Chelsea, Quebec council anchors bad decisions in dangerous waters

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by admin on March 16, 2011

The Editor,

The conduct of the mayor and Chelsea, Quebec council regarding the Meredith Centre is totally unacceptable. If it is true that critical studies related to increased traffic and the availability of adequate water supply will be started only after contracts have been awarded and construction begun, this is the epitome of stupidity on the part of our decision-makers.

Questions of traffic risk and issues associated with the availability, or not, of adequate water supplies for residents are critical pieces of information about the viability of the project. But I think the mayor and council know this and are trying to ram the project through before we learn that in fact there is no water, or that increased traffic will raise the risks to an unacceptable level. The mayor and council are anchored to a bad decision, and they haven’t the decision-making skills to recognize their bias.

Some of the assumptions related to the use of activity rooms are simply unbelievable. To state that summer camps will bring in $225,000 in revenues, as was stated in a consultant’s report, is as far from reality as one can get.

The Cascades Club summer camp, which provides, among other things, waterfront, kayaks, canoes, dragon boats, squash courts, etc., brings in less than 20 per cent of the estimates for the Meredith Centre. And the Cascades Camp is perpetually full. How the Meredith Centre, with far less to offer, is expected to bring in five times what the most successful camp in the area generates is either an intentional fabrication or someone doesn’t know how to count.

Taking advice from someone (the Chelsea director-general) who claims that “borrowing for a rainy day” is a good idea or that borrowing a larger amount of money is cheaper than borrowing smaller bits of the same amount, certainly doesn’t help the situation.

“Saving” for a rainy day is a good idea; “borrowing” for a rainy day is farcical. And the director-general needs to take a money and banking course if he believes that borrowing a large amount of money saves interest over borrowing smaller amounts. Again, this is either the height of stupidity or the height of deceit.

Another point that has never been raised is that the Meredith Centre’s finances are predicated on stealing business from the current owners. The assumption that revenues will come from relocating businesses from their current locations into the new facility suggests that the Meredith Centre provides no value added for our community. The business model is based on robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Attempts by this council to shove the Meredith Centre down our collective throats without full knowledge of the impacts of the project and without full and honest communications is, in my opinion, bordering on the criminal.