre would be paid off in 2008.

John Grace told everyone they would have to dig deep to cover the remaining $1 million needed.


On November 21st, we learned that Council and Huron Tract had an agreement. Huron Tract agreed to sign a letter and this would allow the town to bill the company for all costs incurred from hiring outside legal and engineering consultants. Huron Tract will also pay the town $10,000 and this is a guarantee the payment of any costs incurred as the project develops. With the agreement signed Council, the town and Huron Tract can begin a dialogue with the developers. The town said they are willing to work with the developers.


The citizens also learned that the main beach could be transformed under a proposed $3 million long-term plan. These monies would be spent over a long period of time, but the Commissioner of Works wondered if it was not more prudent to build up the reserves to about $450,000 and then do that amount of work.

The first priority was the building of a pumping station followed by other infastructure work.

This plan has a Main Beach Terrace and it takes a new and less dramatic form than what was suggested in the 1995 Master Plan. The lakefront hotel is on hold but it is felt that a commercial facility relating to the road and to the harbour could function with small retail shops, concessions for summer torists, restaurant and fish suppliers.

The cost of the Main Beach Terrace, including building, demolition and construction would be in the $1 million range. Roads and services for the main project, including the pumping station could cost as much as $750,000.

Renovations and historical restoration to the CP Station including parking and the Artesian well development would cost close to $500,000. It would cost an additional $400,000 for the development of a children's adventure and water play area.

One of the main artesian wells near the Main Beach would be used as a fountain with an approaching storm theme.

The town had been unable to negotiate a relocation of the Elevator dipping station and since this was not successful there would be landscaping which would held screen the building.

Concepts in the beach plan include include a water play area and a "gateway" ideas to promote St. Christopher's Beach.

Ken Hunter said changes were made in the beach redevelopment due to feedback from public consultation.


A headline in the Signal Star on December 5th was Threat of Penalties Need to Ensure Open Meetings of Councils and Boards. 

Abuse of secrecy must be stopped.

Everday citizens lives are regulated and legislated and if you are out of line you pay the price. It is the reality of daily life, but not for municipal councillors who violate Ontario's Municipal Act.

Why is it there is currently no fine, no penalty, no complaint mechanism, no effective recourse, when a local council holds improper secret meeting denying the public the information they have a right to receive?

The greatest enemies of democracy are secrecy and complacency and today's political institutions are too secretive and this has contributed to our compacency and frustration. Closed door and secret meetings should never automatically outweigh the desire for openness.

The main concern has to do with the "ease" and "frequency" of closed sessions "in camera" meetings by councils and boards.

The solution at present is to have closed door meeting and secret meeting reviewed by a court under the provisions of the Judicial Review Procedure Act. Here a judge could overrule any decision.


The Recreation Centre is being changed we learn in the Signal Star of December 19th. The gymnasium will be larger but the arena will have less seats. These adjustments have reduced the size of the centre by 25%.
The three major components are still intact and these are the pool, arena and gymnasium.


2002

In the January 23rd edition of the Signal Star we learned that Council approved conceptual drawings for the Recreation Centre and Library and called on the architects to proceed with the final drawings and estimates.

Ken Hunter stated that the plans on the new pool and arena have left land which could in the future house a second ice surface. The arena seating has been scaled down but there is room for seating an additional 500 in the future. The pool originally had six lanes but is now down to five lanes. The running track is still a go at this point.

The pool area will have a ground resouce energy heat pump system that uses some of the heat generated from the ice making to heat other parts of the complex. Initially, this may cost $300,000 but could save $100,000 per year in heating.


The citizens learned from the March 13th Signal star that the campain for the Recreation Centre has topped $4 million. The Library expansion will begin in April and the Recreation Centre will begin in June..

John Grace stated everybody has to dig deep to reach the $5 million mark and now the direct mail campaign is about to begin.  He also mentioned that all the negative talk about the facility changes have been exaggerated and that the new plans are better than the plans put forward to the public. He feels it is not a downsizing, but that it is a better plan and that all the components are still there.


The Signal Star of March 27th in a Letter to the Editor from Huron Tract states their resolve to complete a downtown renewal project in Goderich. The letter states that Huron Tract will not participate in the process established by council to reach an agreement whereby the town lawyer, engineer, planner, administrator, Commissioner of works along with the building official to be in attendance at all meetings even tho a particular meeting might only deal with an engineering matter.

Huron Tract stated further, that no other municipality has such a condition in effect and that Huron Tract will now proceed with their community partners and others to complete the plan for the downtown renewal. These include attributes necessary for the survival of the core alowing it to be vibrant. The attributes are culture, arts, recreation, hospitality, housing,personal services along with community use facilities.

The above was written by Jim Shanahan - Director, Huron Tract Holdings.


The headline on April 10th was Ontario Grows - Huron Shrinks and Goderich keeps building despite lack of growth in population.

With all the new construction in town the population here in Goderich has barely changed. From  1996 until May 2001Goderich grew by 0.7% with the County falling 0.9%. The Municipal Propery Assessment Corporation does its own census every three years and have found that the population in
Goderich is slowly decreasing. In 1994 the population was 7,500; in 1997 - 7,428; and in 2000 the population was 7,383.

A decreasing population hurts Goderich with schools and hospitals. They are provided grants based on the numbers served along with several municipal services. These services include higher fire protection costs. Costs which remain static when the population is decreasing are things like road maintenance.

Larry McCabe says this town is growing at a healthy rate and that Goderich is strong commercially and industrially. He gave Suncoast Mall as an example and how it increased the commercial availablility.

It is estimated that people will come to Goderich and live when they retire and leave the large urban centres.


The Editor of the Signal Star on May 15th informed us that both the Federal and Provincial Governments had contribed $1.75 million each. Both levels of government praised Goderich for how well their propoal was prepared and delivered.

Sheflelt said the the Recreation Complex shows the vision Goderich has and that the town was 50 years ahead of its time with a project such as this. The mayor also said that users would come from outside the boundaries of Goderich.

John Grace said the Mind and body Community Campaign has raised $4,249 million to date.


Rob Evans said that the core is precious but that it is under a major economic siege, because looking at it tells one the story. He said Goderich must do everything possible to protect the core and make it prosper. He further said it need inspiration and it need loyalty.

He further feels that if the core is ignored for a long period it will take it that long to bring it back to life and it is far easier on the lives of people, families and merchants if somehow things can be kept healthy before it goes through a critical illness and tries to recover.

He looks at the core as the heart of Goderich and everything running off the Square as appendages.


The Signal Star on May 22nd reported the campaign for the Recreation/ Library has been increased to  $5.5 million. We are also now learning that costs are rising to higher than expected tender prices and because the economy is booming...but that the costs will only increase slightly.

The chair of the fundraising committee said he did not expect the goal would be increased and that the $500,000 over the $5 million mark would likely not be enough to cover the differences between estimates and higher tenders. He expected the goal to be surpassed.

The Library Expansion would receive $100,000 and the Recreation Centre $400,000.


Between May 22nd when the total raised was $4.3 million and May 29th when Sifto gave $500,000 the total now sits at $4.9 million. Then in the Signal Star of June 12th we learned that Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh donated $200,000 to bring the fundraising total to $5.1 million.

The deadline for the opening of tenders for the Recreation Centre is June 24th and the groundbreaking will take place on June 27th. The facility will be completed in the autumn of 2003. The total costs for the Recreation Centre will be $13 - $15 million.


On July 10th, Mayor Shewfelt was all smiles as he approved a $13.8 million tender for the construction of the Recreation Centre. Ball Construction would begin construction on July 22nd and the completion will be Sept 23rd, 2003.

The aggressive construction schedule will be matched by an aggressive payment schedule with the facility being paid off in 2011. The town will contribute just over $10 million over the next nine years. Council has allocated $2 million to the project and another $1.138 million in 2002. Then in 2003 another $1 million will be applied to the project followed then by payments ranging from $800,000 - $900,000 for the next seven years.

The mayor stated the payments would be $ .50 on the dollar from the town with $7.9 million - including $3,575 million from infastructure and Trillium grants - coming from outside sources. He said at the end of the five year period they would break even.

The estimated operating costs for 2003 will be $135,000 and in 2004 will be $254,000. They are aiming for 1,800 memberships. It was also stated that by 2005 the operating costs will be $155,000. At this present time (2002) Goderich pays $293,000 for recreation.

Estimated revenues will be in the area of $1.2 million and expenditures at $1.6 million. The $400,000 deficit will be covered by the town.


The July 24th edition of the Signal Star had an editotial comment from the Editor to Take Action Now on Medical clinic.

At this time in Goderich many people do not have doctors. We have a shortage and some doctors may leave or scale back their practices. There is no crisis yet! But why wait until there is one?

The Town and the Hospital have different views over planning for hospital care in the area. Council believes the way to go is an addition on the hospital. The Hospital board believes the way to go is to build a new hospital near Benmiller.

In any case, Goderich needs to attract more doctors and can do so only with a competative medical clinic to attract new doctors with an attractive incentive package. This disagreement about health care does not bode very well in the recruitment of new physicians.

At this point the hospital issue does not have as profound an effect on doctor recruitment as the lack of a medical clinic and lack of incentive plans. Young doctors, want a forward-thinking community that will allow them to practice without incurring additional debt loads, which will provide incentives and which will allow them to realize their life goals.

Goderich should aim to be that forward-thinking community and both the town and the hospital must work together to bring about a new medical clinic for the doctors and their patients.


As November was beginning, we learned that the campaign had $130,000 to go after raising $5.370 million and these monies came from 17 service clubs, 7 user groups, 28 lawyers and doctors, 40 corporations, 100 small corporations and 291 individual donations. The two mailin campaigns resulted in 242 donations.

In addition for $100.00 a donator could purchase  a metre of the walking track.

Commissioner of Works said the foundation was 75% complete and the work was being on the parking lot.


2003

Mayor Shewfelt stated that a priority was the building of a new Medical Clinic, the Strategic Plan and the sewer and water implemaentation along the main beach and of course the building and operation of the Recreation Centre.

He also stated that the new Minicipal Act would make Council more transparent and because of that we the citizens would have a lot of advance warning on the future issues of Goderich.

The mayor mentioned the struggling core and mentioned that economic development is also a top priority for 2003. He said the official plan must be looked at for the dowtown and as well the zoning by-laws will need attention.

Shewfelt also mentioned that Council needs to know what it is the people want and that they have to have input.

In closing the mayor said the core is extremely viable and that the intention of council is to work with the BIA and businesses to keep it that way.


In early January a writer in a Letter to the Editor stated he agreed with the assessment that councillor rob Evans gave when he stated the time had come for the municipal meddling in our town hall to cease. Our elected officials are public servants and not policy makers and that public process and civil conduct must be addressed.

Thw writer states that for too long the taxpayer supported administration has been used and allowed to interfere in public policies and debates.

Also mentioned was how closed Goderich Hydro was to the public and that the President of goderich Hydro was Larry McCabe - the town Clerk and one of the directors was the mayor - Deb Shewfelt. The final two directors are appointed by Council.

Apparently all available information is available only to Goderich Hydro unless it is to printed in the local press. Why would this be? If they are not willing to provide information about their financial statements - is there trouble somewhere? The writer finds it hard to believe that Hydro could be so well run.

We, the taxpayers own Goderich Hydro. Should we thank the town clerk or the hydro president for protecting us from the reality and truth about what is actually taking place behind the doors of Goderich Hydro. 


I notice in the Signal Star of January 15, 2003 shows how Council voted on the Agriculture Park barn situation.


After talking a meeting for over a year there is now a Memorandum of Understanding between Council and the Hospital Board to build a medical clinic.

The largest priority is the need monies and the public will be asked to dig as deep as they did for the Recreation Centre.

The town will consider the following responsibilities - ownership; establishing an operating committee; fundraising assistance; providing administration resources and looking into tax-relief.

The hospital for its part would be responsible for capital funds; recruiting doctors and other health care professionals; setting up shop and provide administrative resources to complete the project.

The business plan states the clinic would be 14,000 sq. feet and cost about $2 million.


The headline on January 22nd read that the Downtown is in need of serious help!

It was stated by the BIA that the core is on life support and only a good dose of economic development can save it. It was felt that a person needed to be hired to plan core events; identify strengths and weaknesses; inventory the real estate and businesses and to constantly be communicating between the BIA and businesses. This person would look for new businesses.

Businesses that should be added to the mix are a men's store, another barber shop; high-end restaurants and clubs to improve the night life.

Rob Evans stated that decisions from past councils is why the core is in the position it is now. He stated the Economic Development Committee along with the Town of Goderich Strategy for Community Development were disbanded. He feels the town does not care about the future of the core and that there is climate of obstruction when development could take place.


In the Signal Star of September 10th, we learn that Captain Fats is closing after 24 years.

Goderich has a plan to renovate the lakefront in 2004 with new sewers and roads; expanded parkland and as a result the washrooms and Beachut will also go.

The town offered $20,000 for Captain Fats and that was refused. A counter-offer of $40,000 was accepted by Council.


In the upcoming municipal election the candidates stated that attracting major industry was an issue.

All felt that eceonomic development, healthcare and taxes would eventually come together. All agreed that much more needed to be done to promote the Square. All agreed the town needed to become more involved with the BIA and work together for the betterment of the core.


Matt Shurrie writes in his editorial that it is critical for us to attract more people to Goderich.

Council / Administration has sat back and waited for developers and business to knock on the doors. It will never happen unless this council / Administration goes out and actively looks for new business.

He asks wht Wingham and Listowel and other communities can bring in new business and we can"t. The answer is that we as a town have not done near enough to increase our tax base.


The Recreation Centre Budget is in dispute. Some have said the budget was doubled without public input and the original budget was for the facility to cost $8 million but the total roose to $18.9 million. Some are saying there has been no transparency or accountability.

John Grace defended the costs saying a budget was never finalized for the project. One must ask why a facility of this size would be constructed without a budget. Did that mean anything goes? Also Grace said the town never costed the facility or even consulted with the YMCA of Sarnia. Grace mentions that they budgeted for expenditures on the fly.

Questions were raied by the public to the candidates at the upcoming election what the Recreation Centre was larger now than it had been when first discussed 4-5 years prior. It was thenlearned the facility was in fact smaller.

John Grace then stated that "sure we started and thought we could have built the facility for $8 million but then it would only look like a $8 million facility.


Mayor Shewfelt stated that for 2004 the Medical clinic and the Harbour were the priorities. Of course, as in previous years economic development is also a priority.


2004

The Recreation Centre opened at a cost of $19 million or 240% of the origianl $8 million estimate for construction that never had a finalized budget or was ever costed by the town.


The BIA has it sights on constructing an ice rink in Courthouse Park. The thought is if you can build a recreation centre along with a medical clinic the Square deserves such a project as well. It was felt it would be a well used facility and would cost $80,000 - $100,000.


In the January 21st edition of the Signal Star there was concern about the lack of present committees reporting to Council. It was also stated that administration and finance did not have committees nor did economic development. Rob Evans said the liasion for these committees was Larry McCabe who is the Administrator. Does he liaison with himself?

Even in 2004 Council would not take any leadership or any kind of initiative in economic development. Shewfelt then stated Grace had led the charge in this area. Grace said that the town must work with the county so the town would know exactly where it is situated and from that we would know our strengths and weaknesses and then develop a process to move forward. In fact he said that perhaps an economic development committee is not the answer and perhaps Council should approach industry, business and the citizens to find out where the town should go.


Tim Cumming was a former Editor of the Signal Star and his views are that our attention should be turned now to the Square which is the jewell of this town. He stated it needed a shining. He goes on to state vacancies are increasing with fewer retail stores and his view is to put the effort into the Square that went into the Recreation Centre and Medical Clinic.

He also stated that the core could handle a hotel and an expanded theatre.

The alternative in decay in the Square and this is becoming more obvious each day.


Goderich could have a new operational medical clinic by May 2005.

The facility would be 14,000 square feet and cost between $2.8 & $3 million. There would be accommodation for 12 doctors - 6 on each side. The plan calls for a 75 seat waiting room , a small play area, a student room, a lab, large staff lounge, board room and archival room.

McCabe stated that it is expected to cost the citizens nothing and will be 'self sufficient."


The on and off again land swap is back on the table. Again the Goderich elevators have stated they want to work toward an agreement. The idea is for the elevators to give the town land they own for the land Captain Fats sits on.

The Elevators state that one truck makes 6 crossing of the street a trip and that during the day there could be 750 movements in one day. This swap would enable the Elevators to have more access to the harbour and the town obtaining the recreational and tourism land it requires.

Ken Hunter said offered the proposal for the Harbour Road extended past the CP Station and keep the elevators on the right side of the road.

McCabe said $50,000 had already been spent on the harbour plan and that this plan had been approved through public meetings.

There were some who felt the existing plan for the harbour did not provide enough safety and because of that the town and the elevators should return to the table and try and come up with an agreement prior to september 1st.

It was felt that should the talks fail the plan should then move forward.


It is felt that the town is not willing to seriously sit and talk with the Elevators and that it is Shewfelts way or no way at all. It does not look good at this point due to the lack of co-operation from the Mayor, some members of Council and the Administration.


Matt Shurrie in the April 21st Signal Star informs us that the Judity Gooderham Pool is safe for a final year following a citizens petition and to let the public decide on the future of the facility. Some stated that you can't build a better town by destroying neighbourhoods.


We learned that an economic plan has been presented to Goderich and this is part of a county wide plan to look at the past, the present and the future that will decide our econimic development.

Business retnetion and business expansion was the priority and the downtown core was the second priority. It was felt that the core was the most visible and important economic asset. The third most urgent point was industrial development.

It was felt that at present Goderich and Huron county were exporting our youth and that the population had become stagnant. This was the result of a lack of economic growth, not enough job creation, slow wealth building and slow assessment growth.


Council along with the town Administration previously agreed that September 1st was the deadline for talks with the Elevators concerning a proposed land swap but we now learn that the town had no intention of keeping that date and in fact have sent out tenders for the harbour work.


Goderich Elevators has informed the town that the town will be held liable for ignoring the Official Plan and in doing so putting the public at risk because of poor safety.

The town lawyers said that Goderich should take steps to ensure there is no such risk to the public.


As 2004 closes Shewfelt says the beach and doctor recruitment are the major issues in the following year.